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 20, 2009


Yes, we are back from Ireland. We had a smashing time, and I was very pleased to find (that as I suspected) Corinna got on swimmingly with her Wizard-in-law.

Because, as I have said before in these pages, Tony `Doc` Shiels, the one-time Wizard of the Western World, is the nearest thing to a father I still have. And seeing my surrogate `dad` for the first time in years was the most important thing to happen as far as I was concerned.

But on Thursday (late afternoon) we were at a place called `Ladies View` looking down onto the three lakes of Killarney.

On the upper lake we did see some anomalous objects, which appear to be animate. And furthermore, we did film and photograph them.

Before anyone gets excited, we have not got crystal clear footage of humps and a long neck looming out of the water. Why? Because that's not what we saw.

But we do have footage taken from halfway up the mountain of a number of "things", as Ivan T. would doubtlessly have called them, moving through the water, leaving significant wakes.

We will be releasing them over the next day or so, but truthfully, at the moment my head is like the screen of my computer when the hourglass sign comes up and it needs to compute something.

DALE DRINNON: Surviving Megaloceros

Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result, has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, Archaeology, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore, and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas.

He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo....

Back in the days when the ISC was still publishing CRYPTOZOOLOGY, there was some speculation that the large-antlered Scythian Deer from Classical-age artwork represented a survival of the "Irish Elk", Megaloceros. George Eberhart's Mysterious Creatures (2002) has an entry on this and notes that a late survival of the same type in Central Europe was possibly what was called a "Shelch."

While going through a site containing illustrations of petroglyphs from the High Altai mountains of Mongolia, I found some more representations of what look to be the same thing.

It sure looks like an Irish Elk to me.

The petroglyphs are from Neolithic to Sarmatian age, and so if that is what these petroglyphs represent, we have an indication that Megaloceros survived around Mongolia up to the Roman period at least.

OLL LEWIS: Wanted Dead Or Alive

At least once a year you’ll see a story in the news about somebody offering a reward or taking bets on the discovery of a cryptid. These stories crop up regular as clockwork and always seem the same as the last one. In the case of the rewards story some local entrepreneur will offer a big money reward for irrefutable proof that the local cryptid exists, the reporter will trot out a few clich├ęs and the local entrepreneur and his business will get a nice big plug in the papers.

If it’s a slow news day and the story makes it to the local television news the same formula is followed but they’ll send the weatherman or the jolly reporter that the old ladies seem to like. If he really enters into the spirit of things he might even wear a pith helmet, carry a large net and end his report by making a gurning face to portray his supposed terror after hearing a roaring sound effect off camera. All of this rather makes a mockery of cryptozoology. I have never seen a jolly reporter dressed up in a deerstalker hat parading around with a comic, oversized magnifying glass to report on a hunt for a local serial killer or wearing a face mask and carrying a bag marked ‘swag’ to report upon a spate of burglaries, for example.

The stories about betting on cryptids being discovered tend to be dealt with a bit more sensibly by the press but like the reward stories, they are mainly just an excuse for a business to get free publicity. I can see why a bookmaker would send out stories like this because it is an easy way for them to thwart certain restrictions placed on their advertising, but nearly always the people who believe in the very real possibility of cryptids are there to be portrayed as figures of fun. I recall in particular news reports from the late 1990s of ‘crazy people’ putting bets on the possibility of a UFO, piloted by Elvis Presley crashing into the Loch Ness monster. If such a bet were ever placed my money would be on it having been placed by the owners of the bookmakers shop in the first place in order to get a bit of publicity off the coat-tails of The X-Files. William Hill currently offer 200/1 odds on the discovery of the yeti and 500/1 on Nessie’s discovery within one year of placing the bet.

The worst thing about these stories is that the rewards or winnings will likely never be claimed even if the body of Nessie were slopped down on the floor of William Hill’s Inverness branch by an eager punter or presented to the person offering the bounty. This is because the bookmaker or person offering the reward may have very different ideas to scientists and monster hunters as to what the cryptid may be. If we take, for example, the odds William Hill offer on the discovery of Nessie I mentioned earlier; those odds are dependant on Nessie actually being a new species of animal, so the two most plausible Nessie theories out there, eunuch eels and misidentified large sturgeon, would simply not be admissible. Even if you were to go to Loch Ness and actually find a gigantic eel there the bookmakers still wouldn’t pay up. The people offering bounties for proof of cryptids are even worse, because it is they alone who get to decide if any evidence presented to them is worthy of the reward money, unlike bookmakers who at least have to get it verified by an independent source like the Natural History Museum. Most cryptid bounties are just impressive numbers picked out of thin air that the entrepreneur certainly never intends having to pay. Think about it: where is a person who runs the boat tour of a lake that has its own monster legend going to get their hands on the sort of crazy money they’re offering as a reward to the person who destroys one of their lakes greatest tourist magnets? More often than not the reward is offered under false pretences and it would certainly be interesting if the fraud squad or trading standards took a long look at the next person to offer a bounty on a cryptids head.

When the deadline of a high profile bounty is reached without the reward being paid out, sceptical people will often take the opportunity to proclaim that since ‘no-one has come forward’ to claim the reward the creature must not exist. This is unscientific codswallop. Even if a person seriously offers a reward in the hope that the creature will be found just waving a cheque under somebody’s nose isn’t going to make a creature any more likely to come out of wherever it is hiding.

NAOMI WEST: Barnabas and Boris

For the last month or so we have been intrigued by the activities and intricate webs of an orb-weaver spider on our back porch.

Tonight we got a couple pics for your enjoyment. I wish I had been running video instead because as soon as I approached the spider with the camera he raced madly across the web to nab a fly.

Seconds later he did the same thing when another insect got caught. He was smart enough to have built his web around the porch light so he has quite the feast every night. I have named him Boris.

On the ground just a few feet away from him sat the toad that has been frequenting our lawn and porch. I had been looking for him to no avail tonight when I finally found him staring at me from a shadowed corner of the porch. His name is Barnabas.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Sunday is when I show off the latest 3D picture I’ve made. Today I’ve made something of cryptozoolgical note. When I was in the Gambia searching for the body of the sea monster known as Gambo with Richard et al I noticed something unusual about the dolphin carvings that were on sale locally. Like ‘Gambo’ these carvings do not at first glance possess a dorsal fin. Upon closer inspection they do but it is nothing more than a small bump. Is this just lazy carving or are they depicting a species of dolphin that is unknown to science? You decide when you look at this photo using red and blue 3D glasses:

Personally, I think it is most likely lazy carving but I do like it. If you want to know more about Gambo you can buy the Gambia expedition report, available from Amazon along with a plethora of other CFZ books, expedition reports and magazines to cater for all cryptozoological tastes. OK, advert over; now it’s time for the news:

The 'Hot Doll' sex toy for dogs

Could there be a monster in Lake Windermere?

The search is on for Windermere's mystery monster

Meet the raptor Mini-Me of tyrannosaurus rex

Tortoise crosses M25

Q What’s a tortoise’s favourite brand of petrol?

A Shell.