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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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The Fish Mystery campaign launches to find out what could be causing male fish in the Potomac to carry eggs. Featuring Wendy Rieger of WRC-4, Dr. Vicky Blazer of USGS, John Hayes, river guide, and Hedrick Belin of Potomac Conservancy. By Andrew Schenkel and Robert Heimplaetzer for Kelley Campaigns.

RICHARD FREEMAN: Mystery of the dragon

As you may know my new book, The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia is due out anytime now. Among the many weird and wonderful creatures listed in it are Asian dragons. As anyone who knows me will tell you, dragons and their possible literal existence is somewhat of an obsession with me. Here is an excellent article about dragon sightings in China: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/30603/

NEIL ARNOLD: Glocester Ghoul

The Evening Hour, January 15th 1896

COW, MONSTER, OR GHOST ? – Reappearance of the Fearsome Thing that Pirate Hicks Discovered Fifty years Ago

Neil Hopkins, of Glocester, R.L. was returning from his work on Dandalion Hill, near Putnam, a few nights ago, when, at the darkest spot in the road, a strange beast gave him chase. He cannot exactly tell what it was, as he caught only a glance of it as he ran. Hopkins is certain that the creature was some supernatural beast that lives in Glocester forest.

“It seemed to be all a-fire; it had a hot breath”, Hopkins told his neighbours.
“There was a metallic sound, like the clanking of steel against steel. The beast didn’t seem to be strong in the wind, for it chased me only a short distance, and then plunged off into the woods. I could hear the dead branches and twigs crackling under the heavy tramp”.

Hopkins says it was as big as an elephant, and that he is certain it had no tail. Opinion is divided as to what it was that scared Hopkins. Some think that it was only the escaped circus bear that held up several farmers and scared their horses…

The bear was seen in Buck Woods, near Webster, Mass., and as far south as Glocester. Others think that it was the famous Glocester monster, the “burning beast” that Hopkins saw. The “burning beast” has been seen only once before. That was 57 years ago last summer, when it appeared to four Glocesterites, John Jepp, Ben Cobb, Ben Saunders and Albert Hicks, the pirate, who was afterward hanged on Liberty Island in New York Bay. Hicks was a native of Glocester. He and his companions were dogging up the Page farm one night trying to find Capt. Kidd’s supposed buried gold, when the monster frightened them away. They dropped picks and shovels and run for life. Some Spanish doubloons had been previously found on the Page far, but the gold diggers never cared to searched (sic) further after their awful experience.

Hicks used to describe the beast thus – “It was a large animal, with staring eyes as big as powter bowls. The eyes looked like balls of fire. When it breathed as it went by flames came out of its mouth and nostrils, scorching the brush in its path. It was as a big as a cow with dark wings with dark wing’s on each side like a bat’s. It had spiral horns like a ram’s, as big around as a stovepipe. Its feet were formed like a duck’s and measured a foot and a half across. The body was covered with scales as big as clam shells, which made a rattling noise as the beast moved along. The scales flopped up and down. The thing had lights on its sides like those shining through a tin lantern. Before I saw it I felt its presence and I smelled something that was like burnt wool as it went by. I had a feeling of suffocation when it came near me. The monster seemed to come from nowhere and to go away in the same manner.”

There are many people in Glocester who believe that the beast still haunts the forest not far from the Providence turnpike, and that it was it that gave Hopkins his fright.’


Folks, this list of Fortean zoological items is from copies of pages from the indices to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, and Stirling Journal and Advertiser, which were found in the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale, N. London. The list is not meant to be exhaustive. It is purely subjective, by which I mean I noted what interested me at the time.

What interests me will not necessarily interest you. If you have any queries as to what else may be on the list, please feel free to contact me on richmuirhead@ntlworld.com but I am in no position to provide you with the original articles as I have none of the ones in this list or any others.

I have copies of indices described as volumes 1-3 inclusive. Volume 1 is titled `Index of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard Vol 1. 1777-1833 p.82` Volume 2 is titled `Stirling Journal and Advertiser A Local Index 1870-1919 pp 272-273` and Volume 3 is titled `A Local Index of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Its Predecessors over 200 Years p.148`. Unfortunately the quality of my photocopy of the first volume, mentioned above, is very poor but I will do the best I can. Hopefully if any one is doing a `Mystery Animals of...` book for these parts of Scotland this will help.

In order of the items' appearance in each volume and in order I ticked each item, here we go:


Dumfries, Rare mouse found in town, February 1st 1825, 4C.

(That is to say, February 1st 1824 column 4C)

Lochmaben, Vendace (prehistoric fish) in Castle Loch, March 25th 1788, 25/3, 4C
Kirkmahoe, Dalewinton, White hare sighted, July 19th 1825, 4D
Canonbie, White crow hatched, July 29th 1817 3E


The only items of interest here are:

Kippen, Jackal escapes September 15 th 1899 5C
Stirling, Lions March 22nd 1917 5F

(This item and the one below are included because this could mean seen in a zoo, or escaped perhaps?)
Stirling, Lions and Bears, July 24th 1913 4G
Thornhill, Phenomenal eggs laid by hen. May 17th 1907 8B


Dumfries and Galloway, Carniverous plants, December 8th 1880, 3C


Clarencefield, A Rare Goose, October 21st 1865, 3C
Crossmichael, A Rare Avis, White Sparrow, July 8th 1876, 3E
Dumfries, Adder found at Pleasance, August 22nd 1874 4B
Dumfries, Rare Butterfly Seen, “Clouded Yellow” June 13th 1877 5C
Glenluce White sparrows, 1878, July 13th 4B
Mabie, Rare butterfly, Camberwell Beauty, Vanessa Antiopa, October 4th 1876, 6C
Maxwelltown, Shower of Frogs, August 19th 1865 3B
Newton Stewart, Adder robs bird`s nest, June 21st 1873 3D
Ruthwell, Solway, skull and horns of a deer,March 13th 1875, 3F

[doesn`t say what species,could be interesting]

Muirhead`s Mysteries will be appearing twice a week only from now on

David Bowie Big Brother

Don`t talk of dust and roses
Or should we powder our noses?
Don`t live for last years capers
Give me steel,give me steel,
Give me pulses unreal

He`ll build a glass asylum,
With just a hint of mayhem
He`ll build a better whirlpool
We`ll be living from sin,then we can really begin

Please saviour,saviour,show us
Here me,I`m graphically yours

Some one to claim us,someone to follow
Some one to shame us, some brave Apollo
Some one to fool us,someone like you
We want you Big Brother, Big Brother


And he quite rightly surmises that I got the idea for a series of Fortean anthologies from Patrick Huyghe's very excellent Swamp Gas Times anthology of a few years ago....


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1926 William Henry Johnson died (according to some reports, anyway; others place his death on April 9th). Johnson was better known by the stage names of ‘the missing link’ and ‘Zip the pinhead’ on the American sideshow circuit, and became most famous while he worked with P.T. Barnum. ‘Zip’ had an unusually shaped head with a long sloping brow and Barnum had the idea to emphasise this by styling Zip’s hair to a point. Zip was, by all accounts, an intelligent and articulate man despite the great show he made of acting like a savage in his show. His final words, spoken to his sister, were “Well, we fooled 'em for a long time, didn't we?”
And now, the news:

Lilliput jumbos — a subject of debate
Lensemen [sic] claim sighting pygmy jumbo; experts skeptical
Sightings of big cats 'are not a myth'
There are wild big cats
Big cats roam through Nebraska
Cougar sighting in Regina
RIP Gordy the Gorilla
Elephant-speak for 'Beware of the bees'


Bruce Spittle writes

Dear Jon

Could I mention that an account of claims of moa sightings in New Zealand has been published? Details and the introductory chapter are available at http://www.moasightings.com/ The 1993 claim is covered in some detail including an account written by one of the claimants, a transcript of a meeting of the claimants with the Skeptics Society, and the previously unpublished transcripts of the interviews by the Department of Conservation with the claimants. Some field investigations are also reported on.

Best wishes