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 14, 2009

DALE DRINNON: Giant Tortoise trivia

Following on from Richard Muirhead's recent postings on giant tortoises

Trivia bit on giant tortoises: inhabitants of several Pacific island including Hawaii have a traditional knowledge of Galapagos tortoises. There are stories on record when they were shown photos of the tortoises they would say "Oh yes, we know about those: we used to have some of those a long time ago"

This has been added to books about folklore amid head-shaking and disbelief. But there is an obvious solution: in the days of the big sailing ships when voyages were hard and provisions uncertain, ships would stop by the Galapagos islands and load up on some live tortoises to be slaughtered for meat along the way (they can survive a long time on minimal fodder). So at some point, the natives on the various islands could have seen the tortoises taken on as provisions.
And this means specifically land tortoises and NOT sea turtles: tradition specifies "Legs like tree-trunks".

Reports of Elephant seals around Hawaii used to be similarly dismissed, but it seems that some of the California ones can stray out that far from satellite tracker reports from radiocarrying seals.


Over on her blog, Kithra tells a remarkable story:

When I was 13 or 14 (in 1962/1963), I was at boarding school in Newbury, Berkshire, just 2 miles from Greenham Common Air Base. One day a friend decided to run away. The night she did this I was concerned for her safety and, after 'lights-out' I watched from my dormitory window. It would have been sometime after about 9.00 p.m., and I watched for a long time. I saw her go down the long drive, (at least the length of two hockey pitches), and disappear out of sight.

For some reason I stayed watching the main road that ran past the end of the school grounds. Suddenly, on the road, looking to my left, I saw a very tall figure that can only be described as a 'Michelin Man'. It must have been tall due to the distance involved, and the fact that I had such a clear view. I watched as it walked up the slope of the road to the crest of a hill, and out of sight.

Read On...

RICHARD MUIRHEAD: Reasons to be cheerful

Richard Muirhead is an old friend of the CFZ. I have been friends with him for 40 years now, since we were kids together in Hong Kong. He is undoubtedly one of the two best researchers I have ever met; he and Nigel Wright both have what Charlie Fort would have no doubt called a wild talent; a talent for going into a library, unearthing a stack of old newspapers, and coming back with some hitherto overlooked gem of arcane knowledge. Twice a week he wanders into the Macclesfield Public Library and comes out with enough material for a blog post..

Dear folks

I have been speaking this evening, Tuesday October 13th, to Julie Horner, editor of Butterfly Conservation`s Cheshire and Peak District Branch News and also Alan Blears, author of an article on page 8 of the September 2009 Newsletter titled, `Reasons to be Cheerful.` They have given me permission to reproduce it here: (it has particular relevance to the north-west of England.)

Global warming,deforestation,collapsing fish stocks,seabirds in trouble. Doom and gloom. It is oh so easy to be depressed and pessimistic. But wait! It is not all doom and gloom. Stop and think how it used to be back in the `good old days`.

In the 1950`s Manchester, where I used to live was a smoke blackened dirty place bordered to the North and East by equally black towns on the banks of stinking open-sewer rivers, pouring more pollution into the atmosphere from hundreds of smoking factory chimneys.

Today Manchester is a clean,vibrant modern city where Peregrine Falcons nest and the surrounding towns are smart,attractive places set in beautiful countryside. The chimneys are long gone and the rivers are now clear and stocked with fish.

Here in Stockport the variety of butterflies seems to have bucked the national trend. Thirty years ago the Comma,Holly Blue,Small Skipper and Speckled Wood were rarely if ever seen. Now they are common and have been joined recently by the Gatekeeper. The Wall Brown and Small Tortoiseshell may have declined,but those other living jewels Red Admiral, Peacock and Painted Lady are much more common.

In my garden I have numerous songbirds including Goldfinches and occasionally I see a Buzzard circling overhead,an unlikely sighting even ten years ago. If sometimes a ring of feathers on the lawn bears witness to some unfortunate victim of a Sparrowhawk then this is also good news. The raptors` presence today reflects not only on their recovery from near extinction in Britain but also thriving wild bird population,without which they could not survive.

In autumn 2007,just ten minutes walk from home, I was able to watch Brown Trout, Sea Trout and Salmon.Yes Salmon!- jumping a small weir on the sparkling River Goyt. These fish had swum up the Mersey, once one of the most polluted waterways in Europe and virtually dead, and then into the Goyt.

Above the surface these once foul waters are now home to Dippers,Grey Wagtails,Kingfishers,Herons,Goosanders and Cormorants, a situation inconceivable just thirty years ago.

So, it really isn`t all doom and gloom and although so much more needs to be done to protect our precious planet,let`s just for once allow ourselves to be cheerful and optimistic instead of depressed and pessimistic. The work of organisations such as Butterfly Conservation and the R.S.P.B. is definitely not in vain.

Richard Muirhead


It is that time of the year again folks - the AES show at Kempton Park. For financial and family reasons we won't be there this year, but I hope that we shall be back next year. However, here are the details from today's Entomological Livestock Group newsletter:

AES Annual Exhibition and Trade Fair: 2009 - 17th October 2009 (11:00 - 16:30) The AES first
held an annual exhibition in 1939, since then the exhibition has grown in to the largest entomological fair in the UK. The exhibition is held at Kempton Park Racecourse during the autumn each year. The Annual Exhibition and Trade Fair hosts a mixture of societies' stands and traders selling entomological equipment, livestock, mounted specimens, books and cabinets. The
exhibition is the place to buy entomological ephemera, meet fellow enthusiasts and have a
great day out. The exhibition is open to members of the public and not just members of the AES.
Should you wish to join the AES then you can do so on the day but you don't have to be a member to attend. For more details see the AES website - Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for kids. Bug club members bearing an exhibit, though, will get in free, as will one accompanying adult.

CFZ PEOPLE: Lizzy is in hospital

Thoughts and prayers please for Lizzy Clancy, bloggo sub-editor, who was admitted to hospital on monday. She is OK, (I spoke to her last night) but is mightily fed up because she has nothing to do and reckons (with some justification) that in her abscence spelling and grammar atrocities will increase tenfold on the blogo.

Get well soon honey.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Well wouldn’t you know, another cryptozoology related news update, who would have guessed, I bet you’re looking forward to the bad pun at the end of it too.

Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first

Long feared extinct, rare bird rediscovered

Cat at shelter nursing baby chihuahua after mom dies

Wildwood Goes Nuts

7 Glow-in-the-Dark Mushroom Species Discovered

Cage fighter battles stag in rescue

I heard that there was a big scandal about some of the fights being ‘Stag’-ed.