Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The New Computer is here and working. However, there are some pretty major teething problems, so service from the CFZ may be limited over the next few days...

However, if nothing else, I would like to thank Andy Roberts for his extremely generous donation.


First of all I would like to apologise to everyone who has been trying to talk to me over the last few days, especially dear Naomi. I am feeling pretty horrible at the moment, and find it hard to talk lucidly to anyone, either in the flesh or online. Life is not particularly easy at the moment, and it is made worse by the abscence of most of the CFZ crew about their own affairs. Richard is in Staffordshire, Graham in London, and this is a particularly bad time for my serotonin levels to crash and burn. Please forgive me guys....

There is good news and there is bad news.

We are beginning to dig ourselves out of the hole in which we found ourselves earlier this summer. However, the additional curve-ball caused by the crash of our hard drive a few weeks ago has presented us with a whole slew of new problems (as if we didn't have enough on our plates).

Therefore, it is - I believe - cards on the table time.

  • My old office computer, which we have had for the past three years, is on its last legs, and I do not want to trust it any more. I am in the process of backing up everything that I can, (quite a lot was already backed up), but it is a long, slow process
  • The new computer (which cost most of our reserves) will be arriving today. Oll, Dave B-P and I will be setting it up later on
  • Once the new computer (which is much more powerful with 9.2 GHz of processor) is up and running I shall be able to resume video editing etc, and the WW videos will be up on CFZtv. It is a great disappointment that we were not able to get them up as quickly as last year, but such is life
  • I lost a hell of a lot of data when the hard drive went. I have learned my lesson from this, but it is too late to cry over spilt milk. Some of this stuff is retrievable, other stuff is lost forever, and other stuff will have to be reconstituted from scratch. This is a long and slow process, and will involve a great deal of work.
  • Amongst the data lost are the latest editions of Animals & Men and The Amateur Naturalist and the pdf templates for both. We shall, therefore, have to start from scratch in redesigning both publications. This means that the publication schedule for both magazines is now all to cock. There will be a new edition of A&M before the end of the year, but I make no promises about TAN. This does not mean that TAN is going out of publication, but it does mean that it is on hiatus until we manage to get things back on track.
  • The CFZ Yearbook will appear as planned, and we are now actively soliciting articles for it. We do, however, not make any poromises as to whether it will arrive in time for Christmas
  • I am presently working on reconstituting Andy Roberts's anthology. This is now about a fortnight behind schedule. Lizzy has just finished proofing Nick Molloy's Predator Deathmatch and will be starting on Carl Portman's new book in the next day or two. Naomi has just finished first proofing Richard Freeman's book, and I am working on Karl Shuker's book of poetry.

Basically, guys, life is pretty difficult at the moment, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn't seem to be an oncoming train. We are still up the creek, but now we have several paddles....


Following Richard's posting on monster movies yesterday I was sorely tempted to post a track from the album Monster Movie by Can. And I usually end up succumbing to temptation.


This ABC sighting was all over the news a few months ago. Did anything ever come of it?


The mystery is solved. It was Andy Roberts that dunnit. As he wrote, I should have given the parcel a detailed look, and I would have realised that it included letters addressed to him.

In my defence, I am feeling rather icky at the moment, and have every intention of going back to bed once I have finished the bloggo. I always get ill after the WW; it is probably my bipolarity crashing and burning, and this year I thought that I had managed to escape, but apparently not.

Whilst on the subject of nice post, I would like to thank Karen Gensheimer for her kind donation. It is only the kindness of you guys, who are so generous with both your time and your money, that keeps this circus on the road. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Neil Arnold’s Weird Tales: The Vampire Dwarf Of Essex

I have known Neil for fifteen years now, since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippy who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years; we are just both a tad older....

I have several contacts within the paranormal world and one of these is the lurvly Sally McConnell. She told me recently about her encounter with the ‘vampire dwarf’ when she was 15 years old; a truly chilling critter if ever there was one:

“It was a November evening (4:30) in 1982. I was alone in the house (at Rainham, in Essex) and I went up to the loft extension at the top of the house to my brother's bedroom. I was looking for a record and had my back to the bannisters when I heard a rustle movement at the bannisters ( you could see the back bedroom as the stairs turned the corner). I looked around; had a feeling something was watching me!

The small creature was hooked by his claws (peering over the bannister), looking at me; the mouth was very threatening and he was hissing at me but the eyes were distant and had no feeling to them; they were black as black! I could see the skull through the thin transparent skin; his cheeks were sunken and he had no visible hair. I froze, my heart tightened and I turned away. I felt so sick and with that ran like hell down the stairs. I had to pass where he was but didn’t look to see if he was still there.

I put every light on in the house until all the family came home from work, which was about 6:00 pm. I had the music on really loud so if he was there I couldn’t hear him scurrying about! Two days later my brother, who had originally laughed at me with the rest of the family, wanted me to tell him the story again. It was just us alone in the house, it was a Saturday and as I was telling him we jumped like mad when a brass plate that was positioned on a ledge up the stairs was thrown (or fell?) down into the hall. We searched the house (reluctantly) but found nothing; phew!! Nothing has been seen since in that house and my parents still live there.”

Sally kindly sketched me the creature. It’s appearance resembled the head vampire in the movie Salems Lot and also

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Croc report with a beat

A 16-foot Indo-Pacific crocodile called Eric attacked Australian Miss Universe Rachael Finch at Crocodylus Park in Darwin. She had to run for her life after she got too close to him during feeding time. Eric apparently fancied a bite of Miss Finch rather than chicken. Looking at her I can't say I blame him!

Staying with crocodiles, we reported on the blog some time ago that a girl in the Philippines had been killed by a 30 foot Indo-Pacific crocodile. In a surprising move that restores your tarnished faith in humanity, authorities have forbade anyone to hunt the creature. They want to capture the animal alive and are recieving help from five crocodile farms.Some people had already attempted to kill the giant reptile with shot guns but the bullets glanced of the thick scales.


JOEL LA ROCQUE: Following on from yesterday's post

I am printing this letter exactly as it arrived, because in my opinon Joel is a remarkable person.

I was sleeping quite peacefully at 8am today when the phone rang and I discovered you had posted the letter I sent to you. I was making comment on your article written about the friendly 'gator (Croc) and did not think you would post it but that's fine. I would like to clarify one or two things I said and used the wrong terms.

Number one was the use of the word 'tame' I should have said 'docile'; my fault. Also I simply do not stroll into the woods and pick up the first snake I find; quite the opposite. The four pictures took about six hours to get. I find a snake; I then become acquainted with it. I always carry a frozen thawed mouse in a cooler. Snakes found around a rodent or rabbit trail are hunting for food. I give them the food and after it is consumed I become familiar with them. I have spent over seven hours on one sunny day attempting to become friends (so to speak) with an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Finally I was able to handle it and get the information that I was looking for. There are no tricks and I do not have any special gifts. I am not nervous; I
don't expect to be bitten so I am calm.

In 40 years I have taken 57 tags and that is enough as far as I am concerned. Had I started
earlier with the method I now use I would be willing to bet I would have had less then five tags.

A few people are going to be upset with you for showing the pictures. It is their beliefs that the pictures will encourage young kids to copy my methods and I hope this does not happen. I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry for any flack you might take because of my letter to you.

Joel La Rocque

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Yesterday’s News Today


Another round-up of news coming up:

Researchers seek to learn more about Mink


Dog who believes he is a cat

Scientists discover new species of crustacean on Lanzarote

Artificial life will be created 'within months' as genome experts claim vital breakthrough

Search for 47 species of ‘extinct’ birds is launch...

‘Creatures’ Continue Reign of Terror - by Helvy Tueumuna

New Worm Species Discovered - 'Green Bomber'

Great white pops up for a bite

Hoofed and dangerous: Britain's killer cows

If you see a cow running towards you make sure to ‘moo’ve out of the way really quickly.