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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Sunday, November 22, 2009


Over the past few weeks many people have been asking for updates on Marjorie Braund who, as you probably know, is the nearest thing to a Mum I still have on this mortal plane.

After some weeks in Bideford hospital she was moved to the hospice in Barnstaple and by her own wishes went home on Thursday to be with her family. We went to see her yesterday, and will be going to see her daily.

She is a much loved and very special lady. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.



Hiya folks,

Today I present more archival information relating to sea and lake monsters, with some information from Ireland. I just picked out a small batch of photocopied information from my Lake and Sea Monsters file and immediately found an interesting link to another collection of material I had passed on to Jon just before his famous trip to County Kerry in Ireland earlier this year.

I do remember that this information mentioned 'roaring eels.' Less familiar was the mention of a 'black man' diving for a 'carbuncle' in a lake in Co. Kerry. Now, this carbuncle was not defintion 1.

'1. An extensive skin eruption, similar to a boil, with several openings
'2. A rounded gemstone, esp. a garnet cut without facets.' (1)

It was alleged to be a kind of lake monster with similarities to definition 2. above. I quote:

'There is another jewel in the Kerry crown, an animal unique, known only there, a resplendent creature called the Carrabuncle. It is true that it has never been seen by the cold critical eye of science, but Matthew Arnold reminds us through the mouth of Empedocles that "much may still exist that is not yet believed." The Carrabuncle is mentioned in Charles Smith`s Antient and Present State of the County of Kerry, published in 1756, as having been seen in the Killarney Lakes - but he erroneosly assumed that the name he heard belonged not to an animal but to the familiar precious stone. Henry Hart, when exploring the Kerry mountains in 1883, came on its track again, this time on Brandon. He learned that its home was in Lough Veagh (Loch betha, birch lake) where the people gather fresh-water mussels for the pearls which some of them contain [and which also exist in the Cladagh River in N. Ireland]. "These come off an enormous animal called The Carrabuncle,which is often seen glimmering like silver in the water at night. This animal has gold and jewels and precious stones hanging to it, and shells galore; the inside of the shells shines with gold." Five years later, Nathaniel Colgan happened on Hart`s informant, when climbing on Brandon, and obtained further particulars (2). The true home of the Carrabuncle, it appears, is Lough Geal (Loch geal, shining lake), not Loch Veagh. His informant had never seen it, but if you could only catch it you would get some things of great value that follow after it...it is seen, it would appear, only once in seven years, and then it lights up the whole lake...But a very interesting side issue to this legend, as yet unexplained, pointed out by Colgan, arises from the reference by Alfred Russel Wallace in his Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, to the Carbunculo, a mythical animal of the Upper Amazon and Peru.Colgan was puzzled as to the connection (if any) between the Irish and the South American creature. The probable explanation of the presence of the name in these two widely separated areas lies in the fact that both regions were in intimate connection with Spain...It would seem that Carrabuncle corresponds similarly to the Spanish Carbunculo, meaning the precious stone we call carbuncle - though how the word came to be applied either in Ireland or on the Amazon to a water-monster is not clear.' (3)

So what have we here? A rare or cryptid oyster/mussel? Or did it get to Ireland via Spain or Brazil? Bear in mind the first Irish came to Eire via the Mediterranean or so I`ve heard. This book was first published in 1937 so records of it now should not be impossible to trace. Could the 'black man' have had some connection with the Amazon?

The next story is also from Kerry, but on the coast near Dingle.

'Strange legends hang around this wild and primitive coast connected with unknown monsters of the deep. "It is my belief," said a man one day, "and the belief of many,that there is no animal on land but what has its like in the sea"; and then he proceeds to tell of a strange creature which goes around the coast-line from Magharees to Brandon Head, and is called by the people the "Currane Duv," or "Black Sow." It has been seen in the memory of man - a large animal, 15 feet long, "with mane like a horse", a foot in length, which waves in the water as it swims. Sometimes it goes up river for a short distance, but its chief habitat is the sea, where it is a terror to the fisher folk! (4)

So there we are! Any opinions from Irish cryptozoologists? Ronan?

1. Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus.(2004)p.171
2. See Irish Naturalist.vol.23 p.59 1914.
3. R.L.Praeger. The Way That I Went.(1937,1939,1947,1969,etc)pp 364-366.
4. C.P.Crane. Kerry.(publication date unknown.)p.227.

As weather conditions here are still very poor, I conclude with The Storm by Big Country.

I came from the hills with a tear in my eye
The winter closed in and the crows filled the sky
The houses were burning with flames gold and red
The people were running with eyes filled with dread
Ah,my James
They didn`t have to do this
We chased them for miles I had hate in my eyes
Through forest and moors as the clouds filled the skies
The storm broke upon us with fury and flame
Both hunters and hunted washed out in the rain

DALE DRINNON: The Water Leaper

I had been fascinated by the Welsh creature known as The Water Leaper or llamhigyn y dwr since I first saw it illustrated in Brian Froud's book Faeries (1978).

The creature was later famously featured in Karl Shuker's book From Flying Toads to Snakes with Wings (1997).

The creature was said to have a face like a toad and to leap out of the water, even though it had no legs. Instead it had large wings.

The solution is that the witnesses are describing a sort of freshwater stingray. Stingrays have raised eyes and faces like toads, and they are known to leap out of water to rid themselves of parasites.

Incidentally, the originals for the African Kongamato and the South American Cuero (hide) were likewise wide flat or winged legless creatures that leaped out of the water: the Kongamato is described as living in the water and being a danger to small canoes because of its unexpected leaping up.

They are leaping up like mini-manta rays, and one of the alternate names for the Cuero is even Manta.

It is also possible that Cueros are 'Covered with eyes' because some South American rays are indeed covered with markings that look like eyespots (ocelli)

LIZ CLANCY: More Fat Dogs

Following on from Corinna's horrific story of a massively over-fed dog, here's a lighter tale of plump pooches today....

My grandmother, Clare, who I'm named after (Liz being short for Clare-Elizabeth), worked part time as a cleaner on Rochdale railway station many years ago, as well as in the refreshment room on certain days. One day she happened upon two seemingly abandoned skeletal doggies tied up to one of the benches on the platform. Taking pity on them, she spirited off to the refreshment room to see what she could find to satisfy their obvious hunger, returning soon after with meat and potato pies.

As the grateful dogs settled down for a doze after their delicious meal and Grandma was planning her next job of contacting the RSPCA, a very angry gentleman approached her, demanding to know what the bloody hell she thought she was doing.

"Are these dogs yours, then?" she asked, adding when the man answered in the affirmative, "So you're the cruel sod whose left 'em half-starved, are you? I want your name so I can give it to the police!" She then proceeded to lecture the "cruel sod" on how one should care for one's animals, stating that she bet he had made sure he'd had his breakfast that morning.

It wasn't until the station master showed up, hearing the kerfuffle, that Clare realised her mistake. The station master explained, where the dogs' owner had failed to get a word in, that these particular canids were not starving; they were greyhounds on their way to an important race and were promised a decent meal afterwards because they couldn't run on a full stomach. Never one to back down, though, Gran insisted that the man shouldn't have been racing his dogs anyway if it meant them waiting for their breakfast and she refused to apologise.


Two weeks to go to the Midland Charity Auction on Sunday 6th December in Redditch, Worcestershire.

The online page is set up & from now on breeders will start sending in lists of fish they will be bringing. These lists don't show all that is going to be there but a snapshot of some fish you will see.

See http://www.ta-aquaculture.co.uk/ & click the yellow box top left to access the page.

Those bringing fish are missing out by not sending your list in as you get free advertisement for your species online. Buyers have been known to come specially to buy certain species from this list.

I know from going to shows this year many breeders & collectors will be bringing some new fish.
It's not just Killifish & Livebearers. Last year we had new microrasbora sp etc. This year the ellusive Poecilocharax weitzmanni tetra will be there. This is the species with the huge dorsal fin.

A Corydoras breeder has also requested an auction letter.

Many breeders have booked auction letters. You don't have to - just turn up on the day & you will get a letter. To book a letter online is easy. Just e-mail me at timaddis@killifish.force9.co.uk & request a letter. Then download the booking in forms online from the webpage. This saves the last minute panic & writing it out after a long car journey.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1859 Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was first offered for sale, in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun giving rise later to rumours of a curse, in 1963 American President John F. Kennedy was shot and in 1990 Britain was finally rid of Thatcher as she confirmed that she would not stand in the second round of Tory leadership elections.

The 22nd of November has been quite a day, then; wonder if anything more will be added to that list this year… In the meantime here is yesterday's cryptozoology news in a handy bite-size form:

Vote for rhino!
Such chic chickens
Meet the giant top of the crocs
Long-horned cattle are driving out the doggers
New Zealand: Weird stuff on the radio
As Bats Begin Hibernation, Deaths Expected
'Hobbits' Are a New Human Species, According to Statistical Analysis of Fossils
10-year ban for feeding fat dog crisps
Looks like that dog has certainly been woofing those crisps down, poor fellow.