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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Saturday, January 16, 2010


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 19th trenche is from 1994 and contains bits and bobs from issue 33 of the journal Track Record, and a peculiar story about an Everest climber who claims to have killed the yeti! Good stuff.



Dear folks,

Today I have a mixed bag of items, namely a report on foreign termites near the home of the Dear Leader, an early Takahe report from New Zealand and an opinion concerning the 9-legged fish from Nevada, which I featured on this blog about 10 days ago. This opinion comes from Chad Arment in his book Cryptozoology and The Investigation of Lesser-Known Mystery Animals pp 177-178.

Now the termites: “Alien termites set up home in Devon. Termites, one of the world`s most destructives insect pets, have established what is thought to be the first colony in Britain in a house in rural Devon. The termite, Reticulitermes lucifugus, is normally found in southern Europe, southern Russia and North Africa.

“The termites were found in two timber frame walls, heated by pipes,” says Roger Berry of the Building Research Establishment. “ The timber was damp and the combination of heat and moisture has produced the perfect microclimate for the insects.”

No one knows when the insects set up home in the house near Barnstaple, or how they got there…A colony can contain as many as a million termites. The number in the Devon colony is not known but the investigators counted at least 500 individuals in “just one foot of skirting board.” So far no termites have appeared in other properties. “If this were an urban area or a row of terraced houses, we could be looking at a rather more serious problem.” says Berry…One thing the experts are sure of is that the termites have not appeared as a result of climate change. “This isn`t a case of change. “ This isn`t a case of global warming,” says Paul Eggleton,who runs the termite research team at the Natural History Museum. “They have certainly been brought in by somebody.”

The Takahe report is from The San Francisco Call of October 9th 1898. It`s not significant from a cryptozoological perspective, rather, historical. According to Wikipedia the takahe was thought to be extinct after the last 4 were taken in 1898. This article reports on one of those 4:

RARE BIRD CAUGHT BY A TOURIST`S DOG. Capture in New Zealand of a Wild Fowl of a Species Thought to Have Been Extinct. Advices were received from Auckland by the Warrimbo to the effect that a species of a very rare bird has been discovered on one of the southwest coast fjords of New Zealand. It is the mantelll, the takahe of the Maoris, supposed to have been extinct. Until a few weeks ago there was only three specimens of this bird in the world, and for many years no trace of others had been seen. The specimen just secured will probably be worth its weight in gold and perhaps a good deal more. It was caught by a dog owned by a tourist.

Information hitherto unknown has been acquired through the capture of this strange creature. It is a handsome bird of heavy gait, and absolutely unable to use its wings for flying. It is about the size of a goose, and has beautifully colored feathers. On the back, wings and tail they are olive green of almost metallic luster and below the short tailfeathers are white. The legs and toes are of a rich salmon red. Another remarkable feature is the beak – a great equilateral triangle of hard pink horn, with one angle directed forward, while on the upper side of the base of the beak is a rudimentary comb.

Now Arment`s take on the 9-legged fish. His source was the Syracuse Post Standard of August 31st 1905. My source may have been different, the story seems to have neen syndicated. Arment says – “Again,* an animal more fabulous than realistic. However in this case, the witnesses truly existed. Sweeney was Attorney General for the state of Nevada during the 1906 San Francisco, California, earthquake. Unfortunately, no mention is made of where the creature is caught. In this case, I`m leaning more toward misidentification than hoax, though I cannot supply a reasonable biological candidate. Perhaps some intrepid investigator will have opportunity to make an appointment with the Smithsonian and try to track the critter down. (3)

* Arment was writing this in 'Miscellaneous Menagerie', a chapter on cryptozoological odds and ends.

1 Alien termites set up home in Devon. New Scientist 12th November 1994
2 Rare Bird Caught….The San Francisco Call. 9th October 1898
3 C.Arment. Cryptozoology Add The Investigation of Lesser Known Mystery Animals. (2006) p. 178

I bumped into a young cove in Macclesfield the other day who insisted that Nelson Mandela had been released. Because he is still in jail, I present to you- The Special AKA :

Free Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela
Free free
Free free free Nelson Mandela
Free Nelson Mandela

Twenty-one years in captivity
His shoes too small to fit his feet
His body abused but his mind is still free
Are you so blind that you cannot see I say
Free Nelson Mandela


The Lord of Darkness has been visiting again (or maybe it is just that pesky rabbit). However, although the tracks appeared in Cambridgeshire, the story is in Dutch so I cannot tell you any more.

The story came from Theo over in the Netherlands, and so this seems like an opportune moment to welcome him to the bloggo team. Welcome aboard, dear fellow.



The way that Britain treated the inhabitants of what is now known as the British Indian Ocean Territory is one of the most shameful episodes in British post-war history. Now these beautiful islands face another crossroads. Richard Freeman found this website:

"The Chagos Archipelago represents a magnificent conservation opportunity that could be of lasting benefit to humanity. There can be few places on this planet that represent better value for leveraging spectacular returns. What is needed is vision and a leadership initiative by Britain to create the Chagos as an iconic, pristine area held in trust for the future of the world community."


DAVEY CURTIS: Oar Fish, Sun Fish! What's next for Seaham on Sea!

Like the proverbial number 7 bus, if you wait around long enough the weird shall come to you!

In the summer of 2002 Jon and Richard where “Up North” investigating a wallaby-slashing at the Hope Animal Sanctuary in Loftus (See CFZ Expeditions for details) but that was not the only weird thing to happen in the area because as the slasher was slashing in Loftus, just up the road at Skinningrove a lady angler pulled more than she bargained for out of the north sea...an oar fish!

The local rag said...

A woman has landed one of the world's rarest fish, almost 13 kilograms heavier than herself, while trying to catch cod off a pebble beach near her home on the north-east coast of England.

Val Fletcher is believed to be the first person to have caught an oar fish on a rod and line. Only a few are seen each century.

Little is known about the bright metallic silver fish, which is believed to swim vertically and live in the open ocean. Ms Fletcher, 40, was using squid as bait when she got a bite. She spent the next 40 minutes trying to land her catch.

She landed the monster at Skinningrove, near Saltburn, Cleveland, on Monday. The last recorded find of an oar fish anywhere was off the US coast in 1996.

What the paper neglected to mention was that Ms Fletcher was with her boyfriend at the time, a certain Mr Herrings. The oar fish is also known as the King of the Herrings! Read into that what you will Doc Shiels affectionos!

I must admit I was a bit jealous: “Why hasn't Seaham on Sea got an Oar Fish” I grumbled to myself, but quickly got over my green-eyed monster as the Bolam Lake Beast of 2003, and then my trip with Richard and Lisa to Morar in 2004, occupied my time. But I need not have worried because everything comes to he who waits. In March 2009 I finally got my wish. If you step out my front door turn left and walk 200 yards you are greeted by the north sea and the sea delivered...you guessed it: an oar fish!

Right on my doorstep: a weird and rare find. Fantastic, I thought, but the Crypto-gods were not finished with my little hometown just yet because...


The local rag said of this amazing find...

A family was stunned to come across this creature from the deep as they walked along our coast.
While the region was battling Arctic temperatures, this giant sunfish – usually found in warmer climes – was washed up on Seaham beach.

The Dowse family were walking along the beach near East Shore Village on Saturday when they came across the sunfish.

The fish measured 3ft across, about 5in in width and had fins a foot long.

Geoff Dowse, wife Lisa and their son Cameron, 11, a pupil at St Aidan's School, in Sunderland, were helped in their bid to identify it by a passer-by and by later research on the Internet.

They helped it back into the North Sea after spotting it was still alive and coming under attack from birds.

The fish is native to tropical and temperate waters, such as those off the coast of California and the Mediterranean.

Geoff, 53, an accounts manager who also has an older son Patrick, 15, said: "Cameron spotted it. He said 'What's that big fish lying there?' and there were some gulls pecking at it.

"We pushed it back into the sea after taking some photos."

A spokeswoman for Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth said the fish was an "amazing find".

She added: "Our aquarists said it is definitely a sunfish and that it is rare to find one on our coast, especially in the winter as they prefer much warmer waters – 12 degrees or more.

"It might have been attracted to us because of all the jellyfish which they like to feed on.

It just gets better and better.

So, dear reader, what is going to turn up next on the beach at the bottom of my street? A beaked whale? A Narwhal? Or a fully fledged sea serpent? We'll wait and see, eh.


Davey C.

LINDSAY SELBY: The Varberg Moat Creature

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by Count Nielsen as protection against a Danish king who had declared him an outlaw. Varberg is a coastal town south of Gothenburg in Sweden. The fortress has a moat said to be inhabited by a small lake monster.

In August 2006 two witnesses claim to have seen a creature emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, furless and with a 40 cm (about 15- 16 inches) long tail. Other witnesses also reported seeing something. The sightings made headlines in local newspapers and media. The moat is apparently connected with the sea. The reports were then taken up by the country-wide media and lots of people turned up to investigate what was in the moat. The water is murky so visibility is limited. One investigator tried to listen with microphones and divers tried to look for the creature. Nothing conclusive was found but some thought it could have been a seal, a big pike or a big catfish (Silurus glanis) that somehow got into the moat. It may have been placed there or got in by itself through the access to the sea.

I have been unable to find any more reports but it sounds like a seal and large pike are not unknown to take wild fowl if they get the chance. So the probability is a natural explanation and not an unknown creature. If anyone has any information about recent sightings or more information please post a comment.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1909 Ernest Shackleton’s mission reached the Magnetic South Pole.

OK, now say blaaahh!
New bird species found in rainforests of Borneo
Puffins' winter odyssey revealed

Impress your friends and family with this joke:

Q: What bird is always out of breath?
A: A puffin!