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...

Search This Blog



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


Sunday, January 03, 2010

DIRECTOR'S DIARY: And the beat goes on..

I am not firing on all four cylinders today. My usual ailments are mixed with the end of a head cold, and I am feeling mildly sorry for myself. On The Track should be finished today (if I can stay out of bed long enough) and the 2010 Yearbook is still on track to be published tomorrow or Tuesday.

Oll arrived back last night after a horrific journey compounded by a fire on a goods train at Bristol (sounds gloriously Perrinesque), and is busying himself with cleaning reptile tanks and tending to the animals (all of whom, with the exception of a solitary triops and an elderly female guppy) have survived what is euphemistically referred to as `the festive season` intact.

Various books are imminent: Daintree Diaries by Carl Portman, The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman, and the first of five volumes of Haunted Skies are hopefully gonna be around in the next few weeks. Weird Weekend tickets will be on sale in a week or so, and the Weird Weekend website will be updated.

So just keep your fingers crossed for the mystick power of an alchemical combination of lemsip and mirtazapine, and let's get on with it.



Dear folks,

There is nothing odd about wolves in North America with black coats, but a particular wolf shot in the Boise National Forest in early 1909 did cause surprise, according to The Standard, Ogden, Utah, April 8th 1909. (This blog continues the series I began a few days ago with my survey of on-line United States provincial newspapers which can be found on http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/)

The story goes like this: (The headline is 'Freak Wolf is a Rare Specimen – Officials of Biological Survey Express Opinion – Strange Creature of Enormous Size and Curious Appearance – Not a Hybrid')

'The district forest officers have received confirmation of their belief that Forest Supervisors E.Grandjean`s freak wolf which he recently shot within the Boise national forest and subsequently forwarded to the biological survey at Washignton DC is indeed a rare specimen of quadruped.

'The strange creature was of enormous size for a member of the wolf family, with its back and other portions of its body covered with a heavy growth of black hair, resembling somewhat the coat of a Newfoundland dog, except that it was heavier and coarser.

'The most curious feature in connection with the animal`s appearance was the fact that it was “bob-tailed”. Old hunters and trappers in that part of the country, who examined the beast, stated that they had never heard of nor seen anything like it in all their experience. Even the Indians in that region were unfamiliar with the species.

'It will be recalled in connection with the early reports published upon the return of the Lewis and Clark expedition,that Captain Clark mentioned several times the discovery of rude Indian drawings upon rocks and ancient skins of well known animals of the Rocky Mountain region, also a few that were not known to people of that time. Among these was a giant dog-wolf of ferocious appearance and enormous size. A curling shaggy mane was represented as extending down the back of the animal and in one instance it was pictured bearing a young deer in its jaws, illustrative of its size and strength.

'It is possible that the specimen mentioned above is one of the rare descendants of an almost extinct species of wolf which once infested the Rockies terrorizing the Indians and remaining long in their traditions and picture records.

'The officials of the biological survey at Washington DC express their opinion that the animal who`s skin and skull was sent by the supervisor of the Boise forest, was not a hybrid and state that the only specimen that resembles it at all closely is one which came from the Priest river forest in northern Idaho. They are anxious to secure further skulls and pelts and offer a good price for same.' (1)

Another website; Howling For Justice, Blogging for the Grey Wolf, Black Wolves Result of Long Ago Tryst With Dogs says 'Between 12,000 to 15,000 years ago wolves bred with their close relative,the dog,who passed on to them the black coat color mutation. Black wolves are almost exclusively unique to North America. The black mutation is not present in Europe or Asia,ecept for a recent Italian hybridized wolf/dog'. (2)

1 The Standard,Ogden,Utah, April 8th 1909
2 Howling for Justice web-site. Downloaded January 2nd 2010.

Steeleeye Span Female Drummer

I was brought up in Yorkshire and when I was sixteen
I walked all the way to London and a soldier I became
With me fine cap and feathers,likewise me rattling drum
They learned me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender,me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And so many were the pranks that I saw upon the breech
And so boldly did I fight me boys although I`m but a wench
And they buttoned them up me trousers so up to them I smiled
To think I`d live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while

OLL LEWIS: 5 Questions on… Cryptozoology - NAOMI WEST

In the hot-seat today is Naomi West. Naomi and her husband Richie are fairly recent additions to the CFZ team but in the short time we have known them they have become invaluable colleagues and friends. Currently they are achieving great things in their investigation of the hairless blue dogs of Texas.

So, Naomi, here are your 5 questions on… Cryptozoology.

1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?

I stumbled into it over a year ago through Nick Redfern's interviews and books.

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

Unfortunately, no.

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

I believe that eventually science will get to the bottom of lake monsters with decades of investigation (due to high public interest) and technological advances being in its favour. At the risk of sounding biased, I see the hairless canine mystery being solved very soon, with the continuing availability of carcasses allowing for collection of more samples.

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

This is a hard question to answer as all we have to go on for the most mysterious cryptids are reports of sightings. So while I wouldn't venture to say that a cryptid is not likely to exist, I would say that those cryptids with a seeming other-dimensional nature, such as Mothman/Owlman, etc. are the least likely to ever be truly discovered and studied.

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

Oh dear. I am very new to the field and haven't read much on cryptids yet, but for entertainment purposes I would have to say Three Men Seeking Monsters. However, a book I have on my list to read that I have heard is really good is Ken Gerhard's Big Bird: Modern Sightings of Flying Monsters. The subject of the Big Birds is definitely at the top of my cryptid list!


In my e-mail inbox this morning was some very sad news. Ivan Dibble apparently died on Christmas Day. For those of you not aware of him, he was a conservationist and fish biologist who did amazing work with the livebearers of Mexico. Much of what he did was pure cryptozoology, and he discovered (and rediscovered) a whole plethora of species. I met him at the Festival of Fishkeeping in 2006, and he was interested in what we did and vice versa. I was waiting for the fallout from our unfortunate relationship with the late Simon Wolstencroft and his wife to settle before re-establishing contact.

Sadly, that will now never happen.

For those of you interested in his work finding new and rediscovered species in Mexico, check out these links:

Rest in Peace

DAVID MARSHALL: Tinsel and fins

This year (2009) the Christmas Tree Festival at St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church, Pickering (North Yorkshire) was held against the backdrop of the heaviest snowfalls Pickering had seen for many years.

This year the Festival ran from Friday 11th to Tuesday 29th December. I decided to create a theme of ‘tinsel and fins’ for this years display. As the 25 fish disc ornaments from 2008 remained intact these would be used to form the basis of the display. Master Paul Story (the grandson of our chairman, Mr. Henry Hallsworth) used painted egg box segments to create 12 ornaments of his own while Miss Amy Charters answered our request for ornaments from our ‘twinned’ Society, STAMPS, by creating disc ornaments showing a Silver Shark and a Schubert’s Golden Barb.

Wednesday 9th December marked Christmas Tree Festival decorating day! I was on my own for the morning decorating session, 10.00a.m. to 12noon, and chose a very sturdy-looking tree. I made a rough placement of the ornaments during this time.

Sue was able to join me for the full afternoon session, 2.15p.m. to 4.15p.m, and with ornaments and lights placed upon the tree the fins part of the job was nearly complete. For the tinsel aspect we placed these streamers around the tree base, along with information sheets about Ryedale A.S. and a blown-up Betta photograph as a background feature. Committee Member Mrs. Elizabeth Skellington came along to lend support. After school Paul was able to come along, in the company of his Mum Tracy, and place his ornaments to complete the fins section. By the time we left the tree was just as I had envisaged.

Sue and I returned for the final session, 6.00p.m. to 8.00p.m., and checked that everything was okay.

Our tree was one of 29 decorated by local hobby groups, local educational providers, local service providers and Christian groups. Spread out from the large entrance area, throughout the church to the altar they created a beautiful display that complimented the famous Mediaeval wall paintings and formed a feeling of peace and humility. Well done for all the work put into the tree decorating by all concerned. It was lovely to see people of all age groups taking part during the different sessions. Now I know why Roy Wood said "I wish it could be Christmas everyday."

The festival was officially opened on Friday 11th December with a selection of carols, traditional seasonal songs, organ recitals and readings put together by that wonderful choral group that go by the name of the Chanticleer Singers. Sue and I represented the society and thoroughly enjoyed this evening. As the singers took their deserved applause the church was darkened and the trees lit.

Sue and I returned on Tuesday 22nd December and this allowed us to take the festival photographs that accompany this piece.

Although the festival is all about friendship and community I have to confess that I was ‘chuffed to bits’ with all the lovely comments made about our tree by locals who visited the festival this year.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1496 Leonardo da Vinci tested a flying machine of his own invention… It didn’t really take off….

And now for the news:

Bass Strait barnacle 300 million-year-old king of species
Endangered species to get daily web spot in 2010
Christmas lights? No, it’s the wagtail tree: Hundreds of roosting birds cover every twig and branch
Biodiversity board prepares list of species
UGC forms panel to look into dissections
Tarantula Owner Sees Red After Hairy Moment
'Chicken' frog saved from pot

Whenever the word chicken is mentioned I have to post this video link. Sorry but it’s the law:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL_-1d9OSdk