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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

ANDREW GABLE: Canine Hoofprints

Hey Jon,

Wanted to send you some pictures I took this morning... now, allow me to preface this by saying that these are undoubtedly dog tracks (either from our dog or our neighbours' dogs) planted in snow that had melted for a few days. We've heard from CFZ research tonnes of things on how melting tracks in the snow can resemble something they're not. When I saw these I was struck by how hoof-like some of them appeared, although as I said, they are indeed, dog tracks. Not saying that all of the supposed "devil's footprints" discoveries are of melted dog prints or anything, but just interesting from a general sort of P.O.V.




Today we are launching the dedicated blog for the Texas expedition. Each time we do an expedition there is a dedicated blog but this one is different. Because we are going to have internet access most (if not all) of the time, we shall be able to upload stories, postings, pictures (and maybe even film) of our adventures, and will be able to share the expedition with the bloggo readership on an ongoing basis.

We are leaving the main bloggo in the capable hands of Lizzy Clancy and Graham Inglis, and we are sure they will do such a good job while we are away that you won't want to have us back in 18 days time....

GLEN VAUDREY: The last dive between the pages of `The Savage World`

For my final dive between the pages of The Savage World I look at one of my favourite animals and perhaps the most likely extinct animal to make a return to the known world, the thylacine.

Strangely, the author appears to have a little difficulty picking a name for it and comes up with five different ones in the same short passage.

‘The Zebra Wolf, or Dog-headed Opossum (Thylacynus cynocephalus), is not strictly an opossum, for its hind feet lack thumbs, the tail is hairy and non-prehensile, and it has too few incisor teeth in each jaw. It is called the Tasmanian wolf, the Australian tiger, the Zebra wolf, and the Australian hyena. It is carnivorous like the wolf, to which it has many resemblances. Its body slopes forward in consequence of its hind legs being longer than the fore legs; its elongated thick muzzle is almost cylindrical, its tail broad at the base tapers to a point, and it dresses itself in gray indulging, however in black stripes across its back and hind legs.

It is very destructive to flocks and is hence anything but a favorite with farmers. Its digestion is sufficiently remarkable to admit of its competing with the goat or the ostrich, since it has been known to eat the porcupine, quills and all.

The animal is nocturnal in its habits and specially particular about making its home wherever the light of day cannot penetrate. The animal has only rudimentary marsupial organs’

I will let the author off this time for not seeing the extinction of this animal coming. The last captive thylacine died on 7 September 1936 in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. While that may be the official end, reports of sightings have carried on and I, like many others, would not be at all surprised if one or more examples appeared out of the bush in the next year or so.



You might be asking – what is the connection between lake monsters and meteorology? If you`re now thinking 'waterspouts' because of their appearance and behaviour, you`re right, particularly with this first case: The lake monster of the Lake of Ligny, France. This account from around 1760 appears as an appendix to my article `Flying snakes and jumping snakes – a worldwide survey` in the CFZ Yearbook 2010 pp 179. The appendix runs as follows:

'A flying snake or a waterspout? Another French enigma

'The following translation from the original French appeared originally in `Histoires` et Histoire du Pays D`Annot` by Jean-Louis Dannot (1988 pp.154-155) It shows a highly interesting confusion in the eyes and minds of the eyewitness observers to what is probably the misidentification of a waterspout, a meteorological phenomenon that can occur in thundery weather In 1837 the newspaper `Des Basses Alpes` wrote this story which could be listed under the heading of fantastic legends. The incident happened in the Lake of Ligny situated (? Word unclear) far from the village of `Aurent`. The accumulating clouds on the Lake of Ligny are normally the precursors of the frequent storms in the high valleys and the source of the pagan superstitions assigned to the presence of a monster

A very old man assured me that his grandfather (around 1760) was a witness of the appearance of the monster which he gave the name `Vouivre` he said: “ It was the day of St Fiacre: Every year all the people from the local villages went to the lake of Ligny and prayed to God to stop the storm from happening. My grandfather left his village at dawn. As she was siting at the lake shore for the procession suddenly the sky was covered with dark clouds which were whirling around themselves like a spinning top. In the middle of the waves of the bubling water , a huge green snake rose up with the head of a bull,the mane of a lion,the wings of a bat,and the cries resembled the crackling of thunder. As soon as the prayers of the procession started to be heard, the clouds and `Vouivre` faded like a dream.

And now in 1839, because there is no procession by the Lake of Ligny, the rain from the storm made ravines everywhere'
. (1)

In 1976 The Journal of Meteorology published an article by George T. Meaden (now of TORRO, the storm and tornado research organisation. He is a friend of mine.) titled `A Meteorological Explanation For Some of the Mysterious Sightings on Loch Ness and other Lakes and Rivers.`

In it Meaden says: "The saga of the Loch Ness monster is one of compelling interest for scientists and laymen alike If the `monster` should ever prove to be a previously-unknown aquatic animal, it would be a triumph for the zoologists who establish the truth via a live specimen or corpse. But if, as is more probable, no such monster has survived from prehistoric times, the saga at any rate appears to have the resources necessary for surviving a long time into the future. This is due to proven characteristics of human nature, for the monster hunt has long since aquired the stature of the interminable search for the unidentified flying objects ( UFOs)…The purpose of this article is to introduce into the discussion of puzzling lake apparations a meteorological phenomenon which has not been considered by previous writers on Loch Ness monsters. This is the so-called water-devil or water-whirlwind,and its occurrence will be shown to explain a particular class of previously unidentified lake phenomena very well. At the same time, some of the legends appear to be explicable in terms of waterspouts or tornadoes."

Meaden then gives the following example: `The 2nd June (1779) sitting by the water we saw a pillar of water rise as high as the tallest tree, and fall down again, after which it rolled along for a considerable space in large rolls as if a cask had been under the water, (and out of those rolls sprung up small strings of water, rising pretty high, as out of the strup of a razor) –The noise it made was such as a firework of powder makes when first set off,but much louder. The day was clear, fine sunshine and not a breath of wind.` (2)

Meaden then gives the example of Ogopogo: on p. 170 of Dinsdale`s first edition of The Loch Ness Monster a legendary water serpent called Ogopogo from Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, is described. This lake is much bigger than Loch Ness, being some 70-80 miles in length.

`Chief Timbashet...proceeded up the lake by the shortest possible route. Approaching the rocky point…waves were suddenly seen to arise around the canoe and in a fury of foam and spray,the Chief and his family disappeared – and were not seen again.The other Indians…knew at once that N`ha-a-itk (or Ogopogo)…had whipped up the engulfing waves by lashing with his tail.`

This and similar stories were intended to provide indirect support for the existence of inland water monsters. However, such stories are surprisingly common across the world, the reason for which is probably the comparatively high frequency of storms and waterspouts (they are much more commonplace than monsters) and the occasional resulting fatality. (3)

Later, we have the following account from Loch Ness in 1930, reported in the Northern Chronicle on June 14th 1933 and published by Dinsdale (4) `…we heard a terrible noise in the water and looking round we saw about 600 yards distant a great commotion,with spray flying everywhere. Then the fish – or whatever it was - started coming towards us and when it was about 300 yards away it turned to right and went into Holly Bush Bay and disappeared in the depths. Durings its rush it caused a wave about 21/2 feet, sufficient to rock the boat. My opinion is that it is an enormous eel, about 20 feet long. (5)

1. R.Muirhead Flying snakes and jumping snakes a worldwide survey. CFZ Yearbook 2010 p.179
2. G.T.Meaden. A Meteorological Explanation for Some Of The Mysterious Sightings on Loch Ness and Other Lakes and Rivers` The Journal of Meteorology vol.1 no 4 Jan.1976 p.118-119
3. Ibid p.121
4. T.Dinsdale Loch Ness Monster (1961) p.163
5. Northern Chronicle June 14th 1933

Bob Dylan Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Ev`rybody`s building the big ships and boats
Some are building monuments,
Others,jotting down notes,
Ev`rybody`s in despair
Ev`ry girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Ev`rybody`s gonna jump for joy.
Come all without,come all within,
You`ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1918 the first case of Spanish flu occurred, resulting in a worldwide pandemic that would kill more people than the first world war.
And now, the news:

Another 'sea creature': Mysterious headless marine animal washes ashore
Mystery of cat sightings deepens
Woolly mammoths resurfacing in Siberia
UW-Madison biochemists take a bead on gene-controlling code
Ancient DNA from Rare Fossil Reveals That Polar Bears Evolved Recently and Adapted Quickly

I dare say they would have quite a small gene ‘pole’ too. (yeah that pun was a bit forced today)