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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are three episodes pretty much at random:


Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Saturday, July 31, 2010


* We shall be showing several short films over the weekend, and we have been waiting for confirmation on this one. On the saturday Jon will be introducing 'Creature Quest: the Owlman of Mawnan'. directed by Matt Sayce, who will take questions afterwards..

With less than two weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

DALE DRINNON: The Da Nhan and Rock Apes of Vietnam

This was an area where I had some personal input in gathering stories from both ex-soldiers and displaced Vietnamese in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The first word of it I heard came as rumors from returning soldiers claiming to have run into Orangutans in the jungles. I had extensive confabs with both Vietnamese informants and several American soldiers: the Vietnamese called the creatures Da Nhan and the Americans usually called them Rock Apes. There also seemed to be some difference between the Jungle apes and the Rock apes which sounded like there were differences in the populations corresponding to lowlands and mountain gorillas. All informants agreed that the creatures were upright stoutly-built apelike creatures with reddish brown to dark brown hair between the sizes of a gorilla and a chimpanzee. The Vietnamese showed me in their dictionaries where a gorilla was a "Big Da Nhan" while an Orangutan was a "Small Da Nhan" I have one reference (from the Russian via Porshnev) that they left "Snowman" (Yeti) tracks.

My information was important enough that the SITU, and then Heuvelmans and Loofs-Wissowa contacted me directly about it. I had quotes from soldiers that the apes would be rifling through their supplies and one soldier said his unit spent more time fighting the Rock apes than they did with the Viet Kong. These reports came through the Indiana University Anthropology department where one of the professors opined that it might be "A funny sort of Orangutan" although the lack of physical evidence bothered him.

I wrote my first report including the descriptions from my interviews and the secondhand accounts and submitted it to the SITU in 1982. After some fumbling around (the SITU sent it back to me for a rewrite but I never got the parcel), I made a final submission of the article in 1991: the article was ultimately never run in PURSUIT.

Here is the same basic story told from an internet source:

Vietnam: the ‘Rock Apes’ of Quang Tri, Thua Thien and Quang Nam Provinces, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

American soldiers used the term ‘rock apes’ during the 1960 and ‘70’s Vietnam conflict, which described an unknown (to them) creature, about a meter to a meter and a half tall, (about 3' 4" to 5 feet tall) resembling an hair-covered ape with the exception it was larger than any local ape, tail-less and to the great surprise of the soldiers, they walked upright

An alternate military source, a former GI wrote using the term ‘Powell’s ape,’ after one of the creatures wandered into a restricted zone during the middle of the night. Powell was the name of the platoon leader. "All hell broke loose when the dark figure continued to advance into the far end of the restricted zone, it was fired upon."

"When daylight came, we realized we had blown the living shit out of a large ape, it was a male with the face of a wild man and not much else left of it to describe of the stinkin’ thing. We poured fuel over the remains and set it afire." (From the 1995 Nam bulletin board)

Another GI offered this description: "An oblong head framed the hair-covered face. Dark, deep-set eyes lay beneath a prominent brow, and they did nothing to complement the heavy jowls and angry mouth. As it stepped into a small clearing, Linderer could see that matted reddish-brown hair ran down the creature's neck and covered most of its body. Whatever it was, it stood at least five feet tall, had broad shoulders, long thick muscular arms, and a heavy torso, it walked upright."

In the small clearing, it stopped and studied the Americans. "What the hell is that?" someone called out from behind Linderer. "It's a rock ape," said another member of the squad. Another team member disagreed. "No, it ain't," he said. "I've seen rock apes, and that sure as hell isn't a rock ape!"

"It's an orangutan, well isn't it?"

Linderer asked while the others kept their eyes glued on the strange creature. "Well, if it is, then he can't read a map. There are no orangutans in Vietnam."

Jorgenson, Kregg "P.J.," 2001 "Excerpt from "Strange but True Stories of the Vietnam War --Very Crazy G.I."
Ballantine Book Publishing Company pages 33-36

Heuvelmans' checklist of Cryptozoological candidates (CRYPTOZOOLOGY Vol. 5, 1986) includes this entry under the Oriental realm:

"Anthropoid apes (Probably mainland orangutans surviving from the Pleistocene, or just traditions about them), in Assam (olo-banda, bir sindic), Burma (ui-wun), Southern China (xing-xing) and Vietnam (kra-dhan, con lu'o'i, bec-boc)"

In this case, Olo-banda is the same as 'Mahalangur', Big Monkey. I have heard an Indian man point to a gorilla at a zoo and describe it to his daughter as a 'Mahalangur'. The Kra-Dhan and Bec-Boc are named directly by Sanderson as candidate giant Macaques, but they are clearly the same as the Da Nhan and Rock Apes of Vietnam, with very nearly a verbatim description.

And the Xing-Xing are the apes that Poirier and Krantz are identifying as the orangutan-like Yeren, a creature that Krantz has called "Pongo erectus" (or else Yeren, in the final issue of CRYPTOZOOLOGY. Both names are necessarily invalid.)

There is more than one direct continuity of types from these mainland apes to the Abominable Snowmen or Yetis, and Heuvelmans' checklist entry for the Yeti is immediately following the "mainland orangutans" one (We are temporarily sidestepping the issue that "Fossil Pongo" cannot actually be Pongo) Heuvelmans mentions that the Yeti has been known since Classical antiquity (I do not know which ancient writer he means because he does not cite the source) and he ends the entry by saying "it is equally possible that the so-called Snowman is merely a particular kind of orangutan, more terrestrial than the tree-dwelling kind." Without reaising the fact, he has hit upon the key argument about "Fossil Pongo": "Fossil Pongo" was a large (Gorilla-sized) ground-dwelling ape while modern Pongo, the orangutan, has a number of specific and peculiar adaptations to arboreal life. Hence it is very likely that the Yeti (s well as the rest) are merely surviving "Fossil Pongo", but the genus NAME for "Fossil Pongo" is yet to be decided. Hence the "Discovery" of all of those types hinges on a decision about the placement of the known fossil form.


Doug Shoop writes:

Jon, I thought you might enjoy this article as well as the slideshow


slide show at site:

Rachel Sussman is a time traveler. For the last few years, the American photographer has journeyed across the globe on a mission to bring back images of the world's oldest living organisms. In her ongoing project, Sussman has traveled to the primal landscapes of southern Greenland, the timeless high-altitude Andean deserts of South America and even under the ocean.

"[The project] is a celebration and record of our past, a call to action now, and also a barometer of our future," she told CNN. Sussman began her time-traveling trips in 2004 while visiting the island of Yakushima in Japan to see a reportedly 2,200-year-old tree. On her return to the U.S., the idea to photograph an example of other long-living ancient species germinated and grew....

MIKE HALLOWELL: Imps from Geordieland

The ongoing thread about the Lincoln Imp has provoked a lot of interest. Now Mike Hallowell, doyen of Geordie phenomenology, has got in on the act...

Northumbria is well blessed when it comes to imps. And sprites. And Boggles. And faeries. And elves. And gnomes. And brownies. And dunnies. And so on. And even so forth. Geordieland is, I reckon, the quintessential integrated community, ethereally speaking. Mind you, I have it on good authority that the elves of Northumbria and their cousins in the elvin kingdom of Durham don't get on very well, although I'm not sure why. It could be a football thing, as we northerners are vociferously tribal when it comes to the beautiful game.

The problem we have up in this neck of the woods is that colloquial names for different elemental entities are exchanged and interchanged with cavalier abandon. One Geordie's elf is another one's sprite, and whilst those in the south of the village may refer to their resident divil as a boggle, those on the other side of the turnip patch may insist with equal enthusiasm that it is a hob. Or a bogie. Or a boggart.

Imps and sprites are particularly hard to separate within the annals of Geordie Forteana. Hence, there once used to be considerable debate over the little divil at Haselrigg, which sitteth within the Parish of Chatton, Northumberland. He has been called the Haselrigg Sprite, the Haselrigg Brownie and the Haselrigg Imp, the latter of which is, I reckon, correct.

Imps – at least those within the province of the Geordie kingdom – are mischievous little buggers, and the Haselrigg Imp was certainly no exception. In some respects, the Haselrigg Imp behaved like a Brag, and could allegedly shape-shift into animal form. There the similarity ends, however, for whereas the Brag (about which John Triplow and I are penning a book at the moment) is a vicious entity with a predisposition for sadism and violence, the Haselrigg Imp simply enjoyed carrying out Candid Camera-type pranks on its victims who rarely seem to have come to any harm.

One of the favourite tricks of the Haselrigg Imp was to impersonate the horse of a father-to-be. When the time arrived for the new bairn to exit the womb, the hubby would saddle up his horse and pop off to fetch the midwife. Or at least, he thought he was saddling up his horse. In fact, he was saddling up the Haselrigg Imp which was impersonating the horse, if you get my drift.

Now the father-to-be would suspect nothing. He would trot off to the midwife's cottage and howk her on to the back of his horse. The two would then make the return journey back to the chap's home where, hopefully, the "middie" would bring into the world yet another Shane, Wayne, Clarissa or Chantelle. Back then it was probably Isaac, Joseph, Ethel or Bertha, of course.

Anyway, the Haselrigg Imp would wait until the husband and the midwife were almost back at the dwelling, and then – quelle horreur – it would suddenly evaporate into the ether, thus allowing the midwife and the dad-to-be to fall into a patch of mud. Apparently the Haselrigg Imp was spot-on when it came to the mud thing, and had an uncanny knack of being able to deposit his charges into the biggest, wettest, deepest, smelliest mud patch in the village.

It is interesting that the Haselrigg Imp always seemed to pull off his coup de gras near to the home of the labouring woman, thus ensuring that the midwife could still get to her patient in time. As I've said, the Imp doesn't seem to have wanted to cause any real harm; just to have a bit of a laugh. From now on, the Geordie Monsters blog will be new and improved, "Now with 20% Extra Added Imp!"

If you want to know more about Geordie Imps, watch this space. Alternatively, you could always make your missus "with child" (I can e-mail you the instructions if you're not sure how to go about this. It’s a complicated, laborious process but not that unpleasant) and go rent a flat near Haselrigg….


The other day I was sent this strange story of a series of attacks on domestic livestock in Ecuador. It read:

"The small community of “La Cuadra” (The block) has seen multiple cattle mutilated and torn apart by something powerful. The ghastly findings are out of the ordinary, even for local known predators. The residents concluded that what ever it is that has killed steer and cows, it’s powerful enough to rip them apart and leave huge, deep prints with large claws in the mud. cuadra-gente".

There have been stories like this from across South America for many years, and have often been linked with manbeasts like the di-di. This story follows a familiar pattern, but we would like to hope that on this occasion the reports will be followed up and some sort of definitive conclusion reached. The unknown writer is keeping his options open about the perpetrator of the violence:

"No photographs of the paw prints have been released, although photographs of the mutilated cattle speak for the shocking attacks. What is stalking the cattle in Ecuador? In order to inflict that kind of damage seen in the photographs, I would have to say that a large cat is on the lose, or a pack of canids are attacking the cattle."

Cat? Dog? Manbeast? Sicko with a Stanley Knife? We await more news with interest.


Yesterday we covered the story of a mysterious animal, described as a `sea monster` which was seen and photographed off Paignton. No doubt the detractors out there would like to claim that somehow Richard and I faked the whole thing to plug the forthcoming Weird Weekend, but we didn't. Honest!

The thing that I find extraordinary is the level of drivel that is written about it on various internet forums and message boards. The general consensus of opinion seems to be that it is an Indopacific crocodile.

Me? I think it is a basking shark; I think that what appears to be its back is its tail, and the `head` is the tip of its nose, but golly, wouldn't I love to be proved wrong!

(NOTE: I spoke to Richard Freeman yesterday, and although he doesn't agree with my Basking Shark hypothesis, he doesn't know what it is either)

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1990 the teacup poisoner, Graham Young, died. Young was imprisoned at Broadmoor Hospital in 1962 but was released in 1971 having been ‘fully cured’ according to the authorities and no longer a danger to society. He started to poison people again almost immediately starting with 70 of his co-workers.

New prehistoric shrimp colonies found at Caerlaver...
Search for 6ft boa on the loose in Wickford, Essex...
Sea 'monster' spotted in Tor Bay stalking a shoal ...

Was that a mention of Nessie in the last story? I’ve been waiting for a chance to use this song:


Fact fans might also note that Silas Hawkins’ father performed many of the voices in that series.

ANDREW HOPCROFT: My very own Lincoln Imp

My very own Imp once belonged to my Grandfather who won it in the late sixties/early seventies as a trophy for a bowls competition. Since that time this 16cm tall figure has been broken, repaired, broken, repaired; finally painted and left safely upon a high shelf. I remember my Grandmother recalling how a friend or neighbour was shocked that she should allow such a devilish thing to be brought into the house as no doubt bad luck or worse would follow!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: Latest News

* Lindsay Selby is, as you know, unable to make this year's event due to severe ill health. She has, however, sent down things for a display, as well as things for children's prizes. We all send her our love, best wishes, and healing thoughts and pray that she will be back to normal, and with us next year!

With less than two weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here


From YouTube: Not sure what this is. We'e heard it twice, thought we saw it once, and it looked like a woodpecker or similar, but I'd rather go off the sound since that's more definite. Can anybody guess what it is? I'm stumped. From the meta tags it looks like this was recorded near Halifax, Nova Scotia (a place of which my late father spoke fondly after his experiences there during the war).


The August episode of On The Track (of Unknown Animals) will be a day or so late. The last four days of July have/will have seen an unprecedented influx of visitors, and there are also the usual Weird Weekend disruptions, and I won't actually start it until Monday 2nd. Sorry about that....

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Incredible Survival Story

The incredible survival story of Australian Hayden Adcock, the man who survived 11 days lost in the Laos jungle in 2008 and was attacked by giant lizards, is the feature of episode #3 of Miracles, and can be viewed on ABC's iView for a short time here:

The program includes interviews with Hayden and his family and actual rescue footage.

Hayden survived exposure, internal bleeding, multiple organ failure, various infections, blood poisoning, pneumonia, maggots and having his flesh and the skin on his feet eaten by giant lizards!

Seven months later, after learning to walk again, he returned to laos to meet and thank all of his rescuers. A miracle indeed.


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`. This nineteenth collection once again really is a general mishmash of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including a woman who jumped out of an aircraft and survived, a poet who wanted a volume of his poetry bound in his own skin, Romanian prisoners hammering nails into their own skulls and a chiropractor who claimed to have been kidnapped by a lost tribe of native Australians. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1965 J.K. Rowling was born.

Mars rocks 'may contain evidence of life'
Mars site may hold 'buried life'
Mars site may hold 'buried life'

Those last two links are actually different stories, it just seems they weren’t being that creative with headlines yesterday. It is funny how all this ‘life on Mars’ stuff comes out just as the US government is debating cutting NASA’s funding… Still it gives me the chance to link to a rather obvious, but good, song:


Thursday, July 29, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: Latest News

* I am pleased to announce another addition to the line-up. Veteran UFOlogist and fortean Lionel Beer is presenting a short talk on treacle mines. This has been in the offing for about ten years now, and it has just been bad luck that there has never been a WW when he has been free to talk, and we have had a free spot before.

If you want to know what a treacle mine is, it is obviously a mine from which one digs up treacle...

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here


My Bad, as young people say today. Yesterday I totally messed up the posts to the Usenet newsgroups. First of all I said that it was Friday (when it was only thursday) and then I gave the description of actually appeared today 24 hours early. Confused? I certainly was....


I have to admit that I am rather enjoying myself seeing how long I can keep this Lincoln Imp thread going. Today it is the turn of Robert Schneck who has a spoon in the shape of the creature....

RICHARD FREEMAN: Giant turtles

Following on from Richard Muirhead's excellent discovery of a giant turtle from Cheung Chau, posted yesterday here are a relevant excerpt from my yokai book:

Minogame is a ten thousand year old turtle. It has long strands of weed and alga growing from the back of it’s shell to symbolize old age. The name means ‘straw turtle’ as the growth of weed resembles a straw raincoat. In reality many species of turtle have weeds growing on their shells. In some cases this enhances their camouflage.

The best known story about Ryūjin, the Dragon King, is that of Urashima Taro. Urashima was a fisherman. One day he caught a large turtle in his nets. The turtle was a symbol of old age and thus much respected. Urashima let the animal free.

To his amazment the turtle transformed into a lovely young woman. She explained that she was the daughter of Ryūjin the dragon god. She casts a spell on the fisherman enabling him to breath underwater then invites him to Ryūgū-jō.

Urashima was amazed by the vast underwater palace of coral and crystal but even more so by Ryūjin himself. The mighty dragon god’s coils were thousands of feet long and glittered with scales of every imaginable shade of green, aquamarine, turquoise, and blue. His head was crowned with branching antlers and his teeth were as long as scythes. Despite his daunting appearance the god had a kindly look in his eyes and took a liking to Urashima. He allowed him to marry his beautiful daughter and live in the splendid palace

For a while Urashima was happy but then he began to miss his land home and his parents. He was worried that they had no one to care for them in their advancing years. His bride accepted the situation and allowed him to return to the land so long as he promised to come back to her. The fisherman loved his bride and promised that he would indeed return.

Before he left she gave him a small laqured box tied up with cord and told him to never open it. If he did he would never see her again. Once again he gave his word. In her turtle form his wife escorted Urashima back to land.

Once ashore Urashima noticed that something was wrong. The surrounding mountains looked the same but the village was larger and looked very different. All the villagers were strangers. Looking around he saw no one he recognized. He hurried to his old home and found it to be nothing but a pile of rubble. Beside himself with worry he asked around about the people who had live in house and what had become of them. One very old man vaugly recalled a story of an elderly couple whose son had been a fisherman lost at sea. The story was supposed to have occurred 400 years ago!

It dawned on Urashima that time was not measures in the kingdom of the dragon god as it was on land. For every day he spent in Ryūgū-jō many mortal years had passed on land.

Perhapse hoping to find an answer to his awful situation he foolishly opened the box. A wisp if smoke rose up from inside it. This was time catching up with him. His hair grew white then fell out. His eyes dimmed, his bones grew frail. His skin wrinkled and sagged. His body dessicated as time sucked the life out of him. Later the villagers discovered the dried out husk of a man clutching a laquered box.

The date of Urishima’s fishing trip was around AD 478 and his return at around AD 825.


Folks, today I want to make a brief mention of what has become known as the Manchester Moth and unfortunately it will have to be very brief because I left my papers on the moth with Lizzy a week or so ago for her to have a look at. I do remember that about 50-60 specimens of this moth were found on Kersal Moor near Manchester but all but about 3 were destroyed by the irate landlady of the habitation of the discoverer because he had spent all his money on drink and could not afford to pay his rent, so she threw his moth collection on the fire!! I do love these 'human interest' stories.

The mystery is how did the moth get there in the first place? It has never been seen since, the other two specimens are in the Natural History Museum in London and in a museum in Melbourne. Dr Dmitri Loganov an entomologist at the Manchester Museum (where the accompanying photographs were taken by myself) believes that caterpillars from either India or the U.S. may have somehow got to a cotton mill near the moor and later developed into moths. So the next stage is to track down entomologists in those countries to see if they have any further information.

Please will you be very kind and NOT reproduce these photos for your own purposes as I am hoping they will get their first showing when The Mystery Animals of Greater Manchester is published in a few months. I may even try and take better ones.



If you obey society`s rules
You will be society`s fools
You`ll obey and then disobey
You`ll disobey and then obey
You thought your mum and dad were fools
You never wanted to listen in school
Now your mind wont go
Where you want to take it
You got a ride but you`re not going to make it


Bad Machinery, which can be found HERE is getting better than ever, and frequently explores Fortean themes. The latest story has a decidedly crypto bent, and is totally addictive. I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour and even the slightest interest in the subject....

I read it each morning, and have the perpetrator, Mr John Allison, firmly in my sights as a WW guest sometime soon.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1975 Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suspicious circumstances. Various urban legends place Hoffa’s final resting place at a number of locations throughout the United States including bridge supports and stadia and despite several searches of rumoured gravesites no trace of Hoffa has ever been found.

Damselflies in distress forced back to UK by clima...
Beautiful 'lost' insect turns up anew in UK
Tarantulas on the loose in Britain
Divers find ancient monkey fossil
Two tarantulas discovered in Bolton in less than m...
Pigeon poopers spoil Kings of Leon gig

Now this happens:


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: The Latest news

* Lars Thomas will, as you know, be talking about the arcane art of identifying hair samples. However, throughout the weekend he will be doing just that, and has asked you to bring along samples of hair for him to identify. You wouldn't want to disappoint our favourite Great Dane would you?

* I owe an apology to Sheridan Thayer, who we added to the line-up yesterday. She is not a he! Whoops! It is nice to add another female speaker to the lineup....

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here




Chupacabra. Chu-pa-ca-bra. Other than feeling the occasional, inexplicable need to utter the word, I never gave much thought to the phenomenon known as the chupacabra. But then an odd convergence got me thinking about this mysterious beastie.

Yes, there was the recent news out of Hood County: two separate sightings of hairless canines, which many liken to the folklorish creatures from south of the border. But just about the same time those stories were breaking, I made the acquaintance of Nick Redfern, a British-born writer who lives in Arlington.
Nick chases monsters.

Read on

D. R. SHOOP WRITES: Baby Moose in Sprinkler

I think this is fairly normal in Alaska. Turn the music down unless you can tolerate, well ack, gushing over sentimentality…yuck, but the video is cute.


apparently the same twin moose a little more grown up



During the compilation of the opus that is Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers, we were handed lots of intriguing video footage - and possibly one of the most puzzling was that of what appears to be a lioness roaming the Northern territory Outback.

'Shot' by NT resident Jan Donovan, this still from the footage (left, which featured this week on the front page of the Northern Territory News) could lend weight to the notion feral exotic cats are running around in Australia's wilderness. What do you think?


A giant snake capable of swallowing a man on horsback whole. One was slain by Egara no Heita was a military hero of the Kamakura period (1185-1333). While on a hunt with Minamoto no Yoriie Egara no Heita slew a huge snake deep in a mountain cave. His exploits are portrayed in Noh theater. This was said to have happened in June 1207.

Another hero Yamato Take is credited with slaying a giant smake in Omi.

Mt. Tsurugi, is the second highest peak on the island of Shikoku, is steeped in mystery. According to one local legend, the mountain is actually a giant man-made pyramid, and another legend says that a hoard of King Solomon’s secret treasure lies buried within. A giant snake believed to be guarding that treasure has been sighted on many occasions.

In May 1973, a group of 4 forestry workers reportedly encountered a 10 meter (33 ft) long snake as big around as a telephone pole. The creature was described as having shiny black scales, and it reportedly made a loud chirping sound. Local officials organized a large-scale hunt for the snake, enlisting the help of hundreds of volunteers. The serpent remained elusive, but the searchers did find what appeared to be giant snake tracks that measured 40 centimeters (16 in) wide and passed alongside fallen trees.

A local history museum has in its collection a large jawbone measuring 34 centimeters (13 in) across, which many believe belongs to the giant snake. The author has seen a photograph of the jaws and they clearly belong to a shark

No snakes of this size exist in Japan but on mainland Asia pythons of huge size exist. It is possible that one of these great snakes was imported into Japan and is the basis for this legend. We know that the Tower of London menagerie kept all kinds of exotic animals many centuries ago. Indeed on English dragon legend, the dragon of Wormingford / Bures, seems to have been based on the escape of a crocodile from the collection.

As Japan is much closer to China than England is to Africa the idea of a python being imported then escaping form captivity is not too far fetched.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1588 the beard of the king of Spain was more than singed when Sir Francis Drake, Lord Charles Howard and the rest of the Navy, when the Spanish Armada was defeted.

Uncommon hybrid of zebra and donkey born at north ...
Kitten causes havoc in police chase
Mouse jumps from bowl in restaurant

And now a vaguely related song:


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


* Sadly, we have lost another speaker. Lindsay Selby, who is one of our favourite writers here on the blog, has pulled out due to ill health. She has been replaced by American film director Sheridan Thaywer who will be presenting excerpts from his new documentary on Ken Campbell, the Fortean actor, playwright and all round good egg who died a couple of years back. Although we will all miss Lindsay (and I have asked her to come next year instead), Sheridan is a welcome addition to the line-up because Ken C was an old mate of us all, and is sadly missed.

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

RICHARD FREEMAN: Legends of Lincolnshire #11

Bayard's Leap
A cave in a wood in Ancaster Heath was once inhabited by a witch. She terrorised the local people into giving her whatever she demanded. One family who refused her suffered from a stillborn child. Finally the people decided to do her in.

A local shepherd knew her better than anyone, so he was chosen to be the one to kill her. He was to invite her up onto a horse, then stab her in the breast, and throw her into a pond. He chose between two farm horses by leading them to the pond to drink. He then threw a stone in the water. He used Bayard, the horse that raised its head first. Mounting up, he rode to the witch's cave and called out to her to come and ride with him. She cried back "Wait 'till I've buckled my shoes and suckled the cubs, and I'll be with you."

Eventually the crone emerged and scrambled up onto the horse. He at once plunged his knife into her breast. The old hag, in her agony, clutched at the horse's back with the long sharp nails of her fingers. The horse in alarm made one wild, sudden bound, which landed him full sixty feet from the spot. The witch fell back into the pond, and was drowned; and so her career was ended. Bayard’s horse shoes left imprints next to the pond and a local farm was named `Bayard’s Leap` after the story.


Jason writes: 'do you know what this insect is? Its been in my room the last two nights.'

I actually do know for a change. It is one of my favourite British lepidoptera, but let's see if you guys out in Bloggoland can match my knowledge?


I'm sure you're very busy but here's an item you might want for CFZ blog. Probably not a source you read regularly:

'A plume from the extinct huia bird has sold for a record sum at auction in New Zealand. The feather was bought by a family from Wellington who declined to be identified. The brown and white feather traditionally used to adorn Maori chiefs sold for £3,800. No huia bird has been since 1907' -- Daily Sport, 23 June 2010.


Over on Karl Shuker's blog, he visits one of the most desolate places on earth in search of one of the most peculiar organisms....

Imagine a cold, barren, ghostly desertland whose fog-enshrouded coastline is littered with the sun-bleached wrecks of beached ships and the skeletons of dead sailors, whose sandy dunes not only move stealthily like stalking lions but also roar like them, whose pebbles unexpectedly split apart to reveal bright jewel-like flowers, whose ancient bizarre trees grow not upwards but lengthwise, extending enormous leathery leaves across the ground like alien ribbons, where elephants surf the sand dunes, and where slinking jackals and menacing hyaenas flit like sinister shadows around a long-abandoned oil rig that time and the elements have transformed into a towering edifice of rust and decay. This eerie, surrealistic vista may seem like the bleak landscape of a disturbed dream, but in fact it is an accurate portrayal of one of the world's most amazing regions - the Skeleton Coast, in southwest Africa.

Read On

DALE DRINNON: The Lincoln Impology continues

This is meant mostly as an amplification on my comments about the Lincoln Imp. 'Imp' is a funny word and it was usually taken to be a sort of demon towards the end of the Middle Ages, but before then the word was more usually used to mean one of the smaller and uglier of the Faery realm, a goblin. Goblins and brownies were mostly interchangeable and they were basically described as small hairy-but-naked humans that lived in the woods but could come to live around the house; usually hiding in the cellar or in the dark corners, but they could come out when the masters were asleep to inspect household goods, steal or wreck things - and they could also be trained to do household chores, presumably on the 'Monkey see, monkey do' principle. These are the same stories of the 'Little People' the world over, but these are also characteristics of current seriously-reported Wildmen reports out of Russia. The Wild Woman Zana was one example of a Wild Woman that took to living in a human house and doing household chores.

Oftentimes if the Little People are given human clothing as a reward they will stop working and go away, and the story should be that they thought themselves to be real humans and too good to work as slaves.

The section of Folklore that deals with such creatures calls them household sprits and this is partly because images of the creatures were made and set about the house or garden for protection (maybe in hopes of enticing such a creature into your house to do your work for you.) Nancy Arrowsmith in A Field Guide to the Little People assumes that the kobolds of Germany were originally JUST the carved icons, and the illustration shows basically what looks like a vaguely humanoid carrot stuck into the ground - ancestor of the common garden gnomes later on, I suppose. They are also represented by masks stuck on the walls inside the house, and certain ones of these masks have specific names presumably denoting different kinds of creatures: the same sort of masks or icons are put into churches and in ships for protection. Hence the traditition of representing Wildmen or Wudewasas in churches.

The icons are also ancestral to charms carried for personal use and the kobolds or goblins are ancestral to the Gobbo charms in Italy, considered the most powerful protection against the Evil Eye. 'Gobbo' is supposed to mean 'hunchback' but the concept seems to be pre-Indo-European and the lucky dwarf or hunchback may originally have been distributed throughout Megalithic Europe under the name Kobbok. In Greece the name was Kobalos and this is often given as the root for kobolds.

The leprechauns of Ireland were basically brownies of the 'Shoemaker and the Elves' type run off but still keeping themselves useful. 'Leprechaun' seems to have originally meant only 'Pygmy' but later was commonly construed to mean 'Shoemaker.' As the references below show, there is a wide variety of suggested derivations for all of these terms. And there is not much distinction in character between the helpful imps and the troublemakers except for the fact that the helpful ones might do a person a good turn. The helpful ones are also just as likely to go into a terrible rage and cause physical harm if threatened or mistreated. I shall append the pertinent passage from Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, and then the references from Wikipedia.

Sanderson p. 384
I do not propose to go into the details of MLF. Not only is it not specifically our province but it is, except to specialists, incredibly boring; in fact almost as boring as having to wade through the names and perquisites of gods in multiple pantheons. Also, with respect to ABSMs or ABSM-like creatures, the whole business becomes unutterably monotonous for, from all over the world, the stories told are nothing but almost word-for-word repetitions of the modern reports that I have already given aplenty—giant, funny, or pigmy foot-tracks; tiny, man-sized, or giant hairy people; high-pitched whistles or gibberings; abducting of young human females usually followed by their release; and an almost invariable smiting or eradication of such types "In the beginning." The whole dreary business is a bore but it does still have very great significance, for it means that almost everywhere [apart from Australasia, Oceania, and Antarctica, as far as we know] sub-humans if not sub-hominids inhabited the whole earth prior to the arrival of the first Homo sapiens persons who proceeded to oust them or at least take over their territory.

In ferreting out noticias—as the Spanish so aptly put it—of the existence of these sub-humans in all the welter of written, transcribed, spoken, and remembered MLF, one does, however, have to be extremely careful to observe one basic fact. This is the very clear distinction made by most peoples—though little so by Caucasoids of the West during the past few hundred years—between three types of Beings; exclusive of the all-pervading Spirit, or God. These are: (1) Divine Entities, being representatives of God, gods, demi-gods, or disembodied noncorporeal personalities of another world but which may appear in this one and influence it. These are entities

in their own right that, while being able to assume human form or "enter into" humans, do not change their own identities. (2) Disembodied Spirits of various kinds. These may be the souls of people, dead or alive, mass-produced ancestors, spirits of animals, plants, stones, or anything else, either collective [generic] or individual, together with all manner of lares and penates. To most peoples these are just as real as living people, animals, or plants. (3) Unknown or as yet undiscovered but live, corporeal things.

ABSMs have always fallen very clearly and distinctly into the third class. Nowhere in the world is there any doubt about this. If asked, the "benighted natives" will usually say something like the Nepalese at Pangboche when asked by Stonor about the Meh-Teh alleged to have been seen the year before. The answer he got was "How could they [i.e. any of Nos. 1 or 2] leave footprints?"

I have a fancy that a somewhat extensive galaxy of alleged creatures in the folklore of Western Europe is of this same most pragmatic nature. If you come to look into what was said about Fairies, Pixies, Trolls, Titans, Vampires, Ghouls, Gnomes, Imps, Bogies, Brownies, Elves, Leprechauns, Satyrs, Ogres, and Fauns [as diametrically opposed to "ghosts," "specters," "apparitions," "spirits," "phantoms," "wraiths," "spooks," "banshees," "lemures," or "lorelei," which were definitely of Class 2], you will find that they may all be summed up by the classic line from the somewhat bawdy old English song that begins "There are fairies at the bottom of our garden"

Creatures, usually hairy, generally malignant, only rarely benevolent, but perfectly capable of breeding, as well as communicating with human beings, form the basis of these tales. And note, they come in four convenient sizes. The same may be said for all similar types known by whatever other languages all over Europe, North Africa, and a great part of what is today Russia. There seem, indeed, to have been "in the beginning" ABSMs of just the usual four types—pigmy; man-sized [and specifically of the Neanderthaler kind]; giant; and the bestial Meh-Teh with its abominable feet [cloven?] and pointed head.[end of Sanderson passage]


Origins and etymology
The kobold's origins are obscure. Sources equate the domestic kobold with creatures such as the English
boggart, hobgoblin and pixy, the Scottish brownie, and the Scandinavian nisse or tomte;[1][2][3][4][5] while they align the subterranean variety with the Norse dwarf and the Cornish knocker.[6][7]
Kobold beliefs represent the survival of
pagan customs into the Christian and modern eras and offer hints of how pagan Europeans worshipped in the privacy of their homes.[9] Religion historian Otto Schrader has suggested that kobold beliefs derive from the pagan tradition of worshipping household deities thought to reside in the hearth fire.[10] Alternatively, Nancy Arrowsmith and George Moorse have said that the earliest kobolds were thought to be tree spirits.[11] According to 13th-century German poet Conrad of Würzburg, medieval Germans carved kobolds from boxwood and wax and put them "up in the room for fun".[12] Mandrake root was another material used.[13] People believed that the wild kobold remained in the material used to carve the figure.[11] These kobold effigies were 30 to 60 cm (one to two feet) high and had colourful clothing and large mouths. One example, known as the monoloke, was made from white wax and wore a blue shirt and black velvet vest.[13] The 17th century expression to laugh like a kobold may refer to these dolls with their mouths wide open, and it may mean "to laugh loud and heartily".[12] These kobold effigies were stored in glass and wooden containers.[13] German mythologist Jacob Grimm has traced the custom to Roman times and has argued that religious authorities tolerated it even after the Germans had been Christianised.[6]

Several competing etymologies for kobold have been suggested. In 1908, Otto Schrader traced the word to kuba-walda, meaning "the one who rules the house" [since wald ordinarily means "forest", it would seem that the original meaning would actually have been "One who dwells in the forest"].[10] According to this theory, the root of the word is chubisi, the Old High German word for house, building, or hut, and the word akin to the root of the English cove. The suffix -old means "to rule".[14][15]
Grimm has provided one of the earlier and more commonly accepted etymologies for kobold,
[3] tracing the word's origin through the Latin cobalus to the Greek koba'los, meaning "rogue". The change to the word-final -olt is a feature of the German language used for monsters and supernatural beings. Variants of kobold appear as early as the 13th century.[18] The words goblin and gobelin, rendered in Medieval Latin as gobelinus[19][20], may in fact derive from the word kobold or from kofewalt.[16][21] Related terms occur in Dutch, such as kabout, kabot, and kabotermanneken.[12] Citing this evidence, British antiquarian Charles Hardwick has argued that the house kobold and similar creatures, such as the Scottish bogie, French goblin, and English Puck, all descend from the Greek kobaloi, creatures "whose sole delite consists in perplexing the human race, and evoking those harmless terrors that constantly hover round the minds of the timid."[22] In keeping with Grimm's definition, the kobaloi were spirits invoked by rogues.[23] Similarly, British writer Archibald Maclaren has suggested that kobold beliefs descend from the ancient Roman custom of worshipping lares, household gods, and penates, gods of the house and its supplies.[24]

Another class of kobold lives in underground places. Folklorists have proposed that the mine kobold derives from the beliefs of the ancient Germanic people. Scottish historical novelist Walter Scott has suggested that the Proto-Norse based the kobolds on the short-statured Finns, Lapps, and Latvians who fled their invasions and sought shelter in northern European caves and mountains. There they put their skills at smithing to work and, in the beliefs of the proto-Norse, came to be seen as supernatural beings. These beliefs spread, becoming the kobold, the Germanic gnome, the French goblin and the Scottish bogle.[25]
German writer Heinrich Smidt believed that the sea kobolds, or Klabautermann, entered German folklore via German sailors who had learned about them in England. However, historians David Kirby and Merja-Liisa Hinkkanen dispute this, claiming no evidence of such a belief in Britain. An alternate view connects the Klabautermann myths with the story of Saint Phocas of Sinope. As that story spread from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Scholar Reinhard Buss instead sees the Klabautermann as an amalgamation of early and pre-Christian beliefs mixed with new creatures.[27]

[Klabautermannen are represented by carved wooden figurines or masks which are said to bring good luck to ships, and these descend from similar wooden representations made in houses and gardens in the wooded and hill countries.]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The kobalos (pl. kobaloi) was a sprite from Greek mythology, a mischievous creature fond of tricking and frightening mortals.[1] Greek myths depict the kobaloi as "impudent, thieving, droll, idle, mischievous, gnome-dwarfs",[2] and as "funny, little triksy elves" of a phallic nature.[3] They were companions of Dionysus [which identifies them as the same as satyrs]and could shapeshift as Dionysus in the guise of Choroimanes-Aiolomorphos.[4] According to one myth, they robbed Herakles while he slept. He captured them in revenge but took pity on them when he found them amusing.[This is the same story told of the Cecropes or Apes] In one version of the myth, Herakles gave them to the Lydian queen Omphale as a gift. The kobaloi were thought to live in Euboea or near Thermopylai.[2]

Parents used tales of the kobaloi to frighten children into behaving.[5] The term also means "impudent knave, arrant rogue" in ancient Greek, and such individuals were thought to invoke kobaloi spirits.[6] Depictions of kobaloi are common in ancient Greek art. Robert Brown has speculated that their inhuman features show that the kobaloi are non-Hellenic in origin.[2]

The kobalos is related to two other Greek sprites: the
kabeiroi (pygmies with large phalluses) and the kerkopes.[2] The kobalos and kabeiroi came to be equated.[2] Other European sprites may derive from belief in kobaloi. This includes spirits such as the Lancashire boggart, Scottish bogle, [Welsh bwca], French goblin, Medieval gobelinus, German kobold, and English Puck.[7] Likewise, the names of many European spirits may derive from the word kobalos. The word entered Latin as cobalus, then possibly French as gobelin. From this, the English goblin [and the regional variants hob and hob-goblin] and Welsh coblynu may derive.[8]

['Kerkopes' were said to have been transformed into monkeys by Zeus, hence the term Cercopithecines to mean 'Old-world monkeys.' Since no monkeys or apes are actually native to Greece, there has also been the suggestion that the creatures were the same as the fauns and satyrs of other myths]

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1945 Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, was born. Few people are aware of the dark truth behind the adventures of the portly puss but the comic is actually about the fevered dreams of Garfield as he is starving to death in an empty house having been abandoned by everyone, see here:


Well, that was depressing; here’s the news:

Rare Otter civet filmed for first time in Borneo
Australia's marsupials 'have American roots'
Jesus seen in chicken's feathers

Operating standard chicken procedures:


Monday, July 26, 2010


* We have just heard from Sharon - the Sunday morning fried breakfast will be back and (just to please Jon and disgust his vegetarian wife) there will be black pudding

* Nick and Kara Wadham will be doing the animal handling for the first time. They will have a display of their animals from Yeovil Bugfest. Just in case you thought the name Wadham was familiar, they are the proud parents of Harriet, the CFZ's favourite young journalist.

* Just in case of rain at the cocktail party we have bought a SECOND marquee.

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

NEIL ARNOLD: The Terror Of Tondo

The complex and a times absurd category of zooform phenomena vomits out countless monsters and apparitions of animalistic characteristics. Some are the product of hoax or hysteria; others exist by being dependent on the human psyche. They are observed near dark woods, in stormy skies or inky waters, but they inhabit none of these. These are simply the locations we put them in. Many of these ‘monsters’ are said to be bad omens; forewarnings of impending tragedy or symbols of upcoming political upheaval. The dreaded Mothman, the skull-biting Monkey Man, the bat-winged Popobawa - just a few of many bogeymen said to exist on some ethereal plateau as harbingers of doom.

The Manananggal of the Philippines is another of those surreal yet frightening creatures from the fringe. Beyond cryptozoology, and the supernatural, this horrifying vampire became known as the ‘terror of Tondo’ during the spring of 1992 when it terrorised the squalid avenues of Manila, vanishing into the shadows as a new president and thousands of officials were about to be elected. Filipinos had one eye on the presidential campaign and one eye on the skies for it was rumoured that the wraith, said to resemble a female whose body separates in two was on the rampage. The top half of the body, of a night, leaves the bottom half and scours the slums in search of food, mainly in the form of baby flesh! However, before daybreak the legend states that the monster must rejoin its bottom half, enabling the spook to walk around during the day just like the ordinary folk of the Tondo district.

The May 11th election had been replaced in the tabloids by the tales of the blood-sucking Manananggal. No-one knows where the tales originated from but in an area of great superstition and folk belief, monster mania is rife. One woman told the Daily News, “It’s scary. That’s why I don’t sleep alone.”

The story appeared to break a week after a local woman, a Ms Martina Santa Rosa, was attacked by the ghoul. She told newspapers, “She attacked me. I was just lucky I was able to get free. I saw half of her body. It was naked. She had long, scraggly hair, long arms, nails and sharp fangs.”

Despite scepticism, a neighbour, Mr Alfonso Bernardo, corroborated the tale stating, “We saw it fly away from her house.”

As with the case of the Monkey Man of New Dehli, some innocent people were drawn into the hysteria. A local woman, Teresita Beronqui, had her home invaded by a dozen angry men, accompanied by a television crew, who believed that she was in fact the hideous vampire. ABS-CBN television interviewed the elderly woman who through a veil of tears pleaded her innocence. The woman even claimed that she herself had been attacked by the monster and tried to prove this by showing the missing toes from one of her feet.

Bizarrely, a vampire ‘expert’ was drafted in and after interrogating the woman stated on national television that she was lying. Such investigations bring to mind the mass hysteria caused in 1960s London when it was alleged that in the north of the capital a seven-foot tall, red-eyed vampire was prowling Highgate Cemetery. Although a malevolent spirit was the more likely explanation, the events spiralled out of control and to this day cloud the original incident.

Another unidentified ‘expert’, when called in to comment on the Manananggal attacks, stated categorically that the woman accused was a vampire but had since transformed back to her normal self after a night of hunting. However, when asked to explain the missing toes, the ‘expert’ commented that the woman had failed to shape-shift back completely!

The legend of the Manananggal states that should any such ghoul come in contact with the dried tail of a stingray, then they will be repulsed by its touch. So, live on television, the woman was asked to touch such an object after reporter Cesar Soriano had produced one. The woman, thankfully, passed with flying colours, otherwise it may have resulted in her being treated as the local freak. Proof that in some districts little has changed since the witch trials of centuries ago.

Even so, the Manananggal was still said to linger in the shadows of Tondo weeks after the presidential election. Some would argue that such legends are evoked as a distraction from political upheaval, but those of a more suspicious nature blame the press for creating ‘silly season.’

Such cultural monsters are proof that whilst cryptozoologists are eager to confine such beasts to the wilderness of the world, it’s more likely that such phantoms can be found in the minds of those who fear them, and then the pages of the local newspapers, rather than the thickets we want them to inhabit.

ROBERT SCHNECK: Eel explorations

Hi Jon,
If you have a copy of the medical journal Surgery Volume 135, Issue 1, January 2004, turn to page 110:

Traumatic rectal perforation by an eel Siu Fai Lo FHKAM, Sin Hang Wong MBBS, Lok Sang Leung FRCS, In Chak Law FHKAM and Andrew Wai Chun Yip FHKAM

From the Department of Surgery, Kwong Wah Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Accepted 22 February 2003. ; Available online 20 December 2003

Sven Kullander, a Swedish icthyologist, followed up the story in his blog Fish Matters
06 May 2009
Eel out swamp eel in
Consulting the source paper for the rectum-eating eel (Siu Fai Lo, Sin Hang Wong, Lok Sang Leung, In Chak Law, Andrew Wai Chun Yip, Traumatic rectal perforation by an eel, Surgery, Volume 135, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 110-111) where the fish is not identified further than to "eel", it appears from the photograph there, which is very small and in low resolution, that this is not an eel at all, but more likely a swamp eel, apparently Monopterus albus, a common food fish in China where it is sold alive in the markets. This identification is suggested by the very slender tip of the tail, and somewhat inflated gular region. Thanks to Ralf Britz, expert on this order of fishes, the Synbranchiformes, for inspiring me to look at the original paper and first suggesting the identification. The swamp eel portrayed here, was never inside a human, though:.



The discovery of new species is driven by new technologies, targeted surveys of little-studied ecosystems and a determined effort to identify plants and animals before their habitat is lost. The kipunji is one of 300 mammal species discovered in the past decade; it is thought to be Africa’s rarest monkey. Read on..


In Japan there is a sort of tiny oni (deamon) that is supposed to shake houses and mak rattling and banging noises much like a polterghist. It is found in Kyoto prefecture and is called Yanari.

Japanese artist Toriyama Sekien (1712 – 1788) depicted them in his Gazu Hyakki Yakō ("The Illustrated Night Parade of A Hundred Demons") the first in three volumes on Japanese monsters published in 1776. The Yanari that is shaking the house's supports looks very like the Lincoln Imp.


We have over a thousand regular readers. Are any of you accountants? More specifically, are any of you accountants living and working in Britain who are prepared to donate a soupcon of your time, knowledge and expertise to the CFZ?

If so, please email me on jon@eclipse.co.uk

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1949 Robert Rankin was born. Rankin is - in my opinion - the world’s greatest writer of far fetched fiction and always has a Fortean theme to his stories. One of Rankin’s regular characters, Hugo Rune is according to some a sort of mix between Alistair Crowley, Tony ‘Doc’ Sheils and Jonathan Downes so if you enjoy the CFZ blog Rankin’s books will be right up your street. If you’re looking for one to start on I recommend ‘The Book of Ultimate Truths’, ‘The Antipope’ or ‘The Brightonomicon’. Both myself and our regular news blog editor, Gavin Wilson, are fans of Rankin’s work if you need anymore encouragement.
And now, the news:

Falmouth gets Weirder
Dead animal beer bottles at £500 each 'perverse'
Can a dog receive communion?
Malaysian politician floored by stinky fruit
Geneticists say Chinese and Tibetans were once one...
Liberian Elephant Possessed When it Attacked?

It’s body was taken over by an ele-phantom.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


* There will be an exhibition of the yokai art from Richard's new book

* Matt Sayce will be introducing a new short film about the Owlman of Mawnan

* Silas Hawkins will be back

* The musical introduction will once again follow the theme of small children and progressive rock music, and will be better (and more surreal) than ever

* There is a very special guest on saturday

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

DALE DRINNON: Bears, Bearmen and Bearmonkeys

Recently I entered this news item at the yahoo group Frontiers-of Zoology:


Chinese Sasquatch suspected

BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Bears or Bigfoot? That's what villagers in Shennongjia, Hubei Province are wonder-ing ever since one man named Ding Fei, 33, found mysterious thick curly hairs with transparent roots on July 9 at a location called Swallow Hole on a local mountain. After Ding reported his discovery to the neighborhood committee, some professional researchers found additional hairs and a 30-centimeter-long footprint at the same place on July 11.

According to their research, the hair isn't human or livestock, but the possibility of bears could not be ruled out. (Source: Global Times)

--Thirty centimeters is one foot long, there is no need to go about yelling "Sasquatch!" just yet. That would not even be a very impressive bear. However the Yeren reports seem to refer to not only an orangutan-like ape (According to Krantz and Poirier)but also a Neanderthal type (According to Heuvelmans), and other things besides. Unfortunately for the most part the hairs that are being found and reported as belonging to Chinese Wildmen are mostly turning out to be dyed hairs and synthetic fibers pulled out of wigs and toupees (Seriously!).

The following article gives an excellent overview of the history of the yeren in China:

Sightings of the Yeren, or Chinese Wildman, date back more than 2,000 years and are still reported today. Described as being a red haired bipedal animal, rising over six feet tall with a particuliarly fat belly and pronounced buttocks, the Yeren bears a resemblance to many unidentified humanoids reported in other countries including the United States. But as in reports from those other countries, more than one kind of creature seems to be reported under that general cryptid category name.

Most of the sightings are in the counties of Badong, Xingshan and Fangxian, and over much of the rest of China. But the Yeren are thought by most investigators to originate from Shennongjia Nature Reserve in Yichang, and that is where the search for them has been concentrated.

Even with all of the reports (some claim over 400 reports in the last 20 years), scientists haven’t definitively proven what the creature is, or even the concrete existence of the Yeren. When theorizing about what the Yeren could be, many zoologists believe the creature is a surviving Gigantopithecus, a giant bipedal primate believed to have gone extinct roughly 300,000 years ago, and today would share the same habitat. Another popular theory is that the Yeren are in fact a type of evolved orangutans.

The Wildman has been a part of the folklore of southern and central China for centuries, sighted primarily in the heavily forested areas of these regions. Frequently referred to as the Yeren (Wildman), the creature has been described as about six and a half feet tall with a thick coat of brown or red hair. It is said to walk upright, and footprints reportedly belonging to the Wildman have measured sixteen inches.

Although widely considered a superstitious myth in contemporary Chinese society, the Yeren boasts a history of sightings by scientists and dignitaries, rather than just common folk. In 1940, biologist Wang Tselin claimed to examine the corpse of a Wildman that had been killed in the Gansu region. He said it was a female specimen over six feet tall, with striking features that appeared to be a cross between ape and human. Geologist Fan Jingquan in 1950 reported seeing Wildmen live and in the flesh, a pair that he construed as mother and son, in the forests of the Shanxi province.

In 1961, a team of road builders allegedly killed a female Yeren in the forests of Xishuang Banna. By the time officials from the Chinese Academy of Sciences made it to the scene, the body had disappeared. The scientists' investigation concluded that the creature, which was described as only four feet tall, had been an ordinary gibbon. But twenty years later, a journalist who had been involved in the investigation came forward to claim that the creature killed was no gibbon, but an unknown animal of human shape.

In 1976, a car carrying six local government bureaucrats came across an unidentified creature on a rural highway in the Hubei province. The purported Wildman attempted to flee by climbing up an embankment, but slipped and fell onto the road in front of the car, crouching on all fours in the glare of the headlights. One of the frightened passengers threw a rock at the beast and caused it to run away. This incident sparked another intensive Wildman investigation by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but it turned up no conclusive results. The closest thing to concrete prof of the Yeren's existence surfaced in 1980 in the form of the preserved hands and feet of an unknown hominid creature. Supposedly, villagers had killed a Wildman in the Zhejiang province in 1957, and a biology teacher had removed and preserved all four of its extremities Upon examining the hands and feet, researcher Zhou

Guoxing at first announced that they belonged to an unknown species of monkey, but later decided they had come from a large macaque monkey. But Zhou made clear that this discovery did not mean that all Wildmen are macaques.

Tibetan Macacques

Another monkey spcies that has been suggested as a candidate for Wildman sightings is the rare and endangered golden monkey, whose unusual appearance could seem like a man-monster to some observers. Other researchers propose the more unlikely hypothesis that the Yeren is a surviving Gigantopithecus, a giant extinct primate believed to have lived in China three hundred thousand years ago.
© The Missing Link, Parascope.com

Artists Concept of a Yeren

In 1979 Zhou Guoxing wrote an article for China Reconstructs #28 which was later reprinted in Pursuit the following year:

"A formal investigation by the Chinese Academy of Sciences aftyer the 1976 event sent 110 investigators into the forests of Fang county and the Shennongjia area. No sightings were reported but local witnesses were interviewed and alleged Yeren footprints, hair, and feces were collected"

Zhou Guoxing, one of the expedition leaders, believed there seemed to be two types of Yeren: “a larger one of about two meters in height, and a smaller one, about one meter in height.” He also reported two types of footprints: “One is large, 30-50 cm [12 to 18 inches], remarkably similar to that of man, with the four small toes held together and the largest one pointing slightly outwards. The other type is smaller, about 20 cm [8 inches], and more similar to the footprint of an ape or monkey, with the largest toe evidently pointing outwards.”
Zhou, believes that both living and dead specimens of the smaller Yeren are already in scientists’ hands.

“One was killed on May 23, 1957, near the village of Zhuanxian in Zhejiang province. A biology teacher had the presence of mind to preserve the hands and feet." When Zhou learned of this in 1981, he went to the site and collected the specimens. After some considerable study he concluded that they “belonged to a kind of large stump-tailed monkey unknown to science.” Subsequently he identified the animal as an unusually large stumptailed macaque. Not long afterwards just such an animal was captured in the Huang Mountain region and taken to the Hefei Zoo. Zhou wrote that this species is mainly ground-dwelling…. "The body is large, about 70-90 cm in standing height. A tall individual could reach one meter. Its extremities are strongly built. It weighs more than 20 kilograms. A large male could weigh over 33 kilograms, while females would be smaller. The back hair is brown in color. The adult male has whiskers, and has a reddish color on the face.”

This is evidently intended to be the description of a Stump-tailed macaque or bear-monkey, common throughout Southeast Asia, although larger than the usual records. There is more than one canditate macaque in the area: the stumptailed macaques are in the southern parts of the range but the Tibetan macaque is found in Central China and is even larger.

The Wikipedia information on the stump-tailed macaque is as follows:

The Stump-tailed Macaque has long, thick, dark brown fur covering its body, but its face and its short tail, which measures between 32 and 69mm, are hairless. Infants are born white and darken as they mature. As they age, their bright pink or red faces darken to brown or nearly black and lose a lot of their hair. Males are much larger than females, measuring between 51.7-65cm long and weighing between 9.7-10.2kg, while females measure between 48.5-58.5cm and weigh between 7.5-9.1kg Male Stump-tailed Macaques' canine teeth, which are important for establishing dominance within social groups, are more elongated than those of the females. Like all macaques, this species has cheek pouches to store food for short periods of time.

Cawthon Lang KA (2005-10-04). "Primate Factsheets: Stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology


--As far as the large Stump-tailed monkeys go, they have a direct bearing on something Ivan Sanderson had said in Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961). He had said that certain reports from South and Central China, Tibet and Northern Indochina, represent a large macaque monkey, referring to it under the nonstandard genus name of Lyssodes. He does discuss how he thinks there is a kind of giant macaque in that area related to the Tibetan and Stump-tailed macaques, partially going on information of native animal collectors that told him a really big male of the species could stand up and look Sanderson in the eye at six feet tall. [p.274] Sanderson then takes pains to say "I do not for one monemt suggest that ABSMs [the Abominable Snowmen of the reports] are Giant Rhesus monkeys" and then "What I am trying to say is that, in addition to the two very distinct forms of ABSMs in this, the Himalayan South Tibet province...there could be...areally giant form of Lyssodes or Stump-tailed Macaque which might be the origin of some of the Tibetan (and notably the Tibetan) reports. The really giant Dzu-Teh, Tok, or Gin-Sung...[Sanderson does not think occurs in the area of Mount Everest]"

Sanderson is specifically meaning the reports of tailed hairy men of Tibet, the ones that had to make a hole in the ground to sit down according to the early legends. Eberhart in Mysterious Creatures refers to the creature under the name of 'Qa" and says that records referring to it go back to the ninth century. Eberhart also refers to the smaller "Yeren" of Zhou Guoxing under the entry of 'Ren-Xiong' and equates it to the Gin-Sung of Sanderson: on the other hand, he indicates that the Yeren has been confused with other creatures such as the Mao-Ren or standard Wildman (Almas) further to the West, the Xing-Xing (possibly an orangutan) and with the Giant mountain creature called the Shan-Gui (or just Shan). The last would be the larger Yeren or the Gin-Sung of Sanderson.

The situation in China is actually only a continuation of the situation represented in Tibet, and the same "Yeti" types continue Eastward and down to the lower elevations. And after reaching this point, I shall have to break the blog here and go on to the next part, Krantz's orangutan-like Yeren, the Xing-Xing, and Sanderson's Kra-Dhan and Mahalangur (Big Monkey). The giant forms are going to come in another blog following after that.

Of the illustrations, I consider the one shown in the Cryptids colouring book to be a fairly decent representation of the orangutan-like one and it is also a fair match for the Japanese netsuke that I take to be a Hibagon.