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, March 30, 2010


As Max wrote: 'If this young octopus really did manage to take down this fish, imagine what the rumoured 12m+ giant Pacifics could eat!'


Being employed to catch snakes in New Zealand, one of the few countries in the world with no snakes, may seem to have limited potential as a career option. Indeed, we don't have full-time snake catchers, but a small group of handlers is trained to deal with venomous snakes should one ever breach our biosecurity defences.

Snakes are excluded by law from entering New Zealand. There are no exceptions, which is why they are not found in zoos, research establishments or accompanying visiting entertainers. Read On...

LINDSAY SELBY: Sea creature off Hull

Harold T. Wilkins has written a lot of Fortean books and in one called Monster and Mysteries (James Pike 1972) he told a story of a sea monster seen off Hull UK.

Unfortunately it had no date. : (My paraphrasing here as I no longer have a copy of the book)

A seaman on board a ship heading for Hull saw something strange in the water. He described it as 30 feet (10 metres) by 4 feet (1.1 metres), slimy black in colour with a big eel-like head. It was lying on top of the water. The seaman was an old sea dog of 40 years and said it wasn’t a whale or a shark and were he to see it again he would retire from the sea and remain on land.

In 1927 a steamship travelling from Hamburg to Hull ran into fog as it sailed along the East Yorkshire coast. As the fog started to lift the person in the wheelhouse (presumably the captain) saw in front of the ship what looked like a 10-12 feet ( 3.1- 4 metres) mast sticking out of the water. He rushed to alert the engine room to move astern and as he did so he looked back and the mast moved and went around to the port side. The object then reappeared with what looked like a second mast curved around like an elephants trunk of huge girth. The passengers on board saw what appeared to be a black body as it rose higher and then submerged.

I have been unable to find out anymore about these sightings but there is a Maritime Museum in Hull so I have contacted them to see if they have any information. The curator said he would get back to me if he could find anything out. If anyone else knows anything please post a comment

Hull is up or down the coast depending on which direction you come from; from Skegness where strange sea creature sightings were reported .see blog:



Max turned up on Monday afternoon with some more fish for us. These are black-chinned Giradinus - the wild colour form of the yellow-bellied Giradinus that we have been keeping and breeding for the last year or so....

MIKE HALLOWELL: More Cleadon Conundra

In some parts of our globe there is a mooted connection between certain cryptids and the UFO phenomenon. Sightings of Bigfoot, for example, are occasionally accompanied by reports of weird lights in the sky and the odd silvery-coloured disc or two. Likewise, in Puerto Rico those who espy the Chupacabras may also be privileged to spot glowing orbs or metallic-looking spheres hovering above in the ether.

In my last blog I announced that Darren W. Ritson and I have been planning a trip to Cleadon Hills in South Tyneside, which is now famous (or perhaps infamous) for two cryptids; a strange felid known as the Cleadon Big Cat and an even stranger hairy hominid called the Beast. Cleadon Hills has also had its fair share of UFO sightings, although what connection they have, if any, to the afore-mentioned cryptids is difficult to determine. "The Hills", as they are known locally, were even the location of a mysterious "Black Helicopter" incident some years ago, which I had the privilege of covering in a newspaper column.

Back in the 1990s I scripted a documentary called Anatomy of a Haunting, which was produced by filmmaker Gary Wilkinson and his company Northeastern Films. Jon and Richard kindly travelled to the Frozen North to take part, and provided an excellent (if somewhat eerie) introduction to the Fortean phenomena at Marsden Bay. Marsden Bay, for the uninitiated, is only a hop, skip and jump away from Cleadon. During the intro, Mssrs. Downes and Freeman spoke about the existence of "window areas", in which all sorts of diverse phenomena can, and usually do, occur. The thought struck me that Cleadon Hills may be just such a window area. Perhaps, then, UFO sightings in the area might be connected in some way to the appearance of the afore-mentioned cryptids or at least, their existence in the same spot may not be entirely coincidental. It was a long shot, but who knows?

In preparation for our trip Darren and I reviewed some of the photographs we'd taken on previous visits. One caught my attention in particular, not because of the scene, but simply because I'd forgotten to re-size the image previously. I decided on a whim to re-size it there and then and make it "book ready" should I want to use it in the future.

The picture was of the ruins of the old mill house at Cleadon – allegedly the home of the ghost of a young woman in a red dress who had killed herself when her father insisted she terminate her relationship with a young local lad. I'd taken the picture on Sunday 26 March, 2000, which I noticed, oddly, was almost ten years to the day before Darren and I's next trip.

I double-clicked on the image and re-sized it. I then tweaked around with the lighting and contrast. It was then that I noticed what looked like a small blemish in the top right-hand (facing) corner. As I zoomed in on the anomaly I was struck quite forcibly by its odd appearance. It certainly wasn't a bird or a plane, and looked for all the world like an elongated dumbbell hovering vertically in the sky. Curious, I decided to hunt out the original picture and take a look. Sod's Law, I didn't have it, having destroyed the original pic after copying it electronically. However, on another picture taken at the same time the strange object can still be seen, although it is much further away and barely visible.

To be honest, I haven't a clue what it is, but I do know that I'm not the first person to capture airborne anomalies with their camera upon Cleadon Hills. I checked to see whether there had been any UFO sightings over the area the last time either the Beast or the Cleadon Big Cat was seen, and was gratified to find that a number of strange lights had been observed in the sky over adjacent Sunderland.

Personally, I reckon that the Beast of Cleadon Hills was taking his Big Cat for a walk before settling down in front of the telly, and that the lights were the souls of his ancestors, who according to my spirit guide include Elvis and Doris Stokes.

Unless any CFZ acolytes have a better theory, of course, which you'd better not have coz I know where you live….


I first read about the Kasai Rex ‘incident’ when I was about nineteen, and as Richard has quite correctly described me as 'a true dino-movie freak', I can do no less than try to figure out exactly what that picture shows.
Richard lists several stop-motion films as being potential likely suspects, and as well as those he names, there is of course the Rex from the original King Kong (1933), as well as O’Brien’s earlier dinos from Along the Moonbeam Trail (1920), which featured an allosaurus.

After Kong, we come to O’Brien’s abortive War Eagles and Gwangi, for which projects O’Brien’s chief model maker Marcel Delgado had constructed carnivorous dinosaurs, and in the 1950s, we have the tyrannosaur from The Beast of Hollow Mountain, and the Rex, allosaurus and ceratosaurus in Harryhausen’s The Animal World.

The problem is, none of the dinos in the above movies look particularly like the Kasai Rex, and I thought that maybe the animal in the picture might have been a custom-made model, constructed especially for the photo.

The latest news is that it seems to appear that the individual describing him/herself as ‘The Highland Tiger’, has correctly identified the image as a composite photograph made up of a dead (or sleeping) rhino, combined with a model allosaurus built by model maker ‘Yarriwarrior’ (yep--apparently, that’s his real name), based on a Charles Knight painting, which in turn, was inspired by the skeleton of an allosaurus--or specifically--allosaurus AMNH 5753, which was initially discovered by Edward Drinker Cope’s assistant and associate ‘digger’, H.F. Hubbell, who found the remains in the Como Bluff region of Wyoming in 1879, the skeleton not actually being put on display until 1908.

Charles Knight had painted the allosaur from its skeletal pose, feasting on the remains of an Apatosaurus. Even in these days of supposedly ‘new thinking’ as regards dinosaur posture, lifestyle and their place in the Mesozoic eco-system, many of Knight’s paintings are still relevant and surprisingly accurate, and all are fantastically beautiful.

The composite Kasai image was assembled by ‘Finbar’ (yep--apparently that’s his real name too), and a pretty fair job he’s made of it. Apparently, Finbar gets up to this sort of thing quite a bit, but always admits his fakery, so that’s all right, I suppose.

I’ve had a go at making my own Kasai Rex. Yeah, it’s crap, and I know it’s crap, but I only took twenty minutes over it--including the time finding the images on the net. If you had a day or so to mess around with it, you might get reasonable results. It’s just a picture of some African grassland, a rhino stuck onto that, and a picture of Gwangi stuck onto that. A bit of greyscale, some newsprint overlay, and Bob’s your uncle. Well--kind of….

So there you have it. The question is, of course, is the ‘real’ Kasai Rex picture out there somewhere? And will we see Finbar coming the next time?

Keep ‘em peeled….

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1994 the first complete skull of Australopithecus afarensis was found in Ethiopia.
And now, the news:

Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet'
Butterflies offer climate warning
Flamingo's health check at zoo
Fine-tuned bats and 4-wheel drive elephants
Bipedalism takes a big step backward
'Drunk' man tried to revive roadkill
Hungry cats dupe owners with acoustic trick
Rosslyn Chapel was haven for bees

Rosslyn Chapel is well known for ‘bee’-ing quite an odd building.