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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Monday, December 14, 2009


1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.


The new issue of the CFZ journal is imminent and we hope that it will be released in the next few weeks. However, as a taster here is the cover and contents...

3. Editorial
5. Faculty of the CFZ
8. Contents
9. Newsfile
21. Obituaries:
Robert Rines, Stuart Rickard
23. Aquatic monsters logbook
by Oll Lewis
30. Letter from America
By Nick Redfern
34. Mystery cats diary
38 CFZ Australia: Australian big cats
By Ruby Lang
42 Watcher of the skies
By Corinna Downes
47 2009 Expedition report:
Five go mad in Sumatra
By Richard Freeman
57 2010 yearbook
58 Mystery animals of Flemish folklore
part 2 by Neil Arnold
61 Cryptoclearance
62 Never the mind the Aurochs
By Max Blake
67 Gerald Durrells’ strange Corfu cattle
By Jon Downes
70 Weird Weekend 2009
72 Letters to the Editor
75 Book Reviews
78 The Sycophant
79 Marjorie Braund is dead
80 About the CFZ
84 CFZ Press


Today is Marjorie Braund's funeral. I am reading one of the lessons and the CFZ will be out in force. Richard, Max, Olivia and Ivan are (or will be) down and things are rather hectic. So please forgive me if I do not wax as lyrical as usual on the bloggo.

I know that many of you knew Marjorie from the Weird Weekends and from visits to the CFZ, and so - with Kaye's permission - I am posting the order of service for her funeral so that those of you who were unable to make it in person but want to say farewell to a very special lady, will be able to do so.

DALE DRINNON: Churchward's "Quetzalcoatl Flying Serpent"

The Lost Continent of Mu series of books contain at least one report of what seems to have been an unknown animal. The author, James Churchward, claims to have seen a venomous flying snake in the Central American jungles, according to L. Sprague de Camp in Lost Continents. The actual wording in Children of Mu is much more elliptical and gives the impression that Churcward is dodging responsibility for having seen such a thing. This would have been published in the 1930s and referring back to an earlier event.

According to the given account, this 'Quetzalcoatl' was a flying snake with a body the size of a duck, a long serpentine neck four or five feet long, a snake-like head and feathered wings. It was black and dark grey, thickly spotted with white in parts. According to the story one of the Quetzalcoatls bit a native in the party and he died almost instantly. The creature was shot and examined but admittedly it was not in good condition after it had been shot and killed. It seems that both the tail-feathers and the beak were removed by the shots fired at it.

Churchward's description is not really very far off although he seems to have reported the whole length as the neck length. The animal that had been killed was evidently an Anhinga, a known bird that does match the description very well except for the battle damage mentioned. That leaves only the matter of the 'Flying Serpent's' alleged venomous bite, which is legendary but not a real feature of the bird. The poor man must have simply died of fright, since there was no venom in the bite.

This version of the 'Flying serpent' is actually also demonstrable in Mexican folklore and said to raid livestock. That tradition would also be based on sightings of anhingas. Anhingas are also 'Flying Watersnakes' reported in Africa from time to time, and Oudemans speaks of one sighting in his book on The Great Sea Serpent (identifying it by the obsolete genus name of Plotus)

Churchward spoke of this in more than one place but the better version is in Sacred Symbols of Mu, pages 150-151; I just checked. That would be the passage to cite. The passage begins in his italics, 'Is Quetzalcoatl a mythical serpent, No, it is not' and it contiues:

'Quetzalcoatl is a feathered flying serpent and the most venomous ever recorded:for within two minutes, and apparently almost suddenly, the victim falls to the ground dead after being struck. The reptile is of a very peculiar shape, having a body about the size of a duck or a small goose. The real serpent part of it is its head and neck, which in the one I refer to extended about five feet from the body. The head is broad and V-shaped, like most of our known venomous serpents [in another passage the eye is described as being like a snake's eye] Apparently it had no snakelike tail but in its place a tuft of feathers. From the head to the body the neck is covered with short hair-like feathers. The general color of the neck and body is almost white thickly mottled with grey [Dark grey mottled with white would be more accurate]; the upper wing feathers are very long and droop like the [feathers on a] bird of paradise. These have a prismatic sheen [Actually, should have said 'Black with a prismatic sheen', all true enough] Their flight is very clumsy, and then they can only fly a short distance, a few yards. Apparently they have great difficulty in settling on the branch of a tree. A softnosed bullet from a 30-30 so mashed and cut the one referred to that it was difficult to describe it accurately. The meeting of this reptile resulted in a triple tragedy. The Indians would go no further and so the explorer returned'

Once again it is unclear from the retelling whether or not Churchward was present at the time, although in other accounts it seems he shot the bird himself. Churchward was known to tell stretchers but in this case the description is clear enough: if all he had described were the short greyish feathers on the snakelike neck and the longer, drooping, darker and 'Prismatic' feathers on the wings, we would already have the exact identification.


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 17th trenche is from 1994 and contains MORE bits and bobs from issue 36 of the journal Track Record. Good stuff.


RICHARD FREEMAN: Sticking it to the man

I recently offered to finish writing a book on the wendigo, the Ojibwa/Cree cannibal spirit/monster. Mike Hallowell was writing it but his recent ill health was hindering the project. I had sourced several in-depth texts on the subject but Mike was unable to get them from the library in Newcastle and when he tried ordering them he was just messed around for weeks on end.

When I took over the project I ordered three texts at the library in Exeter. Two of the books were found in the British Library very quickly and I rushed to pick them up when they arrived at Exeter.

However, they told me that taking them out was not permitted - this was annoying but at least I could photocopy them. Then I was told that I was not allowed to photocopy them either!

Libraries are supposed to be about the dissemination of knowledge not the greedy, pointless hoarding of it. It was not as if these were old or fragile books that might be damaged by photocopying; one was from 1981 and the other from the early 1960s.

So what did I do I hear you ask, oh, gentle reader.

I said **** the British Library and photocopied them anyway; the whole lot. It cost about £25!

Previously I had failed to find these books for sale,but the day after I finished photocopying them I found both on ABE Books!

The British Library is sending me the third text as - guess what - a photocopy!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1903 the Wright brothers first attempted to get the Wright Flyer to fly… On this day in 1962 NASA’s Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft (that we know of) to fly past Venus. It’s amazing when you think about it what can be accomplished nearly from scratch in a person’s lifetime, hopefully I’ll be around to see man walk on Mars.

But look here, it’s the F-Z news:

Lawmakers seek emergency steps to halt Asian carp
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, James Lileks column: Sh...
Reindeer Gets Lifesaving Op For Christmas

Q: Why don’t reindeer wear socks?

A: They do, but on their antlers.