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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Sunday, July 04, 2010


Sadly, foillowing his mother's death, Nick Redfern has had to withdraw from this year's Weird Weekend. Never mind, dude; we completely understand. However, this year's event still looks set to be a remarkably good one with some smashing speakers. Speakers confirmed are:

LARS THOMAS: Identifying hair samples
CARL PORTMAN: On the trail of the Australian whistling spider
GLEN VAUDREY: The waterhorse
SAM SHEARON aka "Mr Sam": Redwoods Bigfoot
ANDY ROBERTS: The Berwyn Mountain UFO crash
LINDSAY SELBY: Loch Ness adventures
RICHARD FREEMAN et al: Sumatra 2009 Expedition Report
Dr MIKE DASH: The Monster of Glamis
MAX BLAKE: Singular species

Some more special guests will be announced very soon..

Buy your tickets now!


VERY SAD NEWS - Jan Williams RIP

I was working on Karl Shuker's new book over the weekend when I decided on a whim to see to whom this latest volume was dedicated. I was very shocked when I read:

...And also to the memory of Jan Williams, who was not only a highly proficient and totally professional cryptozoological researcher but also a good friend and a lovely lady.

She was, indeed, a lovely lady, and she was my friend as well, although I am mildly embarrassed to admit that we drifted apart over ten years ago. However, if it had not been for her help and kindness in the early days, the CFZ as we know it would never have come into existance. As I write in my autobiography:

I have to admit, with hindsight of a over a decade, at that time I was becoming very frustrated with my cryptozoological research. I had been doing it as a hobby for nearly 25 years, and whilst it was all very well forming something called the Centre for Fortean Zoology, I had no idea how I was going to turn my vision into reality. So, when during the summer of 1993 one of my acquaintances - a lady called Jan Williams who lived in Congleton in Cheshire - announced that she was going to start up her own cryptozoological organisation, I was happy to put my own plans for the CFZ on hold and throw myself into working for S.C.A.N - The Society for Cryptozoogy and the Anomalies of Nature.

The arrival of this new organisation could not have come at a better time for me, because although I was quite happy to continue my researches, pressure of other commitments was getting in the way of my plans for starting up the ultimate Cryptozoological research organisation of my own.

And half a chapter later...

Back in the world of cryptozoology, my new-found position as a member of the rank and file of SCAN was not going too well either. I have never found out why - and after this length of time it is none of my business - but all was not well [.....] After only four issues of their newsletter she announced that they were going to close. Then, I had a wonderful idea. I telephoned Jan and suggested that she joined me in making my vision of the Centre for Fortean Zoology into a reality. I told her of my background in Small Press Publishing and suggested that we start a magazine dedicated to cryptozoology. I even had a name for it - Animals & Men (the name of a song on the first album by Adam and the Ants). I suggested to her that if we were to take over the membership list of SCAN (after having let all the members have the chance of their money back if they wanted it), then we would not be in the awkward position of starting up a new publication without the benefit of having any readers for it. To my great joy, Jan agreed, and in April 1994 [...] the first, faltering steps towards a proper Centre for Fortean Zoology had just been made.

So, although I hadn't spoken to Jan, her husband Keith (who incidentally coded our first proper website) and their kids for something like 12 years (Michael, the little boy who did drawings for one of the earliest issues of A&M must be in his twenties now, and his younger sister was a toddler last time I saw her but must be in her late teens), the news that she died of cancer earlier in the year was an enormous shock. I just want to say to Jan: thank you, my dear. Without you my life would have been immeasurably different. I owe you a debt that can never be repayed.

NEIL ARNOLD: The Waikato Saurian Monster

From the Wanganui Herald Volume XXI, Issue 6363, Page 2, 8th November 1887

‘Some months ago the Auckland papers were full of accounts of a mysterious monster that cleared carcasses out of slaughterhouses, chased children, left peculiar tracks in the mud, etc, but for some time there had been no mention of it. It appears now however that the stranger has been caught, and shot.

We take the following account of its capture from a letter of a Hamilton correspondent to the Auckland Star :- It appears that a native, whilst fishing in his canoe just off the South Spit of the Raglan Harbour, on Friday, observed, on looking towards the shore, a large animal, apparently slumbering on the beach. He immediately gave the alarm, and the natives assembled in numbers on the beach with guns. The monster, on being approached, opened its mouth grunting, barking and snapping its ugly jaws. Rawiri fired at its head and hit him, the bullet taking no effect. Another native then fired and wounded him in the side. Upon approaching it, the animal put its arms, wings or flappers in front of its head as a mode of defence, but being severely wounded could offer no resistance. A rope was then fastened round its neck. About a dozen Maoris took it in tow to the Raglan Wharf, on to which it was landed by means of a crane. After being killed it was found to be 11 feet in length, and 6 feet in circumference. It has two large arms or flappers. Its tail consisted of two large propellers opening out like the web foot of a duck. It was covered with a fine fur and had no ears, but openings in its skin. It had 16 teeth in each jaw, four of them being like tusks. The head has been preserved. It is supposed to be a sea elephant. The skin is also preserved. It weighs between 6 and 7 ….

The NZ Herald’s correspondent on Monday last wired as follows:- The Raglan mail carrier, who arrived today, describes the saurian monster shot on Friday as being much larger than any seal, with different teeth and a mouth that could swallow a man. It roared like a bull when shot and could be heard for a long distance. The native policeman, Rawiri, who shot it, asks £20 for the skin, head and legs, which are prepared for stuffing.’
The Taranaki Herald Volume XXXVI, Issue 8012, Page 4, on November 3rd however, were slightly more dramatic in their description of the beast.

‘The mystery of the saurian monster which developed from an animal of the alligator species to one having the head of a tiger, has been cleared up. The Castleton boys, after all, were not drawing much on their imagination. Its head is like that of a leopard, with two rows of formidable teeth, 12 in each row. Skin of a light grey silver colour…On opening the body two pouch-like stomachs were found full of birds and feathers. One of our more enterprising settlers has purchased the monster, with a view of exhibiting throughout New Zealand, Australia and through the United Staes and Europe.’

AUBREY MENEZES: The World's Smallest Snake


Here is an article I came across on the worlds smallest snake found in Barbados:

The world's smallest snake

Discovered: Barbados
Documented: 2008

If you shuddered at the discovery of a fossilised 13-metre, 1-tonne boa constrictor earlier this year, perhaps Leptotyphlops carlae is more up your street. At only 100 millimetres long and no thicker than a strand of spaghetti, it is the world's smallest snake, able to curl up on a British 10 pence coin or an American quarter.

Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University, University Park, found the diminutive snake under a rock in Barbados last year. Also known as the Barbados threadsnake, it belongs to a group of snakes that burrow into the ground in pursuit of ants and termites, which they suck dry before spitting out the husk.

Threadsnakes tend to be small - the previous record holder was the Lesser Antillean threadsnake, at 110 millimetres. But Hedges believes L. carlae is as small as it gets. Thanks to their tiny body cavity, females only manage to lay a single, very elongated egg. Any smaller and a snake would be unable to reproduce at all,
he says.


Over on Regan Lee's smashing new blog there is a story about the largest shark ever caught by rod and line. It's a Greenland shark. "According to NRK it took the Danes 45 minutes to land the 880 kilo, 4 metre and 10 cm Eqalussuaq or Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) in Norway’s Bokna Fjord. The previous record for a rod-caught shark specimen is said to be 775 kilos."


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1996 the first mammal to be successfully cloned using genetic material from an adult cell, Dolly the sheep, was born.
And now, the news:

Ottowa black cougar (Via Chad Arment)
Prehistoric rock engravings were primitive cinema ...
Female Baboons Find a Secret to Longevity: Close G...
Farm's cows increase milk with Shakespeare
Local Couple Spots Cougar In Lake Elmo (Via D R Sh...
'Horse Boy' reappears on Google Street View in Abe...
Egyptian farmer calls two-headed calf 'a miracle'
The real zoo escapees that mimic the cartoon chara...
Dog defies nature to adopt kitten
Dolphin 'superpod' seen by wildlife spotters off S...
Barracuda Jumps In Boat, Bites Girl
Hunt for the huge black dogs haunting UK's country...
Pet rooster falls foul of legal system in Michigan...
ND golf course brings in weed-eating goats
Flight delayed by falling maggots

“Enough is enough! I have had it with these mellonfarming maggots on this mellonfarming plane!”

(edited for language version)