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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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I know that there are many of you out in bloggoland who feel that like the pontiff I am infallible and never make mistakes but I am just about to sadly disillusion you. I am rapidly becoming a senile old coot, and although I am a relatively good boy these days, my years of partying hard have probably caught up with me.

When we went to Ireland last week I forgot to take some of my medication with me so for a glorious week I had very little diabetes medicine, and none of my anti-bonkers pills, so I was as high as a kite when I got back, on a mixture of tiredness and blood sugar.

During my abscence Graham retrieved my errant medication from the chemist, and as soon as I returned to base I started taking it properly again. However, the net result of this is that I slept almost incessantly for the next three days, and even now I am still feeling a little groggy. I also had 4,000 emails waiting for me on my return plus a whole slew of other stuff, so please be forgiving if I am a little behind with my correspondence.

To change the subject a tad, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated for Noela Mackenzie, the oldest CFZ member, who - at 87 - is uprooting herself from her home in Kingsbridge to move to Bideford so she can be nearer the CFZ; to Maxy who starts university this weekend; to Lizzy and Dave who are each going through (unconnected) life dramas; to Marjorie Braund, still in Bideford Hospital (I saw her yesterday evening) waiting her final last ditch bout of radiotherapy; and to my brother's family who have kittens each time the telephone rings, and will do until he is safe home from Afghanistan.



The BBC have just reported:

One of the most elusive of all wild cats has been photographed deep in the jungle of Uganda.

Three images of a wild African golden cat were taken by a digital infrared camera trap set up by biologist Dr Gary Aronsen of Yale University in the US.

To his knowledge, just one other image of a wild African golden cat has ever been published. Although taken in black and white, the new photos reveal this particular golden cat actually has a dark coat.

It is worth noting I think that Heuvelmans himself suggested that a new subspecies/colour variant of this species was responsible for the stories of the nunda or mngwa, a fearsome East African mystery cat.

I was just about to start writing up a description of this wonderfully obscure cryptid when I found out that dear Lindsay, already did it last week so I shall just rejoice in the fact that there has been another minor piece of cryptosynchronicity, and go and have my breakfast.



I am not sure how much I approve of this latest trend in politics. Online petitioning is not - to my mind - ever going to make a jot or tittle of difference in a world where money matters more than morals, and power matters more than people. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has already shown his true colours on a number of occasions where the environment is concerned, and I doubt whether clicking an online petition is going to have any effect whatsoever, apart from help condition an entire generation into believing that direct action is no longer relevant.

However, the organisation behind this petition (The Center for Biological Diversity) are good people, and the cause is a just one:

Today, approximately 120 Florida panthers are left in the world. These majestic animals are threatened on all sides by rapid habitat destruction from human encroachment and development.

Some panthers still roam throughout Florida, but breeding panthers are only found in southwestern Florida on 5 percent of their original range, which used to extend throughout the whole Southeast. They face imminent extinction without our help.

Our government is required by the Endangered Species Act to protect imperiled species on the brink of extinction. But the Florida panther was listed in 1967, and this vanishing animal’s home still hasn’t been protected -- more than 32 years later!


It is undeniable that J.R.R.Tolkien was a fine writer, and that The Lord of the Rings is a masterpeice, but is it really necessary to use his imagery over again when cryptozoology is concerned. It was bad enough when a light-hearted comment has ended up with Homo florisiensis being described as `hobbits` for the last six or seven years, but now a strange animal recently stoned to death in Panama is being described as a 'Gollum.'

Even more irritating, it is being described as a 'Montauk Monster'. It ain't a monster, and it ain't from New York's Montauk business district like the dead raccoon that washed up there a few years back

I know I am rapidly becoming a grumpy old sod, but this `branding` of unknown animals, especially when they are relatively benign, is beginning to get annoying.

It's a dead sloth by the way...

Thanks to Judith J, Liam P, and Kithra amongst others who drew my attention to this peculiar tale.

Read the whole story on Kithra's blog



James, the husband of Regan Lee, the CFZ Oregon Rep, suffered a major heart attack on Saturday night. Regan writes:

"He is still in the hospital; hopefully we can go home tomorrow. The heart attack was a biggie; there's a family history of fatal attacks (father, uncle, grandfather) in their late fifties/ early sixties. We were very fortunate to have realised something wasn't right and get him to the E.R. right away. Medical staff have been fantastic".

Join with us all in remembering Regan and James in your thoughts and prayers to whichever deity you believe in.


Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 16:00:17 +0100
From: "archivist (Mike Lynch)" <archivist@kerrycolib.ie>
Subject: 09212009 Killarney lake monsters
To: Richard Muirhead <richmuirhead@ntlworld.com>

Dear Richard

I have searched our records here, and can not come up with anything beyond folklore references to any lake monsters in Killarney or elsewhere in Kerry.

One reference is to a "piast" or serpent that was supposed to have been tricked by a local saint (Cuan) into putting a cauldron on its head forever. Lore has it that its back appears every May Day, but not its head as the cauldron still covers it.
(from: "Triocha Chead Chorca Duibhne", by An Seabhac).

The Schools Folklore Collection for the Killarney area also refers to the Lake Horses of Cúm na gCapall (pronounced Coomnagopple). The person relating the tale states: "Now it is well known that all Irish Lakes have a guardian spirit, which often takes the appearance of a horse, sometimes a serpent or "worm"." (from: Schools Folklore Commission Reports, 1937/38, Lough Guitane School, S454, pages 305-307).

Other than these 2 references, I can find nothing on lake monsters.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
Archivist, Kerry Library
Tel: +353 66 7121200
Email: archivist@kerrycolib.ie <mailto:archivist@kerrycolib.ie>

DALE DRINNON: Looking at the tatzelwurm

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....

The last issue of Pursuit that I ever received had part 1 of a two-part article on Tatzelwurms. It was Volume 22, whole number 85, date not listed, and despite repeated requests to the then editor I was never able to learn if the part 2 was ever published. It had an illustration of an Austrian tombstone allegedly depicting a pair of Tatzelwurms that had struck a farmer down by poison. The Tatzelwurms are shown as fairly ordinary lizard-shaped creatures of large size; perhaps human size. The original was lost and I have a suspicion that the farmer died of fright rather than of any poison. It was from this tombstone (or "votive stela from some shrine") that Ulrich Magin formed the opinion that the Tatzelwurm was the same size and shape as the Japanese giant salamander, but of more terrestrial habits. This was published in an earlier issue of PURSUIT.

I follow a similar theory, but not all Tatzelwurm reports are alike. Apparantly two legs or four legs are regularly reported, but the four legs are in majority. If it is something like a giant salamander, then the rear legs can be positioned in such a way that they are not apparent (see drawing after Young, Life of the Vertebrates, a standard reference work)

The proper genus name of the giant salamanders is Andrias, by the way. The name was first given after a famous fossil example was named "Homo Diluvi Testis" (Man who Witnessed the Flood)

The article in PURSUIT no. 85 was by Luis Schonherr and includes a reference to the "Allergorhai-Horai" on page 9, as information given to Roy Chapman Andrews on his expedition to the Gobi desert in the 1920s. Schonherr considered the story to be much the same as the European stories of the dreadfully poisonous Stollenwurm or Tatzelwurm. More recently, further information has made that identification seem less likely. However, there is still some indication for some sort of a Tatzelwurm-like creature being reported in the Altai mountains region.

While I was on the same search that turned up the Altai petroglyphs which resembled Irish elk, I found a depiction of another tombstone that seems to show two Tatzelwurms on it. This was from a site in the Russian language.

Similar creatures are depicted on Siberian shamanic equipment.

I had also mentioned on another occasion that certain "Pictish" monuments depict what appears to be a similar lizard-shaped "Dragon" from Scotland and Ireland in the Dark Ages. I consider certain of the Water-monsters in that area to be of the same type.

During the middle to late part of the Age of Mammals, the giant salamanders seem to have inhabited a large territory of Europe, Asia and North America: and although reports of the type are in much more spotty distribution in the modern age, they still occur from time to time all over that same general area.

Furthermore, their skeletons can be entirely cartiliginous, which means that their remains "Melt away without any trace" as some of the traditional stories have it. And it is also possible that as salamanders their skin does indeed secrete a noxious toxin (That would be Ulrich Magin's statement and not mine)

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It’s the latest cryptozoology news, and today it has a whaley flavour:

Malta bird hunt a 'crime scene'

Has Gilbert the whale waved a final farewell to Bournemouth shores?

Gilbert the northern bottlenose whale still off Bournemouth

Humpback Whale Found In River Thames

A ‘whale meat again’ joke would be in poor taste….