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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Thursday, January 07, 2010


I have just had a long conversation with Adam Davies. There is absolutely no bad blood between us, or between him and the CFZ or any other permutation (not that I ever thought that there was). Indeed, the forthcoming CFZ Yearbook includes a major article about his search for the yeti. "I wouldn't have spent two days writing it if you and I weren't good" he laughed.

Earlier this week Loren wrote:

"Happy New Year, and may 2010 be full of great surprises for all of us interested in this field! I look forward to co-operative efforts between the International Cryptozoology Museum, the Centre for Fortean Zoology and other worldwide cryptozoological organisations. "

He would not have written that if there was any bad blood between us.

If you are who I think you are, you are one of the leaders of a numerically small group of researchers who have in the last year taken umbrage with the CFZ and me in particular, and have taken every opportunity to belittle us. If I am wrong then you are just a small-minded idiot with too much time on your hands.

Whichever is true, it is obvious that there is no point in me trying to debate with you in a civilised manner. I do not like having to do this, but you leave me no option. You are banned from commenting on any CFZtv posting, and should you reappear under another pseudonym I will do the same. No doubt you will go to some other Internet medium and complain about how Jon Downes 'censors' his video comments.
Sadly, because of you, yes he does.


Noela, God bless her, had another fall last night and has broken her hip for real this time. On the last occasion she merely chipped it, and was in hospital for five weeks. She is going into surgery this morning, and I will keep you abreast of the news, although the prognosis doesn't look particularly good.

She is 87 and very frail. This is a big blow.

As always, your thoughts and prayers to whichever deity you follow would be gratefully appreciated. She, by the way, is C of E but also a devotee of the Maharishi....

WINTERTIME AT THE CFZ: Fun Fun Fun (until Daddy takes the crystalline precipitation away)

The CFZ is still essentially snowed in, and I am actually mildly interested in the ways that some of the animals have adapted to it. The male Reeves' Pheasant, for example, seems to be throughlly enjoying himself, swaggering around his aviary and displaying as if he owned the place.

We shall be getting him a couple of wives in March; maybe even three; so it will be interesting to see how the social behaviour of this undoubtedly glamorous species progresses through the year.

Here we just have a picture of Corinna by the back door, which I am posting just because I like it. Sadly, when everything about you is virgin white, the mossy stains on the wall of the house really get shown up into sharp relief.

Never mind.


Hello, again. Today I will be unable to present my selection of strange animal stories from the U.S. because for some reason my printer isn`t working (lack of paper? D`oh!!)

Also I will be offering an appropriately wintry selection from the Sisters of Mercy. I hope to resume the American cryptozoological info next time with a strange mermaid story and a winged cat from Madagascar.

My extracts are taken from Believe It or Not It - Happened In Yorkshire by Cyril T. Oxley (no publication date but before 1970) None of the stories are radically new but they are a bit of fun. The extracts are in the form of a series of questions and answers as they appear in the book:

'In the porch of which church did a man struggle to death with a cat? At Barnborough, near Barnsley. Sir Percival Cresacre five hundred years ago was attacked by a huge wild cat when returning home. According to legend man and animal struggled for several hours, Sir Percival retreating towards the shelter of the church where the contestants collapsed and died of wounds and exhaustion. The church contains an old wooden effigy of Sir Percival and on the tower may be seen the carving of a cat. The flagstones in the porch bear a certain stain which, it is claimed,no amount of scrubbing will efface' (1)

'Where in Yorkshire, according to legend, is a raven said to stand guard over a treasure chest? Beneath the ruins of Guisborough Priory. Here in a secret passage a raven is said to watch over a chest of gold. It is related that on one occasion a daring character of the neighbourhood entered the passage and approached the chest and its guardian. The bird instantly changed into the Devil, to the terror of the would-be looter who fled in panic.' (2)

'In what Yorkshire city did the Plague infect the locality so severely as to cause birds to fal from the air? In Leeds in 1644. Dr Whitaker wrote: "The air in June when the greatest number died, was very warm, and so infectious that dogs and cats, mice and rats, died, also several birds in their flight over the town dropped down dead”. In that year 1,335 persons died of plague.' (3)

'Where did an ass drive a preacher from his pulpit? At Luddenden Dean Weslyan Chapel one Sunday in August 1830. As the minister announced the text “And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and she said unto Balaam….” He suddenly dropped his Bible and in horror fled from the building by a side door. To the astonishment of the congreagation an ass quietly walked up the aisle towards the empty pulpit, evidently driven by a swarm of bees which covered the animal, to seek refuge in the building at a most inappropriate moment.' (4)

'Where was a lizard found inside a solid block of coal 150 feet below the surface of the earth? At William Fenton`s mine at Outwood, Wakefield, in 1818. The reptile was discovered in a solid block of coal and was five inches long. Upon being exposed to the air the creature died immediately.' (5)

1, C.T.Oxley Believe it Or Not. P.6
2.Ibid p.10
3.Ibid p.18
4.Ibid p.31
5.Ibid p.32

That`s all folks.

The Sisters of Mercy – Driven Like The Snow

Still night,nothing for miles,
White curtain come down
Kill the lights in the middle of the road
And take a look around….
It don`t help to be one of the chosen
One of the few to be shore
When the wheels are spinning around
And the ground is frozen through,and you`re
Driven,like the snow..


Yesterday I wrote a tongue in cheek bloggo about Graham's purchase of a new woodchopping impliment, and as he looked so sinister, I added a throwaway comment about there being an obligatory Pink Floyd reference. Much to my horror (but I don't really see why as the song in question is four decades old now) three people wrote to ask me what I meant.

So here it is, partly because I like the song, partly because it seems appropriate in such a bleak landscape as I can see out of the office window and partly because it will irritate Redfern. Three good reasons, I am sure that you will agree.

JAN EDWARDS: More winterstuff at Farplace

We are blessed with a good 2-3 feet of snow, drifting to about 8 feet at the moment (and as you know, depth matters!) It is still snowing, fast and furious, but quite warm at minus 2C (it was minus 8 yesterday). I took advantage of a brief sunny spell to feed the sheep, goat and poultry – a jolly little adventure involving wading waist-deep in snow with buckets and hay nets, while frantic sheep were trying to knock me down.

Billy the goat was pleased to see me. He is a Siberian goat, and has a good thick cashmere coat on him, but even he is getting a bit tired of all this weather. He got an extra treat of carrots, apples and not-quite-fresh salad, along with his usual mix and his bale of hay.
The chickens have discovered a novel way to keep warm – they now use these high-tech fluffy sheep slippers. The sheep don’t seem to mind – perhaps it helps keep them warm too?

Jan Edwards, Head of Animal Care
Farplace Animal Rescue - the no-kill animal sanctuary
Farplace, Sidehead, Westgate, County Durham, DL13 1LE

tel: 01388 517397 mobile 07860 523434
Registered Charity number 1126812
Registered Company number 4397258

OLL LEWIS: 5 Questions on… Cryptozoology - SCOTT CORRALES

Today’s guest is Scott Corrales. Scott is a writer and researcher of both cryptozoology and ufology. He does invaluable work translating research and articles from Spanish to English, without which many sightings of cryptids and UFOs would remain largely unknown in English-speaking countries. Scott is the writer and editor of Inexplicata (the journal of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology), which features paranormal cases from Spain, the Caribbean and South America and is well worth visiting on your travels around the internet. http://inexplicata.blogspot.com/.

So, Scott Corrales, here are your 5 questions on… Cryptozoology.

1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?

I've probably given a different answer elsewhere but I think that was a result of reading Editorial Posada's weekly 'DUDA' (Doubt) magazines in my childhood. Issue #9 was about the Loch Ness Monster and it had a positively terrifying image of the creature emerging from a petroleum-black sea. In later years I learned of the Mothman through Antonio Ribera's Ovins en las Americas (UFOs over the Americas) and the illustrations were equally memorable. Smithsonian Magazine's 1973 or '74 feature on Bigfoot was the first time I'd ever heard of the entity and it really grabbed my attention. Two years later I bought a few Bigfoot books at Marboro Books in New York City and I was good to go: a 12-year-old cryptozoologist!

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

The closest I've come has been secondary evidence: plaster casts and dirt impressions of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot.

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

This is a difficult one. I think that unknown species will continue to be discovered as they have been over the past decade, and that the jungles of South America, Africa and Indochina hold many surprises. However, the creatures that intrigue me - Bigfoot, the Chupacabras, Mothman, etc. - are in my opinion, visitors from another reality. Science will do its best to explain them away, but sightings and encounters will continue.

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

I'm sure most respondents will say that the creatures I consider paranormal are the least likely to exist, yet exist they do.

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

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel, without hesitation.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1782 Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries undertook the first flight by hot air balloon across the English Channel.

Now for the reason you’re reading this blog, the latest Fortean news (followed by a bad pun, as ever):

Fossil tracks record 'oldest land-walkers'
Two killer whale types found in UK waters
Loch Ness monster death rumours denied
Loch Ness Monster 'is not extinct'

If you thought the monster was dead then it isn’t ‘Nessie’-sarily so.