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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Sunday, September 13, 2009


...although those of us who are fans of poultry gaze on in wonder as two irate guinea fowl give an inquisitive young puppy a run for his money.


1977 was a long time ago. I was seven and attending Camp Hill secondary school. Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister, the Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks, the Queen visited Papua New Guinea, Star Wars was released in the UK whilst on TV Anglia broadcast Alternative 3 and Tom Baker as Dr Who battled giant man eating rats, a homicidal cyborg ventriloquist’s dummy with the brain of a pig, and opium addicts in The Talons of Weng Chiang.

In the playground kids were collecting and swapping packets of a new kind of crisp marketed by Smiths. Monster Munch came in three flavours but that didn’t matter. What was important was the monsters on the back. Each packet had a lively - if not too accurate - drawing of a monster and a short paragraph about it. I can recall the yeti, the Loch Ness monster, a western dragon and a unicorn. There were many more but the passage of time has eradicated them from my memory. I can readily recall collecting and keeping them. I wish I still had them today. Monster Munch was taken over by Walkers in 1995 but by then the monsters had long since vanished from the backs of the packets. Recently I approached Walkers with the idea of a Monster Munch sponsored cryptozoological expedition but they didn’t even grace me with an answer.

All this nostalgia got me thinking as to what other cryptozoological sweets or snacks there have been.

Also in 1977 Weetabix released a collection of Dr Who cards free with the cereal. They featured all the classic monsters such as Davros, Daleks, Sea Devils, Cybermen, Zygons and Wirren. I collected them all. But these were fictional rather than cryptozoological. Back in early 1970s Nestles (back then pronounced 'Nestles,' as in a nestling bird and not 'Neslay' as people are wont to do to day. We called Nougat 'Nug-ett' not the irritating and camp pronunciation of 'Noooogar' as well!) produced a Dr Who chocolate bar featuring the great Jon Pertwee. An episodic adventure was printed on the back of the wrappers. In it the Master grows a dinosaur from an egg and threatens Britain till foiled by the Doctor.

Then there is a vast gap until Cadbury brought out their Yowie range in 2001. These were hollow chocolate hominids with a toy Australian animal inside. On the face of it, it was a great idea and I myself collected the toys. But then Cadbury tried to sue our very own Tim The Yowie Man for use of the term yowie. 'Yowie' being an Aboriginal term, this was beyond the pale and Tim soundly thrashed them in a high profile court case that the media dubbed a David and Goliath battle. I never bought another Yowie after that.

As far as I know they have been the only crypto snacks, unless you know better. I wonder if anyone out there has any of the old Monster Munch packets?



Over on the Illinois Project blog Derek Grebner recounts another minor cryptozoological triumph. He has done jolly well, and I am very proud of him. Well done, Derek.

But even as we speak other CFZ operatives are doing their own inimitable thing. Lizzy Clancy has her female newshound hat on and is interviewing the people at the heart of the Three Owls scandal, and the boys are on the way to Singapore. Meanwhile, Max, Corinna and I are off to Co. Kerry to see the quondam Wizard of the Western World, and visit Muckross Lake in search of lake monsters and a spectral pig-headed man.

Why don't you get a proper job, my mother used to ask me.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


“Oh Mr Lewis, with these 3D photographs of echinoderm fossils you are really spoiling us.”

And now, the news:

'Giant' blue tit dwarfs buildings in freak webcam photo

'Maggots make art like Jackson Pollock'

Journalist mauled by lion: wildlife experts offer their feedback

Tiger leaps out of enclosure, kills Vietnam zookeeper

Forget lounge lizards, meet the lounge dragon

Carrier pigeon 'faster' than internet broadband

£350,000 for the world's most expensive dog

Pink grasshopper found in Devon

Healthy Deer Can Spread Prion Disease Through Faeces

Real-life Garfield is the cat who got the pasta

That’s quite ‘Odie’ and certainly not ‘Nermal’.