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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Sunday, March 14, 2010


Hello there,

Have you seen this before?
It's a good 'un!


Davey C.


Graham's note: Nice one, Dave... where did you spot it?


David Waldron writes....

Hi Jon,

Just thought I should let you know for CFZ members that we are having a launch by my co-author Chris Reeve at St Mary's in Bungay (the site of the 1577 attack) on the 27th of March at midday. It is being hosted by the Friends of St Mary's and the Bungay Museum. It should be a pleasant day out in the Waveney Valley. A chance to see the sights and locations of the story and to speak with one of the most knowledgeable historians on the Black Dog of Bungay and a veritable fountain of information of Suffolk ghost stories and cryptid legends from the Waveney Valley.

You can get a copy of the new book too ;-)

Anyway I most definitely recommend it to all and very much wish I was there from far off Australia.

We will have a smaller launch here in Australia in April hosted by the University of Ballarat details will be coming soon.

Now I am off to do more digging into the folklore and stories of Big Cats in Australia. I have to say the more I get into the material the richer and more complex it seems.

David Waldron

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day, the Ides of March, in 44BC Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Theatre of Pompey by a group of up to 60 senators. According to the historian Plutarch, Julius was warned of this plot before hand by a seer who told him to “Beware the Ides of March.”, upon meeting the seer whilst on his way to the Theatre of Pompey the dictator quipped “Well the Ides of March have come.” To which the seer replied “Aye, they are come, but not yet gone.”

Whether this actually happened is open to debate, but it is a matter of record that Caesar’s ally Mark Anthony had found out about the plot the night before and attempted to head Caesar off at the steps of the forum to inform him, however the assassination occurred before he reached where Anthony was waiting for him.

And now, before the news, a brief public service announcement...

If you are a UK citizen, please take a minute to sign this petition...

It seeks to clear up a grey area in UK copyright law which can impact the sharing of important news stories on anything from Wikipedia to web forums.

If you haven’t signed it because you’re too busy, consider that in the time it has taken you to read this sentence you could have signed it, so you’d best do so now lest I have to write another sentence that you’ll feel compelled to read because it might contain a fascinating fact or (not very) funny joke. If you’re saying to your self “Oh I’ll sign it later.” don’t, you know you’ll only forget, do it now and have done with it.

And now it is time for the news from the CFZ newsblog, compiled by the fantastic Gavin Wilson, guitar expert (Gavin’s book ‘500 guitars’ is available here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/500-Guitars-Definitive-Z-Guide/dp/0785826181 )

Marine animal rescue vessel launched

Poet Philip Larkin's death marked with giant toads...

TV zoologist hosts pet fashion show

It’s a pet project of his apparently…

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Richard Muirhead and water spouts and water devils

Today is the third and final part of my survey of the opinions of those who believe that sightings of lake monsters can be put down to water spouts or water devils.

In the volume 12 no. 122 issue of The Journal of Meteorology pp 269-271 Michael W. Rowe discussed this issue in an article titled 'Whirlwinds, Sea-Serpents and the Loch Ness Monster.' He wrote:

'In 1976 Dr. Meaden published a paper in this journal in which he propsed that some reports of `monsters` in Loch Ness and other lakes and rivers could be explained as sightings of whirlwinds, particularly water devils… In a later issue Sir Peter Scott, who has studied the problem of the Loch Ness Monster for many years, agreed that Dr Meaden`s theory could well be the explanation for a number of sightings… He proposed several questions, which were answered by Dr. Meaden

'Until recently there seemed to be no records of whirlwinds on Loch Ness, but in the past few months I have received two reports. Both are unfortunately very lacking in detail, but they are worth putting on record, in view of Dr. Meaden's theory.

'The first report was sent by Mr. Peter Moore, who had seen a whirlwind in Urquhart Bay (NH5329) on the western side of the loch. The whirlwind was seen for only about two seconds, but Mr. Moore recognised what it was, as he had seen whirlwinds on Loch Lomond on at least five occasions.

'The other whirlwind was seen by Clare Page, a pupil of mine at Priestlands Comprehensive School, Lymington. Again there are few details, as Miss Page was only about eight years old when the incident took place (probably in 1983). From a rough sketch map it appears that the whirlwind was not far from Urquhart Castle, and hence in the same general area where Mr. Moore's sighting took place…

'Later, in the summer of 1917, there was "a… sighting in Loch Brittle (NG 3918), Skye.”

'It appeared as a high column, said to be a great deal higher than the object Sandy (a 1910 witness to another object) had seen in Loch Scavaig, and light flashed at the top of the column as though a small head were being turned from side to side. There was a considerable commotion of water astern of it, but no other portion of the body was visible above the surface. It submerged slowly until nothing was left showing above the sea, and it seemed to descend vertically and without flexuion.”

'Heuvelmans comments, "This time we seem to have the long-necked sea-serpent again.”'(1)

Rowe puts the light down to “electrical discharge.” (2)

1. B. Heuvelmans (1968) In The Wake of The Sea Serpent

2. M. Rowe Whirlwinds, Sea-Serpents and The Loch Ness Monster, Journal of Meteorology vol.12, no.122 October 1987 pp 169-271

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Monsters of Prague, Part 8

The Burning Man number 3.

The third burning spectre

A terrible miser lived in a house called At The Turks Head. He ate and drank very little in order to save his gold coins, which he stashed in a chest. He grew ever more paranoid about thieves and so bricked the chest up. Still not satisfied, he patrolled the wall, walking back and forth until he had a stroke and died. Even after death he remained as a flaming spectre.

The house's new owner decided to demolish it. A nightwatchman saw the burning man holding his fiery hand to a certain part of the wall. Realising that the ghost was pointing to something, he got a pickaxe and broke into the wall. He found a chest full of gold ducats.

"Thank you, my friend; you have freed me. Enjoy the money in good health," said the burning man, and vanished.

The nightwatchman go so drunk on the money he fell down stairs and killed himself. The burning man blamed himself and returned to haunt the area.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1964 a jury in Texas found Jack Ruby guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the main suspect in the assassination of JFK.

And now, the news:

Goa zoo gets a pair of sloth bear from Hyderabad

Peaceful co-existence

Snakes alive - Bewdley park animal keeper on a mission

Woman grows 6cm horn on forehead

India arrests after sea cucumbers seized at Delhi hotel

Smelling Scenery in Stereo: Desert Ants Perceive Odor Maps in Navigation

Boost ivory trade monitoring and enforcement before allowing one-off sales: UBC researcher

New Species of Worm Found in Great Barrier Reef

11 Siberian tigers starve to death in China zoo

Man working on home computer bit by stray snake

Look at this animal magic

If I had a tapir I’d call it Sally.

Crufts Controversy

Animal rights activists protested yesterday outside the opening day of Crufts in Birmingham. Once of a day the famous dog show had a remarkable reputation and the Kennel Club likewise. But people from various organisations, as I stated in a blog post last week, have been worried for some time.

The competition this year will not be televised by the BBC, who dropped the show in 2008 out of concern for the animals competing. The Kennel Club, who regulates Crufts, has also been accused of allowing dogs to 'wither genetically' and protesters yesterday held placards saying 'Hitler would be proud.'

This was down to the argument that dog breeders are performing a Nazi-esque canine type of ethnic cleansing on dogs. Poorva Joshpura of Peta said "Whether you call it 'pedigree' or 'master race', the quest for pure bloodlines is the same thing - the false and dangerous belief that some breeds or races are superior to others."

Whether or not you agree with her choice of analogy, you have to admit that it's about time man's best friend was treated as such.