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 12, 2009


In the past eighteen months a teenage bug enthusiast we met at the Yeovil Bugfest in February last year has become increasingly important both to the CFZ, and to Corinna and myself.

He is a talented young man with a great future in front of him as a zoologist. He is also a dear fellow of whom we are all increasingly fond:



This is possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us. Thank you, Hunt.
(I have had a copy for a while, but didn't want to post it until it had appeared in FT)

JAN EDWARDS: We have a wood

We have been in contact with Jan for ages, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome her aboard, not only as a guest blogger, but as a Co. Durham representative for the CFZ. With Davy Curtis already at the helm in the county, the two of them will make a dream team par excellence....

What would you do if you were suddenly responsible for a few acres of woodland? A week ago we didn’t have a wood. Today we have just over three and a half acres of prime mixed woodland, barely half a mile from home. I never would have dreamed that it was possible... but Farplace Animal Rescue now own a wood.

Currently, there is a tree preservation order on it (but we don’t want to damage the trees anyway) and the most we would ever want to build there is a bird-hide. There has recently been some controversy about the place. The previous owner wanted to build a small number of log cabins as holiday homes, without damaging the woodland, other than the felling of a few already dead trees. Locals objected (unfairly, we feel) but as a direct result of him losing planning permission, we were given the chance to buy it.

There are roe deer, badgers, occasional foxes... lots of birds including owls and hawks... woodpeckers... lizards... adders...

It's a wonderland, with hidden surprises such as lords & ladies and a fairy ring of toadstools.

We will be using it as a wildlife rehab and release area, as well as conservation of the wildlife, trees, plants... And I personally will be using it as a chilling out area when life gets tough. The dogs like it too – pictured is Casper, the 2-year-old brain-damaged Rottie, admiring his new playground.

POLITICS: Meet the new boss

As tou know, we have been keeping a weather eye on the government's proposals to axe various disability benefits and RichardFreeman, in particular, has become very involved with the campaign. He recently wrote to David Cameron on the subject, and received this reply:

Dear Mr Freeman,

am writing on behalf of David Cameron to thank you for your recent e-mail. I was sorry to hear about your recent illnesses. [Here we should point out that Richard is in robust health, and has never claimed to have been ill]

David receives many hundreds of e-mails each week and, sadly, he is unable to reply personally to everyone. However, I would like to assure you that all correspondence is carefully read and noted, and David is most grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to get in touch with him.
As you may know, the Social Care Green Paper, is currently subject to consultation, and no firm decisions have yet been made. The following link contains the consultation on the Department of Health website -
We were disappointed at the proposals in the recently published Green Paper. We don't need to start another debate. We need a decision, and we need serious, costed proposals to be the basis of that decision.

While Conservative policy for the next election is not yet finalised, please rest assured that we are paying very close attention to this issue. We are clear that there must be a partnership between central government, local government and individuals to provide a coherent social care framework that can meet the needs of an ageing population.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.
Yours sincerely,
David Beal
Office of the Leader of the Opposition

Is it just us or does that email reply from Mr Beal say absolutely nothing at all? We can see no semantic content whatsoever. It is just another piece of 21st Century administrative doubletalk and means nothing. And we are supposed to be pleased that Cameron will be our next Prime Minister?
"Meet the new boss. The same as the old boss"

Does anyone wonder why I am an anarchist?

FRISWELL'S FREAKY FEATURES: There were (speculated) giants in those days

Some months ago Alan Friswell, the bloke who made the CFZ Feegee Mermaid and also the guy responsible for some of the most elegantly macabre bloggo postings, wrote me an email.

He had an idea for a new series for the bloggo. Quite simply he has an enormous collection of macabre, fortean, odd and disturbing magazine and newspaper articles, and he proposed to post them up on the bloggo.

One of the perennial staples of 50s science fiction films is the concept of technological distortion, either through genetics or that old faithful of the classic monster B-movie, radiation, causing abnormal growth variants in both human and animal species.

Drive-in classics such as Tarantula (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), and The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), stretched even the credulity of the in-the-groove hepcats, and real-gone daddy-Os of the period.

But as this article demonstrates, the concept of artificially induced giantism was, at least in some quarters, taken rather more seriously....


Several people have sent me details of this paper. I have not read it yet but if someone can send me a copy I would be most grateful.

Journal of Biogeography Volume 36 Issue 9, Pages 1623 - 1627

Predicting the distribution of Sasquatch in western North America: anything goes with ecological niche modelling
J. D. Lozier 1*, P. Aniello 2 and M. J. Hickerson 3


The availability of user-friendly software and publicly available biodiversity databases has led to a rapid increase in the use of ecological niche modelling to predict species distributions. A potential source of error in publicly available data that may affect the accuracy of ecological niche models (ENMs), and one that is difficult to correct for, is incorrect (or incomplete) taxonomy. Here we remind researchers of the need for careful evaluation of database records prior to use in modelling, especially when the presence of cryptic species is suspected or many records are based on indirect evidence. To draw attention to this potential problem, we construct ENMs for the North American Sasquatch (i.e. Bigfoot). Specifically, we use a large database of georeferenced putative sightings and footprints for Sasquatch in western North America, demonstrating how convincing environmentally predicted distributions of a taxon's potential range can be generated from questionable site-occurrence data. We compare the distribution of Bigfoot with an ENM for the black bear, Ursus americanus, and suggest that many sightings of this cryptozoid may be cases of mistaken identity.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Time for a song, I think. Yesterday ‘The Beatles; Rockband’ arrived in the post and I spent most of the night trying to master various songs on bass, the one I had most fun with was the following:


And now, the news:

Fiji Petrel found at sea – pungent fish attracts “lost” species

Llamas Take On New Burden In Laboratory

UFO or pterodactyl over Argentinian lake?

Fast And The Fur-ious: Cheetah Breaks Record

Jellyfish tosser arrested

Dachshund from Shrewsbury 'may be world's oldest dog'

Hope he has a nice birthday when it comes round, with a nice dog friendly cake (pate instead of icing?) and that he doesn’t get ‘hounded’ by paparazzi.