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...

Friday, October 01, 2010

ON THE TRACK - The Saga Continues

Well, it is finished. And indeed it is uploaded, but as happened a few months ago, large chunks of it are completely out of sync. So I am trying a work-around that I got off the YouTube users forum, and I will let you know what happens....


Malta has been shamed yet again by its illegal bird hunters, who have blasted a number of Spoonbills this week which were passing through the islands on migration from Europe to Africa.

A flock of 22 Spoonbills were observed roosting in the north of Malta, but horrified birdwatchers scanning the flock the following morning saw that three of them had blood-soaked feathers after being shot by illegal hunters. Of the original 22 birds, only nine continued their journey to Africa, while five have remained at a nature reserve, including the three injured birds. Two of the injured birds have now been taken into care by the authorities.



The new edition of the Entomological Livestock Group (ELG) newsletter is now out, and contains (amongst other things) a fascinating look at the lifecycle of the Horse Chestnut leaf miner (Camemaria ohridella) a species only discovered in Britain in 2002. There is also a note on an unusual foodplant for the lime hawkmoth.

I know that I say this regularly, but if you are even slightly interested in insects and other arthropods, you really should subscribe. Details from:

The Editor, Paul W. Batty,
50 Burns Road,
Sheffield, S25 2LN. England.
Tel/Fax: (+44) 01909 565 564.
MOBILE: 07792 415 886
E-Mail: pwbelg@clara.co.uk


Written By Mike Williams & Rebecca Lang
Published by Strange Nation ISBN 978-0-646-53007-9

Only a handful of books have ever been written about what are known in the UK as ‘alien big cats.’ This is a term I’ve always despised. Some of the books written have been informative little booklets or like Marcus Matthew’s Big Cats Loose In Britain (CFZ Press 2007) they’ve existed as a superb guide to local legends and headlines through each county. Karl Shuker’s now hard to find Mystery Cats Of The World was also a pioneering book at the time but since then not enough books have emerged on the subject.

So, step forward Rebecca Lang and Mike Williams, who have decided to write a book on the mystery cats of their native Australia. I’m sure many people didn’t even realise that Australia has a similar situation to the UK with its legends of large, feline predators; mind you, there are many countries across the world that have been plagued by cat flaps, but these stories are yet to form a manuscript.

Of all the books I’ve read on the ‘big cat’ mystery, Australian Big Cats is without doubt the finest. Even the most hardened of sceptics will enjoy this truly monstrous - and I mean monstrous at over 400 pages - read. Packed with fascinating eye-witness reports and data, Rebecca and Mike have also littered their work with some impressive photographs not just of huge paw-prints, slaughtered livestock and old newspaper reports, but fascinating photographs of the secretive animals themselves. After reading this detailed tome, which is nigh on exhaustive regarding the Australian situation, you’ll be more informed of the media sensationalism which gave birth to legends such as the ‘Beast of Buderim’, the ‘Broken Hill Lioness’, the ‘Canterbury cat’, the ‘Kaiapoi Tiger’, and of course the ‘Emmaville Panther’ which has become a media darling to rival our very own ‘beasts’ of Exmoor, Bodmin and the like in Britain.

However, these Australian dwellers are not the stuff of foggy folklore, and exist in some reasonably impressive photographs, and of course that ever elusive film footage which seems, rather hilariously, to drive most big cat ‘researchers’ mad in their quest for their own Holy Grail. Rebecca and Mike look at the facts, and debate whether Thylacoleo carnifex - a large marsupial cat - could still exist thousands of years after its alleged extinction. They examine reports of large cats escaping into the Australian bush, some as rumour, some as fact, backed up with photographs. The book eliminates the suspects, sifts through the mounting evidence, and also proves, startlingly, that the scrublands and forests of Australia are also inhabited by truly gigantic feral cats, one of which had its head blown off by a hunter. These monster moggies are a mystery in a field of their own, but are clearly no match for the eye-witness reports which suggest that black leopard and puma hide in the woodlands.

Written without bias, Australian Big Cats despite its size (and weight!) is an engrossing read (I read it straight through in two days), and it comes highly recommended. As a full-time researcher myself, I take my hat off to Rebecca and Mike for giving us a unique glimpse into what lurks in the shadows Down Under.

With so many eye-witness reports and evidence piling up, I’m pretty sure their sequel may not have to include the word ‘unnatural’ in its title, because surely it’s only a matter of time before such animals are taken seriously. And it’s books such as this which go a long way to aiding us in our quest for the truth. Get your paws on a copy now.

Rating: 9/10
Available from Amazon.com
Neil Arnold October 2010



While taking some rubbish out to the bin the other day I came across this unfortunately dead bird a few feet away. Thought you might like it, and post if you like to the blog.

Cheers mate

And even if my identification is wrong it has given me an excuse to link Nick Redfern's name with a Beatles song forever and always through the magic of Google. And what's more it is a song that he will particularly dislike. Ho Ho Ho!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1959 the Twilight Zone was first broadcast.
You unlock this door with the key of imagination...
And now, the news:

Sailor's body found inside shark at Jaws Beach
In search of the giant rat
Texas man stung by 1200 bees
Six foot long snake discovered in toilet in Poland...
How a family's beloved pet came back from the dead...

When I saw that story I thought of this: