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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Friday, April 23, 2010


Goodness me!

CFZ ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 8

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 eighth trenche is a real mixed bag. It includes stuff on Piltdown man, witchcraft, animal sacrifice, and quite a lot of peculiar archaeology. Good stuff.


GLEN VAUDREY: Jumping on the hellbender bandwagon

As a result of the last two postings of Hellbender videos I thought I would chip in with a giant salamander story.

In the 1920s Frank L. Griffiths was out hunting deer near the head of the New River in California’s Trinity Alps. While looking into the water he spotted five salamanders at the bottom of the lake. Good going, you might think, spotting salamanders in the water; they are, after all, small little critters. Well, that might be the normal case but these were no common-or-garden salamanders. No, these were giant salamanders and as such were slightly bigger than the norm. Actually, they were considerably bigger than the norm: Griffiths stated the salamanders he observed measured between 5 and 9 feet long. Astounded or not by his sighting he nevertheless managed to hook one of the salamanders but not too unpredictably, he was unable to drag it out of the water. Hardly surprising, considering the size.

In 1948 biologist Thomas L. Rodgers made four unsuccessful trips to the area looking for a trace of these giant salamanders but it would not be until 1960 that animal handler Vern Harden claimed to see a dozen huge salamanders in Hubbard Lake. He claimed to have hooked one of these giants but had to release it because of a threatening snowstorm that was closing in. However, before letting the creature go he measured it, getting a measurement over 8 feet long. Impressive stuff, but then so are the tales of all fishermen who tell you about the one that got away.

Perhaps there are giant salamanders still awaiting discovery somewhere in the Trinity Alps. One thing is for certain: you really wouldn’t want to be licking one if you found it.


Yes folks, thatis ` the tiger and the unicorn.' I will explain. I have a report of a tiger in Hong Kong from the end of the 1920s, which on the face of it is a straightforward tiger report, but read carefully!

I found this report in an online newspaper archive that is part of the Hong Kong Central Library Multmedia Information System network. (1) It has proved very useful in finding information on some of the more usual aspects of Hong Kong`s fauna, which will be found in Jon and my book The Mystery Animals of Hong Kong in a few years time. The report, dated December 31st 1929, is below, at the end of which I will explain why I asked you to read carefully. It seems the early 1930s were the heyday of tiger reports in Hong Kong, petering off till the mid 1960s.



Enquiries made at Police Headquarters last night for confirmation of a Report that a tiger had made its appearance at Fung Yuen Village, Taipo, and Attacked a cow which died from loss of blood after the tiger had been frightened awayresulted (?) in a statement To the effect that a cow had been attacked by the some animal, but it was not known If the tiger as no one saw it. No official report was available as Police Stations had not been circularised.

The story goes that a woman saw an animal which she took to be a tiger attack a cow which was grazing about two miles outside this village In her fright she screamed, frightening the animal, which ran away up a nearby hill. Sargt Tuckett and a party of police visited the spot and found five-clawed paw marks on the dying cow`s shoulders, these measuring six and a half inches across, and pointing to the beast being most probably a tiger. The Police cast round in the hope of finding some sort of spoor, but without success as the ground in the vicinity is hard.

In 1915 a tiger was shot in the New Territories, this being the only actual case on record and it caused the death of Sargt Groucher and two Indian constables before it was killed. Since then there have been several reports of
Tigers been seen.

If a tiger is, in fact, at large, it has probably been driven from the hills further inland by the recent cold weather. (2)

What I wanted you to notice is this: the feature of these tiger incidents in the part of Hong Kong known as the New Territories, which became a part of Britain from China in 1898, is the fact that even in this case, after Britain had owned the New Territories for over 30 years there was still the unwritten question, 'is this really a tiger?' This has happened more than once. Was this because the colonial authorities were dense? Or was it because of leopard reports? It raises the interesting possibility of other long-lost animals being responsible.

Now, the unicorn. Here is a poem I wrote about 6 months ago:


Dedicated to Jon and Corinna

I can see something coming out of the mist,
Indistinct, clothed in a white coat,
Walking now.
A primeval shape adored by mediaeval maids,
Never ridden by woman or child,
Now, what quest are you on-
Do hunters stalk you still, as you step out of time?
A demigoddess of vegetarian persuasion, and medicinal horn,
Now captured by fervent bearded cryptozoologists
And amateur mystics, in the pages of a
Book found in the dusty,cobwebbed corner of an attic.

1. http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/internet/eng/html/welcome.html
2. The Hong Kong Telegraph December 31st 1929

DEVO Blockhead

Never leaves a gap
Always pays on time
Always fits the bill
He comes well prepared
Cube top
Squared off
Eight corners
90 degree angles
Flat top
Stares straight ahead
Stock parts


The other night in Reading Gavin L-W, our tireless newsblogger, told us that he had recently videoed something very strange - hedhehogs mating face to face. This is very rare in nature and there are only a very few species (most notably us) that do it. This would, we believe, be unprecedented. And yes, the video certainly looks like it.

However, he later wrote: 'However, a hedgehog carer, Gill from Newbury, has burst my bubble and tells me that: "The female isn't on her back she's flattened and concaved so it looks like she's up the other way. Many of my female hogs do that to me when I'm trying to give injections. Trying to find skin under the spines is a nightmare." I'm also attaching a photo of the pair afterwards with the female curled up in a ball whilst the male nudges her wanting more (this went on for about two hours), and another photo of hedgehogs mating from earlier in the week (female very definitely not on her back here).'


Now, Richard and I watched it, and to be quite honest we didn't see a bloody thing. Are we just being dumb?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1967 cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died when his parachute failed to open, making him the first man to die during a space mission.
And now, the news:

Two-headed bobtail lizard found in Australia
Sea lion mystery: pup found on surfer's rooftop deck
Beetlecam gets up-close with dangerous animals
Ohio St. gets livestock lesson from roaming cows

Q: Why do cow’s have bells?
A: In case their horns don’t work.