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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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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I AM IN A QUANDRY

After Michael Newton's post about Loch Ness there were a number of comments, including one from the person who calls himself `The Highland Tiger`. As you probably know, THT has been a thorn in my side for months, making a series of snide attacks on the CFZ, and me and Richard in particular. As a result, I banned him from commenting on both the blog and our YouTube account. However, he does make some interesting points, even though he presents them in a combative and unpleasant manner.

He starts 'I know you won't publish my comment', which, considering the fact that I banned him from commenting is a fair enough supposition. He continues, taking umbrage at Michael Newton's statement:

'While various descriptions of Spurling’s toy submarine describe it as fourteen to eighteen inches long, an exhaustive review of antique toy catalogues reveals no wind-up toys in that size range offered for sale during the early 1930s.'

And saying that it 'Is not true'.

He qualifies this accusation by writing that:

'It took me only 60 seconds on google to discover the following 1930's wind up submarines of the size quoted.

Tin Submarine

Tin submarine 2

It makes you wonder if any of the other points made are so similarly "under researched".'

He ends his email with a threat: 'If my comments are not noted on this article, I may post something regarding it on my own blog'.

As he quite often does, he makes an interesting point but he has such an idee fixe that everyone in the CFZ is fraudulent, only in it for the money and somehow out to get him, that once again he seems incapable of making his point without being aggressive about it. He seems only to have started his blog (which is mostly an attack on the CFZ and me) in a fit of pique because I wouldn't post his comments on the Texas expedition. Indeed he accompanied his debut blog posting with an email to me saying 'You were warned!'

These bullyboy tactics won't work. Certainly not on me. The irony, and the reason that I have headed this post 'I am in a quandry' is that most of his points are interesting ones. Even some of the comments that he makes about the CFZ are ones with which I agree. I would actually like to have a reasonable dialogue with the man. But until he stops being so aggressive and downright unpleasant I have no option but to ignore him.

Sad innit?

5 comments:

Dale Drinnon said...

THT is almost certainly wrong, the type of toy submarine that he describes would never hold up a sea-serpent sculpted superstructure without tipping over, and of course there is still the problem of the SECOND photo. Spurling was lying and he had no idea of what he was talking about.

As far as THT goes, you are perfectly within your rights to cut him off as an agitator and a troublemaker. Certainly people have done that to ME before, with much less provocation than THT has given to you. But as a moderator of nearly 250 yahoo groups, I routinely banish people every day for much less provocation. It is not out of line for you to try and maintain order in your blog.

sluggo said...

..there`s always one isn`t there..Don`t despair there are many of us out here that thoroughly enjoy the blog!..thanks !

Aaron T said...

Dale Drinnon wrote "Spurling was lying and he had no idea of what he was talking about." A close read of Martin & Boyds book suggests otherwise. Ask anyone in their 80's about something trivial they did 60 years earlier and you can expect some false details or wrong words derived from some other memory. Critics of Mr Spurlings testimony point to the lack of "Plastic Wood" (TM) in 1933, but what if C.S. actually meant "papier mache". It all works then.

Michael Newton's article is pleasant enough but full of inaccuracies and naivete, so many that I didn't bother to begin listing them. It must be rather like a devout American Christan visiting Bethlehem and thinking "Wow isn't this fantastic?" And not seeing the current disaster going on around him.
Finally, while it is nice to read the happy clappy crypto mysteries, it would be nice if discussions could be continued to acknowledge later resolution. E.g. my comments on the Dinsdale Film have been quite ignored (30th May)

Thanks, A

PS "Quandry" - a place for cleaning quaggas & quolls?

eyeofnewt said...

Greetings, all. First attempt to comment didn't take, so try, try again. Re. "Tiger's" comments on the toy sub, his eBay links offer no physical dimensions, thus failing to prove Spurling's case for an 18" clockwork sub available for purchase in 1933-34. I've been searching every available print catalogue of antique toys since his story went public in '94, and while finding various toy subs, have yet to locate one of the proper size. Needless to say, if proved wrong, I'll be tickled pink to admit it. Cheers!

Aaron T said...

Eyeofnewt wrote "...his eBay links offer no physical dimensions, thus failing to prove Spurling's case for an 18" clockwork sub available for purchase in 1933-34..."

Martin & Boyd's quotes CS as saying "the neck would be about 12 inches and the body about 14 inches, we then sanded it down and painted it grey". Mr Spurling was a skilled artist and model maker and it is entirely possible that he built his model around a 1934 "Unda Wunda" clockwork diving submarine, made by Sutcliffe Pressings, Horsforth Leeds. Out of the box, it measured about 9" long.
Google for an image of it. The arguments about stability are specious, the neck could have been largely sheet material, even balsa wood, fitting over the conning tower after winding up the mechanism.

Finally, for now at least, it is worth mentioning that Mr Spurling wasn't claiming anything. He was tracked down by Alastair Boyd living in a house in Worthing which had no tv and seemed to be a time capsule from the day he moved there on his retirement from the film industry in 1963. He had no interest in gaining publicity and was quite unaware of the media fascination in the model he had made. He was quite matter of fact and polite when answering questions, but had no time for "all that codswallop".

But I am sure "eyeofnewt" will have read the book before writing his comments, so this will not be news to him. A