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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Saturday, December 12, 2009


It is hard to believe that this image was not at least tidied up with photoshop, but courtesy of my lovely wife who found it in The Daily Mail and knows of the cultural importance of Moby Dick to various CFZers, here is a flock of starlings...


A few days ago you may remember I presented information about a very large turtle in a U. S. lake, namely, The Beast of Busco. Well, today I turn to a similar turtle, this time in a lake in Illinois, namely Island Lake quite near Chicago. This latter one was even thought to be a killer.

I found this brief story in Omni magazine, the now defunct U. S. science fiction, fantasy and paranormal magazine. Unfortunately I do not know the exact date; probably some time in the mid to late 1990s, though it was in August. There is a link on the Web to some of the archives at:


'the links past Jul 21, 2003 will go to Penthouse magazine instead,but most of them are web-archived Omni pages, including chats, short stories, and articles.' (1)

'OMNI was a science magazine and science fiction magazine published in the U. S. A. It contained articles on science fact and short works of science fiction. The first issue was published in October 1978, the last in Winter 1995, with an internet version lasting until 1998.'

The story is as follows: 'MOBY TURTLE. Move over Nessie. Recent reports tell of a giant killer turtle living in Island Lake, Illinois, some 40 miles north-west of Chicago. It all started about a year ago, when resident Liz Herman spotted two large snapping turtles mating in the water just beyond her back-yard sea wall.

'"These turtles were huge, maybe three feet long" says Herman. "My husband Kevin didn`t believe me until he saw my photos. Then he showed them around town." "Soon rumors [sic]were flying." says Georgine Cooper, a town trustee. "The turtle was said to be anywhere from the size of a small pickup truck to an 18-wheel semi." "Our Water Department supervisor, Neil De Young, tried to catch the turtle," adds local police chief Eugene Bach." All he got for his trouble was bent hooks."

'Bach refuses to fuel the killer-turtle rumours. In fact, he thinks the turtle may be an alligator snapper released into the lake some years ago by a local boy." Alligator snappers, he says, "can grow to more than 60 pounds and can be 25 inches long. Listen," he adds, "I could tell you that when kids hang their feet over the pier they get chewed up, but that wouldn`t be true."

There is a headline in the text which says, in capital letters: 'The Giant Turtle, Referred to as a man-eating terror, has generated national tabloid headlines and has even been profiled on local Chicago news stations.' (4)

1. Omni (magazine) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omni_(magazine)
2. Ibid
3. Moby Turtle. Omni. August?p.72
4. Ibid.p.72

Neil Young Heart of Gold

I`ve been to Redwood
I`ve been to Holywood
I`ve crossed the ocean
for a heart of gold
I`ve been in my mind
It`s such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I`m getting old


The other day we posted a strange story from Naomi West regarding a deer hunt with an unexpected difference. Later that day Naomi wrote to us with a jolly good idea:


After speaking to my kid about the deer today (and being impressed that he would choose that topic for his unexplained mystery) I got the idea to create a kids' cryptozoology site. I thought kids could submit their strange animal stories and other kids (and adults) could offer explanations, do research, offer theories, etc. I'll have to work out the details. So Richie and I purchased http://www.kidcrypto.com/ this evening. The first post will be my student's deer story. Even if it turns out to be perfectly explainable, it will be a teachable moment. So while kidcrypto might have some mysteries submitted that have ready answers, there won't be a whole lot of difference between it and a regular crypto site because adults are always learning too, and experts often come along and solve a mystery on regular sites as well.

I realise that there might be the issue of honesty. Kids often make up stories to be sensational or have a claim to fame, but so do adults. I will do my best to filter.

I found that cartoon network already has a crypto site for kids http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/promotion_landing_page/tss/cryptidsarereal/index.html, but what's another, right? Mine will be different, with kids able to personally contribute.

What do you think?


I wrote back being generally enthusiastic about the whole thing. I have always maintained that it is essentiual for us to tell the next generation about what we do and why we do it, otherwise the work will die when we do, and there ultimately will be no point in our having done it.

Meanwhile, over in Canada, Kelly McG had an interesting comment to make on Naomi's original story.

Very odd story, Jon. Do you think if a deer were flash-frozen to extreme temps and then set up as though alive (so hunters could shoot what they thought was a live deer) that might account for the massive hair loss and antlers shattering upon impact? Crazy, I know, but I couldn't think of anything else, or even if that would be the end result of a flash-freeze on a deer.

Truthfully, I haven't a clue, so I am throwing the query open to all of you in bloggoland....

LINDSAY SELBY: Is Nessie dead?

This site (see link below) has a video from youtube on it that claims to be a film of the carcass of the Loch Ness Monster on the bottom of the Loch. It is from a TV programme, I believe, but I don't know if it has been screened yet. It just looks like a heap of mud to my untrained eye.



I don't think that we have ever published a book before that has given us quite so much hassle. Everything that could go wrong DID go wrong, and the book that was supposed to be our big seller for Christmas has finally limped onto Amazon in mid-December - five weeks late.

But it is out and it is a smashing book. Nick Molloy needs to be congratulated as does Anthony Wallis. But I would also like to thank two unsung heroes: Lizzy (who edited it) and Max (who was Technical Editor). Between you guys you have done a remarkable job. Thank you.

I seriously suggest that you buy this for your teenaged male relatives who are bound to want to know which animal out of T. rex, the Siberian tiger orca, polar bear, and many others was actually the most terrible predator ever to have walked the earth. And yes, there is still time to order this remarkable book before Christmas...


My only disappointment with the book is that it doesn't even attempt to answer Richard Freeman's conundrum about who would win a fight between Diet Coke and Johnny Mathis...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1982 in a peace protest at Greenham Common, UK, 30 000 women joined hands around the perimeter of the American air base; it didn’t really make much difference.
And now the news:

Baby Pygmy Hippo born at Colchester Zoo
Monkey noises provide clue to understanding the origins of human language
Fat albino hedgehog put on diet
African pygmy hedgehogs become latest handbag accessory
Man pictured sitting on a dead whale in the middle of shark feeding frenzy

Q: Why do sharks never wear socks? A: Because they have no feet.