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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are the last three episodes:


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Monday, July 26, 2010


* We have just heard from Sharon - the Sunday morning fried breakfast will be back and (just to please Jon and disgust his vegetarian wife) there will be black pudding

* Nick and Kara Wadham will be doing the animal handling for the first time. They will have a display of their animals from Yeovil Bugfest. Just in case you thought the name Wadham was familiar, they are the proud parents of Harriet, the CFZ's favourite young journalist.

* Just in case of rain at the cocktail party we have bought a SECOND marquee.

With less than three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

NEIL ARNOLD: The Terror Of Tondo

The complex and a times absurd category of zooform phenomena vomits out countless monsters and apparitions of animalistic characteristics. Some are the product of hoax or hysteria; others exist by being dependent on the human psyche. They are observed near dark woods, in stormy skies or inky waters, but they inhabit none of these. These are simply the locations we put them in. Many of these ‘monsters’ are said to be bad omens; forewarnings of impending tragedy or symbols of upcoming political upheaval. The dreaded Mothman, the skull-biting Monkey Man, the bat-winged Popobawa - just a few of many bogeymen said to exist on some ethereal plateau as harbingers of doom.

The Manananggal of the Philippines is another of those surreal yet frightening creatures from the fringe. Beyond cryptozoology, and the supernatural, this horrifying vampire became known as the ‘terror of Tondo’ during the spring of 1992 when it terrorised the squalid avenues of Manila, vanishing into the shadows as a new president and thousands of officials were about to be elected. Filipinos had one eye on the presidential campaign and one eye on the skies for it was rumoured that the wraith, said to resemble a female whose body separates in two was on the rampage. The top half of the body, of a night, leaves the bottom half and scours the slums in search of food, mainly in the form of baby flesh! However, before daybreak the legend states that the monster must rejoin its bottom half, enabling the spook to walk around during the day just like the ordinary folk of the Tondo district.

The May 11th election had been replaced in the tabloids by the tales of the blood-sucking Manananggal. No-one knows where the tales originated from but in an area of great superstition and folk belief, monster mania is rife. One woman told the Daily News, “It’s scary. That’s why I don’t sleep alone.”

The story appeared to break a week after a local woman, a Ms Martina Santa Rosa, was attacked by the ghoul. She told newspapers, “She attacked me. I was just lucky I was able to get free. I saw half of her body. It was naked. She had long, scraggly hair, long arms, nails and sharp fangs.”

Despite scepticism, a neighbour, Mr Alfonso Bernardo, corroborated the tale stating, “We saw it fly away from her house.”

As with the case of the Monkey Man of New Dehli, some innocent people were drawn into the hysteria. A local woman, Teresita Beronqui, had her home invaded by a dozen angry men, accompanied by a television crew, who believed that she was in fact the hideous vampire. ABS-CBN television interviewed the elderly woman who through a veil of tears pleaded her innocence. The woman even claimed that she herself had been attacked by the monster and tried to prove this by showing the missing toes from one of her feet.

Bizarrely, a vampire ‘expert’ was drafted in and after interrogating the woman stated on national television that she was lying. Such investigations bring to mind the mass hysteria caused in 1960s London when it was alleged that in the north of the capital a seven-foot tall, red-eyed vampire was prowling Highgate Cemetery. Although a malevolent spirit was the more likely explanation, the events spiralled out of control and to this day cloud the original incident.

Another unidentified ‘expert’, when called in to comment on the Manananggal attacks, stated categorically that the woman accused was a vampire but had since transformed back to her normal self after a night of hunting. However, when asked to explain the missing toes, the ‘expert’ commented that the woman had failed to shape-shift back completely!

The legend of the Manananggal states that should any such ghoul come in contact with the dried tail of a stingray, then they will be repulsed by its touch. So, live on television, the woman was asked to touch such an object after reporter Cesar Soriano had produced one. The woman, thankfully, passed with flying colours, otherwise it may have resulted in her being treated as the local freak. Proof that in some districts little has changed since the witch trials of centuries ago.

Even so, the Manananggal was still said to linger in the shadows of Tondo weeks after the presidential election. Some would argue that such legends are evoked as a distraction from political upheaval, but those of a more suspicious nature blame the press for creating ‘silly season.’

Such cultural monsters are proof that whilst cryptozoologists are eager to confine such beasts to the wilderness of the world, it’s more likely that such phantoms can be found in the minds of those who fear them, and then the pages of the local newspapers, rather than the thickets we want them to inhabit.

ROBERT SCHNECK: Eel explorations

Hi Jon,
If you have a copy of the medical journal Surgery Volume 135, Issue 1, January 2004, turn to page 110:

Traumatic rectal perforation by an eel Siu Fai Lo FHKAM, Sin Hang Wong MBBS, Lok Sang Leung FRCS, In Chak Law FHKAM and Andrew Wai Chun Yip FHKAM

From the Department of Surgery, Kwong Wah Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Accepted 22 February 2003. ; Available online 20 December 2003

Sven Kullander, a Swedish icthyologist, followed up the story in his blog Fish Matters
06 May 2009
Eel out swamp eel in
Consulting the source paper for the rectum-eating eel (Siu Fai Lo, Sin Hang Wong, Lok Sang Leung, In Chak Law, Andrew Wai Chun Yip, Traumatic rectal perforation by an eel, Surgery, Volume 135, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 110-111) where the fish is not identified further than to "eel", it appears from the photograph there, which is very small and in low resolution, that this is not an eel at all, but more likely a swamp eel, apparently Monopterus albus, a common food fish in China where it is sold alive in the markets. This identification is suggested by the very slender tip of the tail, and somewhat inflated gular region. Thanks to Ralf Britz, expert on this order of fishes, the Synbranchiformes, for inspiring me to look at the original paper and first suggesting the identification. The swamp eel portrayed here, was never inside a human, though:.



The discovery of new species is driven by new technologies, targeted surveys of little-studied ecosystems and a determined effort to identify plants and animals before their habitat is lost. The kipunji is one of 300 mammal species discovered in the past decade; it is thought to be Africa’s rarest monkey. Read on..


In Japan there is a sort of tiny oni (deamon) that is supposed to shake houses and mak rattling and banging noises much like a polterghist. It is found in Kyoto prefecture and is called Yanari.

Japanese artist Toriyama Sekien (1712 – 1788) depicted them in his Gazu Hyakki Yakō ("The Illustrated Night Parade of A Hundred Demons") the first in three volumes on Japanese monsters published in 1776. The Yanari that is shaking the house's supports looks very like the Lincoln Imp.


We have over a thousand regular readers. Are any of you accountants? More specifically, are any of you accountants living and working in Britain who are prepared to donate a soupcon of your time, knowledge and expertise to the CFZ?

If so, please email me on jon@eclipse.co.uk

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1949 Robert Rankin was born. Rankin is - in my opinion - the world’s greatest writer of far fetched fiction and always has a Fortean theme to his stories. One of Rankin’s regular characters, Hugo Rune is according to some a sort of mix between Alistair Crowley, Tony ‘Doc’ Sheils and Jonathan Downes so if you enjoy the CFZ blog Rankin’s books will be right up your street. If you’re looking for one to start on I recommend ‘The Book of Ultimate Truths’, ‘The Antipope’ or ‘The Brightonomicon’. Both myself and our regular news blog editor, Gavin Wilson, are fans of Rankin’s work if you need anymore encouragement.
And now, the news:

Falmouth gets Weirder
Dead animal beer bottles at £500 each 'perverse'
Can a dog receive communion?
Malaysian politician floored by stinky fruit
Geneticists say Chinese and Tibetans were once one...
Liberian Elephant Possessed When it Attacked?

It’s body was taken over by an ele-phantom.