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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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


What does the new Government mean for the hunt ban?

Shockingly the ban on hunting with dogs is under threat. The new Government will offer MPs the chance to repeal the Hunting Act.
The coalition agreement says that the Government "will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act."

The Hunting Act banned the cruel and unnecessary 'sport' of chasing and killing foxes, deer, hare and mink with dogs. MPs must now protect the Hunting Act to ensure there is no return to cruelty in our countryside.
IFAW cannot understand why a new Government would prioritise repealing the Hunting Act. This move is completely out of step with public opinion. It is essential that MPs represent the view of the compassionate majority, 75%* of whom want the ban on hunting to stay.

* http://www.ipsos-mori.com/



The Ucu, also known as Ucumar or Ukumar-zupai, is Bigfoot-type creature reported as being seen in the Andes range of mountains in South America particularly in Chile and Argentina. The Ucu is said to be the size of a large dog and walks erect. Unlike the Yeti it prefers the more tropical regions of the Andes mountain range, rather than snow-covered peaks. The locals say the Ucu likes to eat payo, a plant similar to cabbage, and emits a sound like uhu, uhu. It is not just locals who have reported hearing or seeing the creatures.

In 1956 geologist Audio L. Pitch, while walking on the Argentinean side of the Andes, found footprints 17 inches long (about 42 cms) at a height of about 6000 feet (2000 metres). Some reports say 16000 feet (5333 metres), which sounds a bit high up.

In 1957 similar tracks were reported in the province of La Salta, Argentina. The same year residents of Tolor Grande told journalists about a nightly chorus of eerie sounds like calls of an animal, emanating from the near by Curu-Curu Mountains. The cries were attributed by the locals to the Ukumar-zupai and the community remained frightened for some time afterwards. Anthropologist Pablo Latapi Ortega wrote that traditional stories of these giant ape-like creatures continue to be told today.

In May 1958 a group of campers in Rengo, 50 miles from Santiago, Chile, reported that they saw an apeman. Police were called and they took statements from the witnesses.

Carlos Manuel Soto gave this statement to the police: “I saw an enormous man covered with hairs in the Cordilleras”.

The stories sound very similar to traditional bigfoot and yeti reports. There appears to have been no recently reported sightings. As always the similarity of sightings and creatures in different parts of the world does make you think, could there be a population of unknown hairy bipeds still alive in the world today. Well, gorillas were considered a myth at one time; now they are on TV documentaries, so maybe not as impossible as some sceptics would have us think.


Paul Haresnape was kind enough to offer to buy us protective goggles and a flourescent jacket for Graham so that he could fulfil the requirements of HM Government's health and safety directives whilst trimming the grass surrounding the small colony of orchids that we found at Fairy Cross.

If anyone doesn't know the story so far they can check out:


...which in chronological order tell the story of the orchids of Fairy Cross, and give one hope for both mankind and regional government.

However, Graham managed to find a jacket for £3.50 on eBay, and it turned out that we already had some protective goggles, and so - whilst it was incredibly kind of paul to offer - we didn't want to take his money under false pretences. However, we are asking for permission to put a small sign by the orchids saying that this area of land is being conserved by the CFZ in memory of Paul's late mother.

But I am digressing (as I so often do).

We were driving to Bideford on other errands when we noticed that all of the verges along the Fairy Cross road had been trimmed severely. But our friend at the Highway's Agency had been as good as his word, and had arranged for `our` bit of verge to be left unscathed. So, because it looked so unkempt, we decided that it was about time to attend to our side of the bargain (flak jacket or no flak jacket) and so we did just that.

Paul's mum will, I hope, be looking down upon us proudly.


Anyone who has visited the CFZ animals over the last year or two will be hard pushed to recognise this tank. "It can't be the CFZ Caecilians," I hear you say in my mind's eye (if that is not too complicated a set of metaphors). "It can't be the CFZ Caecilian tank, because it hasn't got a crappy lid that Graham put together as a stop gap back in 2006 and never got round to finishing, so in the intervening years it decaued and twisted out of all recognition."

I am sure that you can tell where we are heading with this one! Basically Oll has rebuilt the lid to one of our most prized exhibits, and it looks pretty damn good....


I haven't written about Noela Mackenzie for a while but at 87 and a bit, she is the oldest member of the CFZ and has been since she was a youngster of 69. In fact, she was one of the first members we had back in 1992.

As regular readers will know she was living in sheltered accommodation in Bideford (which turned out not to be that sheltered), but had a series of falls and accidents at the end of last year which necessitated a long period in hospital.

Whilst we were in America she sadly had to give up her flat and moved to a new old people's facility on the outskirts of Torrington. When we first visited her there I have to admit that my heart fell, because the building was huge and utilitarian, and set on the outskirts of an industrial estate, but - happily - I could not have been more wrong.

It seems to be a very nice place and the staff appear to be kind and attentive. We visited Noella on Tuesday, and she appears happy and content (if a little confused at times). I know that she is very dear to many CFZ folk who know her from various of the Exeter Weird Weekends, and so we will keep you all updated on her progress here on the bloggo....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1949 Robert Ripley died. Ripley, with ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’ gave many people their first real taste of how strange and unusual this world can be and probably kick-started many peoples interest in Forteana.

While looking up Ripley on the information super-net I discovered that there is a film of his life due for release next year staring Jim Carrey. Might be worth keeping an eye out for that.
And now, the news:

Two-year-old boy Ardi Rizal smokes 40 cigarettes a day
UK government fails to halt wildlife declines
Beavers responsible for Poland's flooding
Tiger conservation is disastrous
Owner of chimp in mauling attack dies
Cat out of the bag
Photo may show moose not seen in 50 years
Bats under surveillance for Hendra clues

Umm… that’s batty?

(Yes, I think I need to recharge the ‘Punenator 5000’, it’s not doing that well of late)