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, March 06, 2010

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the invention of the telephone. Although Bell was the first to transmit sound via undulatory electrical current the concept of the telephone and early models that transmitted sound by other means were first developed by Antonio Meucci, who had neglected to properly patent his invention because he could not afford the $10 fee.

Dinosaur-eating snake discovered

Odd snake appears in 400-year-old painting

Mystery Behind Dinosaur Demise 'Revealed'

Hen thinks it's a dog and adopts puppies

You know what’s coming whenever chickens are mentioned:



Hello again. Today I am going to continue with my look at meteorological explanations for lake monster sightings.

Following on from Terence Meaden's study of water spouts as a possible explanation for these lake cryptids in an 1976 issue of The Journal of Meteorology, Sir Peter Scott also looked at the same subject in The Journal of Meteorology volume 2 number 13 p.19 in an essay titled Devils and the Loch Ness Monster 1: Some Questions.

In this essay Scott says: 'I am very much interested in your article in the Journal of Meteorology, vol 1 no. 4 pp.118-124, and agree that it may be the explanation of a number of Loch Ness sightings. It may be worth following up a few details, if data exist, to answer the following questions -'

Sir Peter then goes on to ask what meteorological conditions were like on the date of the sighting on the Loch. 'Also, what sort of tracks do the water devils take and how do they relate to wind direction? Do they produce `humps` on the water and also, do they give the impression of a body with humps? Finally, could the water devils create a long column of water that looks like the neck and head of the Loch Ness Monster?' (1)

Meaden replied in the same issue of the journal by explaining that various types of weather fronts, e.g. sea breeze fronts, could produce the conditions necessary for a water spout. He then says he would welcome a list of 'recent unexplained sightings' of the Loch Ness monster in an attempt to analyse the meteorological conditions at the time. He then goes on to say that the passage of land devils and water spouts can alter local temperature….`the direction of motion of the water-devil might be expected to bear some relation to the wind direction of the new air mass….

'It is unlikely that two or three water-devils would appear in line in such a way as ever to be mistaken for a `body` with a number of `humps` . It would appear to be possible for a water-devil to produce a long, narrow, solid-looking column of water that could fit the description of the head of the Loch Ness monster, especially if it should pass over and levitate flotsam such as water-weed or other vegetable matter… Most of the `monster` sightings which have been made on the waters of Loch Ness may eventually be accounted for in a number of different ways, and some of them may indeed prove to be animal in origin, but it is nevertheless considered that the meteorological mechanism proposed here is pertinent to at least a few of the sightings. From time to time, water devils have been seen, and recognised as such, on other lakes and rivers, so that watchers on Loch Ness should be prepared as well to meet similar phenomena at, albeit, infrequent intervals.' (2)

1.Sir P.Scott Devils and the Loch Ness Monster: 1:Some Questions. The Journal of Meteorolgy vol.2 no13 Nov 1976 p.19
2. G.T.Meaden. II: The Reply Sent to Sir Peter .The Journal of Meteorology vol.2 no.13 Nov.1976 pp 19-21

The Alarm Third Light

Your head on my shoulder
Two months you`ve been a soldier
I feel so sick inside
Two months you`d have been alive

So no one here knows your surname
No one knows from where you came
The red cross takes you to your grave
For which your government kindly pays

White cross upon the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember your name…


How many of you are so devoted to your selected field of cryptozoology that your very home is decorated as such?

Those of you who have been to Myrtle cottage for Weird Weekend in the past or seen photographs will know that there are some decidedly Fortean decorations about the place. Now, however, we will all be able to do our gardens out to celebrate our favourite cryptids and other monsters.

American company Design Toscano have been manufacturing the crypto-world's answer to the humble garden gnome for the past ten years, according to a recent article in the Metro.

Some of the Illinois company's most popular creations include the yeti (Richard F. will no doubt be pleased to see it's not white), dragon, 'grey' alien and the top half of a zombie's body, which you can place on your compost heap to look like it is struggling to get out.

If I had a garden, I'd buy them all!

Why can't local newspapers be this good?

This cutting is from the Los Angeles Herald, September 2nd 1906, and it arrives on the bloggo courtesy of Richard Muirhead. What else can we say?

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Cabinet of Dr Yamada, Part 1

Whilst searching the Internet for pictures of Tatsu or Japanese dragons for my new book. The Great Yokai Encyclopedia: An Z to Z of Japanese Monsters, I came across a photograph that was labelled ‘sea-dragon’. It showed an oriental man standing next to a large skeleton supposedly washed up on Awaji Island and discovered by Dr Takeshi Yamada. The skeleton was certainly not a dragon or any other kind of reptile. It seemed to show a Steller’s Sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas), the giant sirenian supposedly hunted into extinction in 1768. There have, however, been a number of claimed modern sightings and at least one alleged carcass.

Awaji Island is an island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea between the islands of Honshū and Shikoku. It is far removed from the haunt of Steller’s sea cow. This aroused suspicion. The picture looked photoshopped and a quick internet search revealed that Dr Takeshi Yamada is a member of the Minnisota Association of Rouge Taxidermists, people who created sideshow ‘gaffs’ or strange creatures much like the Victorian ‘nondescripts’. He was in Osaka, Japan in 1960. As an international exchange student of Osaka Art University, he moved to the United States in 1983 and studied art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA and Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 1983-85, and completed his Bachelor of Fine Art degree in 1985. Yamada obtained his Master of Fine Art Degree in 1987 at the University of Michigan, School of Art in Ann Arbor, MI.

These kind of gaffs have largely replaced real human freaks in carnival sideshows in the modern age. England's very own Walter Potter (1835-1918) made amazing constructions and diaramas from stuffed animals that were displayed at Potter’s Museum of curiosites until its tragic closure and dispersal.

In Part Two we look at some of his creations.


Just to say that Corinna and I have arrived safely chez Naomi and Richie. The journey all went well but I am getting old for 36-hour journeys, and I can hardly walk this evening.

However, as always, Naomi and Richie have been wonderfully kind and hospitable to us, and introduced us to the joys of a rather nice Texan beer called Ziegenbock, which is something I think that I could become rather fond of. We have also met two charming little doggies called Salem and Tiberius, and eaten the nicest salad that I have ever consumed in half a century of salad consumption.

There will be a proper blog tomorrow, but I am too tired to do anything of the sort tonight.