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 three episodes pretty much at random:


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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...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I am presently doing a long awaited and much needed spring clean on my computers, and hidden away in the intersteces I have come across some interesting things - like this article I wrote for the Sunday Independent back in 2000...


by Jonathan Downes

As regular readers of my inky fingered scribblings, both here and elsewhere, will be aware, I have spent my life studying the reality of creatures that most people believe exist solely within horror movies or comic books. My interest in such things was sparked by my mother who, when I was a mere seven years old, procured me a library book called Myth or Monster which set me firmly on the path that I was to follow for the rest of my life. As I write this my mother is ill in hospital, and so I dedicate this article to her, with my love. In these pages, over recent weeks, I have been uncovering the truth behind some of the world`s most chilling mysteries. The response to my articles has been amazing, but what most people don`t seem to know is just as many strange beasties have been reported from the westcountry s from anywhere else in the world. Here, therefore, is a compendium of some of the westcountry`s most exciting and spine chilling monsters.

1 Owlman of Mawnan

Ever since 1976 the woods surrounding Mawnan Old Church in southern Cornwall have been haunted by a grotesque feathered bird-man. This apparition has been seen by over twenty people since then – mostly young girls – and seems in many ways to be very similar to the notorious Mothman of West Virginia, subject of the blockbuster movie starring Richard Gere.

2 Beast of Bodmin

For decades people have been reporting mysterious big cat like creatures on the wilder moorlands of the westcountry. Some people believe that these animals (like the one I saw in May 1997) are escaped exotic pets – pumas or panthers which were liberated after the introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act I 1977. Other people believe that they have a more sinister nature.

3 Black Dog

The archetypal westcountry monster is the giant Black Dog. These creatures are often believed to be the hunting pack of Satan himself. They even have a village named after them! Each October an effigy of a giant black dog, accompanied by a parade lit by burning torches is carried through the Devon lanes from Morchard Bishop to Black Dog village itself. There has even been a novel based on these legends – The Hound of the Baskervilles.

4. Old Boneless

Perhaps the weirdest monster of them all – one which has no shape or form whatsoever. This hideous entity is often encountered in the westcountry most notably on the road between Minehead and Bridgewater. One witness about eighty years ago described “it were alive – kind of woolly, like a cloud or a wet sheep – and it slid up and all over him on his bike….it was terrible cold and smelled stale”.

5 Beast of Brassknocker Hill

In 1979 there was a series of sightings of an ape like creature in the vicinity of Brassknocker Hill just outside Bath. It sounded as if a young chimpanzee had escaped from captivity and was lurking unsuspected in the area. In 1999, there was another spate of sightings. We went to investigate, and although we found no solid evidence we found that many local people were convinced that something was lurking in the woods.

6 The Cavemen of Lustleigh Cleave

A Devonshire Bigfoot? According to the late folklorist Theo Brown ghostly cave men, naked and covered with hair, have been reported shambling around in the vicinity of some ancient standing stones in Lustleigh Cleave. Similar creatures have also been reported from western Dartmoor and a quarry in Somerset. A weird monkey like creature has been reported from Churston woods near Paignton.

7 Werewolf of Lynton

There are many accounts of a wolfman living near Lynton on Exmoor. One account is of a woman who “was walking home alone, late one evening, when she saw on the path directly in front of her the tall grey figure of a man with a wolf's head. Advancing stealthily forward, this creature was preparing to spring on a large rabbit that was crouching on the ground, apparently too terror stricken to move.”

8 The Dragon of Aller

Dragons are the most universal of all monsters and even today giant winged reptiles are reported occasionally from the more far flung parts of the world. One of the best westcountry stories is that of the dragon of Aller who terrorised the neighbourhood and was killed by Sir John Aller with a long spear. The valiant knight was burned to death by the dragon`s fiery breath.

9 Devil`s Footprints

In February 1855 a trail of cloven hoofprints was found in the snow. According to some reports the line of prints was found to zig-zag its way from the town of Topsham southward to the town of Totnes, a distance of approximately ninety-seven miles along the south Devon coast. Some people have claimed that these footprints were made by the Devil himself, others have claimed that they were a mixture of natural phenomena and hoaxes.

10 The bird-woman of Minehead

An old witch called Mother Leakey once lived in Minehead. She was supposed to have the power to transform herself into a strange cormorant-like bird which would fly to the top of ship`s masts and screech abuse at sailors. This strange bird-woman was seen well into the 20th Century and even more recently was blamed. By the more superstitious, for inclement weather in the region.

ANOTHER UNKNOWN BIRD - However we have no supporting data as to where in the world, ot what time of year this video was shot

MIKE HALLOWELL: The Truth is Out There

Pic: The Man behind Digestive-12

Yesterday I received a rather suspicious package through the post in a brown paper envelope. On opening it I realised that what I held in my hands was of profound significance; a document that, once and for all, promised to reveal the naked truth behind a shady, sinister organisation called "the CFZ".

The document reveals the existence of a government research organisation set up to study the CFZ covertly and report back directly to Prime Minister David Cameron. The group, called "Digestive-12", is made up of a small group of eminent scientists whom MI5 believes are in the best position to reveal the TRUTH about the CFZ and their shady activities. I can now, at long last, reveal the names of these scholars. They are:

Mr. Looney McTuney, Head of Research & Development for the giant chemical conglomerate, Aers - Uvertit.
Mr. Hiram J. Vegeburger, former US Army General.
Mr. Cawthorne Spoonbender, former editor of The Daily Hex Press.
Mr. Clive Winnett, secretary of the Clegthorpe Village Working Men's Leek Club.
Mrs. Sadie Shady, Life-Coach and Spiritual Advisor to the Stars.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
Mrs. Florence Capp, newspaper celebrity.
Mr. Geoff Loon, former Defence Secretary.
Nat King Cole.
Old King Cole
Juan Forthamoni
Homer J. Simpson.
The cast of Trumpton.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The entire adult population of Upper Volta.

Working secretly for over 30 years, Suggestive –12 has accumulated a mass of evidence to prove that:

Jon Downes was the man on the Grassy knoll.
Richie Freeman was the Grassy Knoll.
Graham Inglis shot Abraham Lincoln.
Oll Lewis shot both JFK and JR.
Jon Downes then shot Oll before fleeing the country to Texas.
Richie Freeman then shot everyone in Texas.
Graham Inglis then shot Richie Freeman, Bigfoot, the Almas and Nessie.
Jon Downes then ate Texas and blew up Upper Volta.

So then, dear reader, the truth is finally out; the CFZ is a dastardly organisation responsible for EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD apart from the good stuff.

Arch-enemy of the CFZ, Mr.Whirling McDervish, who runs a rival outfit called the Highland Ongoing Operation for recording Thunderbird Sightings in Scotland (H.O.O.T.S.S) says in the report, "I've been trying to prove for years that the CFZ was responsible for the Noachian flood, the collapse of the Tower of Babel, the sacking of Rome, and the murder of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, but no one would listen. Now that Corrosive-12 has released this report it proves I was right all along – even if I wasn't.

"People say I'm just jealous because the CFZ does loads of foreign expeditions, but that's ridiculous. Why would I want to go looking for death worms in Mongolia when I can search for the legendary three-legged haggis in the woods near Auchtermacdoodie?"

The Corruptive-12 dossier also proves that Jon Downes and his team were the real brains behind the Brinks Mat robbery, the death of Princess Di and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

"They should be locked up", said Mr. McDervish, "Either that or made to hand over their ill-gotten millions to another organisation which would make better use of it; i.e., mine".

DAVE SADLER (Phenomana Magazine) WRITES:


Phenomena Magazine issues 1 to the current issue 17 are now available to download free on our website.

Please visit the site and the downloads page for any issue you may require.

Remember to forward any articles you feel may be included in a future edition to myself or Steve Mera at s_mera@yahoo.com

Please forward this mail to any person you think maybe interested in reading Phenomena Magazine.


Dave Sadler

COROMANDEL MAN: Another one from Muirhead

I thought you might find this page interesting: The 'Coromandel Man' mystifies New Zealand (http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article/freepress19520226.2.57.aspx)


Of course the list is highly subjective AND it is only early September so there are four months left of the year AND I am sure that I remember some of these species being discovered last year. But it is highly entertaining. Take a look at:

The Top 10 new species of 2010 slideshow

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1966 the science fiction series Star Trek was first broadcast. Star Trek is often cited on Richard Freeman's Wikipedia page as his favourite TV show.
And now, the news:

A penguin species faces extinction
Researchers say 21 pct of freshwater species in no...
Inbred bumblebees 'face extinction threat' (via Da...
Man gored to death in bull run
Wild boars must be contained or declared an invasi...

Now here's a universal truth for you: somewhere in your house you will have an Asterix book in a language you do not speak. No-one knows where they appear from and when asked everyone will deny knowledge of how it came to be there and indeed of ever even visited the country from which the moon-speak originates from. Perhaps they breed, or spontaneously generate like Crosse's Acari are said to have, maybe they are left by a half-0crazed, secretive and doddery old maiden aunt who secretively breaks into peoples houses at night in her search for her long dead Flemish/French/German/Welsh/Swahili-speaking nephew and leaves upon confirming it is the wrong house but always forgetting the Asterix book she had brought for the boy to read. It's worth thinking about that... (if on the other hand you are one of the 10 or so people in the country not to own an anomalous Asterix book, you might want to leave a bottle of gin and a plate of custard creams out for the old dear as it may be tonight that you receive a visit).

Oh, if you're wondering why I'm mentioning this and what links Asterix to today's news stories, he had a fondness for wild boar, as not shown in the following clip:


CFZ AUSTRALIA: A sobering reminder of how fragile many species are...

September 7, 1936 was a historic day for Australia's endemic wildlife.

It was a day of no return, not for some ground-breaking discovery or the passing of a famous celebrity, but rather the extinction of a species cursed by hysteria, greed and apathy.

For at least two million years, the thylacine – Tasmanian tiger – had roamed the Australian continent. Humans first came ashore some 46,000 years ago. Our megafauna began to decline, marking the start of our Earth’s 6th mass extinction. Unlike the last one, which finished off the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, this one is not caused by a wandering asteroid or comet, super-volcano or other natural phenomenon. It is caused by us.

"Australia, we now know, was the first continent to be stripped of its giants … rhino-sized marsupial diprotodons, massive kangaroos, six-meter-long goannas and horned tortoises as long as a Volkswagen Beetle … Thus, in its first forty millennia, the sixth extinction ran a wild and deadly course, exterminating the world’s giants. Australia lost 95 per cent of its land-animal genera weighing more than forty-five kilograms…" Dr Tim Flannery.

As the sixth mass extinction progresses, the thylacine disappeared from the continent, about 3000 years ago, leaving only the Tasmanian tiger population still co-existing with the early Aborigines.

Since European colonisation on Tasmania in 1803, the 'tiger' was exhaustively shot or trapped by sheep farmers paranoid of the marsupial predator. Whole-scale extermination was encouraged by private and state bounties, and lucrative rewards from international museums and zoos. Competition with feral dogs and diseases among the remaining, weakened populations, all contributed to its demise.

The last confirmed record of a wild tiger came from a farmer who killed the animal in 1930.

Six years later the thylacine was finally granted legal protection. This came far too late. In the same year - on September 7, 1936 - the last surviving Tasmanian tiger on Earth died in Hobart’s Beaumaris Zoo after 12 years of captivity.

The thylacine was gone merely 131 years after the first European encountered it. In 1996, Australia declared September 7 as National Threatened Species Day, in commemoration of this tragic loss.