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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Thursday, April 01, 2010


GREENPEACE: 'Nestlé don't want you to see the video above, because they complained to Youtube that we were infringing their copyright. Youtube removed the video but now we'd like to offer it to you, as a gift. Download the video and put it on your favourite video sharing site. The more people who join in, the more interesting we'll make it for Nestlé.

We all like a break, so it's time to give orang-utans one. Nestlé uses palm oil in Kit Kat and many other products which is bought from suppliers that destroy rainforests in Indonesia to grow their plantations.'




From the latest edition of the Entomology Livestock Group newsletter:

'Anyone who rears Saturnidae will be familiar with the so called "Indian Moon Moth", Actias selene which is actually a very wide spread species in Asia (including China) with many local forms or races.

However, there are a number of "Moon Moths" - Actias species - in Asia that are not so familiar to Saturniid enthusiasts in the UK and I still hear of new ones from time to time especially from China where there are a number of entomologists who are in contact with European breeders.

It makes me wonder what else is out there in countries or areas where Saturniid moths don't get much attention (e.g. Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma).'

There follows a fantastic article about a fantastic species and just another reason why, if you have even the slightest interest in insects, you should subscribe to this fine newsletter. C'mon its only 12 quid a year....

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Monsters of Prague #10

Part 10 Kabourek the Vodníci
Unlike others of his kind, this Vodníci was a friendly soul. He lived in the Certovika River but spent more time in the pubs on Kampa Island. Other drinkers were unfazed by the smiling, green-skinned, web-fingered creature. The landlords provided a basin of water for him to put his feet in whilst he drank. But as the 19th century became the 20th his old friends began to die. Barrel organ and concertina music was replaced by jazz.

Kabourek could not stand the sound of a saxophone and retreated to the river. He seldom leaves the river today but is said to occasionally appear and beg a passer-by for a bottle of beer. If they grant his request they are rewarded with a pike or an eel.

LINDSAY SELBY: Quebec lake monsters

Misiganebic, a lake creature with a horse's head, or sometimes described as having a snake- or eel-like head, is said to exist in several lakes in the Quebec area. It has been reported in at least eight lakes including Blue-Sea, Cedars, Bitobi, Baskatong Reservoir, Lake Desert and Lake Pocknock. There is also an intriguingly named 'Snake Lake' nearby. According to locals Blue Sea lake, Cedars lake and Bitobi lake are inter-connected. The legend about Misiganebic started with the indigenous people of the area.

Blue Sea Lake is about 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of Gatineau. It is known for its crystal clear water. The story goes that a monstrous snake-like animal with a horse head lived in the lake and was seen by several people between 1913 and 1930. It was said to be very long and a very fast swimmer. The next report of its appearance was in 1980 in the Baskatong Reservoir, located further north. This change of venue was thought to be due to the increase of tourism around the lake and the increased use of motorboats and noise.

The creature was also said to have been seen in Lake Williams in 1928 but looking slightly different. While on a camping trip to the lake, Rev. A. D. MacKinnon and his family came upon a huge, horny-pelted creature, which they described as resembling a hippopotamus. The animal, which appeared to be both aquatic and able to move on land, crawled about in the muddy, shallow waters near shore, browsing in the mud and snapping at passing fish. Mr MacKinnon and his party merely gazed at it from a safe distance and then it went under the surface of the water. It was known that huge sturgeons inhabited the lake but Rev MacKinnon insisted that the strange creature he saw was not a fish. He said it wasn’t an actual hippopotamus but looked like one. The reverend had been in charge of the Union church there for many years and his truthfulness was considered unquestionable. (N.B. This may have been a different creature)

Lake Saint-Jean is also said to be the occasional home to the snake-head monster.

In 1880 a snake "as thick as a telegraph pole " colour "dark green", was seen between the lighthouse and the shore. Since 1975, with a peak in 1980, local newspapers reported persistent observations of a "monster in the lake."

In (as far as I can establish, I had to translate this from French and I am out of practice) 2000, a Mr Geoffroy and his son, saw an unidentified animal from the edge of Lake Brochu. It made a wave, a convex shape in the water as it swam. Mr Geoffroy’s engine on his boat was 120 horse power so he set off in pursuit. He was going 35 miles per hour (56km / h) but could not catch up with it. He said it was not of fish under the surface because it went too fast and a fish would not cause the wake he saw. The claim was that it was a prehistoric beast stuck there as the Gouin dam basin was formerly open to the sea.

Mocking Lake is also located in Quebec, Canada. Local villagers say that a twelve (4 metres) to eighteen feet (6 metres) long creature lives in the lake with a saw-tooth-shaped fin on its back. A grey creature thirty-five feet( 11.1 metres) long was seen by Donat Lavaseur (no date) and a Mr and Mrs Gage saw a large creature come up out of the water when they were fishing. They saw its head and nine feet (3 metres) of its back. ( again no date)

My translation may be a bit off in places but it appears Quebec is home to several or one travelling snake-head lake creature plus a hippopotamus-type creature. If anyone has any information please post a comment.


We have been going for well over a year now, and - being the day after April Fool's Day (a day of considerable importance to those in the Fortean community) - it seems an appropriate time to appeal for more contributors. 'Tis time for all good men and women out in bloggoland to come to the aid of the party. Contributions to jon@eclipse.co.uk please.

I look forward to reading them....


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

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


Today is Good Friday which is the anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the lunar calendar. Most people believe that the crucifixion occurred on the 3rd of April 33AD. And now, the news:

SLU professor says soft evidence supports Bigfoot existence
Duck survives 500-mile journey in van grille
'Lough Ness Monster' terrorising ducks at beauty spot
Ferrets key to bridging the digital divide between cities and rural areas
In the (luxury) dog house
Chinese Whale Wows Crowds With Art Work

Q: Where can you weigh whales?
A: At a whale-way station.


The latest edition of a monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster-hunting news from around the world. This episode brings you:

CFZ in springtime
Repairs and renewals
Graham plays showjumper
Training Biggles
Texas blue dogs
Kay and the banana mystery
Corinna looks at out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: Borneo clouded leopard on film
New and Rediscovered: New spiny Mouse
New and Rediscovered: Australian stingray discovered
New and Rediscovered: New colour changing frog

MS. C LIONZ: Must be posted before lunchtime (apparently)

Sea Monster off the Coast
By Ms C. Lionz 01/04/10 The Whitby Bay Weekly
Some American visitors reported to our chief reporter Ms C. Lionz that they had seen a strange creature in the bay this morning. They were walking at the end of the pier when one of them thought they saw a submarine. They all rushed to the end of the pier where they saw an amazing sight. One of the visitors Prof. Nowall of Wahoona University described it at "3 or 4 humps, black and shiny swimming against the waves" They were unable to get any photos, so stunned were they by the creature. One of the visitors, a Miss Tellit, said she thought she could see an eel-like head.

Prof. Nowall has been so excited by the event, he has set up a tent on the end of the pier and intends to spend the rest of holiday there, armed with a telephoto lens and some salmon sandwiches. He has promised us the first photo. Good luck Prof!


Hello! Today I am returning to the Cheshire Sheaf with two more items on marine strandings, which seem to have caused just as much amazement hundreds of years ago as they do today.

The first report, chronologically speaking, comes from 1357:

A Porpoise or Grampus?

When, in the summer of 1357, a porpoise was captured at Kirkby Wallasey, on the foreshore of William de Bechynton and Richard Sampson, they sold it for £8 and divided the money. But the authorities then suggested that it was not a porpoise, but a grampus and as whales and the like were royal fish, it was claimed for the Earl of Chester. In spite of the fact that two juries found it was in truth a porpoise, a fine was enforced upon the lords of the soil. Representations to the Earl led to William de Bechynton being let off because he had done good service at the battle of Poitiers. How Sampson fared is not related. (“Black Prince`s Reg., iii, 250.) T.L.O.W. (1)

The Herring-Hog in Wirral

In a copy now in the Buxton Public Library, of Dr Charles Leigh`s Natural History of Lancashire, Cheshire, and the Peak published in 1700, (2) there is a contemporary manuscript note reading: the author has omitted (in his Chapter of Fishes) an Acct of the Herring-Hogg which was found upon the Shore near Wirehall by Sr John Bridgeman, Chief Justice of Cheshire, as he was rideing his Lent-Circuit in the year 1636. It was 20 yards and a foot in Length, and 5 yards high. The Lower Jaw-bone was 5 yards high. The Lower Jaw-bone was 5 yards long &c. It was heard to cry six or seven miles before they slew it; and so hideously that none durst come near it. &c., &c. Tho. Jefferson`s MS sub fin'

The herring hog is a grampus, but the grampus does not usually grow to 60 feet in length. ERNEST AXON (3)

The Cheshire Sheaf vol 32 August 1937 p.71

There is a copy of this book in the Local Studies Library in Macclesfield which I have been looking at today.

3 Cheshire Sheaf op. cit .vol 33 August 1938 p.72

Hot Chocolate Emma

We were together since we were five
Emma was so pretty she was a star in everyone`s eyes.
And when she said she`d be a movie queen
Nobody laughed

A face like an angel
She could be anything
Emmaline, Emma, Emmaline
I`m gonna write your name high on that silver screen
Emmaline, Emma, Emmaline,
I`m gonna make you the biggest star this world has ever seen