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, January 09, 2010

OLL LEWIS: 5 Questions on… Cryptozoology - NICK MOLLOY

Next up in the hotseat is Nick Molloy. Nick has been on a number of expeditions hunting cryptids and also works as a professional adult entertainer under the name ‘Sexecute’. Nick has written several books; Predator Deathmatch, published by CFZ press (buy it here) and his eye-opening autobiography Road Warrior - Confessions of a Male Stripper, published by Pen Press.
So, Nick Molloy, here are your 5 questions on… Cryptozoology.

1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?

As a kid I had an unhealthy interest in dinosaurs and the thought that some of them still lived in our lakes or jungles peaked my interest.

2) Have you ever personally seen a cryptid or secondary evidence of a cryptid, if so can you please describe your encounter?


3) Which cryptids do you think are the most likely to be scientifically discovered and described some day, and why?

This depends on exactly how we define 'cryptid.' For example, if the Loch Ness Monster is revealed to be a whale that strayed into the loch when the river Ness was in flood, does that classify it as a cryptid? I think many so-called cryptids probably have very plausible explanations that are less romantic than some cryptozoologists would like to believe! I used to think Orang Pendek would head the list of most likely cryptid conversions to flesh and blood but having been to Western Sumatra looking for it, I am now less convinced than I was before. This is because too many journalists have written too many fanciful articles painting a false picture whereby those that have never been to Sumatra and have only read the articles think Orang-Pendeks are seen by locals very regularly. If we believe the articles, it stands to reason that it would only be a matter of time before orang pendek walks out of the forest and announces itself to the world! I actually found very few Indonesians that believed in Orang-Pendek. Most thought it was a myth. That doesn't mean I have ruled it out; I am just less of a believer now than I was before. Maybe sightings of Orang-Pendek actually were Orang-Utans. They still inhabit the north of Sumatra and would closely fit most descriptions of Orang-Pendek. This may not be a popular view in cryptozoological circles but it fits the available evidence better in my view.

The believability of Sasquatch is growing on me rapidly. I have always had a healthy distrust of eyewitness testimony of cyptids. People as a species crave attention. Just look at the proliferation these days of trash TV talent shows where people will literally do anything to gain a little attention and be on TV. In the past I think a lot of people have found attention by claiming they saw something in the lake, forest, etc. They get their 15 minutes of fame, authors are able to write books on their claims, but genuine researchers simply waste time by following up their claims. I have always found (historically at least) photos or video to be far more interesting. They are more difficult to fake and may capture a genuine moment in time when a cryptid was present. When I first saw a still from the Patterson-Gimlin film when I was about 10 years old I dismissed it as a man in a monkey suit. However, as time has worn on, I have become more convinced that there might be something in it. With new technology we are better able to weed out the hoaxers of those old images. For example, the surgeon's photograph at Loch ness is widely believed to have been a hoax. They have certainly been able to reproduce a very similar image using a hoax-able method. The Patterson-Gimlin film by contrast has got better with age! The more it is analysed with modern technology the more detail it appears to reveal that suggests it might be more flesh and blood as opposed to man in a suit. It also seems to have defied replication. Attempts that I have seen at replication look like very poor copies. If it is a hoax it is a damned good one. From the falling off the horse (wobbly film footage at the start), to the size of the creature, to the muscles that appear to ripple under the skin (modern analysis), to the fact that it appears to have breasts! If you are going to hoax it, why give it breasts? It is also interesting that many mainstream scientists are now daring to discuss the possibility that an unknown primate may actually be wondering around the Pacific northwest. I'm still disturbed by the fact that we don't have any remains yet, but the Sasquatch possibility is growing on me. Also, the Skookum cast is very interesting.

Finally, there are probably some large cryptids still lying undiscovered in the oceans. Think Megamouth shark and Colossal squid.

4) Which cryptids do you think are the least likely to exist?

Well, I don't think a Plesiosaur lives in Loch Ness, Okanagan, Champlain or any other large freshwater lake. However, that doesn't mean there are not plenty of strange occurrences to explain. If somebody could please tell me what those images show from the underwater cameras in Loch Ness in 1972 and 1975, I'd like to know. As an anti-plesiosaur theorist, that Robert Rhines image puts a big hole in my argument. I'm not aware of any sceptic successfully explaining what the image shows nor am I aware of anybody claiming it is an out-and-out hoax. The image has always fascinated me yet for some reason writers and broadcasters on the subject of Loch Ness always seem to give it a wide berth. Do they know something I don't? Answers on email please....

5) If you had to pick your favourite cryptozoological book (not including books you may have written yourself) what would you choose?

That's a difficult one. I read several books on Loch Ness and it was probably my first real cryptozoological fascination. As a student I read several of the classic tomes on the Loch Ness Monster. They inspired me to catch a train up there and sleep rough on the shore for a couple of nights (at least Feltham has his van!). Actually, having met the man a couple of times, I would like to read something by him. The last time I saw Steve Feltham was in 2001. I'd love to know whether his views remain steadfast or whether time has altered them at all. He told me he wasn't keeping a diary and had no plans to write a book; a shame, because I'd love to read it and that video diary he did for the BBC remains one of my all time favourite cryptozoological TV programmes.


Richard King said...

On the Plesiosaurs-read Dale's blog posted today. I just added a comment myself.

Ego Ronanus said...

What frightens me is the use of the word "videos" in connection with the word "historical". I was born before videos were invented.