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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Friday, December 04, 2009


We are slowly getting back to normal. What BT didn't deign to tell us is that half the villgage had their telephones out of order after the thunderstorm last week and it wasn't just us. We only found this out when we went to the Farmers Arms yesterday at the invitation of Allan and Jennie to meet a pair of ghost hunters from Cornwall who came up to have a gander at the poltergeist (if you can have a gander at a poltergeist).

They then came down to our house and spent a jolly afternoon swapping exploits. One particularly interesting encounter of the lycanthropic kind is featured in this month's On the Track. Speaking of On the Track: where is it? I can hear all you assembled throngs screaming impatiently.

I know that it is four days late. I am about a third of the way through it, and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. However, in addition to the computer, telephone and health problems about which you are all only too aware because I keep on banging on about them in a tedious fashion, large parts of each day are spent visiting Marjorie Braund and Noela Mackenzie. The two old ladies (one at home and one in hospital) are both very dear to me, and are far more important than anything else that is around at the moment. Marjorie is as comfortable as can be expected, but there is a lot of ancilliary work (laundry, admin, arguing with social workers, feeding her cat) that has to be done for Noela, so perforce other stuff has had to be put on the back burner.


I really wish that I could remember who it was that sent me this collection of (what I think is massively amusing) zoo signage from aound the world. I really am becoming a forgetful old git.

However, here is another one....


Today I conclude these Fortean Funnies with part four (Oh, I do love alliteration). When I write “funnies” I mean funny peculiar rather than funny as in ha ha. I open with one of my favourites – locusts!

1. LOCUST REVIVAL: 'A petrol company has offered cash-strapped Hungarian farmers free insecticide to thwart a swarm of locusts advancing on their village 30 miles from Budapest. The swarm approaching Tatarszentgyorgy is the first of its kind in Hungary for 60 years.' (1) I wonder if Tatarszentgyorgy is anywhere near the Aggtelek National Park where I surveyed butterflies in May `09?

2. LAKE `MONSTER`: 'Thousands of tourists have visited a remote lake in Xinjiang, China, since reports of a monster which scientists say is a huge salmon, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The story of the monster began last year when some local people claimed to have seen it swallow horses.' (2) Could this be the same as the big red fish of a certain Chinese lake that first began appearing about 10-15 years ago? But a salmon swallowing horses?

3. CROCODILE FEARS: 'The Jordan Valley council in Israel has posted a reward of more than £600 for the capture dead or alive, of a crocodile terrorising bathers in the Sea of Galilee.'
Crocodiles were present in what is now Israel in the 19th century though perhaps this one was an escapee? (3)

4. ONE HOP AHEAD: 'A wallaby, spotted near Pulham Market, Norfolk, yesterday by police is thought to have adapted to the wild after escaping from a zoo 18 months ago. It has evaded several attempts to catch it.' (4) This is interesting because it shows how wallabies can adapt to differing British landscapes, the rather flat landscape of Norfolk and the hilly one of the Peak District.

5. RATS DEFEAT DRUGS SEARCH: 'Dogs searching for drugs on board a Pakistani cargo ship here [Norrkoeping, Sweden] panicked by hordes of 15inch long rats, some weighing more than 2lb. They did not find any drugs.' (5)

6. INVASION HALTED: 'Residents in Nausori, Fiji, claimed victory yesterday over an army of millions of furry worms which invaded the town from the banks of a river. They crept around bus and taxi stands, disrupted a festival in the main park, and advanced on shops and homes.' (6) Oh, I do love swarms, as did Fort. Please can someone arrange a swarm in Macclesfield? Please, please!

7. Another favourite: homing cats: PURRFECT TIMING: 'Housewife Mrs Dorothy McGough, of Strelley, Nottingham, couldn`t believe her eyes when her lost cat Tommy returned – one year to the day after he dissappeared.' (7) I am collecting information on homing cats. If any of you have anything please can you contact me at richmuirhead@ntlworld.com

1. Guardian June 23rd 1993
2. Guardian October 16th 1986
3. Daily Telegraph July 19th 1993
4. The Times May 10th 1983
5. The Times May 1st 1982
6. Guardian July 10th 1986
7. Daily Mirror (?) May 4th 1987

Big Country Inwards

I wouldn`t want to go out on a night like this
When I find out that some of the time has been missed
And the light in the window has bunt its fuse
I pull everything inwards
But everythings loose.

NICK REDFERN: Haunted Canals & Hairy Creatures

As readers of this blog may be aware, I have a deep interest in so-called British Bigfoot reports. And the hairy critter that fascinates me most of all is that which was seen late one night in January 1879 on the Shropshire Union Canal - and which involved a man being attacked by a large ape-like animal with bright, shining eyes.

Of course, as I point out in my book on the subject, Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot, the incident was not an isolated one, and other sightings of the creature have since been made in the same vicinity. Well, now none other than British Waterways have picked up on the story and have a new posting at their website that reveals background data on the 1879 affair, as well as much more on countless other haunted canals of Britain.Here's the link to the complete article.

MIKE AND GREG WARNER: Major Minhocao/Yacumama Event November 2009

Hi Jon

Here is the report we promised of the giant snake event at Juan Pablo, last month. The full report and photos can be found on our site where we have just finished publishing this important event.

AH Juan Pablo Event November 2009, Iquitos, Peru

This news was received from our friend and co-researcher in the Amazon on the Friday 13th November! We sent him in the next day to get first hand photos and eye-witness accounts of the event from the locals in the settlement of AH Juan Pablo on the edge of the jungle city of Iquitos (where our expedition base was in March 2009). This event took place only 1.3KM from the Moronococha event which we reported in June 2009 where a giant black boa dragged a floating island across a lake to destroy a house (on stilts). This gives the evidence provenance.
The Moronocha account can also be found on this page.

We have already published our connection between the Sachamama (mother of the earth), Yacumama (mother of the water) and the Minochao stating that we believe these all to be the same animal, a giant black snake, known for its burrowing behaviour and propensity to leave large channels and trenches in its habitat.

It turned out that the photographers from El Popular newspaper went in the day of the event (which was 5 days before the publishing date) and we were able to obtain their photos and add to them to those we commissioned privately 3 days later on Monday 16th November.
We believe that this is the first time that a Minhocao 'trench' has been photographed and released to the world.

The story started here:

El Popular Newspaper, Iquitos, Amazon, Peru 13th November 2009 (TRANSLATION)


"Dwellers are afraid at AH Juan Pablo de la Luz in the district of San Juan Buastist
a, because they are sure that a giant boa is round the area.

When heavy rains were falling, the neighbours said they heard sounds similar to those of a tractor, but no one dared to leave their house to see what it was.

In the morning there was a track 20 meters long and 5 wide, enough proof for the people of the presence of a boa who now fear for their lives."

AH Juan Pablo

Photo 1, Day1:
The snake comes up from the ground in a grass field on the edge of the settlement.

For the full report and all the photos follow the link below:


"The Giant Anaconda & Other Inland Sea Serpents" chapter 13 of Bernard Heuvelmans "On the Track of Unknown Animals" Bernard Heuvelmans makes many references to similar events that were witnessed at AH Juan Pablo. Some of these include:

Fritz Muller (1821-1897)
Francisco de Amaral Varella
Friedrich Kelling
Emil Odebrecht
Antonio Jose Branco (early 1860s)

The last report we can find of such an event is in the early 1960s.


Mike & Greg Warner

December 3rd, 2009

LINDSAY SELBY: Breeding giant fish in Thailand

Many fish from other tropical countries thrive in Thai lakes, and in recent years the country has become a breeding centre for exotic species. Lake Monster's owner, Ittiporn Parnitpechedpong, says he began stocking it two years ago so his friends could fish for fun. But what started as a hobby has grown into an increasingly lucrative business.

"People want to come and fish for these big fish, especially because many of these exotic species are new for Asia," Parnitpechedpong said. Lake Monster is now a haven for the Mekong giant catfish, a southeast Asian beast that has seen its wild population drop by about 95 per cent over the past century. At 9 feet (2.7 metres) long and 646 pounds (293 kilograms), a Mekong giant catfish currently holds the record for the largest freshwater fish ever caught (see photos).

Lake Monster also hosts alligator gar, which can grow as long as 10 feet (3 metres) and weigh 300 pounds (135 kilograms). These North American giants are not listed as endangered, but habitat loss and overfishing have taken a toll on the species' preferred spawning habitats, contributing to significant population declines. Conservationists are also concerned about another giant inhabitant of Lake Monster, the arapaima, which is becoming increasingly rare in its native Amazonian habitat.

Arapaima can grow more than 10 feet (3 metres) long and 400 pounds (180 kilograms). As an air breather, the species is vulnerable to hunters with harpoons when it surfaces for air every 10 to 20 minutes.

Source with pics and more info:

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1877 the Mary Celeste was found floating near the Azores without her crew. There were no signs of a struggle, there was enough food and fresh water aboard to last for 6 months, and no reports of storms or rough seas in the area. The strange tale of this ghost ship remains a mystery to this day.
And now the news:

Orangutan's photographs become a hit on Facebook
Australian aims to breed 'green' sheep that burp less
The 'pretty as a peacock' spider
Dogs diagnosed with swine flu in China
Giant egg mystery turns out to be joke
An eggcellent practical yoke.