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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Thursday, September 03, 2009


Well, my postbag continues to be an interesting one. First of all, I would like to say thank you to Anne, Oll's girlfriend, who kindly donated a hard drive and some RAM to us. It is very much appreciated, my dear; thank you. We are still awaiting the hard drive that Steve Jones so generously donated. Never mind; the postal service is rubbish, and all good things come to them who wait.

Yesterday the new novel by Roland Smith arrived. I am particularly looking forward to reading it because it is the long awaited sequel to Cryptid Hunters, which basically features a hero based loosely on yours truly. If the new book is half as good as its predecessor it will be a stonker, so expect some review-type news in the next few days.

Finally, what with the WW, my birthday, computer shenanigans, health problems, and other stuff with which I shall not bore you; I have had a lot on my plate in the last month. This means that I have not been as attentive to my mail as I should have been. So, if you have written to me and not had a reply (like I am mortified to admit that young Harriet Wadham did last week) then please forgive me....


We are well under way with digging ourselves out of the hole in which we were dumped by the hard drive failure. I still hope that Paul Vella and one of his band of Merry Men will be able to fix it or at least drag some if not all of the data from it. When the hard drive that Steve Jones has so generously donated arrives we shall be able to finish our back-ups. In the meantime, the most important bits of the video archives - the Emily movie and the Guyana, Mongolia and Gambia footage - have been backed up onto other drives and other computers; and the picture library is in the process of being backed up online.

I am just under half way through reconstituting Andy Roberts's book, Naomi (bless her) has finished the first proof on Richard's Japanese book, and Lizzy (bless her) has finished Nick Molloy's, and is just starting work on Carl Portman's.

So we are running late, but just about holding our own.


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 3rd trenche is mostly bigfoot stories from the United States in the mid 1990s, which were - by the way - originally from the collection of Craig from the long defunct Crypto Chronicle



Dr Lars Thomas is one of the CFZ's oldest friends and most long-standing members. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and has helped us in the past by having our expedition samples' DNA tested. He is a leading expert in the cryptozoology of Scandinavia and is currently working on a book on these cryptids for the CFZ, which we are eagerly anticipating.

I have just returned from a meeting in the local history society in the area of Copenhagen where I live. All very good fun but as always, the interesting things happened afterwards. I started chatting to a 92-year-old guy about strange animals and as always, when I meet new people, asked him if he had seen any strange critters or heard stories about them. The answer was no but then he asked me if I had heard about rat kings; those strange groups of rat, all stuck to each other by their entangled tails. I acknowledged that I knew what he was talking about and then he started telling me about his childhood in Reersø, a small peninsula on the west coast of the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located on the west coast.

Apparently he and several of his friends knew how to make rat kings. At that time rats were common - brown as well as black rats - and it was considered almost the duty of any boy to kill and torment as many rats as possible. Every now and then they would catch a number of rats and tie their tails together, and have fun watching the animals trying to break free of each other. Sometimes they would get bored of their game and kill the animals with sticks or stones but every now and then they would just leave them.

And in every case - or so he claimed - the rats just lived on, probably because the other rats fed them. In most cases they just ignored them, but in one case he told me he found one of these rat bundles in a cellar, caught them and decided to have a closer look. It turned out that the string they had originally used, had rotted completely away, and the tails were just glued together by dirt, blood, food remains, dried faeces and so on.

Could it be that some rat kings are actually man-made?


In August Jon Downes hosted The Weird Weekend 2009, where people from all over the world gathered for a weekend of weirdness, packed full of lectures on Atlantis, Big Grey Men of Ben Macdhui, and many other interesting subjects.

Now me being ten years of age, I attended the ‘Bigfoot for kids’ lecture, which was held by Paul Vella. It gave me an inspiration to write a book about Bigfoot when I’m older. But then again, I have got about a billion stories running at the moment (at the same time!!), so it might have to wait for quite a while.

The whole lecture was really very interesting; we were granted permission to handle Bigfoot footprints and Paul showed us a famous film of Bigfoot that two men called Roger Patterson and Gimlin captured while on a hunt for one. Patterson and Gimlin were on horseback when they spotted the creature, but Patterson’s horse got a bit frightened and backed away. Patterson hopped off his horse, and began to film Bigfoot. Bigfoot started to get further away, so as we didn’t have zoom lenses on cameras in those days, he had to run after it, which made the film very shaky. Now if it had been a person in a gorilla costume – which is highly improbable - it would have had to be "A very good gorilla costume, because if you look closely, you can see that there are calf muscles on the legs."

Personally, the part of the lecture I enjoyed the most is the part I’ve just gone on about - The Bigfoot film. I was intrigued by the film to do a talk about Bigfoot at the next Bugfest that my parents organise. I hope that I can, anyway. Here is frame 352 from the film of Bigfoot.

In fact, I would definitely go back to the Weird Weekend next year; then again, Mum is already thinking about going back, so I’m guessing I’ve got to! But that’s a good thing, because I enjoyed it IMMENSELY!! I even had my first taste of... CHEESY CHIPS!! They were absolutely scrumdiddlyumptious (As the B.F.G would say)! You can see my monster book in the bottom right corner, behind the flowers. You’ll read about it in a second.

All the lectures were interesting and jam-packed full of information, with lots of slideshows to go with them.

The highlight of my whole weekend was probably meeting an author (Neil Arnold) and getting a book signed (MONSTER! The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena). Then Mum told me that I’d met lots of authors already, but without knowing it! Of course that had made my day, getting a book signed and meeting lots of authors - even though it was obliviously - but I was also happy that I had made new friends, and had so much fun at the Weird Weekend 2009.


After two previous expeditions to the Indonesian island of Sumatra on the track of the upright walking ape know as orang-pendek (short man) the CFZ will be returning for a third expedition beginning on September the 13th.

Adam Davies, Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer and myself will be spending two weeks in the jungle in search of the orang-pendek. Past expeditions have concentrated on Gunung Tuju (the lake of seven peaks) in Kerinchi National Park. This time the better part of the expedition will be spent with the Kubu people in the lowland jungles. Back in 2004 Chris and I spent a day with these people and Nylam their chief.

The Kubu are the original inhabitants of Sumatra. The modern Indonesians arrived relatively recently from Malaya. They are far taller and more slender than the average Sumatran. They have oriental features but the men have curly hair almost like Africans. Until recently the Kubu lived totally wild in the jungle. Now they have houses but still spend months on end in the deep rainforest. Nylam told us of his own encounter with an orang-pendek a few years back. He and his warriors had also seen ten-metre-long serpents that they described as having horns like an ox!

We will be working with the Kubu to search for orang-pendek and the horned serpents (the Kubu call them 'Nagas'). Apparently there have been a number of sightings of the short man in the area recently. We intend to make our HQ in the ‘garden’; a semi cultivated area that abuts the true jungle. We hope to record some of their culture and folklore as next to nothing has been written on Kubu beliefs.

Towards the end of the trip we will return to Gunung Tuju where the creature has also been seen recently.

They say three's the charm and third time lucky so keep your fingers crossed!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterdays News Today


OK, I’m back, and it's time for a spot of news:

'Surreal' sight of albino otter

Dog given parking ticket

Monkeys get a groove on, but only to monkey music

Seems the songs have to be in the right mon-‘key’….