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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Sunday, May 30, 2010

G. A. Christian Bilou writes...

We lost a great zoological resource and archive :


DALE DRINNON: Abominable Geography

Odette Tcherne included this map in her book In Pursuit of the Abominable Snowman (1970 edition under the name The Yeti)

She called it the S-Distribution map and it is on pages 116-117. Presumably it illustrated the worldwide distribution of all Abominable Snowmen in the wide sense of the term. She evidently made the map about the same time as Ivan Sanderson's book Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life was originally printed, but she says that she deliberately did not read the book. The range indicated on the map supposedly starts in the Caucasus and Pamirs, and then runs on to the Western United States. The map has been reprinted several times and even by serious Bigfooters, under the false illusion that the map is somehow authoritative.

If Tcherne had actually read Sanderson's book it would have helped her knowledge of geography considerably. The main shortcoming of this map is that the maker has not a clue as to the location of the Caucasus, Pamirs or even Mongolia The range indicated at the far left (Western) extremity flies off to someplace in Turkestan and is nowhere near the mountain ranges the map is supposedly indicating.

The SITU ran a review of the book in PURSUIT which harshly criticized Tcherne and substituted one of Ivan Sanderson's maps from his book: there was a criticism especially that Sanderson had thought there were several different types of Abominable Snowmen and Tcherne supposed there was only one. In this, Tcherne was probably following Porshnev's lead because most of the information in the book comes from Soviet-Russian sources. Because the Russian information was little-known to the western world, this was something to be said in its favor when it came out. The book is probably one of the earliest mentions for the Chuchuuna, for example.

But the book's complete ignorance of Inner-Asian geography is not something that should be emulated or repeated by reviewers or students, no matter how fair they might be attempting to be on the matter.


RICHARD FREEMAN: Parasitic fairies

Anyone who has studied fairy lore will know that the ‘fair folk’ are not the gossamer-winged, wish-granting, pretty little things beloved by Disney. In actual legend fairies generally are at best neutral towards humans and often downright hostile.

Now an artist has redressed the balance. Tessa Farmer’s display The Darker Shade of Grey grotto will be on show at Belsay Hall in Morpeth, Northumberland, until September. It depicts tiny, evil, skeletal, parasitic fairies controlling grey squirrels and causing them to attack the native reds.


An interesting sighting (in the 1950s) from Loch Lomond and published for the first time in the recent issue of the Scots Magazine.

With my best wishes from Switzerland

CORINNA DOWNES: Yesterday's News Today

It seems that I am setting myself a precedent here....another news item with a song link. I can see that I am going to be sorely tested by the time the week is out.

Crows attack Berlin residents
Celebrations as two rare Australian cockatoo chicks hatch
Forty bison (and an extra one) released onto new reserve in Utah
Displaced Fish Is Ravaging Caribbean Reefs
World Turtle Day sees satellite turtle-tracking system go live
Is the cuckoo clocking in too late?

There`s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple too
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird Is popping out to say `cuckoo`
Cuckoo, cuckoo


I know that this is pretty well off-topic, but I have just been approached by a TV researcher I know in America who has asked me for some comments. I am flummoxed. Over to you guys...

NICK REDFERN: Critters of Texas

When I first moved to Texas (almost a decade ago!) my view of the Lone Star State was that it was all desert, cactus and tumbleweeds. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that East Texas was heavily forested, and was home to a veritable menagerie of wildlife. As evidence of this, I thought I'd share with you a few images of Texas critters that aren't cryptozoological in nature, but that are definitively zoological and which were taken in our back garden (on the fringes of Dallas, Texas) over the course of approximately the last couple of years. They're certainly not what I was accustomed to seeing back in England!

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