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, January 04, 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: The Phantom Ape-Man

There is nothing like a chilling ghost story at this time of year. And one of my favourite ghoulish tales comes via Rev. Archdeacon St. John D. Seymour, and concerns a bizarre entity once said to have haunted an Irish castle. Certainly, a handful of reports of phantom ape-men and spectral monkeys litter world folklore, and in the UK a scant few exist. Such a tale is mentioned in True Ghost Stories by Marchioness Townshend and Maude Ffoulkes, who comment that “]'the truth of this story was vouched for to Mr. Reginald Span by the Vicar of the Anglican Church, Arizona, as it happened to some friends of his when they once rented a picturesque castle in the South of Ireland.'

The story goes that a 'Mrs. A.' was sitting in her bedroom awaiting the arrival of her husband when the door in the corridor began to bang. Strange footsteps appeared to creep about the premises but Mrs. A. felt no fear and attempted to confront whoever had encroached upon the property. With candle in hand she peered into the darkest corners of the place and suddenly noticed a figure heading towards the staircase. The apparition turned to look at her, and this is when she became terrified. The head of the spectre was certainly human but the rest of the form belonged to a huge ape. The monster glared at Mrs. A. but then suddenly vanished into thin air.

Mrs. A. was eventually calmed by her daughter. A few nights later Mr. A. experienced the same ghastly beast. He’d been coming upstairs from the hall one night after everyone else had gone to bed when he heard a peculiar laugh coming from the direction of the landing. Looking up, Mr. A. observed a hideous face belonging to an ungainly figure, leaning over the banister. Although the face belonged to a young man, the rest of the body was covered in reddish-brown hair. The laughter of the creature echoed trough the halls as Mr. A. ran upstairs to confront the presence. The rest of the family were naturally disturbed by the mocking and they all hurried from their beds.

The next few days were very quiet in the household until one afternoon when Mrs. A, whilst sitting arranging flowers in the drawing-room, felt two hands rest on her shoulders. Thinking it was her daughter, Mrs. A. turned but found herself face to face with a laughing monstrosity, which stood over six feet in height and was covered in hair similar to that of a gorilla. The hideous ape-man disappeared as soon as a friend came to aid Mrs. A.

The family decided they’d had enough of the castle and the mocking spectre, and so headed back to the U.S.A. shortly after.

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