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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Monday, November 16, 2009

DALE DRINNON: "Nine Nostrilled/Eight gilled" Giant Eels

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....

While I was writing around to various pople about the problem of certain Giant-Eel type water monsters, following Linsay Selby's blog entry and mentioning Rafinesque's "Octopos bicolor", a member of `Frontiers of Zoology`emailed me privately and said that the reference was to lampreys. And it would be wrong, the eels in question would be nothing related to lampreys; the explanation then offered that laymen not knowing any zoological difference between lampreys and ordinary eels merely ASSUMED they were the same and added the detail that the giant eels they saw had lamprey gills-in different, unrelated parts of the world-just to add an element of verisimilitude to the reports.

The line of openings behind the eye in lampreys is also never eight or nine as in these reports, so presumably multiplying the number goes along with the much larger reported eel.

This does seem to be the best fit of all the suggested options I have heard so far. So rather than reinforcing each other, the information tends to discredit every one of those independant reports. Which is rather disheartening but probably being more pragmatic about such things.


Fellow cryptozoologists and Forteans,

Today I present a series of notes from my archives (which roughly,in my system of filing,includes items up to and including the year 1950) on sea and lake monsters and strange creatures.

This first item is from The Naturalist`s Note Book for 1867:

"A CURIOUS FISH.-The Courier de Saigon brings,as a contribution to Natural History,the not very credible-sounding description of a fish called "Caoug" in the Anamite tongue,which is said to have saved the lives already of several Anamtes;for which reason the King of Anam has invested it with the name of "Nam hai dui bnong gnan" (Great General of the South Sea).This fish is said to swim round ships near the coast,and,when it sees a man in the water,to seize him with his mouth and to carry him ashore.A skeleton of this singular inhabitant of the deep is to be seen at Wung-tau,near Cape St.James.It is reported to be 35feet in length,to have tusks "almost like an elephant," very large eyes,a black and smooth skin,a tail like a lobster,and two "wings"on its back. (1)

I`d like to track this cryptid down if at all possible.

The Irish Builder of May 15th 1890 had the following piece:


In the old pagan times a peistha, or water serpent, of immense girth and of still greater trail,was believed to haunt a celebrated spot in the northern part of Ireland.When St Patrick landed in Saints Island on Lough Derg,....this large water serpent was known to have tenanted its waters.But the saint could not tolerate the presence of such a monster,and accordingly with a stroke of his staff the peistha was destroyed (2)

Now,the cat headed sea-serpent,from The Country-Side of June 15th 1907.
Unfortunately some of the words on the photocopy I made are indistinct:

"Cat-headed sea serpent.- The officers of ? Canarder Campania,on the arrival of the ? at Liverpool,on May 25th,gave a vivid description of a sea serpent which was seen Friday morning,when the ship was off the ? coast.The creature,which rose to the ? only a hundred feet from the ship`s ? was roughly sketched by one of the officers.Eight feet of the front part of the ? which was the shape of a python, stood ? out of the water,surmounted by a head resembling that of a cat. The tail projected ? feet out of the water,and there was a space about thirty feet between head and tail, so ? the officers compute the length of the animal at about forty feet. H.P.G. (3)

Finally, a story from Canada:

"Dishonest Sea Serpent.Residents of Amherst Island,Ontario,are alarmed by the persistent rumours that a monster sea serpent is in the vicinity. People who spend much of their time along the shore or on the water declare that the serpent makes regular appearences,that it is unlike anything ever seen before in this locality and is of a pugnacious nature.The result of these stories is that few dare to venture out without some sort of weapon to be used in case of attack.The wharves are becoming deserted; and whether the serpent can justly be blamed or not,it is certain that foodstuffs left near the water`s edge have disappeared wholesale.Large milk cans on several occasions have been carried off,and while no one has actually seen the monster take them,it is commonly believed that he is the thief (4)

1.The Naturalist`s Note Book 1867 p.167
2.Anon.The Irish Builder. May 15th 1890.p.115
3.H.P.G.Cat headed Sea Serpent.The Country-Side June 15th 1907
4.Anon.Dishonest Sea Serpent. South China Morning Post.September 26th 1912

Richard belongs to Jayne
And Jayne belongs to yesterday
How can I go on
When every alpha particle hides a neon nucleus

Neil belongs to love
And love belongs to no man
How can he go on
When no-one answers the adverts in his mind? - Richard by Billy Bragg

BUZZARD RESCUE: Beth is in the papers again

CFZ PEOPLE: Lindsay Selby

The other day we noted with sadness that Lindsay Selby had lost her elderly pussycat `Baggins` at a ripe old age.

Although we didn't say so we sent up private messages to the rich pantheon of deities and saints that we collectively believe in (Pan and St Francis being only two), that she would not be in a cat-free state for very long. An email this morning shows that our prayers were answered:

Hi Jon

Well I went to the animal rescue centre on Saturday and came back with one adult cat and one kitten. I only went to look :-)
The kitten is the runt of the litter and climbed out of the cage to get to me. So I was chosen. She is 9 weeks old and have named her Clarice. I have attached a photo. She is just a joy and completely mad! Her colouring is a sort of Tabby/tortie mix.
The other guy is still hiding under the bed. He is a beautiful white and black cat about a year old but very timid. I said I would try and see if he would settle.
He has been out for food and to use the tray but so far has only got close enough to give me a sniff and then ran away. I am just letting him take his time and hope he will take to me. He is even scared of the the kitten! Have called him Eustace.

I feel like the house is alive again. I maybe should have waited longer to get over Baggins cat but the house was so silent and empty. Now it is full of kitten!
I am not sure what my landlord will say but they are cat lovers too so doubt there will be a problem.They knew I would get another cat but I didn't say I would get two.

I hope all is well at CFZ and you are feeling a bit better. Infections and antibiotics are both exhausting.

love to all

SCOTTIE WESTFALL: Thoughts on the possible genesis of the Texas Blue Dogs

Previously, I had mentioned that there are two main genes that cause hairlessness in the domestic dog (and other canids, should crossbreeding occur). One of these is the dominant hairless gene which also affects dentition. It was discovered to have originated in Latin America. The other does not affect dentition, but it expressed from a recessive gene. It occurs in the American hairless terrier. That breed came from a hairless puppy that popped up in a normal rat terrier litter in Louisiana. (Rat terriers are an endemic American breed of terrier.)

I have stumbled across another hairless dog. This time it is a retriever. Not only that, it is in a retriever that originated in the United Kingdom. It turns out that there is some patterned baldness in the curly-coated retriever, which has a very strange coat, even its normal form. It is very short and tightly curled, unlike any other breed of dog.


The patterned baldness in this breed is not well understood, but it is not as extreme as is in the breeds of hairless dogs or the hairless coyotes. This breed is quite rare, especially in the US, so I doubt that this breed could be a source of the blue dogs.

CFZ PEOPLE: Karen Gensheimer

I had a lovely surprise this morning when I came downstairs to open my e-mail inbox. Karen Gensheimer, a bloggo reader and CFZ supporter for some time now, just sent us an extremely generous donation. What's more, she accompanied it with a message of support and a rude poem that I shall not even think about reproducing here.

Karen my dear - it is the support of people like you. People I have never met, but who are members of the CFZ family in a very real and significant way, that makes what we do worthwhile, and gives me the strength to carry on..

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1532 Francisco Pizarro and his men captured the Inca emperor Atahualpa. He was executed on the 29th of August the next year, effectively ending the Inca Empire.

And today’s cryptozoology news is:

Bigfoot: a search in Utah

Man says two bald eagles attacked his dog

Man distracted by low-flying pelican drives luxury sports car Bugatti into salt marsh

You ‘pelican’-‘t drive there!