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 22, 2010



I am not sure whether I should let Biggles see this

LINDSAY SELBY: Florida lake monster

Does Lake Clinch in Polk County have a lake serpent? The lake contains quite a large fish stock of large mouth bass, and bluegill and lack crappie. There is a food source to sustain something in the lake. However, there is some controversy over whether there is a tradition of a creature in the lake.

'There is a tradition that a sea serpent, or lake serpent, used to haunt Lake Clinch,' M.F. Hetherington wrote in his 1928 A History of Polk County. 'The Indians many years ago insisted there was an immense serpent in this lake. In 1907 residents of Frostproof declared they had seen the monster, and that it must be 30 feet long - this, too, before post-prohibition liquor was known.'

and the opposite view:

'My own inquiries to local libraries and newspapers failed to produce any leads or archival reports,' Newton wrote. 'It is entirely possible that Lake Clinch has produced some cryptid sightings in the past, or that it may figure in aboriginal mythology, but as of press time for the work in hand, no further information was available.'

However, I found this interesting story from 1926 about a man thought to have been killed by a large serpent in the lake:

'...but talk about a lake creature persisted. Settlers spoke of something in the lake and early pioneers, including citizens, claimed to have seen a 30 foot [9.1 m] long “sea serpent” while boating or from the shore. On the night of August 30,1926, 49-year-old Charles M. Mallet stepped out of his simple Florida Cracker style home wearing a bathing suit and carrying a tackle box and bait. Mallett was a businessman, founder of the town’s first bank, and a partner in a prosperous fertilizer and supply company that served the local growers. He was a practical man and tales about a giant serpent inhabiting the lake adjacent to his home did not worry him as he prepared to venture onto the legendary monster’s domain. Before going fishing, Mallett had told several associates that he would be leaving for Sarasota the next day and absent from his usual haunts in the coming week. He stopped long enough to wave to a neighbor then made his way down to the dock. Like other men in Frostproof, he kept a small boat at the pier and frequently fished for the Largemouth Bass that were, and are, abundant in the lake. It was Florida’s “monsoon season” and there had been heavy rain that afternoon, but now it was clear skies as Mallett boarded his boat and headed out onto smooth dark water.

'Three days later, on Thursday morning, G. D. Moree cast a fishing line into Lake Clinch from the eastern shore. While reeling it in, he snagged something big - a human body. The features were so mangled, that given the condition, it might have remained unidentified but for a ring on the corpse’s finger; the name faintly engraved on the inside of the band was “Charles M.Mallet”. To confirm the identity, a person was dis-patched to see if Mallet had returned from his trip. One of Mallett’s employees, C.C. Matthews, dis-covered the door to the Cracker house unlocked and Mallett’s personal effects and suitcase awaiting his return from the lake. There was no doubt that the body was that of Charles Mercer Mallett, but what happened out on Lake Clinch? It is likely that a physician or district coroner examined Mallett’s body (Polk County did not have a medical examiner until the 1970s). A record of the death has been found in the state’s official Death Index'

Source: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache%3AcYrFR-bA5iUJ%3Amysteriesmagazine.com%2Fpreviews%2F24%2F24_lake_clinch.pdf+lake+clinch+monster&hl=en&gl=uk&sig=AHIEtbRvNfjkI4mIBiZVR-PeG6stqpF8Bw

So did Mallet meet the serpent of the lake? Local stories would have it that he did. I have been unable to find any recent sightings of anything in the lake so am inclined to dismiss this as folklore, but if anyone has any new information, please post a comment.


Richard wrote to me yesterday morning just before we left. 'They're ripping us off,' he said. Well, as those of you who know the boy Freeman will attest, he is of an excitable nature (cue a recording of Warren Zevon singing Excitable Boy) and has been known to get the bit between his teeth, but on this occasion he is right. Look at this:


This person has taken the first two parts of our 2007 film The Dragons of Africa directed and edited by me, and with music by Paul Whitrow, and is insinuating that it is his own work. He even writes:

'I am now in leagues with TSM Pictures, and they are gonna make a mod of this video. Hit it up when you get the chance.. 1 year ago '

I am not being deliberately obtuse as men of my age are wont to be, but I really have no idea what he is talking about. The only TSM Pictures I can find is a youtube channel featuring a (well done) excerpt from a kids production of The Little Mermaid and (apart from Quadrophenia and our very own Neil Arnold) I have no idea what `mod` means. Can someone please enlighten me?


Once upon a time, Richard and I did a lot of gigs, but as middle age and diabetes took control I have become a virtual recluse on the lecture circuit at least, and apart from the WW, Uncon 2008, and the three talks I gave in Texas, I haven't done any for years. However, Miriam Palfrey, a long-time CFZ member and a long time supporter of the CFZ persuaded me months ago to do a talk in Reading library, and I am so glad that I accepted.

Richard was in the audience, more as happenstance than by design, and - completely off the cuff - whilst discussing the Patterson/Gimlin footage I invited gothboy onstage with me to do his ape impressions, and for the rest of the evening it was the Downes/Freeman show circa 1999 - something we have not done for over a decade. And it has whetted my appetite.

So put the word about. Richard and I are now available for weddings, Christenings and bar mitzvahs. We sing, we dance and we jump naked out of cakes. In my case, a very large cake....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1564 William Shakespeare was born. As well as being the best playwright ever - that’s a given - Shakespeare drew a lot of inspiration from the bizarre and the strange, using things like ghosts, soothsayers and witches to great effect in his plays.

Also St George’s day to my English chums.

And now, the news:

Amorous slug, orange snake among finds on Borneo
Oh balls: vandals target Rocky bulls
World's Longest Bug And 'Ninja' Slug Discovered in Borneo

Well, there’s a photo that sticks in your mind.