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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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

SIMON REAMES: Giant Anaconda hunt in Bolivia

I have been meaning to contact you and Richard since I got back from Bolivia to let you know about the giant anaconda stories that Richard asked me to look into.

I asked around and although I didn't see any anacondas myself, the locals said that they were about and that they usually grow to around six to seven metres in the area that we were in. Of course there are stories of huge snakes but no one had seen any personally. We also checked out a small cave where anacondas were supposed to be present but found no signs. I managed to crawl to the end of the cave and found no snakes of any sort but the cave did continue and I could see openings further on but with my head touching the ceiling and my chin scraping on the ground and the water level just below by nose, I thought that it was time to turn back. There was no way that I could've gone on any further anyway as the opening was about the size of a basket ball. The cave was full of bats (unsure of the species) and the locals did say that during the rainy season (which should be about now) that giant bats (possibly vampire bats) inhabit the caves. These bats were supposed to have wing spans of up to a metre. I don't know if this is possible or not but the locals seem convinced that it is so. The locals were also very nervous of this cave. One of our guides would not leave the mouth of the cave and made sure that he had a machette in his hands the whole time we were exploring this cave.

So, unfortunately no sign of any giant anacondas on this trip.

GLEN VAUDREY: Dragons and sea serpents

Glen is one of the newer additions to the bloggo family. He wrote to me out of the blue last year to ask whether we wanted a Western Isles volume in our Mystery Animals of Britain series.

We agreed that we did indeed want one, and commissioned him. What we were not expecting was such a bloody good writer and all-round nice guy, who - by the way - is writing several other volumes for us, and he is even going to be speaking at the 2010 Weird Weekend.


Once again I have been looking at the Iron Age coinage and have found reference to yet another cryptid character: the dragon. This beastie turns up on the silver coinage of the Cantiaci, a British tribe that occupied the Kent area around 50BC. Once again we are faced with the dilemma of judging the creature shown as real or imaginary. Going from the creature on this coin it would be hard to be sure which end of the spectrum this animal turns up in. But if we are to take it at face value what kind of size are we looking at? Is the animal just another version of the horned snake or does it offer a glimpse of something bigger?

There is of course no way to judge the size of the animal, and that again makes identification difficult. You’re looking for a creature the size of a bus and it turns out to be no bigger that a flea. But if we go to the bus-end of the scale we are given two suspects: the dragon or the great sea serpent. If it is a dragon it lacks the wings so often associated with the creature but it does appear to have a pair of horns atop its head. I personally consider it to be more likely to be the image of a sea creature. Maybe it is only a sea horse, but who is to say it wasn’t much bigger? And who knows: it could be the UK’s first image of the great sea serpent a mere 1900 years before Oudemans.

THEO PAIJMANS: Singular Race of Human Beings.

Here's an item I found some time ago in a 1853 newspaper (Skateaneles Democrat, June 3, 1853) - and note inter alia the comparison with 'beings from another planet':



'There are now in London two very singular human beings, of a race which has hitherto been very little known to the civilized world. They come from South Africa, where they are called Earthmen.

They are totally distinct from all other known African races—as much as if they had dropped upon this earth from another planet. They are small in size mere pygmies—and unacquainted even with the art of building huts, They shelter themselves in caves and crevices of the earth; when these are wanting they make artificial scoppings on the surface, which they line with leaves and cover with branches. The Hottentots and Bushmen, are the avowed enemies of the Earthmen, and when they meet them will shoot them down like vermin. The poor little defenceless Earthmen have no refuge but holes, trees, or thickets, and the tribe is fast verging to extinction. They are a poor weak people -one of Nature's freaks— and destined not to perpetuate their race. Few colonists have seen them; and although it is known that a few yet linger in the mountains, these are rapidly dying away, and will soon
become a tradition of an elvish African race of old.

The two individuals above mentioned were carried to England from the Cape of Good Hope two or three years ago, and have now become domesticated in an English family. The Morning Chronicle from which we take these particulars, describes these little Earthmen as a boy and a girl, the former fourteen snd the latter sixteen years of age, and "complete little fairies" in appearance. The boy is 3 feet and a half inches in height, the girl a trifle taller. Their skin is of the brightest and most transparent bronze, and as smooth and polished as matble, In form the little creatures are perfect—their delicate limbs standing out in the most graceful symmetry, and
every motion instinct with the untaught ease of nature.

The faces, although decidedly African in feature, are full of sweetness and good humor, and expressive of archness and intelligence.

They are named Martinis and Flora. In their savage state they fed on locusts, ant-eggs, and such small game as they could take. Till they were carried to England they had no ideas of God or any supreme power. At present they have been taught some of the customs of civilized life, and are able to speak little English words, to sing, little English popular airs, and —the first of Earthmen— to play little airs on a piano.

Few sights are more interesting in a thinking person than that of the last of a rate of human beings on the point of being blotted out from the face of the earth. The individuals in question seem to constitute one of the most anomalous forms of our species that have ever yet been brought to the notice of the naturalist or the ethnologist. It is to be hoped that further light will be thrown on their history by scientific researches.'

NICK REDFERN: The goatman prophecies...

Back in the summer of 1969 something very strange allegedly happened at Lake Worth, Texas. As the stories, legends and tales told it, a wild creature was seen roaming the darkened woods and roads of the lake, striking terror into those that crossed its diabolical path.

Read on...


Hi Jon,
I posted my email again after your electro-mechanical brain went down with shell shock but I'm absurdly busy at the mo, having an overdue novel to hand in plus a buzz on Powerlines http://www.amazon.co.uk/Powerlines-New-Writing-Waters-Edge/dp/1906120404 and an offer of an angling column in an upmarket mag. However...
I'm thoroughly enjoying Alan's macabre series of articles. I too remember those wonderfully unpleasant badges and Creepy and Eerie magazines. The corner newsagent of the terrace row I grew up in was a remarkable library for an impressionable youngster, selling not only a comprehensive selection of specialist pornography but more importantly, an encyclopaedic array of US import teen magazines. These included the ones mentioned plus the original 60s Monster, most superhero comics, Archie, Scooter and cult Hot-Rodding publications.
Alan may work his way round to them but I wonder if he recalls any of the banned trading/bubble gum cards such as The American Civil War series with its gruesome depiction of being 'tied to a cannon' and horse cavalry impaled on a spiked booby trap? There was also the Aurora construction kits of the Universal horror grotesques - The Mummy (had that one), Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, etc., which also included a working guillotine with lurid box illustrations and a re-glue-able head.
Then there were the creepy polystyrene push-fit gliders and a grimoire of horror/hot rod model cars with skeletal drivers. Happy days and more, please, Alan.

CAMERON LAKE MONSTER via Andreas Trottmann

Could a relative of the Loch Ness monster be on Vancouver Island?
Locals say there is something big in Cameron Lake
Mike Lloyd CAMERON LAKE (NEWS1130) Monday, October 5th, 2009 8:10 am (Source: News1130 Radio)

Like every good lake monster story... it involves cameras that jam or are lost, fuzzy pictures and slightly kooky cryptozoologists. Locals around Cameron Lake on Vancouver Island have been reporting something big surfacing for years. Now a team of researchers is trying to find it.

So far they've tagged something big with a sonar fish-finder, but can't say what it is. Theories so far include a giant trout, a sturgeon, an eel and -- of course -- a Canuck cousin to the Loch Ness monster.

Best wishes


Andreas Trottmann

Route de la Crausa 16

1566 St-Aubin FR


Tel. 0041 (0)26 6773659

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Cryptozoology news time, served up with a bad pun aftertaste:

Endangered Gorillas: Be My Facebook Friend

Tiger attacks intruder in zoo

Ice, Ice Baby: Perfectly Frozen Mammoth

It was a ‘mammoth’ discovery.

(bet nobody saw that one coming)