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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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: Latest News

* I am pleased to announce another addition to the line-up. Veteran UFOlogist and fortean Lionel Beer is presenting a short talk on treacle mines. This has been in the offing for about ten years now, and it has just been bad luck that there has never been a WW when he has been free to talk, and we have had a free spot before.

If you want to know what a treacle mine is, it is obviously a mine from which one digs up treacle...

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


My Bad, as young people say today. Yesterday I totally messed up the posts to the Usenet newsgroups. First of all I said that it was Friday (when it was only thursday) and then I gave the description of actually appeared today 24 hours early. Confused? I certainly was....


I have to admit that I am rather enjoying myself seeing how long I can keep this Lincoln Imp thread going. Today it is the turn of Robert Schneck who has a spoon in the shape of the creature....

RICHARD FREEMAN: Giant turtles

Following on from Richard Muirhead's excellent discovery of a giant turtle from Cheung Chau, posted yesterday here are a relevant excerpt from my yokai book:

Minogame is a ten thousand year old turtle. It has long strands of weed and alga growing from the back of it’s shell to symbolize old age. The name means ‘straw turtle’ as the growth of weed resembles a straw raincoat. In reality many species of turtle have weeds growing on their shells. In some cases this enhances their camouflage.

The best known story about Ryūjin, the Dragon King, is that of Urashima Taro. Urashima was a fisherman. One day he caught a large turtle in his nets. The turtle was a symbol of old age and thus much respected. Urashima let the animal free.

To his amazment the turtle transformed into a lovely young woman. She explained that she was the daughter of Ryūjin the dragon god. She casts a spell on the fisherman enabling him to breath underwater then invites him to Ryūgū-jō.

Urashima was amazed by the vast underwater palace of coral and crystal but even more so by Ryūjin himself. The mighty dragon god’s coils were thousands of feet long and glittered with scales of every imaginable shade of green, aquamarine, turquoise, and blue. His head was crowned with branching antlers and his teeth were as long as scythes. Despite his daunting appearance the god had a kindly look in his eyes and took a liking to Urashima. He allowed him to marry his beautiful daughter and live in the splendid palace

For a while Urashima was happy but then he began to miss his land home and his parents. He was worried that they had no one to care for them in their advancing years. His bride accepted the situation and allowed him to return to the land so long as he promised to come back to her. The fisherman loved his bride and promised that he would indeed return.

Before he left she gave him a small laqured box tied up with cord and told him to never open it. If he did he would never see her again. Once again he gave his word. In her turtle form his wife escorted Urashima back to land.

Once ashore Urashima noticed that something was wrong. The surrounding mountains looked the same but the village was larger and looked very different. All the villagers were strangers. Looking around he saw no one he recognized. He hurried to his old home and found it to be nothing but a pile of rubble. Beside himself with worry he asked around about the people who had live in house and what had become of them. One very old man vaugly recalled a story of an elderly couple whose son had been a fisherman lost at sea. The story was supposed to have occurred 400 years ago!

It dawned on Urashima that time was not measures in the kingdom of the dragon god as it was on land. For every day he spent in Ryūgū-jō many mortal years had passed on land.

Perhapse hoping to find an answer to his awful situation he foolishly opened the box. A wisp if smoke rose up from inside it. This was time catching up with him. His hair grew white then fell out. His eyes dimmed, his bones grew frail. His skin wrinkled and sagged. His body dessicated as time sucked the life out of him. Later the villagers discovered the dried out husk of a man clutching a laquered box.

The date of Urishima’s fishing trip was around AD 478 and his return at around AD 825.


Folks, today I want to make a brief mention of what has become known as the Manchester Moth and unfortunately it will have to be very brief because I left my papers on the moth with Lizzy a week or so ago for her to have a look at. I do remember that about 50-60 specimens of this moth were found on Kersal Moor near Manchester but all but about 3 were destroyed by the irate landlady of the habitation of the discoverer because he had spent all his money on drink and could not afford to pay his rent, so she threw his moth collection on the fire!! I do love these 'human interest' stories.

The mystery is how did the moth get there in the first place? It has never been seen since, the other two specimens are in the Natural History Museum in London and in a museum in Melbourne. Dr Dmitri Loganov an entomologist at the Manchester Museum (where the accompanying photographs were taken by myself) believes that caterpillars from either India or the U.S. may have somehow got to a cotton mill near the moor and later developed into moths. So the next stage is to track down entomologists in those countries to see if they have any further information.

Please will you be very kind and NOT reproduce these photos for your own purposes as I am hoping they will get their first showing when The Mystery Animals of Greater Manchester is published in a few months. I may even try and take better ones.



If you obey society`s rules
You will be society`s fools
You`ll obey and then disobey
You`ll disobey and then obey
You thought your mum and dad were fools
You never wanted to listen in school
Now your mind wont go
Where you want to take it
You got a ride but you`re not going to make it


Bad Machinery, which can be found HERE is getting better than ever, and frequently explores Fortean themes. The latest story has a decidedly crypto bent, and is totally addictive. I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour and even the slightest interest in the subject....

I read it each morning, and have the perpetrator, Mr John Allison, firmly in my sights as a WW guest sometime soon.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1975 Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suspicious circumstances. Various urban legends place Hoffa’s final resting place at a number of locations throughout the United States including bridge supports and stadia and despite several searches of rumoured gravesites no trace of Hoffa has ever been found.

Damselflies in distress forced back to UK by clima...
Beautiful 'lost' insect turns up anew in UK
Tarantulas on the loose in Britain
Divers find ancient monkey fossil
Two tarantulas discovered in Bolton in less than m...
Pigeon poopers spoil Kings of Leon gig

Now this happens: