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, December 02, 2009


I apologise for the lateness and truncatedness (if that is a word) of today's blog. My telephones are down, my ISP is on a go-slow and I have a whole slew of personal crap that I have to deal with. So forgive me that the blog is shorter than usual today.

On The Track is also delayed for the first time since we started, and if you have emailed me, please don't expect an answer until my ISP returns to normal.

When the technical problems are done, we shall be back with a vengeance. In the meantime I am very sorry.




Another amusing bit of zoo signage. I wish I could remember where it came from.


Jon did warn everyone to take this story cum grano salis some weeks ago when it first appeared, and when it comes to issues of adiposity he certainly knows his onions.

Peru's police chief has suspended a top investigator for saying he had caught a gang who were murdering people to sell their fat. Last month, top organised crime investigator Felix Murga said police had arrested four suspects who confessed to murdering up to 60 people. He said they were selling their fat for thousands of dollars a litre. But the macabre tale now appears to be nothing more than a tall story - or a big fat lie. see whole story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8389901.stm


Some months ago Alan Friswell, the bloke who made the CFZ Feegee Mermaid and also the guy responsible for some of the most elegantly macabre bloggo postings, wrote me an email. He had an idea for a new series for the bloggo. Quite simply he has an enormous collection of macabre, fortean, odd and disturbing magazine and newspaper articles, and he proposed to post them up on the bloggo.


I should perhaps subtitle some of these features 'Reasons why I hate the human race' and this one would be a perfect example.

Octopus and squid have featured in many a B-movie, horror story and Saturday-morning serial, usually in the role of hideous monster, lurking in some dreadful, skeleton-strewn pit in the ocean floor, waiting to grab its hapless human prey with its slimy tentacles.

In reality, of course, these amazing animals are wonders of natural design, with considerable intelligence and even, so some icthyologists contend, a degree of emotional capability. Yes, they're dangerous--but only if some idiot trespasses into their territory.

Which sadly brings me back around to human beings. In fairness to the following articles, it has to be noted that they were produced a long time ago, in what might be described as a more ignorant time, and I'm certainly not going to mention the fact that there are still places in the world where fish are fried and eaten alive, and sharks have their fins sliced off for soup, before being thrown back into the sea. Oh, I wasn't going to mention that, was I? Ooops....

One point of interest is that the footage of the shark-octopus fight was subsequently used years later (in 1953) as a back-projection image for Harryhausen's The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.


Here we go again with a collection of more Fortean Zoological Curiosities from my archives. I hope you found yesterday`s batch interesting. I will endeavour to make today`s collection interesting as well.

CROCODILE IN TRAWL: Skipper George Milton and the crew of the Folkstone trawler Number 9 when fishing were surprised by the weight of the trawl`s contents. When brought on deck, the trawl was found to contain a dead crocodile, 12ft long. Cutting off the tail, which they took to Folkstone, the crew dumped the carcass into the sea. It is thought that the crocodile had died on a voyage in a steamer to England and had been thrown overboard. (1)

At least 6 months ago I tried to find out more about this without success.

MAN BITES DOG: 'An enraged Indonesian villager killed a dog by repeatedly sinking his teeth into its throat after it bit a young boy. Health authorities are checking the dog for rabies.'(2)

SUPER RATS ON MARCH IN ENGLAND: 'A hunt is on for an army of rats spotted on the march across southern England. The rats, 300 of them scurrying along in a column, were spotted by a night watchman at dawn yesterday near the Wiltshire town of Trowbridge. By the time a band of local authority rat catchers turned out, they had vanished. Local environmental officer, Mr Bill Grey, said: “It`s very unusual for rats to move in such numbers.” Naturalists have reported that a super-breed of rats, resistant to all normal poisons, is thriving in the rural counties of western England and starting to spread across the southern part of the country.' (3)

I wonder what became of these super-rats? Trowbridge is a rather Fortean town. I believe there was a shower of frogs there, c.1930s.

DOG FRIGHT: 'A police dog is missing at East Hanney, Oxfordshire, after running from a screeching sound it heard in woods while undergoing night training.' (4) I have written a note above this: November 20th 1964 Mystery animal seen at Nettlebed, Oxfordshire, Puma? Alien Animals [the book by the Bords]

DORMICE CLUE TO ROMAN BRITAIN: 'Discovery of the remains of three garden dormice not previously found in Britain has led archaeologists to believe that Roman Britain was not self-sufficient in grain. The presence of the dormice in the grain store discovered at South Shields suggests that they were taken there in bags of grain imported from abroad to feed the garrison.' (5)

GOOSE`S METEORIC FALL: 'A wild goose is thought to have been killed in mid-air by a falling meteoroite. Farmer Duncan Tesloss, of Polebrooke, Northants, was watching a flock passing overhead. “Suddenly there was a blue flash,” he says. "Something like a laser beam hit one of the geese and it dropped like a stone.”' (6)

And finally…FIRE FIGHTER: 'Firemen believe a blaze which damaged three homes in Paulsgrove, Hampshire, may have been caused by starling carrying a smouldering cigarette end back to its rooftop nest.' (7)

1. The Daily Mail. May 26th 1926.
2. The Guardian. April 29th 1986
3. South China Morning Post. November 10th 1982
4. The Guardian October 25th 1986
5. The Daily Telegraph February 17th 1987
6. The People March 22nd 1987
7. Daily Mirror March 13th 1987

Sorry no time for song lyrics tonight, however I conclude with a poem I wrote at the age of 10. (Yes, I know its ageist,but give me a break, I was only 10!)



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1547 Hernan Cortez died. Cortez, for those who don’t know, was responsible for the Spanish conquest of Mexico and claimed that this was partially due to Aztecs believing he was an incarnation of the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl. This has since been disputed by several historians, and was possibly just some post conquest PR made up by Cortez.
And now the news:

Bewildered bovine rescued from harbour
Panda poo gets gardeners' thumbs-up
The snake that ate itself
Giant Echizen jellyfish off Japan coast
'Sumo' jellyfish hit Japan
RSPCA condemns sheep trolley prank
That is a very ‘baa’-d prank.