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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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ANDREW GABLE: The Man-Horse of Arkansas

Something for the blog. Note: I don't believe this story at all. But it's neat.

Strange Phenomenon.

“A strange Phenomenon has made its appearance in Van Buren County, Arkansas. Some people call it a horse, while others affirm that it is a man. At any rate, nothing in natural history can account for it. Its head has every semblance of a horse’s, while its body is unmistakably that of a man. When first seen it was standing in a road with its head over the fence, looking intently at a man plowing in the field. There was something so wild in the expression of the supposed horse’s eyes, and such a snap to his eyelids, producing such a peculiar sound, that the man left the plow and went up to the fence. His surprise and terror at seeing a horse’s head on a man’s shoulders knew no bounds, but his legs did, and springing away he ran toward the house. The man-horse, seeing that the plowman “fleed” when no man-horse “pursueth,” climbed over the fence and walked to the plow, took up the lines and started the horse. The owner had witnessed this, having stopped. Gathering courage he went back slowly and cautiously, approaching the most peculiar freak of nature he had ever seen. When he had come within a few yards of the plow, the man-horse stopped, turned, and remarked:

“’You seem afraid of me. Approach.’

The man felt impelled by some unaccountable power, and when he was within a few feet of the man-horse experienced a slight sensation in his feet, and looking down discovered that instead of feet he had a pair of hoofs. He had evidently exchanged with his horse, for instead of hoofs on the front the horse had human feet, and seemed equally as much dissatisfied with them as the man did with the hoofs. After performing this piece of magic the man-horse ran away. It may be necessary to add that the man to whom the phenomenon presented the hoofs is known in the neighborhood as a ‘Guinea nigger’ [i.e., he was a house-servant rather than a field slave]. His plow-horse has not been seen since that memorable day. The man still retains his hoofs, and was last seen at a blacksmith-shop having himself shod. He knows them to be the hoofs of the horse, for there are marks on them that render unmistakable recognition. This story, a neighborhood superstition, does not come in a roundabout way, but down the Fort Smith Railroad, one of the straightest roads in the South. It will not, however, take its place in a library of Sunday-school fiction. It is stated, and with some degree of truth, that the old negro, suffering from elephantiasis, became crazy and started the story.”
Indiana (Pa.) Gazette, September 18, 1879

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