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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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I have, as you will probably have noticed, decided to take the step (unprecedented for us) of putting moderation on the comments for this video. Normally I don't bother and just delete comments by people who are too irksome, but this video is aimed at the great and the good of the North Devon (and further afield) business community, and I don't want the normal selection of sexual slurs and pointed libel that tends to be put onto our videos these days...

But didn't Jessica do brilliantly!

LINDSAY SELBY: Was this the creature of Lough Fadda

As a follow-up to the Lough Fadda sighting, I came across this in F. W. Holiday’s book The Great Orm of Loch Ness. It is on page 148-149 in the 1971 Faber edition:

The Rector of Clifden Mr Edward C. Alston told Ted Holiday of a strange creature, both he and a Mr Hunt, the fishery inspector, saw in the Killery Inlet near Clifden.

He said it was in November 1965 and he was going to a meeting about the fisheries when he stopped to look at some seals who were themselves watching something. Then he saw what they were watching. He described it as having a neck about as thick as a telegraph pole standing about 5 feet (about 1 and half metres) out of the water. The creature was quite still and seem to be intent on the seals and Mr Alston said it ‘s head resembled a large conger eel’s. He said there was the impression of a large body under the water. It disappeared after about 1 and a half minutes sinking vertically into the water and the seals also disappeared. He estimated it was a 100 yards ( 33 meters) from where he was watching.

Mr Hunt, saw the creature from his house and added he thought the creature was 20 – 25 feet long (6 to 8 meters approx) and he had seen it move quite fast exhibiting humps. There was also a report to him from a water keeper north of the point who asked for an identification of the same creature he had seen but Mr Hunt was unable to give one. The creature was fairly light in colour so stood out against the sea and Mr Hunt described it as being shaded, lighter underneath when it turned.

What makes this extraordinary is that Lough Fadda is only about 10 minutes drive from Clifden; therefore, could that distance ( approx. 10 or 11 kilometres) have been traversed by this creature? Could it or one like it have been the creature seen in Lough Fadda in 1954, nine years before? The area was not built up at that time and would be quite deserted in places. There were apparently fish farms in the Lough then as they were at Killery (possibly spelt Killary ) inlet and that could have been the attraction for a large creature. An interesting tale that leaves lots of unanswered questions to think about.

JAN EDWARDS: More footprints

I was impressed by the people who succesfully identified the hare. Now, what are these?


My goodness, Corinna looks peturbed. What can have occurred? Why is she staring in disbelief-tinged-with-horror at a pile of cardboard boxes in the middle of the office floor? Why is there a faded tea towel stuck over the door with drawing pins?

I know that some of you were beginning to think that they would never arrive but yesterday a stack of heavy boxes arrived from Lightning Source: both issue 47 of Animals & Men and the 2010 CFZ Yearbook have arrived and the mailing-out process will begin this week.

Once again, we are terribly sorry for the delay but we are horrifically under-staffed, two of us are disabled to a greater or lesser extent and we - despite what is written in some quarters - don't sit around all day drinking champagne and eating truffles. But we do the best with the resources available to us. It doesn't help that all four of the permanent residents have been on the sick list to a greater or lesser extent over the past few days.

So bear with us. Those of you who are owed journals and yearbooks will get them very soon, and you might be interested to know that after the relative dearth of books last year, three titles are imminent:

  • A Daintree Diary by Carl Portman
  • Strangely Strange but Oddly Normal by Andy Roberts
    The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman
  • and the following titles are in production as we speak:

  • Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Staffordshire by Nick Redfern
  • Monsters of Texas by Nick Redfern and Ken Gerhard
  • Haunted Skies Volume One by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway
  • Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Gloucester and Worcester by Paul Williams
  • The Inhumanoids by Barton Dunnely

DALE DRINNON: Champ sightings Mock-up

I was going through Lake Champlain sightings recently and I decided to do this little demonstration of what the common physical characteristics and size ascribed to Champ are actually supposed to be. This subtracts obvious sightings of fish and swimming moose, and the occasional stray seal.

I make no remarks about what this means at this point; this mock-up is merely to demonstrate what one series of witnesses are describing with a fair degree of consistency. Sightings like this have been recorded for the whole length of the 20th century.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1595 Sir Francis Drake died. Drake is of course most famous for circumnavigating the globe, heading off the Spanish Armada and singeing the king of Spain’s beard. Just before his death Drake bequeathed a snare drum he had used throughout his life to Buckland abbey with orders that if England is ever under threat again for someone to beat upon it and he would return to defend his country. Legend says that the drum is heard whenever Britain is under threat and that the drum last sounded on the outbreak of World War 2.
And now, the news:

Is the big cat mystery finally solved? Villagers find huge paw prints in snow after 30 years of sightings
World's least known bird rediscovered
If you think a crow is giving you the evil eye…
Juneau's famous black wolf's absence a mystery
Museum exhibit explores history of sasquatch
Experts stunned by swan 'divorce' at Slimbridge wetland

Maybe, he’s found a new bird….

HARRIET WADHAM: Here be dragons

Normally on old maps you can sometimes come across the occasional ‘Here be Dragons’ or a picture of a scary-looking dragon. Don’t get all excited because there’s a 95% chance that the map-maker just put it there to fill a boring space. Cartographers used to decorate their maps with pictures of fantastical things, such as gods, dragons, harpies and beasts like that just to make it look more attractive.

There are so many types of dragons that if you were to go on an expedition to hunt one down you may not know where to start! But be warned - there are such things as false dragons! Take, for instance, the Jenny Haniver. The Jenny Haniver is an ugly creature that has been made out of bits of other dead animals, such as chickens, mice and other small things. It is given a dragonish look by using a fish tail, then curling it into coils and curling the side fins over its back.

There are many stories about dragons, and usually they end up with the dragon getting killed and the hero returning triumphant to the cheering on-lookers. However, some stories have a different ending, like the hero dying after he has slain his enemy, or the hero and dragon staying alive. A good example is the story, The Laidly Worm of Spindlestone Heugh.

What happens is an old king (King Ida) is sad and lonely because his wife has just died and his son, The Childe of Wynd is abroad in a war againt the Gauls. Therefore he only has his daughter Margaret for company. After a while Ida decides to go to distant lands to find a new wife. While he is gone he leaves Margaret in charge of his castle and travels far away where lots of women try to get his interest but as they remind him of his wife too much, he ignores them. An evil sorceress noticed that he was rich and powerful, so uses all her charms and spells to make the king love her, and think of nothing but her, so eventually King Ida marries the sorceress and delightedly returns home to Margaret, who is ecstatic and dresses up beautifully before running out to meet her stepmother. A knight who is accompanying the queen exclaims that Margaret is the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Subsequently the queen is vexed and that night she casts a wicked curse upon Margaret, turning her into a laidly (loathsome) worm until her brother returns from his battle; and she is certain he has already been killed. In the morning the maids go to wake her up and upon finding an ugly worm curled up in Margaret’s bed, flee, giving the creature a moment to slip unseen into the countryside, where she cannot see anyone because her breath is so poisonous it kills the land for miles around. Eventually news of the terror of his father’s kingdom reaches The Childe of Wynd, who fearlessly returns and defeating the witch-queen’s obstacles, goes to slay this monstrous entity. Margaret is fearful of her brother also, and try as she might, cannot drive him away. She retreats to her lair in Spindlestone Heugh and coiled around a rock, waits for the prince. When he finds her he lifts his sword and prepares to strike - and the worm lowers her head and says in a small, beautiful voice: "O quit thy sword, unbend thy bow, and give me kisses three, for though I be a poisonous Worme, no harm I’ll do to thee." Wynd is astonished to hear the creature talk but being the bold type, bends and kisses the monster three times. Margaret’s scales fall off and the worm’s body withers away to reveal the pulchritudinous princess. The prince covers her with his mantle and carries her back to the castle where the king is over-joyed at seeing Margaret again. When the witch hears that Childe Wynd has triumphed she runs to her bedchamber but using a rowan twig, the prince counteracts all the witch’s spells back onto her, so she transforms into a large, spitting, warty toad.

I was intrigued to write a blog about dragons because I have a book called The Dragon Hunter’s handbook, which I got for my 10th birthday:

Do you like our hallway? :) Anyway, the next blog I’m doing will probably be about Greek mythological monsters (which I hope you’ll enjoy!!) So that pretty much sums up dragons!


I stumbled over a blog entitled 'I Love The Yeti' the other day and - to quote Peter Griffen - it really ground my gears. Anyone who knows me will tell you that one of the things that annoy me most is the depiction of the yeti as a creature with white fur. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again until I’m blue in the face, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A SINGLE SIGHTING OF A WHITE YETI! White sasquatches have been reported - and even a white almasty (but that was by moonlight and it might have been grey). The yeti is black or dark brown, but not white.

The ‘I Love The Yeti’ blog actively states that it will only cover articles about white yetis! This is like doing a blog on purple crocodiles, green rhinos or pink elephants! Stuff like this is spreading misconceptions and misinformation and more importantly, is stopping cryptozoology being taken seriously.

I urge everyone to post to this blog pointing out that yetis are black, brown but never white.



Starting Monday February 8th - 7:30pm to 9:30pm -Neil Arnold will be conducting 'Monster Walks' around parts of London. With the help of London Paranormal who run regular ghost and history walks throughout the capital, the London 'Monster Walks' will see full-time folklorist Neil Arnold introduce us to a menagerie of mysterious beasts within the concrete jungle. The tour will stop off at various points in the city which are ornamented with monstrous images, and with each image a story will be applied.

Neil will speak of serpents, big cats, griffins, giant fish, bears, phantom hounds, all sighted throughout the capital. He'll also speak of the Highgate 'vampire', Spring-Heeled Jack and the London 'mermaid' hoax. A surreal safari indeed.

Just when you thought it was safe to not go in the woods, the London 'Monster Walk' will bring the beasts of London lore into the streets.

For more details, email Neil Arnold at neil.arnold@live.com or log on to http://www.beastsoflondon.blogspot.com/ for more details.


Today I conclude my look at the dragons/serpents of Sussex. There is a misprint in my last blog.Of course, it should read “During 1867,at Fittleworth,in Sussex,etc,etc, not During 187, etc. My error!

In Bill Cooper`s e-mail to me of 17th November 2009 he drew my attention to the following pieces of information:

“In Sussex in 1794 a huge `snake` was shot dead finally after terrorising locals and livestock for such a while at Hayward`s Heath. However, descriptions from the time clearly state that this particular beast measured only five-feet in length ,in fact many tales speaking of such `dragons` often only speak of creatures reaching up to nine-feet in length,suggesting nothing more than snakes or large lizards. It must also be noted that with regards to the above beast, many witnesses to the monster often described it as disappearing under the earth once it had attacked,not exactly the behaviour of a terrible dragon.”

Turning to St.Leonard`s Forest: “In Sussex there is a pretty market towne called Horsham,near which is a forest called St.Leonard`s Forrest, and there is a vast and unfrequented place,heahie,vaultie,full of unwholesome shades and overgrown hollows were this serpent is thought to be bred,certaie and too true,that there it yet lives,within 3 or 4 miles compass are its usual haunts,oftentimes at a place called Fay-Gate,and it hath been seene within half a mile of Horsham, a wonder no doubt,most,terrible and noisome to the inhabitants thereabouts.

There is always in his track or path left a glutinous and slimie matter* (as by a small similitude we may perceive in a snail) which is very corrupt and offensive to the scent,insomuch they perceive the air to be putrified withal which must needs be very dangerous; for though the corruption of it cannot strike the outward parts of a man,unless heated into the blood,yet by receiving it into any part of our breathing organs (the nose or mouth) it is by authoritie of all authors, writing in that kinde, mortall and deadlie;as one thus saith: “ Noisia Serpentane est admits sanguine Pestis (Lucan) The Serpent or Dragon as some call it,is reputed to be nine feete or rather more in length,and shaped almost in the form of the axle-tree of a cart, a quantitie of thickness in the middest,and somewhat smaller at both ends. The former part which he shoots forth as a necke is supposed to be an ell long, with a white ring as it were of scales about it. The scales along his back seem to be blackish and so much as is discovered under his bellie apereth to be red…it is likewise discovered to have large feete,but the eye may be there deceived , for some supoose that serpents have no feet but glide along upon certain ribbes and scales,which both defend them…there are likewise oneither side of him discovered two great bunches,so big as a large foote ball,and as some think will grow into wings,but God I hope will so defend the poor people of the neighbourhood, that he shall be destroyed before he grow so fledge.He will cast venom 4 roddes from him,so by woefull experience,it was proved on the bodies of a man and woman coming that way…” (2)

*This was also a feature of the Flying Snake of Namibia Richard Muirhead C.F.Z. Yearbook 1996

Richard Freeman believes this creature was a cobra: “ The snake was indeed probably a cobra that had its genesis in one of the animal collections at the time,and escaped into the area. The reports began in August and only lasted a few months before the cold winter would have killed any tropical reptile at large.” (3)

See also Dorothea Hurst History and Antiquities of Horsham.

There is a legend linking St.Leonard`s Forest to the saint of that name: ”Many of the legends of the Forest are connected with St. Leonard himself,and with his running battle through the trees in which he fought the dragon which had been terrorising the country-people and laying waste their homes and crops. Wherever any drops of the saint`s blood fell to the ground the beautiful lilies of the valley,which still flower in parts of the Forest, sprang up. When aked what reward he would name for ridding the countryside of the scourge of the dragon,St.Leonard is said to have prayed that the adders might be deaf and the nightingales might not sing.” (4)

1. Email from Bill Cooper to Richard Muirhead Nov. 17th 2009
2 B.Cooper Ibid and R.Freeman Dragons More Than a Myth? (2005) pp75-76
3. R.Freeman Ibid p.76
4. Causeway Magazine. Issue 6 p.117

R.E.M. OddFellows Local 151

Odd fellows local 151 behind the firehouse
Where Peewee sits to prove a sage to teach
Peewee gathered up his proof
Reached up and scrathed his head
Fell down and hit the ground again


It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to (Jack Mischief Biddle 10 December 1996 - 15 January 2010).

He came to stay with Biggles last summer, bringing Emma and her then boyfriend (now husband), the lanky Methodist git who has been part of the CFZ since the year dot (2006 actually). He made friends with Biggles and singularly failed to teach him any of his tricks.

Now that Biggles is learning to roll over, he was looking forward to showing Jack his prowess, but sadly will now have to wait until they eventually meet up in the great kennels in the sky.

Cheers, pal...

Sing a happy song
'Cause Spring does not last long
A flower blooms and then it's gone
Summer follows fast
Make hay while it lasts
Don't ever dwell upon the past
For one day you are here, and the next you are gone
Every horse has its year and every dog its day, my son
So the only thing to feel sad about is
All the dogs and the horses you'll have to outlive
They'll be with you when you say good-bye
Then the Fall from grace
The lines upon your face
Grow deeper almost every day
Days and weeks roll by
And Winter nights draw nigh
And everything that lives must die
But as the curtains close and the last prayers are said
All my dogs and my horses appear round my bed
They have come to say one last goodbye

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 2004 a whale exploded in the town of Tainan in Taiwan. More details of the bloodbath (literally) can be seen in this BBC news story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3437455.stm

And talking of news, here’s the latest Fortean zoology news stories:

Zoo Keepers Rear Abandoned Antelope
It's weird when lizards fall out of trees
Crocodiles 'taught to recognise their names'
Rescued dog bites firefighter
Live pigs blown up in government terrorism experiments

Not only is that rather cruel but it makes a ‘pig’ mess.