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, January 06, 2010

CFZ IN WINTER: OK Computer? Not Really

We are not quite snowed in, but as near as dammit. The village kids are tobboganing up and down the street outside the window, and things are very wintry.

We had a pipe burst, and Graham (with Shosh and Gavin riding shotgun) just about managed to get into Bideford yesterday lunchtime. I doubt if they would manage it today.

On top of it all, our broadband is intermittent (probably something else to do with the weather), and there is a problem with the emails at my ISP. So our communication abilities are a bit iffy today.

So, if you have sent us an email in recent days and are champing at the bit waiting for a reply, don't be too surprised if you don't get one.

The photographs, by the way, are by Shosh McCarthy intrepid girl photo-journalist.

They were taken on the mission to Bideford yesterday in search of plumbing fixtures and I particularly like the middle one where the truck is trying desperately to reverse up the

hill, but is slipping down towards a melange of other stranded vehicles at the bottom of the hill. It is times like this that I am particularly pleased that I inherited a 4x4 from my late father....

CFZ IN WINTER (The obligatory Pink Floyd reference)


DALE DRINNON: Ozark Howlers or Black Howlers

A member at the group Frontiers-of-Zoology submitted an account of her experience with the creature called the Ozark Howler or Black Howler. She had only heard the awful screaming noises it made by night but more material followed, including a composite description of the creature, some bad photos and some good tracks.

This may be a localised giant form of Lynx that runs into a melanistic strain. Melanistic (black) cats appear to be genetically advantaged over their normal-coloured equivalents, and are generally healthier and hardier.

Lynxes and bobcats are of a type where melanism is known, and the tracks are like lynx tracks. Lynxes have outsized feet.

In my drawing, which I made as a comparison, the Black Howler as described is only marginally larger than a Siberian lynx, and here shown in scale comparison to a more average Canadian lynx. There is a great range in sizes among lynxes, as there is in several types of cats.

And by these criteria it would not be an unknown animal. Unusual colour phases and outsizes of known species are not new and unidentified species, just unusual.


Dale Drinnon writes:

This is the link to the Ivan Sanderson Tribute Site:


But it is easier to go to his home page and go to the bottom listing on his menue box to the far left:



Well, the Yearbook is now finished - admittedly, five days after it should have been. It only remains to be seen whether - with the intermitttent broadband that we have at the moment as a result of the inclement weather - if it uploads properly today.

However, here is the definitive list of contents

3 Contents
5 Foreword by Jonathan Downes
7 On the Piast by Jonathan Downes
25 A Disquisition into Steller's 'Sea Ape' by David Francazio
41 The Strange Environment, and Stranger Fauna of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia by Richard Muirhead
51 The River Medway Monster and Kent's Coastal Creatures by Neil Arnold
77 The Abominable Snowman by Adam Davies
85 Preliminary Cryptozoological Checklist by Dale Drinnon
127 The Kraken and the Colossal Misunderstanding by Oll Lewis
137 The Gurt Dog Returns by Max Blake
145 Red eye glow: a new explanation by Dr. Karl Shuker
149 Things that should not be: those mysterious out of place alligators by Theo Paijmans
163 Flying snakes and jumping snakes - a worldwide survey by Richard Muirhead
180 Scranton K by Richard Freeman
181 The Monsters Of Scooby-Doo by Neil Arnold
189 CFZ Australia: 2009 Report by Ruby Lang and Mike Williams
193 CFZ USA: 2009 Status Report by Nick Redfern
203 2009: A year in the life of the Centre for Fortean Zoology by Jonathan Downes
215 About the Centre for Fortean Zoology
219 CFZ Press

LINDSAY SELBY: Alaskan Bigfoot stories

The Tlingit of the South East of Alaska call it "Kushtaka, the Den'aina of Central Alaska call it "Nant'ina." and the indigenous residents of southwest Alaska call it "Urayuli" or "Hairy man.
Legendary accounts say that children who go out of the house at night get lost in the woods and are transformed into the Urayuli. It is said to be about 6 to 10 feet tall covered with shaggy, coarse hair with glowing eyes. Its arms are long and it is described as looking like a primate.It inhabits in the areas near Lake Iliamna. The lake is said to have strange fish or monsters living in it.

see : http://cryptozoo-oscity.blogspot.com/2009/05/alaskan-lake-monster.html

Sightings of this Alaskan bigfoot have gone on for some years. In 1956, a fisherman said he saw the Urayuli as he was anchoring his fishing boat on the beach at night. A biologist from Ketchikan apparently found and took a photograph of some large footprints on the same beach. (Not being able to trace the photo btw. Has anyone else seen it?)

In 1982, in Dillingham, a hunting guide was said to be showing around a photograph that he had taken of the Urayuli standing on a mountain ridge. ( again not been able to trace this)

In 1999, a gang of walkers took a photo of a pair of large wedge-shaped footprints in the mud along the banks of the Kiseralik River. The footprints were measured at 12 inches (30 cms) to 14 inches long( 35 cms) and 3 ( 7.5 cms)inches deep. Also in 1999 a large black-haired huge creature was reported as being seen in the Cold Bay of Belkofski. Described as 14 feet( 4.5 metres) tall and with the stance and demeanour of a large Ape.

A Federal Aviation Administration worker Jim Coffee said an eight-foot humanoid almost ran him off the road in Newhalen, near Lake Iliamna. The same night, a woman living nearby reported that a Bigfoot left watermelon-sized footprints in her yard and tore down her laundry. Large footprints were found along the side of the road said to be 24 inches ( 60 cms) long.

See this site for more: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/articles/alaska2.htm

There appear to be no stories of attacks on Humans by the Urayuli but they are said to steal fish.

The Kushtaka of South Eastern Alaska, has a more aggressive reputation then the seemingly harmless and non aggressive Urayuli. The indigenous people avoided the places they thought it frequented. Harry D. Colp wrote about an encounter with the Kushtaka, published as "The Strangest Story Ever Told."

Colp and three other prospectors met up in 1900 at Wrangell. They sent Charlie, one of the four, to Thomas Bay to look over a gold prospect, while the others sought grubstakes to pay their expenses. Charlie went about 50 miles up the coast to this location. There the rains kept him confined to his tent for several days. He then went out, trying to locate the landmarks given to him by a native. By chance, he found a gold-flecked quartz ledge and loosened a piece with his gun, breaking his gunstock in the process. As he was taking his bearings, he said, a troupe of creatures he called "devils," that looked like both men and monkeys, swarmed after him. These shaggy beasts, with long, coarse hair, stinking and covered with sores, pursued him back to his canoe. During the chase, they screamed and scraped his back with "long claw like fingers." Charlie said he came to in his canoe, which was drifting at sea. He was cold, hungry and thirsty. He returned to his comrades with nothing but the clothes on his back, his canoe and oars, and the chunk of gold quartz. He declared he had enough of Alaska. In exchange for his passage back to Seattle, he told his tale to the other three. Two more of Colp's partners returned to the site of the gold-speckled quartz ledge. Once again, they returned with strange tales of "devils." One of the partners was said to have gone mad. Other prospectors who scouted the same area were reported by Colp to have suffered frightening experiences and to have behaved in a strange manner afterwards. Mysterious happenings occurred as late as 1925, when a farmer reported losing a dog in the hills there, but finding strange tracks, with the hind feet resembling a cross between a bear's and a human's footprints. A trapper in the area disappeared. Searchers found his outfit and tracks, but no trace of the man.

So an aggressive bigfoot? There have been stories from the USA of bigfoot hurling rocks. What ever the creatures were they were probably just defending their territory. The smell is also something that is mentioned in encounters with bigfoot, for example the Skunk Ape , in Florida , is said to have a terrible smell. There is an another explanation for the creatures. There have been stories of isolated communities of humans becoming cannibals (See the book Three Man Seeking Monsters by Nick Redfern for tales of UK cave dwellers) and becoming less than human in the process. Could this have been an isolated group of humans, driven insane by their cannibalism? Just a thought to add to the stories of the Alaskan bigfoot.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1412 Joan of Arc was born.

And here’s the news:

The giant Amazon arapaima fish is 'under threat'
Cambridge role in chameleon discovery
Dolphins Are 'Non-Human Persons'
Family: Edinburgh Zoo
Sharks need friends
Zoological Survey stall a huge draw
Canadian family's dog saves 11-year-old boy from cougar
Mammoth Task As London Zoo Takes Stock
Kumble to co-opt Men in Blue to save forests and animals
Mouse nest found on policeman's filthy desk

What’s a mouse’s favourite website?