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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Friday, September 11, 2009


I have always hated video games. As a boy I found them stupefying. I recall getting an old Philips video game console and games as a kid. My granny played with it more than me. Now more than ever I think they are rotting kids' brains. Children should be out with their friends playing and having fun or reading a good book instead of crouching before a bleeping, neon brain cell neutraliser.

My dislike of video games grew to the power of ten after an appalling game I saw the other day. I’d just been for a nice, bracing walk along the beach at Dawlish Warren with my girlfriend Lisa and her son Mitchell. I stopped to buy a bag of doughnuts (incidentally, the very worst I have ever tasted anywhere in the world) when Lisa spotted a game in a nearby arcade. Big Buck Safari, manufactured by Play Mecanix http://www.playmechanix.com/
has the shotgun-armed player graphically mowing down animals such as rhino, hippo, zebra, water buffalo and ostriches. Scantily clad girls in pith helmets advise the player on where best to shoot an animal for a kill and show you the scores at the end, wherein each animal’s bloody demise is shown in slow motion.

You can see a demonstration here


The spotty, disinterested youth who served me the vile-tasting doughnuts (and who reminded me of Jeremy Peterson, the spotty, squeaky-voiced youth from The Simpsons) told me that the brat currently playing the awful game was "great" and "much better than [me] cos he is here every day playing it." The nasty-looking proletarian child seemed to adore blowing the animals away with his gun. What kind of parents would let their kid play a game like that? The answer is estate trash chavs to whom society seems to pander in everything.

So video games now not only rot our kid’s minds they encourage the idea that it’s fine to kill animals for ‘sport’. If you are as appalled as me at this atrocity then e-mail the manufacturers and let them know what you think http://www.playmechanix.com/

NEIL ARNOLD: The Giant Leech

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....

It must be said I’m a sucker (excuse the pun!) for a weird monster story. The tale of the River Valley Giant Leech is just another of those bizarre legends passed down through tribal lore. Tlanusi’yi, or ‘The Leech Place’, is a place known among the Cherokees of North Carolina. In the vicinity where the Valley River joins Hiwassee, at Murphy originates a monster legend, for above the junction is said to sit a deep hole, and above this a ledge where a bridge used to cross. From here people used to look down at the waterway, and on one occasion some Cherokee braves observed a massive red creature bathing on a rock below them. After a short while the creature uncoiled and stretched out, revealing itself as a red and white striped beast resembling a huge leech.

The creature was so huge that as it disappeared into the water, the depths began to foam and roll, crashing into the sides of the bank. The men were quick to move from the area but as they looked back, they saw a huge water spout rise from the water and crash onto the ledge where they had been standing. It was believed that this was the method used by the monster to kill its victims. Many bodies were found on this stretch of river, crushed by some almighty spout, their lifeless bodies sucked dry by the horrifying form. And so the legend gained weight, with less and less braves taking to the area, except one foolish man who scoffed at the yarns.
One day the bold man took to the stretch of river, singing and taunting the beast with his friends following behind at some distance.

As the man reached halfway across the ledge the waters began to froth all of a sudden. Thinking he was invincible to the monsters tirade, the man stood his ground but was simply carried away, never to be seen again.

A small child was also said to have fallen prey to the monster leech when a woman, undeterred by the legend, and determined to catch fish from the water, laid her infant on the rocks, where it was swallowed by the angry waves.

And so the legend lives on, for the immortal beast is said to exist in the murky depths, but the lack of sightings suggests that this belief has been born from a fearsome current. Maybe the giant leech is nothing more than a Cherokee spook tale to prevent children or travellers from venturing to these treacherous climbs.

SAD DAY - `Scary Go Round` finishes

It is the end of an era, albeit a fairly small era. Since 2002 John Allison has been drawing a webcomic called Scary Go Round. The Sunday Times describes it as "postmodern Brit horror" that is "subtle and stylishly drawn, with a bold cartoon edge." The Morning Star has called it "brilliant, bonkers" and "the best British strip that I've yet found." For the last three years I have read it every morning.

This morning saw the last episode. The comic is being replaced by an as yet untitled comic that will start up on Monday week, and that will contain (apparently) elements in common with SGR in the same way as SGR did with its predecessor Bobbins, which featured some of the same characters and was also set in the fictional West Yorkshire town of Tackleford.

But like Amy said to Ryan in the fourth panel of the last strip, things are going to change.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It’s Friday and that means it’s time for the Friday Fact:

Have you ever wondered how vending machines work? It’s actually a closely guarded secret. Sure, the companies that make them will tell you that there is a little thing inside that weighs the coins, but that’s only half the story. What they fail to mention is that that little thing inside is a tiny man. They are kept inside a small locked compartment in the vending machine that only employees of the vending machine company, who have been sworn to secrecy after joining the secret brotherhood of vending machine repairmen, can open. The little men, who are all bred and grown in vats of globby stuff near Welwyn Garden City, are all called Doug, and can gain all the nutrients their body needs to survive from eating metal coins. Because of this each Doug must keep a stack of coins as emergency rations, whenever the ‘use exact change’ light comes on that is when a Doug is collecting coins for his stock pile. As a coin comes in a Doug will weigh it using a balance and brass weights almost as big as he is, then note the coin in his ledger. Sadly, each Doug only has a life expectancy of 30 years, the first 21 years of which are spent attending secret coin weighing schools and coin weighing universities to get their coin weighing degrees. When a Doug dies he collapses into a vile-smelling putrid mass, which permeates the whole machine and can never be washed out; that is why you never see soft drinks vending machines that look older than 10 years old.

So now you know the sad truth about vending machines and the lonely lives led by their operators, I hope next time you use one you at least shout “Thanks Doug!” down the slot; I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. And now, the news:

Miracle Moggy Survives Fire and Bulldozers

Giant parrot attacks policeman

Unlocking spider mysteries

Drought threatens Kenya's elephants

Kentucky's no chicken

Arach-and-roll - The David Bowie Spider

Georgian fossils 'indicate humans lived in Europe thousands of years earlier'

London Museum Opens Charles Darwin Exhibit

I think we can all agree that is epic Dar-win.