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, April 17, 2010

HARRIET WADHAM: Greek Mythology

It is with great pleasure that we welcome back one of my favourite bloggo columnists, Harriet Wadham who at the age of ten is often more erudite than some people that I could mention three or four times her age....

First of all, sorry it took so long to get this blog done! Secondly, time to get started on the topic... of Greek Mythology.

The first tale we are going to get started on today is Zeus. Most of the pictures drawn of him represent him as a white-haired, big-bearded man; however, drawings of Zeus pictured as a young, muscled man do occasionally crop up. Actually, forget the occasionally bit. They just crop up, okay???!!! Zeus has a bit of trouble with his love affairs, though, which really angers his wife, Hera (who we’ll get around to sooner or later). So Hera throws a wobbler, and Zeus gets angry at her for messing up their palace (or whatever gods/goddesses do when they’re in a mood), and begins throwing lightning bolts. Ta da!!! There is your average ancient Greek storm. These happen whenever Zeus gets angry (or just really bored).

Now onto the really famous Titan, Prometheus, who’s our favourite because he gave us fire when the god Jupiter (or Zeus; there are a few stories which say it was Zeus, and a few stories which say it was Jupiter, so let’s stick with him) couldn’t care less about us, and thought that if we had fire and tools and everything then we would rise up against them. So Prometheus vowed to help the humans, and brought them fire from the Sun and taught them how to... well, be more civilised really. Jupiter saw this and decided to make the humans’ lives ten times worse, and created pulchritudinous, perfect, prying Pandora, and her mysterious box, got her married to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus, and then she got all curious, opened the box, stopped the evil thingy called Foreboding from getting out, and you know the rest. Then, Jupiter dealt with Prometheus.

He bade his strongest servants go forth and capture Prometheus, then had him chained to a rock and have his liver eaten out by an eagle every day. Ouch. Soon enough, Prom’s buddy Hercules came along, broke his chains, killed the birdie, and all was well la la la.

So as I promised, let’s get to Hera, the last main mythical character I’ll focus on today. She was originally, as some stories say, Zeus’ sister and she fell in love with him as soon as she saw him. (How weird). Another variation is that Zeus seduced her, by way of pretending to be a soggy cuckoo bird sheltering from a storm in her lap, or one of his other Zeus-y ways. She is the goddess of love, watching over relationships and weddings to see they go smoothly, or if a couple are on the point of breakup, she uses all her skills to ensure that they fall in love again.

To conclude my blog, I just want to say thank you to some people:

  • Jon Downes, for letting me put blogs on his wonderful website

  • All the people who take the time to read my blogs and encourage me to write some more

  • My family, for helping me use my noggin and think about what I’m going to write next

  • My teacher for unsuspectingly giving me sentence openers and good vocabulary to use in my work for the CFZ blog pages

  • And last but definitely NOT least, my mum for taking me to the Weird Weekend and inspiring me to write

LINDSAY SELBY: Do cryptozoological creatures smell terrible?

There are lots of reports of smelly cryptids. The Skunk Ape is the one that springs to mind immediately.

Skunk-apes are hairy humanoids sighted in many areas of North America, but especially in swamp areas and the consistent characteristic ascribed to skunk apes is the smell. It is said to be an extreme odour that is nauseating. See report below:

Skunk Ape: Area's own stinky Big Foot -Something stinky in the swamp

By Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Thursday, April 02, 2009

It supposedly hides in muddy, abandoned alligator caves, thus the smell. For more than two centuries, people have sworn they saw it dash across the Everglades or retreat from a rural road.In Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, barking dogs, petrified security guards and bug-eyed kids bear testament.There are photographs, grainy and distant, but attested to by their bearers. More than 75 sightings were reported in Florida in the past two decades. The scare had started when an amateur archaeologist claimed he'd seen the thing in southwest Florida's Big Cypress Swamp.But it was concentrated locally in the 1970s, when South Florida then had more open space and about half the people it does now. A local dispatcher said he was advising lawmen that locals were so jumpy the cops should identify themselves when they approached homes."I know it exists," Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy Marvin Lewis said in 1980.He said he and fellow deputy Ernie Milner made some 50 forays to the wild. They said they shot something in 1974 west of Lantana that grunted and fled back to the dark. Another time, they found mysterious hair on a barbed-wire fence. Lewis put in 27 years and retired in 1997. He hasn't changed his mind. He said recently that any along the coast were long ago driven west by encroaching civilization."I couldn't point to a photo and say, 'That's what I saw,'" he said. "But cops act on investigation and evidence. full story:


see also report of smelly bigfoot: http://www.psican.org/alpha/index.php?/20080830112/Cryptozoology/TheSmell-Of-Sasquatch.html

The Guiafairo of Senegal is described as a giant bat that is very smelly, and even sea creatures have been described as stench-making:

Seen in Burra Haaf – In Waters in the area in the 1900s -Several reports of a creature with a sail-like body and a flipper on the end of its nose exist in this region of water off the Shetland Isles. A fishing crew who encountered it stated the beast destroyed several of their nets, and came so close to their boat they could detect a pungent stench.

So what is it with smell? Well, all animals smell to us: the odour of wet dog or wet cat is pretty bad. But if smell is an indication a cryptid may be near, it is a good tracking device and should perhaps be one that should be taken more seriously. Next time you smell something awful when out in a boat or in the countryside, investigate it; it could be that something cryptozoological is passing that way.


Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Biological Diversity

Dear reader.

Help save polar bears
from trophy hunters.
Donate today.
What do the Safari Club, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Mining Association have in common?

They're all spending boatloads of money to ensure that polar bears can be killed by oil and gas drillers, hunters, and just about anyone else.

To do this they have to strip or bypass federal Endangered Species Act protections for the beleaguered polar bear. Though we're completely outgunned by the enormous sums of money these groups spend on lobbyists and lawyers, the Center for Biological Diversity won't let the Safari Club and its allies win.

Please donate to our Polar Bear Legal Defense Fund today so we can save the polar bear. If we can raise just one dollar for every $100 industry and lobby groups are spending to kill polar bears, we will definitely prevail.

The Safari Club is not your average hunting group. It boasts past presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, Idaho Governor Butch Otter, and Norman Schwarzkopf as lifetime members. It donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates. It was a close ally of Sarah Palin in her war on Alaska's wolves.

The Safari Club has filed two lawsuits to strip federal protection from the polar bear:

  • The first seeks to allow importation of polar bear heads and hides even though the species was listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.
  • The second seeks to remove the polar bear from the threatened list altogether.

Why? Because at $40,000 a kill, polar bear hunting is big business -- and heavily promoted. Every year the Safari Club gives out a "Grand Slam" award to anyone who kills at least five great-bear species, including the polar bear. It is even accepting "Record Book" entries to encourage its members to kill the largest bears possible.

The Center has formally intervened in the Safari Club's lawsuits in defense of the polar bear, but we need your help to win both crucial legal battles. Please donate today to our Polar Bear Legal Defense Fund.

For the bears,

KierĂ¡n Suckling
Executive Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. While The New York Times recently called the Center a "brazen…tiny activist group with a shoestring budget and an aggressive attitude," the Safari Club had former President George W. Bush and Liz Cheney give speeches at its annual conference three months ago.

Please help us level the playing field: Donate generously to our Polar Bear Legal Defense Fund. A bear-loving donor will match every gift of $50 or more, so please give today and pass this email on to your friends.

Polar bear kill photo by Safari Club International.

When donating online to the Center for Biological Diversity, always confirm that the donation page is located at DemocracyinAction.org or BiologicalDiversity.org.

Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us. Change your address or review your profile here.

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702





Next week I am the guest of Miriam Palfrey, long time CFZ member, and am appearing at an evening lecture in Reading library. Details can be found at the URL at the top of this page. Corinna and I are going to take advantage of this and go and see my mama-in-law in Oakham, so I won't be around for some days.

Graham, therefore, will be in charge of the blog in my absence, and everything in the garden will continue to be relatively rosy. Huzzah!

CFZ ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 7

As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`. This seventh trenche is another peculiar collection of stuff, a lot of it about paganism and its attitude to animals, but also including a very strange story about Mick Hucknall (him out of Simply Red who was, BTW, my ex-GF Jessica's favourite singer, and as Jessica reads these pages, and is the only one of my exes with whom I am on good terms, I shall refrain from any sarcastic comments) killing a lobster with kindness. Good stuff.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1971 David Tennant was born. Tennant is best known as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who.
And now, the news:

The Importance of Being a Forest
Victorian collection raises £100,000 at Dorchester auction

That was the price before tax(idermy) anyway.


Neil Arnold talks about Victorian menageries, Bigfoot, the Yeti and cryptozoology.


Hello again!

Today I`m continuing my extracts from The Deep Deep Ocean concerning knowledge of animals thought to be related to the mermaid. Unless you are a believer in the mermaid, this gives a view of the distribution of seals and dugongs (?) or other similar animals around the British Isles several hundred years ago.

'Two years later [than 1556, see Part One of this blog] there is another printed notice of “a moste true and marvellous strange wonder, the lyke hathe seldom been seene, of xvii monstrous fishes, taken in Suffulke, at Downham Brydge, within a myle of Ipswiche, the xi daye of October,in the yeare of our Lorde God 1568 [I love this olde worlde language! Anyone for a Facebook Group? Let uss revivee olde worlde English?] Stow, in his “Annales,” gives a particular description of this “wondrous draught of fishes” some of them being “eight and twentie foote in length at least”.'

Woolfe, in 1586, printed a broadside containing an account of a monster fish found in the stomach of a horse! The registers of the Stationers` Company contain an entry in 1604 of 'a strange reporte of a monstrous fish that appeared in the form of a woman from the waist upwards, seene in the sea.'

Even in 1822 a so-called mermaid was publicly exhibited in London, and continued to be shown to the curious in these matters for many months. But the monster was found to have been constructed of the members of various animals, dexterously put together. Some amusing lines appeared at the period, which I will transcribe:

There then appear 5 verses, I will mention the first and last below:

'Come, mistress mermaid, tell us, for you`ve seen
The deeps and things proud Science pines to see;
Be kind, and say if you have ever been
In worlds the poets deck with imagery.
Say, as you floated on the green sea`s billow,
Didst e`er see Neptune`s car, or Amphitrite`s pillow?...

'Farewell, dumb thing! perhaps the next we find
So long a time may not require to woo,
`T will speak, perchance, and haply prove most kind,
And tell us all we`ve useless sought of you-
Rare information yielding on the morning
She`s clapped within the glass case you`re adorning.'

1. W.Jones The Broad Broad Ocean p.266-267

Talking Heads Air

Hit me in the face
I run faster,
Faster into the air
(I say to myself)
What is happening to my skin?
Where is that protection that I needed?
Air can hurt you too
Air can hurt you too
Some people say not to worry about the air
Some people never had experience with….



I'm not sure what happened here, because various people posted comments correctly identifying the subject of yesterday's teaser from Scottie W aka `Retrieverman` as the skull of an aardvark. The two bloggophiles who correctly identified it first were Robert Schneck and Max Blake. Bloody know-it-alls....