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, October 06, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Orang Pendek in Singapore

Creatures strikingly like the orang-pendek have been reported elsewhere in Asia; on the Malayan peninsula where it are known as ‘mawas’ (a name given to both small and large mystery apes), Borneo where it is known as ‘batutut’, and in the valleys and foothills of the Himalayas where it is called ‘teh-lma’ (a type of small yeti as opposed to the man-sized ‘meh-teh’ and the classic giant ‘duz-the’). However, I was unaware until recently that such creatures had been reported in Singapore.

We generally spend a couple of days recuperating in Singapore after our visits to Sumatra. This city-state is one of my favorite places in the world. It is clean and beautiful with an excellent zoo and fascinating museums. Chinatown is straight out of an Indiana Jones film whilst the city at night recalls Bladerunner. But it wasn’t always like that. Once Singapore was nothing more than a Malay fishing village. In 1819 Sir Stamford Raffles and the East India Company set up a trading post and the rest is history. Today that fishing village is a shining metropolis of 4,987,600 people. But back in the early 19th century most of it was thick jungle and swamp.

In 1805 the first report of the creature was made by a Malayan elder who saw an upright-walking, monkey-faced creature in the Bukit Timah area.

Such an animal could have easily inhabited Singapore in the pre-colonial days but amazingly there are a number of reports from modern times. The New Paper, Singapore’s first English langage paper launched in 1988, has run a number of such reports.

A 48-year-old taxi driver, called Serangoon made the following report.

"When driving my taxi past the Fire Station on Upper Bukit Timah road in the middle of the night I hit what I thought was a child that ran out in the middle of the road. It was on the car bonnet and then snarled at me- it was like a monkey but so big! It ran off injured covered in blood, and holding its' arm which was broken."

A 29-year-old housewife said

"I was going to the bus stop early one morning to catch the 171 bus. It was very foggy and cold. I thought I saw a tramp going through the rubbish bin, however when I approached, it called out with a loud animal sound and ran back into the forest. It was grey, hairy and ran on two legs, but had a monkey's face. I was shivering with fear and called the police but to no avail."

65-year-old retiree, Bukit Panjang recalled the creature dubbed the ‘Bukit Tima Monkey Man’ from his childhood.

"We were always told as children when in the Kampung not to go near the forest at night due to the Monkey Man. Of course we never saw it ourselves but it was always some Uncle or friend of the family who had seen it. Once we were shown these footprints near the forest road, and I remember the strong urine smell. Whenever we heard shrieks coming from the jungle we would tell each other- don't disturb the Monkey Man."

The Chinese-language paper Shin Min Daily News reported in 2008 that the Monkey Man would appear after dark in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It was described as having the face of a monkey but walking upright like a man. The paper dispatched a journalist to the park but he failed to see the creature. The park’s offical take was that people were mistaking long-tailed maquacs for the Monkey Man. Needless to say, these monkeys bear scant resemblance to the upright 5-foot Monkey Man..

Bukit Timah Nature reserve lies only 12km from Singapore city centre. It is only 164 hectares in size so it seems unlikely that a population of orang-pendek type creatures could exist there today. When Singapore was a wilderness I have no doubt that these creatures would have roamed the area but today there is just not enough wilderness left to support even a relic population. So what was happening here?

Japanese soldiers apparently reported the creatures during WWII so maybe they survived in the wilder areas up till then. It is unlikely they were swimming across the Johore Strait from mainland Malaya. However, I cannot conceive of them surviving unnoticed in modern-day Singapore. Perhaps an orang-pendek from Sumatra or something akin to one from mainland Asia was captured and sumuggled into Sigapore were it escaped anmd was at large for a time. Maybe being hit by the car killed it. Only time will tell. As far as I know the last sighting was in 2007.

Odd to think that we might not have needed to suffer the discomforts of Sumatra to find the orang-pendek. As Adam Davis said, we could have larged it in Singapore for two weeks and just said we went to Sumatra!


I had it pointed out to me yesterday that although the website had the information about how to join online via paypal emblazoned across it, the information about how to join by cheque was nowhere to be seen. So here it is:


For a 4-issue (one year) membership:
£16 UK £18 EC
£24 US Canada Oz NZ (airmail)
£28 Rest of World.

The CFZ Trust is registered as a non-profit-making organisation with HM Stamp Office. The trustees are J.Downes; R. Freeman & G.Inglis. Charitable status is pending

Although we prefer to be paid by paypal, we accept payment in cash or cheque drawn on UK bank account. Cheques made payable to `CFZ Trust.`

Jonathan Downes,
The Centre for Fortean Zoology,
Myrtle Cottage,
Bideford, North Devon
EX39 5QR

FRISWELL'S FREAKY FEATURES: Creepy and eerie stuff

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.


Richard's blog describing the Creepy magazines took me back to my childhood days of reading horror magazines and comics. Quite close to my home was a small market, and on Friday afternoons my parents and I would always have a look around the strange little shops that sold everything from cannibalistic hamsters, crucifixes, images of the Virgin Mary that glowed in the dark and Ouija boards; to plastic model kits of Mr Spock and Sopwith Camels. The place had a wonderful atmosphere. In the winter the market smelled of fireworks and Christmas, and in the warmer months, there was always the scent of cut grass and flowers, and lemon ice cream.

The high spot of the trip for me was the tiny bookstore almost hidden in the shadows by the side of a flower shop. The place was packed with old back-issues of American monster magazines, horror and super-hero comics and 'funny papers' such as Sad Sack--anyone know about that one?--and Mad magazine.

Most (if not all) of these were considered to be cheap rubbish by 'reputable' booksellers, and in fact, they only came over to Britain originally as ballast to counterbalance the ships that carried much more 'quality' fare, such as Vogue and sports mags.

Publications like Creepy and Eerie -- both produced by Warren Publishing, also responsible for Forry Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland--and other titles like Weird, Zombie and Voodoo, were immediately dissmissed by the tabloid elite as degenerate filth, capable only of corrupting the minds and morals of helpless children everywhere, transforming their once gentle dispositions into those of blood-lusting, potentially necrophilliac monstrosities in human form.

It all sounded pretty good to me.

Ironically enough--and I'm sure to the total consternation of the guardians of our morals--as a result of reading magazines that were intended for teenagers and young adults, I could read and write fluently long before I started school, so what that says about the 'corruption' of young minds is something of a moot point, I suppose.

Anyway, I'll be putting up some of the magazines that helped to shape--and quite possibly warp--my younger years, and to follow Richard's lead, I'm starting with Creepy and Eerie. These particular mags had some of the best covers ever created, often by fantasy/horror supremo Frank Frazetta. Please go to these links for more great stuff.





However baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverise the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual repetition of these very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it.

NAOMI WEST: Rats and Ghosts

The coolest thing happened to me this past weeked: the renter in my old house saw the ghost of one of my rats. She wasn't even sure what it was exactly, except that she saw it and then suddenly it wasn't there. Then she put it together. You can read about it here:


And I apologize for ripping off the Weird Weekend title but it was a wonderfully weird weekend for me. Honestly, it was difficult for me to post this on my blog: belief in ghosts for (American) Christians of my tradition is pretty taboo.

Belief that God would send me a personal sign sounds silly to those that don't believe in a personal God. So...I posted this risking both ridicule and disapproval. (You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?? ;o)


I don't know what the bloody hell happened yesterday. Every day since mid-January I have done the bloggo in a set order, ending up with sending an email to various usenet newsgroups with a potted version of what has been in the day's blog-stories.

Now, I am actually finding this quite interesting from the point of view of False Memory Syndrome, because I can actually remember doing yesterday's usenet email. But last night I got a quick missive from Karl S. saying "Oi U useless ********. Where's me usenet post?" No, actually I am lying. He actually wrote something far more genteel, and was concerned that something had gone wrong.

So I checked my `sent` box, and to my amazement, I couldn't find anything in there. But still I have a perfectly compos mentis memory of having sent it.

Weird huh?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Time for more cryptozoology-slash-animal related news from the files of the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog, uploaded by Mr Gavin Wilson, not to be confused with the other Mr Wilson (Oh, Microsoft Word is taunting me with a green zigzag again, silly program doesn’t understand running gags based on feeble associations of peoples names at all).

Grumpy crocodile jailed for three days

Woman fatally mauled by pet bear

Polar bear makes food demands in kitchen enquiry

Personally, I think the bear in the last story is just taking the piss, or extracting the ‘ursine’ if you want to say it in a less brash manner.