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, May 18, 2010


Those of you who are regular readers of this blog and indeed of other CFZ publications over the years, will know that Richard M. and I have been working on a book about the mystery animals of Hong Kong for nearly 20 years now. It was therefore of great interest to us both to find that Hong Kong has recently acquired a new species of chelonian.


For those who may be interested, here's my new review of Brad Steiger's latest book, Real Zombies.


NAOMI WEST: My own reality show

I have decided that I am the subject of a reality show I have not been told about, sort of like The Truman Show with Jim Carrey. And the goal is to create as many weird situations as possible in my classroom and see how successfully I can still teach.

I got this notion in my head yesterday when a pair of jeans was mysteriously left in my classroom. “There’s a pair of pants in here!” someone declared. Without even looking, I told them to put the pants over with the other clothes that have been left over the year. Later on, another student discovered them and tried to peddle them. But nobody bought them so they are still there, draped over a milk crate. I don’t recall seeing anyone leaving class without any pants on, but then again I also missed it when Kurt removed his pants for a few seconds on a dare during 3rd hour. What was I doing that I could miss that? I guess you’d have to review old posts about my 3rd hour but it could have been anything from breaking up a game of Ninja to assisting an asthmatic who keeps forgetting his inhaler.

But it’s not just third hour: today during 6th hour (my very best class and the closest yet to a traditional classroom atmosphere), just after we had gone quiet and begun reading Romeo and Juliet, Timothy* suddenly reached out and slammed his fist down on the water bottle on Ian’s desk, sending it crashing loudly to the floor. A stunned silence ensued, during which I buried my face in my hand, then continued reading with no further disruption. I found out that later that Ian had fallen asleep and Timothy was attempting to wake him up.

We aren’t allowed to let students sleep; we have been told more than once that principals don’t want to see any heads down. But I don’t care anymore and here is why: yesterday I suddenly realised that my 3rd hour had fallen quiet and learning was taking place. I looked around to find the key performers of the usual circus were out cold, and whether it was a coincidence or they had all partaken of the vodka that some students were found putting in the slushies at lunch, I was quite happy. “I know people are sleeping,” I said pleasantly to the rest of the class, “I’m just going to let them sleep.”

It's never as bad in 1st hour when nothing much happens beyond someone calling out, “Does anyone have any gum?” But I wasn’t prepared for 7th hour when out of the blue Trey turned to the class and asked if anyone knew how to juggle. I asked him why he needed to know that and he said that that he wanted to learn. And that was that. I guess nobody knew because I’m certain they’d have stood and demonstrated.

Kenny took 3rd hour to a whole new level of chaos yesterday when he jumped up and ran out of the room. I took off after him just in time to see him leap into the air and smack one of the hallway ceiling tiles, then start back into the classroom. “What are you doing?” I asked him. He replied, “Keith told me I couldn’t do it so I showed him.”

It’s only the mornings before the kids enter the building that bring some peace and quiet, but even those can present unexpected events: this morning I found a cell phone on my overhead projector. With the help of some kids during 7th hour, we discovered it belonged to a senior. I tracked down the senior and found it had been stolen from him that morning. I had never seen this kid in my life, but whatever kid (out of the 2100 at CCHS) stole his phone chose to leave it in my room. Because clearly my room contains a divinely-installed vacuum that sucks all reason and order within a 50,000 square-foot radius.

And don’t think it ends after school either. Some of the kids are just getting started. Today I had my usual crew hanging out when suddenly Kelsea (“Voice of Condemnation” for those who know that story) burst into my room to spill a confession to me about having falsified her identity to the office today. I can’t figure out how I went from being the target of her hatred to her priest but nothing fazes me anymore.

She then handed me a cell phone that she had just found in the soccer field. She knew whose it was but didn’t want to be in possession of it in case it had a tracking device. I found it interesting that my day began and ended with a missing cell phone, but in a few minutes the owner came to claim it. I didn’t know him or the two friends he brought with him, but within the few seconds they entered and exited my room, one of them had managed to fasten a condom over the doorknob. Before I could even react, the male teacher next door suddenly stormed onto the scene. He demanded the names of the offenders and made them throw the condom away (so of course, it went into my trashcan). I pretty much just watched all this wordlessly - because, like I said, I’m the subject of a reality show and am now viewing it with detached curiosity.

Somewhere in that black hole of chaos, there is a cosmic camera installed for the amusement of some divine being. I foresee a second Genesis: 'In the beginning, God created Mrs West’s class. And it was without form....'

NEIL ARNOLD: Neil's "If This Was..." Part One

If this was in Puerto Rico would it be a Chupacabras?


My last blog, taken from information in the Manchester Iris volume 1, covered the “Devil-Sticker”, an odd leech-like animal from S. America. Today I continue with the same journal, this time covering a feature on a certain rhinoceros horn that reminded the author of an unicorn.


From the Rev John Campbell`s Narratives of a Second Journey in the Interior of Africa vol 1 pp 294-295.

`During our absence from Mashow, two Rhinoceros came into the town during the night, when the inhabitants assembled and killed them both. The rhinoceroses, shot by Jager,on the preceding day, having been cut up, were brought, the one in a wagon, the other on pack-oxen. We divided one among Kossie, Munameets, and Pelangye. They brought also the head of one of them, which was different from all the others that had been killed. The common African Rhinoceros has a crooked horn resembling a cock`s spur, which rises about nine or ten inches above the nose and inclines backwards; immediately behind this is a short thick horn; but the head they brought had a straight horn projecting three feet from the forehead, about ten inches above the tip of the noise. The projection of this great horn very much resembles that of the fanciful Unicorn in the British arms. …The head resembled in size a nine gallon cask, and measured three feet from the mouth to the ear, and being much larger than that of the one with the crooked horn, and which measured eleven feet in length, the animal itself must have been still larger and more formidable. ...Our people wounded another, which they reported to be much larger* [* foothote here reads: 'The head being so weighty; and the distance to the Cape so great, it appeared necessary to cut off the under jaw and leave it behind; (the Mashow who cut off the flesh from it had ten cuts on his back, which were marks for ten men he had killed in his lifetime) The animal is considered by naturalists, since the arrival of the skull in London, to be the unicorn of the ancients, and the same as that which is described in the 39th chapter of the book of Job [the author here may be refering to the horse because there is no other realistic animal it could be in that chapter.] The part of the head brought to London may be seen at the Missionary Museum: and, for such as may not have the opportunity of seeing the head itself, the above drawing [there is an illustration of the head accompanying the essay] of the head itself the above drawing has been made.

There follows notes from 'the Missionary Sketches:'

'Some authors, both ancient and modern, have described an animal, which they call the Unicorn, said to resemble a horse,or deer, with a long horn, represented in English heraldry as one of the supporters of the royal arms; but there is reason to doubt the existence of any such quadruped. It is possible that the long horn ascribed to such an animal is that of a fish,or, as termed by some, a Sea Unicorn, called the Monodon, or Narwhal, confounding the land and sea animal together. The horn of the fish here alluded to, was formerly imposed on the world as the horn of the Unicorn, at an immense price. On the whole, it seems highly probable that the Rhinoceros, having one long horn projecting from its face, is the only Unicorn existing, and although it has a kind of stump of another horn behind the long projecting one, yet that it has been denominated Unicorn, (or one horn) from that which is so obvious and prominent; and certainly its great bulk and strength render it such a formidable and powerful animal as is described in the Sacred Scriptures.' (1)

However, 26 years later a much more suitable candidate for the unicorn turned up in South Africa:

'The longest recorded anterior horn for a rhinoceros is one of 1.58m 62 1/4 in found on a female southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) shot in South Africa in c. 1848. “This is over 6ft long!"' (2)

There is a story of a great black Russian unicorn.:

'The traditional legends of the Evenk or Tungus people, inhabiting the vast taiga forest of Siberia, tell of the erstwhile existence there of a gigantic black bull, distinguished from all normal cattle not merely by its size but also by possessing just a single, median horn, of mighty form,arising from the centre of its brow. According to a detailed account by the 10th-century adlan Muslim travel writer Ahmad bin Fadlan, a comparable single-horned beast also roamed the southern Russian steppes.' (3)

Today I met the lead guitarist of the band `A Flock of Seagulls`. Honest!

1. Manchester Iris vol. 1 23rd February 1822 p.29
2. M.Carwardine The Guinness Book of Animal Records (1995) p.98
3. K.P.N Shuker Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007) p.211

The East is Red. Li Youyuan

The East is Red the sun is rising
China has brought forth a Mao Zedong
He works for the peoples welfare
Hurrah! He is the people`s great saviour!.......etc.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1780 New England in Eastern Canada was plunged into complete darkness at around 10.30 am for the whole day due to a combination of cloud and heavy smog.

And now, the news:

New species discovered in Indonesian mountain region
Shark mystery solved: Why threshers have huge tails
Lecturer in bat-sex row is nutrition expert

Well, that’s one way of bating off unwanted attention….


Hi there,

Guess what? Nestlé has only gone and agreed to our campaign demands! And it's your emails, phone calls, video views, donations and Facebook messages which have made this massive victory possible. We really couldn't have done it without you.

Greenpeace campaigners have met several times with Nestlé executives to discuss the problems in sourcing their palm oil and paper products and things were certainly moving forward. But we didn't expect them to come up with such a comprehensive 'zero deforestation' policy so quickly.

Just this morning, Nestlé announced a plan which will identify and remove any companies in their supply chain with links to deforestation, including the infamous Sinar Mas. This plan still needs to be followed up with action, and the Forest Trust - an independent organisation we've worked with before - will be closely monitoring Nestlé's progress.

But as many of you have pointed out, Nestlé is not the only company involved in the palm oil industry and while this is a fantastic result, there's still a lot more to do before the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests is brought to a halt. So let's get started right away.

HSBC may not be a company that uses palm oil directly but by investing in Sinar Mas it's funding deforestation. The bank claims to be concerned about our planet, but its investment decisions paint an altogether different picture. HSBC bosses need to know the devastating effect their investments are having, and they can't bank on a return from deforestation and driving orang-utans to extinction.

Email Michael Geoghegan, HSBC's CEO, now – you made Nestlé take action, let's make HSBC listen as well.
Thanks for again for your support,
Jamie Woolley17 May 2010