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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, December 01, 2009

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: A COLLECTION OF FORTEAN ZOOLOGICAL CURIOSITIES

Hello again,

Today I present a collection of Fortean zoological curiosities collected over the years from various British newspapers. There is no overall theme; they were really chosen for their strangeness. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Also, as you will see, the collection is bunched around the mid-1990s, the only reason being that this was the first batch I picked up from the murky, dark swamp of my files. And I`m supposed to be a qualified librarian!

Likewise, there is no particular reason for the emphasis on caterpillars and butterflies; they just took my fancy, plus Jon and I have been working on a book about butterflies.

MICE SACRIFICE: 'Hundreds of thousands of mice are said to have drowned themselves in rivers in North-West China. Experts say the mass suicide could have been triggered by over-population, although others suggest the animals may have had a premonition of disaster such as earthquake.' (1)

KILLER CATERPILLAR: 'A venomous,hairy species of caterpillar whose sting causes burns and internal bleeding and can kill humans has claimed its fifth victim in three years in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, a farmer`s wife' (2)

A GEMMA OF A FIND: 'Nine-year-old Gemma Thorpe found a caterpillar of a kind last seen in England in 1949 in her grandfather`s garden in William Road, St Leonard`s East Sussex. Moth expert Colin Pratt from Hastings Museum identified the 3 ½ in black,red and cream caterpillar as a spurge hawk moth. He said: It`s a freak accident. This caterpillar is normally only found on the Continent or in North Africa.' (3)

ARTY BIRDS: (this will make you smile..) 'Japanese psychologists have taught pigeons to discriminate between cubist paintings by Picasso and impressionist works by Monet, but they cannot tell a C├ęzanne from a Renoir.' (4)

EXTINCT BUTTERFLIES FOUND IN WOODS: 'Three butterflies - the pearl bordered and small pearl-bordered fritillaries and the wood white - which conservationists had believed were almost extinct in Britain have been discovered thriving in a secluded 20 acre wood near Godalming in Surrey' (5)

A BAD DAY FOR: 'Rats, hundreds of which were exterminated at the house of an elderly man in Florida who had kept them as pets. “They were all sizes,” said a public health official, “from grandpa and grandma rats to young babies. These rats were healthy, obviously well fed.” Their owner, Mr Angelo Russo, 76, has been taken to hospital for psychiatric evaluation.' (6) (That`s a bit extreme, I hope I`m not taken to the local psychiatric hospital because of my large key-ring collection. Unless they`re man eating key rings…HELP, WHAT`S THAT NOISE COMING UP THE STAIRS, ARGGGGH!!)

Er, where was I?

SMALL AND HAIRY: 'Researchers in Sumatra are looking for a 70 inch tall hairy dwarf, or a possible colony of dwarfs, in the Kerinici Slebat national park. “It`s quite difficult to catch the dwarf,” said a local, “because it always turns up alone and can run very fast.”' (7)

A BAD DAY FOR: 'Namibian politicians who have been shouting at each other across the chamber of the National Council after the loudspeaker system had been rendered inoperative by rats chewing through underground cables.' (8)

Now for something slightly different: this is a quote from New Scientist on August 29th 2009, p.12 in Creation Journal of the Creation Science Movement vol 16 no.6 December 2009 p.8. The bold type is the wording from the New Scientist, not bold from Creation:

'Did two species mix to make butterflies? An egg that hatches into a caterpillar that then changes into a seemingly dormant chryslasis from which a butterfly emerges to lay eggs containing all the genetic information for the entire cycle is rather hard for an evolutionist to cope with. This is the result of an ancient hybridisation between an insect and a worm-like animal, according to zoologist Donald Williamson…Nobody knows where caterpillars came from, says Williamson, who thinks that many other invertebrate groups acquired their larvae in the same way.`It is the only solution that makes sense.` “Tommyrot, other biologists snort. For a start, the resemblance between velvet worms and caterpillars is only superficial. “As appealing to the imagination as Williamson`s theory may be, it looks like the evidence is not there to support it.” And they say that creationist ideas are an abuse of science! Tadpoles into frogs are observed but frogs into princes are not' (9)

That`s nearly all, folks, except for one thing: I was talking to my Danish uncle Joergen the other day and I asked him if he had any books mentioning the Steller`s sea cow, which I talked about in my recent blog. Well, Joergen didn`t have any such books, but he revealed that Bering, upon one of whom`s ships Steller was a passenger and after whom the Bering Straits was named, was Joergen`s 10th great grandfather!


1 Daily Mail. August 12th 1993
2 The Guardian. January 13th 1994
3 Daily Mail August 31st 1994
4 The Independent. May 26th 1995
5 The Independent May 18th 1995
6 The Independent June 30th 1995
7 The Independent July 20th 1995
8 The Independent July 27th 1995
9 New Scientist August 29th 2009 in Creation vol 16 no 6 2009

Bob Dylan- The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest

Well, Frankie Lee and Judas Priest ,
They were the best of friends.
So when Frankie Lee needed money one day,
Judas quickly pulled out a roll of tens
And placed them on a footstool
Just above the plotted plain
Sayin` “Take your pick,Frankie Boy,
My loss will be your gain.”

JUST A QUICKY

Some of you know that I have been unwell recently. I saw the surgeon yesterday afternoon and will be having a relatively minor operation at the end of January. It will be unpleasant but nothing for anyone (except for me, because I am a confirmed coward of the first order) to worry about.

LINDSAY SELBY: A little blog about little people

The bones of Homo floresiensis, said to be a species of dwarf human, were discovered at the Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. Homo floresiensis was about 1 metre(3 feet) in height and walked upright. The skull has human-like teeth with a receding forehead and no chin. Archaeological evidence suggests this species lived at Liang Bua between at least 95,000 and 13,000 years ago. They used stone tools and hunted small mammals .

Some believe that floresiensis is a dwarf form of Homo erectus based on the evidence that it is not unknown for dwarf forms of larger mammals to evolve on islands. Others believe that they are a completely new species; others that they are merely a new race of our own species.

Could this species be behind the tales of fairies and 'little people' that have been told for generations? From leprechauns to pixies, there are tales of little people from all over the world; could these stories have started with encounters with the species Homo floresiensis? There is often some truth in folk tales and this would be an explanation for some stories, if people had encountered these little people in the past and the stories were then passed down through generations by oral history. Whether they had a crock of gold of course is debateable!

For more on the Hobbit (lots of different articles here)
http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html
Lots of different reports of little people and fairies:
http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/reports/fairydata.php

SCOTTIE WESTFALL: Climate Change

I'm sure it tore you up to publish that 'science via Glenn Beck' post on global warming. Fox News has a lot of people fooled.

My dad was listening to that bloated gasbag Rush Limbaugh the other day. He was doing an analysis on global warming, which was even more crude than that one. He said that global warming was a myth because the bible says that it will reward men for being industrious. Thus, if we make our economy grow and grow and grow, God won't destroy us.

I'm going to not say anything in terms of comments, because I respect you too much.

However, I'm sure that you're going to get loads of comments on it.

I live in one of the main coal mining states in the United States. All of the electricity for my state is generated from coal-burning power plants.

And the coal itself is mined by tearing off the mountain top and putting it in the valley, leaving a lunar landscape though much of the southern part of West Virginia.

The people are poor because there are no opportunities. The coal severance taxes are very low, so they cannot use that wealth to fund good schools, built good transportation infrastructure, or develop a good tourism industry. While the people are poor, the coal company executives live like kings. They buy politicians and judges so they can continue doing awful things to people and the environment. West Virginia has almost no campaign finance laws in its state elections. As a result, a few wealthy individuals control virtually everything.

After the Civil War, West Virginia was a fully-fledged state, which opened itself up to coal, timber, and oil and natural gas speculators, who approached poor farmers who had lost nearly everything in the war. They offered them some crumbs for the rights to the timber and the royalties to the gas, oil, and coal. Poor people on the very edge of existence will take what they can get, so they took it, not fully understanding what the full worth of their natural resources were.

And the rest has been history.

We've been told our whole lives that unless the coal companies do well, West Virginia will starve. And so the people would rather be hewers of wood and drawers of water for these parasitic corporations. Climate change denial is now the state religion here.

I'm very sorry that people don't accept the reality of climate change. I can tell you that the winters here are much milder than when I was a boy, and my grandparents once knew of winters in which the snow fell in November and didn't melt until the end of March. Now, you have to go to Northern New England to find winters like this.

For more information:
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/11/i-read-through-160000000-bytes-of.html

IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SHY AWAY FROM CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

ere are several reasons why I do not shy away from controversial topics here on the CFZ bloggo, and the most important of them is because - despite what anyone would like to claim - the CFZ is always honest and open in its dealings. During the recent unpleawhen various small-minded individuals spent a week or so attacking Richard Freeman and myself on various forums, one of the major allegations levelled against me was that I "censor" my blog.

Well of course I do.

When I was a small child in Hong Kong, aged maybe 8, a school project was to write a daily diary, and I was enthralled by the prospect. It was my first blog if you like. And each day the entry began "I got up, went to the bathroom, had a wee wee, washed my face, then came back into my room and got dressed..." You get the picture.

It went on and on in that vein, so in the sense that I don't write down the dull minutae of my life (yes, I am actually sipping a cup of tea and looking at a tank of guppies as I write this, and later I shall have some toast and marmalade. I am wearing a pair of cruddy old jeans and an anarchopunk t.shirt blah blah blah) of course I censor it.

I also censor some of the comments. Not - as has been accused - the ones that are critical of me, although I do draw the lines at the ones that accuse me of being a Satanist or a child molester, but the ones which are basically trying to flog mobile phones or face creams "Hi I like your blog. Click here to win free Nokia telephone".

So I do censor the blog. But not in the way I have been accused.

But I will not censor ideas. Yesterday we posted an article by Richie West in which he argued against the orthodox viewpoint that global warming is created by mankind as a result of increasing industrialisation.

As I expected, this caused a great deal of controversy both on and off the blog. Chris Clark (who has already noted his viewpoint some weeks ago) joined the fray in support of Richie, and Dan Holdsworth and Syd Henley also joined in. All of these people are folk for whom I have a great deal of respect.

Today I am posting an article by Scottie Westfall, another person for whom I have a great deal of respect, who has written a well argued article presenting a completely opposite viewpoint to Richie.

I am sitting on the fence, and I am doing it for what I feel to be a perfectly good reason. Whether or not man's depredations on our environment are directly responsible for climate change, it is undeniable that through industry, farming, over fishing, and a dozen other things that we are destroying what is left of our environment and that the results are going to be catastrophic for every species living on the planet, INCLUDING OUR OWN! So, whatever actions are taken to limit the effects of industrialisation - even if they are carried out as a result of incorrect data - can only be a good thing, and for once the end probably does justify the means...

CFZ AUSTRALIA: A new panther report

A SECOND sighting of a panther-like animal roaming bushland in southern Logan has been reported. Lynda Keane said she was driving near Bahrs Scrub when a black cat-like creature ran in front of her car.

She recounted the bizarre sighting after reading a report in last week’s Albert & Logan News about a similar creature seen in Eagleby by Jack Van Uffelen.
Ms Keane, who lives in Sydney and was in Logan visiting family in early August, said she was driving along Bahrs Scrub Rd from Windaroo about 6pm when the creature appeared.

Read On

CFZ PEOPLE: Lisa Dowley

Richard telephoned and then emailed yesterday. He has spoken to Lisa, and apparently she "seems well." He went on to say that the doctors say that she should make a full recovery.

Nice one, Lisa.

So that is one problem, at least, which seems as if it is going to have a happy ending.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1990 the first ‘dry land’ link between Britain and continental Europe since the formation of the English Channel was formed when the British and French sections of the Channel Tunnel met up with each other.
And now, the news:

Focus on animals in line of fire
Zoos issue warning on extinction
'Mindless' bird killers set lurchers on gulls
Storm birds
That’s a good place to ‘sea’ gulls.