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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SPECIAL OFFER: Preorder the 2010 Yearbook

The 2010 Yearbook is in production now. It will be published on New Year's Day and the contents include:

Jon Downes:
Killarney lake monster 2009
Dale Drinnon:
Revised checklist of cryptozoological creatures
Richard Muirhead:
Freshwater seahorse of Lake Titicaca
Neil Arnold: Monsters of Scooby doo
Dave Francazio: Steller’s sea ape
Adam Davies:
The abominable snowman adventure
Richard Muirhead:
Flying snakes
Neil Arnold:
River Medway monsters
Dr Karl Shuker:
Red eye glow in black dogs
Richard Freeman:
Urban monsters

The 200pp+ volume also includes the annual reports from the CFZ, and the Australian and US branches.

It will be £12.50 (no price rise since 1995) plus postage and packing. However, if you pre-order here and pay using paypal at the special low price of a tenner, you will receive it - post free - in early January.

Bloody Hell, Jon you must be bonkers to give us such an amazing bargain. Of course I will take advantage of this fantastic offer. Wow!



According to Cornish World magazine, 'While filming a documentary on St Mawnan Parish Church, a cameraman captured footage of the Owlman of Mawnan Smith.'



Back in the early spring I received an email from a bloke called Gavin Lloyd Wilson. Was there anything that he could do to help? Well, I had been doing the bloggo on a daily basis for about five or six weeks by this stage, and I had the bright idea to start a news blog to add to the network.

Now, it is sad but true that although we receive a lot of offers of help, most of them don't amount to anything. People lose interest or they get distracted, or their circumstances change, or whatever, and nine out of ten volunteers fizzle out after a few months at best. So, although I gladly took Gavin on, I had no expectation of it being a long-term thing. How wrong I was!

Nine months later he is still going strong, and what's more, last night we reached a real milestone. He wrote:

Hi Jon,

I believe earlier in the year I estimated that we might make it to 2,000 posts on the news blog by the end of the year, and I've kind of had that in the back of my mind as a target to aim for.

Well, today, I'm glad to report we reached 2,000!

We're building up quite an archive!


Bloody well done, mate! I am very proud of ya!


Trawling the internet at some ridiculous hour of the morning for interesting photos of monkeys (I am a terrible insomniac and huge monkey nut - like my word-play???), I happened upon the photo included with this blog and it got me thinking. So, beginning today, let me introduce you to a new bloggo series: Liz's Lookalikes.

Now, which CFZ high-ranking official does this little fellow remind you of most...?

P.S. That is an Emperor tamarin, allegedly named because his moustache looks a little like that of German Emperor Wilhelm II. The first stuffed specimen brought to Europe had the moustache put on upside down.


Today I take a look at a story that appeared in the British media last week and caught my eye. For those of you who missed it, it`s about a colony of spiders from a cave in the Yorkshire Dales; more specifically, Chapel Fell cave. If you are an arachnophobe look away now.

'Huge UK cave spiders `sent` home. A colony of huge cave spiders are finally heading home after 10 years. The spiders have been squatting in a disused building in the Yorkshire Dales after escaping from a nearby cave, hidden in scientists` equipment. Volunteers and staff from the National Trust`s Malham Tarn estate in North Yorkshire are now transporting the spiders back to their natural home. Measuring seven centimetres across, the cave spiders are amongst the largest spiders found in the UK. “The time has come for the cave spiders to be relocated back to their natural homes,” says Martin Davies,National Trust property manager for the Yorkshire Dales in the UK. The old house is due to be renovated for use by visiting schoolchildren and walkers, Mr Davies explains.' (1)

The Guardian commented on the same day: 'More than 150 of the cave-dwelling species Meta menardi and Meta bourneti are being collected individually and taken in plastic bags to a pothole in the Yorkshire Dales. The journay returns them to their original home, which they left -unnoticed - 10 years ago on the clothes and equipment of a party of university scientists.

'"Exceptionally for cave spiders, which have adapted to live underground, they resettled and flourished in a derelict orchid house which the scientists were using as their base… They clearly took to it [the orchard house] immediately, although we only realised that they were there a couple of years ago,” said Mike Collins of the National Trust, which runs the former mansion of Malham Tarn House, North Yorkshire, as a field centre. The big move follows the trust`s decision to convert the orchid house into a classroom,with facilities such as warmth and light, which the spiders loathe. Familiar from their cave roof cocoons,from which they sally to find prey, they measure up to 8cm (3.1in) across and will nip if repeatedly provoked. [So a bit bigger than the BBC`s measurement.]

'…Visitors will be able to learn about spiders generally, the Meta species and the story of Malham migration, while the descendants of the original travellers get on with life in the dark back at Chapel Fell'

I visited Malham Tarn House in the 1980s on a geography field trip; it`s a lovely place.

1. J.Bourton. Huge UK cave spiders` sent home. BBC Earth News Dec.5th 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newisd_8393000/8393757.stm [accessed Dec.8th 2009]
2. M.Wainwright. Spiders to be sent back to their cave 10 years after their great escape. Guardian December 5th 2009

Devo-Too Much Paranoias

Think I got your dial tone
Think I got Billy Baxter`s Bone
Think I got a bubble sac
Think I got a Big Mac Attack
Hold the pickles hold the lettuce
Special orders don`t upset us
All we ask is that you let us
Serve it your way
Too much paranoias
My momma`s afraid to tell me
The things she`s afraid of
I been dipped in double meaning
I been stuck with static cling
Think I got a rupto-pac
Think I got a big mac attack

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1531 Saint Juan Diego is said to have seen the first of his visions of the Virgin Mary, which has become known as ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ on a hill near Mexico City. Also on this day in 1965 the Kecksburg UFO incident occurred when a fireball was seen streaking across the skies of North America. The object crash-landed in woods near Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, USA and witnesses reported that it was almost as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and had funny writing like Hieroglyphs on the side. The original explanation given by the American Air force was that it was just a meteor and no debris was ever found; however, in December 2005 NASA released a statement confirming that it had actually been a downed Russian satellite and they had examined the debris at the time.

Interesting, eh? Now for something else just as interesting: the Fortean zoology news headlines, which contains the 2000th news story posted on the news blog, so three cheers for Gavin for all his hard work:

Cougar seen roaming Vadnais Heights; residents advised to be cautious in a.m.
Jack Black Hunts Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster With New Animated Movie
NASA tests Aberdeenshire find for life on Mars clues
Exotic pets seized from high-rise
Polish Police in Panther Prank
Pictured: Mythical white stag found in the forests of Gloucestershire
Moko trapping young women, dropping in on surfers
Dinosaur-killing impact set Earth to broil, not burn
Cat passport has Brand feline fine

To be honest I’ve always found his ‘brand’ of comedy somewhat lazy and unfunny, so I do hope he settles in the States so British telly will be rid of him.