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, October 25, 2010

OLL LEWIS: Crypto-Cons - Anything But The Tooth

Some cryptids attract hoaxes much more than others, the two greatest examples of these being Bigfoot in America and the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland. These hoaxes are not, in my opinion, humbug and jolity like the hoaxes of Barnum and his peers, for they serve to constantly chip away at any credibility these cryptids may have. The crypids are contently targeted purely by the virtue that they are well known and the huge amount of hoaxes leads people to believe that because there are so many hoaxes then there is probably no truth behind any of the reports. When a person does see something that they think may be Nessie they now will automatically assume that it was a floating log or a wave and not report it. It may well have been a floating log, but what if it really was a sighting of an unknown animal? The evidence would be lost forever.

Particularly irksome is when hoaxes like this are preformed as publicity stunts to market some tawdrey wares. Sometimes they even try to use hoaxes like this to attempt to promote something that may have been of interest to real cryptozoologists, scoring a spectacular own goal in the process. One such incident occurred during the publicity campaign for Steve Alten's book The Loch.

In March 2005 the story broke that 2 American tourists had found a strange and quite large tooth on the banks of Loch Ness. They took photographs of the tooth but as they were doing so a shady water bailiff came up to them and confiscated the tooth, which was never seen again!

This might perhaps sound just within the realms of possibility to some but the story lost any credibility it may have had when you saw the photos of this alleged tooth. It was not even a tooth, rather the tip of a stag's antler. Pretty soon the hoax was admitted to as part of the book's publicity campaign. Perhaps the people responsible were expecting this to get people talking about Loch Ness and the book and for sales to go through the roof.

Well, they were part right: people did talk but mostly about what an idiotic thing to do this was and vowing never to buy the book. Obviously with the publicity generated the book's sales would have improved over what the sales would have been but had they not annoyed a large part of their target audience and thought of a better way of getting publicity the sales could have been higher.


Dale Drinnon said...

The business about the Loch Ness Tooth was very strange indeed. upon looking into the circumstances of the find, it seems that a piece of stag horn was found associated with the mangled remains of a deer washed ashore on the Loch...and then declared to be the tooth of the Loch Ness Monster. There were some very voiciferous charges about a hoax and how the "tooth" must have been planted, but when you come right down to it, finding a piece of antler with a mangled deer carcass is nothing unusual.

Geordie-dave said...

Fangs for the memory. I had forgot about this one.