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, June 23, 2010

OFFICE WINDOW WILDLIFE: The clumsy sparrow

I have a couple of bird feeder things hung up outside my office window, and most of the birds who use it (usually part of the burgeoning population of blue tits who hang around the garden chasing each other around in a pleasantly hooligan manner) are very graceful and daint. However there is one large and clumsy sparrow who charges at the bird feeder with all the grace and gentility of a steamroller. However, for some reason he is particularly camera shy, so - for the last week - whenever I have heard the ungainly `clunk` which means that this particular sparrow has careered into the bird feeder which has then swung wildly in mid-air and crunched against the glass of my window, I have grabbed my camera.

It took me all week to get these shots, but I am quite pleased with them..


LINDSAY SELBY: Okoboji Lake Mystery

Okoboji Lake is in Dickinson County in northwest Iowa. It is part of the chain of lakes known as the Iowa Great Lakes.. The East lake is said to be not very deep , with a depth of 22 feet (7 metres). The West Lake however is estimated to be 140 feet (45 metres) deep. They are described as glacial potholes, a remnant of ice age 12000 years ago..The towns of Spirit Lake and Okoboji sit on its shore. Apparently it has a monster within the lake. It is described as a giant fish with a head the size of a bowling ball and as being a dark green colour., Obojoki, as it’s been nicknamed by local residents, has been reported brushing against the sides of lake-users’ boats for many years. One of the first

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bartlett were at the lake a few days ago on a fishing excursion. They saw something, or rather saw where something was. They have no idea what it was. It might have been a sea serpent, or it might have been some kind of a fish that had grown to unusual and extraordinary size.They were out in the lake in a boat, when they noticed a short distance from them a terrible commotion in the water. The thing, whatever it was, was moving quite rapidly through the water and quite close to the top, and had the appearance of being as large as an overturned skiff. It made waves so large that Mr. Bartlett was really alarmed, fearing they would swamp his boat.He does not pretend to know what it was and declares he would not have believed there was such a creature in the lake had he not seen it with his own eyes the commotion made by it.

Source: Vindicator & Republican Estherville, Iowa July 3, 1903

There is also a you tube video of the satellite photo of the creature:

Then there is also this:

"One day (June 23 2001) my family and I were on vacation at lake Okoboji (in Iowa). We were at a small resort, with a dock. I must make this clear, first: Okoboji is a huge lake. This lake was naturally made multiple dozens of thousands of years ago, and it is undoubtably hundreds of feet deep and possibly hundreds of acres from shore to shore. Anyways, my two children and I (one 10 and one 13) were sitting on the dock eating some icecream cones looking at the water. It was a calm evening, probably about 7:30 so it was still light outside but just starting to darken. The water was still, like glass, with ripples only from passing boats (no fancy boats, just normally cheap little things, and none came anywhere near close to us). When my 13 year old daughter nudged me in the arm and told me to "look here" and pointed at a waked spot in the water. it was churning, almost creating a small whirl pool.. A massive hump (well ok it wasnt that big but it was bigger than anything I wanted to see) slowly and gracefully rose out, about 1 foot away from the churning water. Then it moved quickly about 2-3 feet and rapidly went back under. I remember it didnt have scales like a fish, more like a snake or maybe it had some kind of pattern that made it look like scales. It was dark dark dark greenish or blue. We were playfully "freaked out" while we watched for more, not thinking about the safety of us. Then, we saw a head... a very good-sized oval or sphere, a bit bigger than a bowling ball (but it wasnt perfectly round, it was like a lizard or a horse's head). The head arose, i could see it had the same pattern and colour as the hump i had previously seen. It had its head out and about 2 inches of its neck, and it swam very very very quickley through the water. The only part of its body that made the wake was its head, and i knew the creature must have been big, so it must have had a fairly LONG neck for its body to not disturb the surface. It swam probably a dozen yards, then its mouth opened, it appeared to take a gulp of air, then it went under. Just a split second later i saw the same hump role under the water, then i saw the last part of its tail (it was a fairly stumpy tail) splash out. My children and I were too dumb-founded to say or do much. Then we saw its head again and it was coming toward our dock. About 1-2 feet away from the dock supports (the poles that hold it up), it went under. Less than a second later we felt a huge bump and a large "THUD" sound. The dock shook violently for a few seconds. By this time, we were terrified. we ran back to the shore as fast as we could. http://theshadowlands.net/sightings.htm

So what was it? I think it may have been a Wels Catfish. It is a scale less fish and depending on it’s environment can be green brown in colour. It is recognisable by its broad, flat head and wide mouth. They can live for 30 years and will eat anything and can grow to enormous sizes. What does anyone else think, a known fish or an unknown monster?

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Curiosity leads to cat book

Rebecca Lang and Michael Williams from Hazelbrook have two little cats whom they find interesting enough, but giant cats are what really tickles their fancy — and the intrigue that stems from the growing volume of sightings in the Australian bush.

The pair launched their self-published book, Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers, at Hawkesbury Regional Museum last Sunday. The sizeable book is packed with personal accounts of encounters with large cat-like creatures in all parts of Australia, supplemented by photographs which they hope will be enough to make even cynics purr with intrigue.

“A cat is the most perfect predator and these ones are giants,” said Mr Williams.

“The Department of Primary Industry to this day claim there is no evidence they exist here but their own reports including sightings and descriptions by staff points to clear evidence they do.”

Mr Williams claims to have seen a cheetah-like animal the size of a large German Shepherd near a waterhole in Maryborough, Victoria in the early 1990s.

After they attended a presentation about big cats at a conference in Sydney in 2001, the couple surrendered to their sense of curiosity and decided to collect as much archival evidence about big cats as they could.

“We had enough material to fill a wheelie bin, so as big as the book is we couldn’t put everything in it that we had,” said Ms Lang.

“The book concentrates on the documents that are quite compelling and it is grouped into geographical areas, including a chapter on the Blue Mountains and accounts by witnesses.”

A former editor of the Hawkesbury Gazette, Ms Lang said the mystery behind the presence of big cats in the bush always generated reader interest.

“I found any time we ran a story on anything about big cat sightings the response was phenomenal and the paper would sell out.

“Sightings of black and tanned panthers or leopard-like animals in the Blue Mountains go back almost 100 years.

“We’ve included a chapter about that with the assistance of local author Bruce Cameron who gave us access to environmentalist Myles Dunphy’s account of his sighting of a cheetah-like beast near the Katoomba-Jenolan Caves Track in 1912.

“You will always get your cynics and your believers but, you know, I think we all need a bit of mystery in our lives.”

Australian Big Cats is available to order at http://www.australianbigcats.com.au/

It is also stocked at Hazelbrook Newsagency, The Turning Page and Megalong Books.


Richard Freeman sent us this most peculiar story. He stumbled across a website full of pictures of what it claims are Mongolian deathworms. They are, however, nothing of the sort. They are giant earthworms, quite possibly from Australia.

Gawd, I want one......

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1947 Kenneth Arnold had his first UFO sighting. The sighting, near Mount Rainier, Washington, USA, would be widely reported kick-starting the public’s interest in UFO phenomena and in the possibility of extra terrestrial contact being just around the corner (still waiting on that one).
And now, the news:

Scorpions and parakeets 'found living wild in UK'
Confirmed: Big cats prowl in Ontario
Minnesota Zoo’s extreme makeover
I’m sure it’ll look ‘zoo’-per when it is finished