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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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Some Sad News…

It is with great sadness now that I release this statement on behalf of the CFZ management.

I sincerely apologise to all the people who I’m sure this announcement will upset but I feel that the CFZ will grow stronger as a result. The truth is that Jonathan Downes does not exist. All these years we have been hiring a character actor named Mimsy Barrowclough to play the role for public appearances but sadly, due to family commitments, Barrowclough has had to resign from the role. He has released a statement via his solicitor for all his fans:

“It is with great regret that I, Mimsy Barrowclough, must resign from my role as Jonathan Downes. I have been forced to do so after my family started to complain that I hadn’t seen them for almost 20 years. I wish my successor in the role every success and will be on hand to offer them advice on how to play the role.”

Deputy director Graham Inglis said:

“When I conceived the CFZ as a small conceptual art project in the early 1990s I had no idea it would become so popular and that we would be in the position to recast the role of Jonathan Downes. Although I’m sure many people will miss the original JD and Mimsy’s fantastic portrayal, I hope that CFZ members are as excited as I am about the prospect of what a new actor will bring to the role.”

Although Brian Blessed, who filled in for Mimsy for three days during the recent Texas Expedition, has been linked to the now vacant role in press speculation, Blessed has poured cold water on the rumours.


There has also been speculation that, as nobody could top Mimsy’s iconic performance as the Director, we will be casting a younger actor or even a woman in the role; other names that have been linked to the part include Paul O’Grady, Joe Pasquale, Peter Andre, Kerry Katona and Wee Jimmy Krankie. I couldn’t possibly ruin the surprise of who the next person to play the role of Jonathan Downes will be, but the Director’s regeneration will be shown in the April 2010 episode of On the Track.

Corinna is distraught


This has to be the stupidest story that I have read in a long time, and bearing in mind the date today I would not be at all surprised if you thought that this was some April Fool's jest: a product of mine or Oll's feverishly stupid imagination. But it's not. I promise. Over on the Birdchick blog Sharon Birdchick herself reports:

And no, they are not for the endangered species themselves, they’re for one of the most over-populated species out there. Susan Gets Native posted a link on Facebook about the Center for Biological Diversity is “distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms in all 50 states to highlight how unsustainable human population growth is driving species extinct at a cataclysmic rate.”

According to the press release, “the goal is to help people understand the impact of overpopulation on other species, and to give them a chance to take action in their own lives, the Center is distributing free packets of Endangered Species Condoms depicting six separate species: the polar bear, snail darter, spotted owl, American burying beetle, jaguar, and coquí guajón rock frog.”

Read on...

DALE DRINNON: Amendment to Arthur Grant's original Nessie Sketch as reproduced in Costello's book `In Search of Lake Monsters`

Peter Costello's book has been widely used as a source for material on lake monsters. He is the first to publish the original version of Arthur Grant's sketch for his sighting of the Loch Ness monster ashore at night in January 1934, Costello's Figure 10 on page 46. The figure differs from other, later drawings done by Grant and significantly because the rear end ends at one edge of the paper and does not appear to show a tail.

But in fact the tail is clearly shown on the drawing. Because Grant ran out of paper on the one end, he drew in the tail starting at the other side again, as a sort of wraparound image. The tail is clearly drawn underneath the front end of the monster.

I have attempted to correct the image somewhat in my version. Grant did seem to draw the blunt end of the tail turning up, which I have omitted; and in fact Grant's version makes the tail much larger and thicker than I have drawn. I am not so certain he meant it as being in exact scale to the rest of the drawing, however.

(Source: Peter Costello, In Search of Lake Monsters, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, NYC 1974)

MAX BLAKE: The return (again) of Taxonomy Fail

He's back (and this time its ludicrous)

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1957 the BBC’s Panorama news programme broadcast its report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest, because at the time spaghetti was considered an exotic delicacy in Britain the hoax was widely believed by viewers, several of whom actually phoned the BBC switchboard to ask where you could buy spaghetti trees.


And now, the news:

Smarter (or luckier) than the average bear
Hyenas' laughter signals deciphered
Loyal stork returns to his injured partner
Hedgehogs, heroes of the garden
Toads with a super sensitive side hopped it before L'Aquila quake

Q: Why are frogs anarchists?
A: They’ve never ‘toad’ the line.