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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Saturday, September 05, 2009


The boys from the CFZ will be leaving for Indonesia on the 12th September, and there will be coverage on the CFZ bloggo. Precisely how it will work, we don't know yet, but we will be making an announcement in the next day or so.

Richard arrives here on Monday and there will be daily postings from then on.

However, Corinna, Max and I will be following the yellow brick road during part of the expedition. We are off on an adventure of our own; to see some monster-haunted lakes in the west of Ireland and to pay a state visit to the quondam Wizard of the Western World.

So during that time Graham, Oll and Lizzy will be holding the (Charlie) fort, and I am sure they will do remarkably....


On August 6th Richard Freeman posted an article about Chinese lake monsters, and I'm going to say the dreaded word again: some of those Lake Monster reports from Richard sound like Burus and especially the mention of the forelimbs with five distinct digits....

The reason I say "Buru" is because it seems that the Tibetan reports are from off the Bramaputra River and just north of the region of the regular Buru reports. And when I went through my home files for Lake Monster reports in Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan, I got a distinctive pattern: lizard-shaped creatures; usually about 10-12 feet long, with a head the size of a horse's; long neck about that long again; body as long as head and neck together; and tail about as long as head, neck and body together; with four regularly-shaped legs, with five distinct clawed toes on the feet. All of this is in agreement with the Buru and Meikong River Monster (One of the Yunnan reports is on the upper Meikong River) and those Chinese reports from Charles Gould's Mythical Monsters quoted here before (records allgedly from 200 BC to 1500 AD at the very least).

And once again, there is a sightings mockup of the types on file in this group, which has a photo of a Komodo dragon representing the Buru: that photo has the lizard in mud up to its elbows and knees, if an explanation for the one report of "Flanges not legs" still needs to be accounted for. That file is named 'Scale Mockup for Unknown Monitor Lizards.'

Not only are there adequate local fossils for Komodo-dragon-sized monitor lizards in India, their ancestors were in the Himalayan region at the same time as the highlands were building. Populations of them could conceivably have stayed put and adapted to the highland conditions. Viviparous lizards in Northern Scandinavia live under a similar climate and hibernate a long time, and the Burus could have become viviparous in parallel to them. I imagine the creatures ordinarily derive much of their diet from grubbing up crustaceans and molluscs out of the muddy bottoms, but that the will take fishes when possible and the old Chinese records speak of such creatures greedily eating birds and eggs when they can be had. They may only swallow solid food under water. I don't think that they are ambush predators like crocs, although that has been alleged, but that they would gladly eat carrion of drowned corpses. In other words, I doubt if they would drag a yak into the water but if there was the body of a drowned yak in the water, surely then they would be seen eating it.

Chinese Buru Dragon, from
Charles Gould's Mythical Monsters



THE KIAO-LUNG. (The four-footed coiled Dragon. The Iguanodon.

This animal, according to Shi Chan, belongs to the dragon family. Its eye-brows are crossed, hence its name signifies "the crossed reptile." The scaled variety is called the Kiao-Lung, the winged the Ying-Lung. The horned kind are called K‘iu, the hornless kind Li. In Indian books it is called Kwan-P‘i-Lo.

Shi Chan, quoting from the Kwan Cheu Ki, says: “The Iguanodon (?) is more than twelve feet long; it resembles a snake, it has four feet, and is broad like a shield. It has a small head and a slender neck, the latter being covered with numerous protuberances. The front of its breast is of a red colour, its back is variegated with green, and its sides as if embroidered. Its tail is composed of fleshy rings; the larger ones are several. Its eggs are also large. It can induce fish to fly, but if a turtle is present they will not do so.

“The Emperor Chao, of the Han, when fishing in the river Wéi, caught a white Iguanodon. It resembled a snake, but was without scales. Its head was composed of soft flesh, and tusks issued from the mouth. The Emperor ordered his ministers to get it preserved. its flesh is delicious; bones green, flesh red.”

From the above it may be seen the Iguanodon is edible.


I was fast asleep this morning (if not sleeping the sleep of the just, sleeping the sleep of a man who's Tegretol dose has just been doubled) when I was awoken by a godawful noise. Was it The Rapture? Had the last trump been sounded by Angels banging brass bells, and loosing the hounds of Hades? Were these my last moments here on earth?

No, of course they weren't. The angel was a mildly cute young blonde from DHL carrying a parcel; the brass bell was, ummm, my brass doorbell; and the hounds of hell were Biggles, who was mildly annoyed at being awoken from his sleep, especially now that he is a big star on the BBC (see yesterday).

I came downstairs in my dressing gown, and blearily signed for the parcel. As I did so, a gust of wind caught my dressing gown and I would have been in grave danger of being accused of indecent exposure had it not been for the fact that the DHL seraph was looking in the other direction. My modesty relatively, intact I took the parcel.

It was Steve Jones's extremely generous gift to us of a Tb external hard drive. Thanks mate....


At the moment we are doing our best to streamline our sales procedures for CFZ Press, and we have every intention of opening another online shop.

So yesterday Max Blake and I were moseying around the pricing data on the CFZ books, when - to our horror - we discovered the answer to a conundrum that has bothered me for years.

Why is it, I wondered, that such flagship titles of ours such as Dragons: More than a Myth? and my personal favourite of all the books I have, Monster of the Mere, have sold hardly at all in the United States and Canada.

Surely the U.S. and U.K. markets are not that different? After all, our other books sell pretty well consistently in both markets. Well, now we know the answer.

Five of our titles:

Dragons, More Than a Myth by Richard Freeman
Monster of the Mere and Only Fools and Goatsuckers by me
Fragrant Harbours: Distant Rivers and Granfer's Bible stories by my late father, have never been available in America.

How could this have happened?

Back during the summer of 2005 when these books were released in perfect bound format, we didn't know what we were doing; at least not to the extent that we do today. We were also looking after my dying father, who was being quite difficult for much of the time, and I was juggling doing all this with juggling a long-distance relationship with my lovely fiancee Corinna over in Lincolnshire.

There was a lot of stress going on, and basically Mark and I (and I cannot remember which of us did it; and I am not pointing fingers four years later anyhow) screwed up and only released the books in the UK.

Never mind, cos all this is about to change.

In early October all three books, at a special low price, will be available in the USA for the first time, and will hopefully sell like the proverbial hotcackes, and in one fell swoop both the CFZ's and the global economy will be cured.

Well, one can dream, can't one?


Max wrote: Could this be the reason people are never heard of again out in the deep woods? Are disappearances linked to UFO activity? And there was a link to the ever wonderful Bogleech Comics who have a new take on alien abductions.

And before anyone starts to write to me, I know that it is only a silly cartoon, but I had just taken my medication when I read it, and was feeling mildly (and not unpleasantly) woozy. And I started wondering whether Charlie Fort's celestial Sargasso Sea has any large unknown fish in it.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Saturday is the day that I usually post a bit of music that you can listen to while you read the latest cryptozoology news and I see no reason why today should be any different.


It’s a good one this week. Go on, click the link; you know you want to… Anyway while you listen to that, here’s the news:

Elusive UK dolphin re-emerges

Lizard at large: 3-foot reptile eludes Wyoming police

400 of Britain's rarest lizard released across UK sites

Giant Lizard Relieves Itself On Live TV

'Tiger' Spotted Running Through Uniontown

Silly reporters, if it has spots, it’s more likely a leopard than a tiger.