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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, January 11, 2010

DIRECTOR'S DIARY

The big freeze continues, and to all intents and purposes we are snowed in. One can get in and out, but it is such an immense effort that except in the case of an emergency, or - like today - Shosh and Gavin driving back to Staffordshire (which is both essential, and a one-way journey) it is hardly worth the effort.

So far (touch wood) we have not had any cold-related fatalities amongst the animals, and I must say that Oliver is doing a sterling job keeping the place going. What with that, and all the work that he did on the bloggo during his Christmas break, and I really do not know what I would do without him. Thank you, Oliver.

The yearbook is finished, but what with the delays caused to the entire country by the inclement weather, I am making no promises at all about when it will be available.

We have had no post for some days now, and our broadband service is intermittent, mainly because with so many kids off school, there are a lot more broadband users each day in our little spur of the infobahn, and the outdated telephone cables are being put under a higher workload than usual.


However, the good news is that both Andy Roberts's and Carl Portman's books are on the last lap, and will be released as soon as normal service returns, and we can announce yet another book in the Mystery Animals of the British Isles series: Gloucester and Worcester, written by Paul Williams.
More good news is that we will be starting work on designing the first volume of Haunted Skies by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway this week, and as soon as the boy Freeman returns, we shall be starting to typeset his massive magnum opus, The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia.
Noela is still in hospital but will hopefully be moved to Bideford Hospital sometime this week. Thank you on her behalf for all your good wishes.
The bad news? Well, its bloody cold, and the kids go home today, and we still have not had the newsblog restored, but on the whole everything is going reasonably well. So its onwards, upwards and on with the show....

MORE SNOW PRINTS - now it is Gavin's turn

GAVIN LLOYD WILSON: Since you started this game, can I join in too?

What makes tracks like these? (See attached photos). The tracks comprise of a group of three indentations - each indentation being approx 1 1/2" long and each group of three approx 15 - 18" apart.

These photos were taken in the graveyard behind the chapel in Glandwr, Pembrokeshire on the morning of the 2nd January 2010.

It's probably something very ordinary, but I can't imagine what.

Gavin

The one thing that I want to know is what was Gavin doing poking about in a graveyard in the middle of the winter? It sounds a bit goth-y to me. Surely one `Gothic Cryptozoologist` on the team is enough?

MAX BLAKE: Taxonomy Fail #1

Just after Christmas Max sent me a number of these images. I'm not sure from whence young Blake obtained the pictures, but I find them highly amusing, which is reason alone to put them on the bloggo....

REDFERN REVIEWS VAUDREY

A couple of years ago Britain’s Centre for Fortean Zoology – currently the world’s only full-time organisation that investigates and searches for such mysterious animals as the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo and the Chupacabras – embarked on the initial stages of what has now become a highly-ambitious project.

As well as undertaking expeditions around the world in search of unknown beasts, the CFZ also has an in-house publishing company - CFZ Press - that regularly publishes books on all manner of cryptozoological mysteries.

Around two years ago the CFZ’s Director, Jonathan Downes, came up with a very unique plan: namely, to publish an extensive series of books that would chronicle the reports of weird creatures seen in each and every one of the counties of the British Isles. Not an easy task by anyone’s standards but Downes has firmly stuck to his guns, and the third-volume in the series is now available.

Titled Mystery Animals of the British Isles: The Western Isles and written by Glen Vaudrey, the book is an excellent, in-depth and essential piece of work that focuses its attention upon a couple of island-chains that can be found off the northwest coast of Scotland – and from where sightings of strange creatures absolutely abound, as Glen skillfully makes clear in the pages of his new title.

So, you may ask, what does this latest release from CFZ Press tell us? Well, the answer is: a great deal indeed. Read On...

OLL LEWIS: 5 Questions on… Cryptozoology - MICHAEL WOODLEY

This time the five questions will be put to Michael Woodley. Michael is an academic who has written and co-authored several papers on sea serpents with Dr Darren Naish and the book In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans, an important and well researched tome that looks afresh at the sea monster archetypes postulated by Heuvelmans in his classic book In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents and applies facts that were unknown when it was first written. I’d go as far as to say that every true cryptozoologist should own a copy.

So Michael Woodley, here are your five questions on… Cryptozoology:

1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?

As a young boy I became fascinated with the idea that there existed unknown large predatory marine animals. The idea that they should exist made sense to me as the oceans are somewhat vast and we humans spend most of our time bobbing around in two dimensions on the surface rather than moving about in the depths where these things might actually lurk.

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

Although strictly speaking it doesn't count as a cryptid, I believe that I may have caught a fleeting glimpse of the 'Surrey puma' in the back garden of my old house. Knowing my luck though it was probably just a fat moggy that had fallen into a vat of black paint!

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

My money is on Caddy or one of its long-necked cousins making an appearance in the zoology textbooks before too long. I think that the evidence suggestive of the existence of long-necked marine 'somethings' is quite compelling. This is actually the subject of a friendly wager between myself and Charles Paxton. As for terrestrial cryptids, I would pay attention to recent happenings in Sumatra, as there appears to be growing scientific interest in Orang Pendek.

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

Sorry to get all existential (read as boring) and everything but it rather depends what you mean by 'exist'. All cryptids 'exist' in the sense that they correspond to a particular memetically transmittable ethnozoological representation; the issue is whether those ethnozoological representations correspond to anything physical or not. In the past some ethnozoological representations of cryptids have provided a useful basis for elucidating the identities of real unknown animals (e.g. the Okapi, Gorilla etc); however, some are clearly not so useful, such as in the case of ancient mythological 'cryptids' (e.g. unicorns, the Gorgon Medusa etc) and contemporary urban myths (such as the squrat or mothman). An interesting commonality between these and other zooforms is their chimeric qualities; they often represent impossible fusions of animals and are imbued with supernatural qualities, which makes their actual existence improbable to the point of absurdity. This is not to say that zooforms aren't an interesting phenomena in their own right, and the psychosocial dynamics of the propagation of these memeplexes could lead to some very interesting new perspectives in cross-cultural psychology.

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

Babies first pop-up book of the Loch-Ness monster; all eight pages had me completely riveted - no just kidding; it would have to be Heuvelmans's In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, as this was the book that got me into the scientific aspect of cryptozoological research.

LINDSAY SELBY: Dahu dilemmas

I posted this blog on my website and got the comment you see below it. What is interesting for me is that in separate parts of the world the same sort of story exists. The Dahu is a hoax but the fact the story appears elsewhere does make you think. Could there be any truth in it? Or is it just that the appearnce of creatures standing on a slope makes them look like they have different length legs?

The dahu is said to be a legendary creature well known in France and Switzerland. It is described as a mountain goat-like animal with legs of differing lengths.

In French folklore, the dahu has the appearance of a deer or ibex, but with legs on one side of its body shorter than on the other side. This enables it to walk upright on the steep slopes of its mountain environment. It can only walk around the mountain in one direction. Legend says they became extinct because they were too easy to catch. There were apparently two ways to catch a dahu: either creep up behind one and say, “Dahu, dahu…” the dahu would then try to turn around, or one had to whistle to catch its attention. When turning around, its imbalanced legs would cause it to fall down the mountain. The two longer legs now being the uphill legs, it would fall over straight away, allowing the hunters to catch it.

The dahu myth is now part of 20th century French popular culture. In Lorraine, in Eastern France (Alps and Jura), and in French-speaking Switzerland it is known as a theme of jokes. Its popularity began to soar toward the end of the 19th century. The rising tourism industry brought visitors to the mountains; city dwellers with no knowledge of the countryside and allowing the mountain guides to take advantage of the gullibility of some tourists to lure them into the "dahu hunt" (in french "chasse au dahu"). The animal was touted as rare and the capture of one required waiting alone all night on a cold mountainside, in a couched position. On April 1, 1967, the Prefect of Haute-Savoie (France) officially made the mountainous suburbs of the small town of Reigner a 'Dahu Sanctuary' where hunting and photography are forbidden. (The date should give us a clue).

So pure fiction? I think someone got the idea from watching mountain goats and saw how they appeared to have one set of legs longer than the other from the way they stood on the mountain slopes. This then became a joke and spread. These stories have a value though; they show us how tales develop and how hoaxes are perpetuated, which is always useful when investigating phenomena.

1 comments:

Gummerfan said...
Interesting legend. In the Appalachian region of the US there a similar folkoloric tradition regarding the "Sidehill Wampus" or "Wampus Cat". This is a large feline with the same uneven leg length as the Dahu. There are two varieties of Wampus, the Eastside and the Westside, the difference being which side has the longer legs.The Wampus Cat is markedly aggressive and moves extremely fast. The legend is that if attacked, one has to move rapidly to the side, causing the cat to either roll down down the mountain or at least render it incapable of pursuit. However, due to its speed, you must be wary lest it suddenly reappear behind you on its return trip.
9 January 2010 06:53

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cfztemporarynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1787 William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus. Herschel also discovered Uranus with his telescope and called it George, which he thought was a very sensible and apt name for a planet. Astronomers in other countries, however, did not share his enthusiasm, not least because the planet had been named after the British King and a lot of countries did not quite share Herschel’s enthusiasm, and soon the name Uranus was suggested. Apparently to ‘Johnny Foreigner’ naming a planet something that can be very easily mispronounced to sound rude is preferable to something named after George III; astronomers were indeed accomplished satirists it would seem.
And now, here’s the news:

Behemoth bruin terrorizes Incline Village homes
Baby Panda Shows His Bounce Back Ability
Dogs flown to new homes
Japanese fisherman catches 22-pound bass
Electric ray gives birth to 16 babies
Man-Eater Shark Spines 'To Be Severed'
Fish 'acts like Lord Sugar when dealing with subordinates'

Few fish believe in a recession either.