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, October 04, 2010


Biggles is seriously unwell. He has a liver condition and will stay overnight at the vets for tests. We do not know yet whether this is an infection or something more serious.

Please keep your fingers crossed and remember him in your prayers to whichever deity you believe in....


Noela Mackenzie, the oldest member of the CFZ (aged 87), has fallen and fractured her hip, and part of her pelvis.

She is presently in the North Devon District Hospital but will be back in the old people's accomodation in Torrington in a day or two. Our thoughts and prayers are with her.


From the Paranormal Buffalo email list, reprinted with permission

Stock Island Raccoons

My friend saw these raccoons yesterday (9/9/10) on Stock Island, just north of Key West. She said there must have been 30 to 40 aggressive raccoons, and when she stopped to take the photo some of them rushed her car. I found it incredibly odd because I always thought raccoons only traveled in small packs of four to six.
--Sara H.


Gaurav Gupta wrote to us saying that he had taken some pictures of what may be orang-pendek tracks at Kerinci Seblat National Park on 18-March 2008. Hes was 5km from the nearest village and at an elevation of around 2500m above sea level. The tracks were far larger then any that Richard has seen, at around 12ins.

He continues:
"I apologize that the photo is not clear. I was just a traveler and did not pay much attention on the details of the footprints and didn't know anything about Sumatran Yeti that time. And it was really stupid of me not using any reference (e.g. my foot) or a measuring tape against the footprint.

You can access the rest of the pics of my trip at the following link.


JOANNE BOURNE: Translation of French YouTube documentary on the almasty (Part One)

Almasty. Yeti du Caucase. Part 1
Sylvain Pallix
Rough draft translation by Jo Bourne 29 September 2010

Voiceover: Marie-Jeanne Koffman tracks the Almasty, a quest [une obstination] without end for this Franco-Russian doctor, determined to prove the existence of the wild man of the Caucusus. After taking part in a scientific expedition to the Pamir Mountains in search of the Yeti [man of snow], it is in the Kabardino Balkarian Republic that she continues her quest. With scientific rigour and an insatiable curiosity, she gathers more than 500 witness statements, and these [emprints] constitute an enormous dossier.

Marie-Jeanne Koffman: We have indirect proof, in the form of witness statements, because first of all there are very many, they come from a particular region, from all kinds of different people; absolutely different in terms of religion, language, ethnic origin. But nevertheless all these people describe the same thing. [d’ecrire le meme portrait]

Voiceover: It’s therefore from the analysis of these witness statements that the scientific study can begin.

Child: I want to know if the Almasty could be dangerous or aggressive?

M-J K: I have never heard of any aggression with regard to humans, even if humans behave in a manner that presents a danger to the Almasty. Never. None.


Man: This is the great beast that we would like to consider the ancestor of that which you are looking for. This is the mandible, and we call it the Gigantopithecus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus

M-J K: I always say to my companions that we should, as a working hypothesis, start from the principal that we are looking for a being part human and who surpasses us in many parameters, even perhaps intelligence [not clear. I can clearly hear what she’s saying, but there’s not a lot of clarity in what she’s saying]

Man: In scientific terms we find one day this being you talk of, whatever its nature, whatever its affiliation, that would be utterly extraordinary.

Voiceover: It is in the Caucusus that we begin the incredible journey on the trail of the Almasty. Mount Elbrus dominates the research field. We are in the Kabardino Balkarian Republic and here the wind blows on the summit of the Caucusus who xxxx? a barrier of 1200km between the Black sea and the Caspian Sea.
Myth, reality… these reflections accompany the first excursion. The Almasty, after the witness statements gathered here by Dr Koffman, is described as a being of between 2-2.2 metres, with black or red fur, without language or fire [not clear here whether the voiceover is saying it has the ability to make fire or not] and living by night to avoid the worst predator – man.

There are many caves in the area and a local shepherd reveals possible traces in the form of bones.


Kazlov: It’s not a young man. You’ll see his teeth. I think he was strong. His bones indicate strong musculature. [note from Jo: no idea what they’re doing with this dead man’s bones. He’s got nothing to do with the story. Can’t tell when he’s from. Could be recent, in Libya shepherds still use caves for animals and for living. The chap could be Palaeolithic for all we’re able to tell, or early 20th century] This cave is very good for Almasty. Maybe he slept here for a few nights, some nights, or days or years ago.

Voiceover: Even though the bones are human, it is worth installing a detection system in the cave. If you trip the wire, then click clack – the camera or video recorder takes a picture. Whether he came or not, the cameras record images devoid of the snowman. A horseman we encountered said the Almasty had the power to render itself invisible. If he’s right, the picture of the century will be a long time coming.

Sarmakovu???, our base camp, our other [noyed it sounds like; no idea what this means] and one of our first witnesses didn’t believe in the existence of the Almasty until January 1987.


Mouayed: I saw between these planks, something strange [un inconu: lit, a stranger], very large, perhaps two metres 10 centimetres She was covered with black hair Her eyes shone red. She made two huge steps. She walked like this. I thought, perhaps, it was the Almasty.

Voiceover: Micha is an artist, and if the Almasty that he drew following the description of Mouayed doesn’t comform to reality, never mind. To enrich the witness statements it is sometimes xxxxxxx strange encounters [incomprehensible, and I can’t even hazard a guess]
[Micha I think] had also met one of the creatures. At the time he was caretaker of a well outside the town of Tornause?. No one since has wanted to succeed him.

Xxxxx [don’t know who is talking]: When he saw him he was in the cabin looking out of the window. He saw a creature watching him. He wanted to get his pistol but he couldn’t. It was like he was [I would guess hypnotized] by the almasty.


Micha: He looked at me like this with big teeth. He looked at me like this and I was laying down. He had wrinkles like this, and he stared at me. He had a big head.

Voiceover: [something something] people the dreams of Caucasian children [something something]. If you possess the fur of an Almasty, he will become your slave. But be careful, if he puts his hand on the stolen fur, he will take cruel vengance on your family. The young Henri [knows that] the old hold tight to the story. Not everyone believes in the existence of the Almasty, and for the shepherds who in the morning don’t have the right number of sheep, the wild man often gets the blame. [what voiceover man says often has no continuity, but I’m transcribing what I hear]

[Talking Head Shepherds say in 40 years they’ve never seen the Almasty]

The Almasty is described by witnesses as not animal, not man, but like a man. Survivor from an earlier time for some scientists, big ape for others. Inepuisabel pour tout ce qui amuse a vour the snowman appear periodically in the news.


DINA [love that cape!]: I was sleeping, like this and I saw him. I pulled my cape up and watched what he was doing. He arrived here, he walked slowly, he came into the cabin and he looked here. He unhooked a harness, he looked at all the stitching, and he put it back. There was a big pot here, he took off the lid. He helped himself to bread, he helped himself to meat. Hair fell from his face. He looked at us, he turned, before leaving here. That’s all. When he bent forward, his hair fell over his face, but I saw his eyes through his hair. They shone. They were very shiny. They’ve got eyes like this: like cats. They’re round but the pupil is vertical. The eyes are yellow green.




1. Haunted Skies Volume 1 by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway (1)
2. Ufo Down - The Berwyn Mountains UFO Crash by Andy Roberts (2)
3. The Mystery animals of Britain: Kent by Neil Arnold (-)
4. The Mystery animals of Ireland by Gary Cunningham and Ronan Coghlan (-)
5. The Mystery animals of Britain: Northumberland and Tyneside by Mike Hallowell (-)
6. The Mystery animals of Britain: The Western Isles by Glen Vaudrey (6=)
7. Monster - the A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold (6=)
8. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (6=)
9= In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans by Michael Woodley (3=)
9= Big Cats loose in Britain by Marcus Matthews (-)


1. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (2)
2. The Monsters of Texas by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern (1)
3. Monster - the A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold (-)
4. The Island of Paradise by Jon Downes (5)
5. Ufo Down - The Berwyn Mountains UFO Crash by Andy Roberts (3)
6. Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Dr Karl Shuker (9=)
7= Big Bird by Ken Gerhard (4)
7= Dr Shuker's Casebook by Dr Karl Shuker (-)
7= New Horizons: Animals & Men Collected Editions Vol 4 by Jonathan Downes (-)
10= Star Steeds and other Dreams by Dr Karl Shuker (-)
10= Tetrapod Zoology Book One by Dr Darren Naish (-)

Last month's positions in this pinky colour, which I think is called cerise. The charts this month have been dominated by the latest batch of new releases, and the three books in the Mystery Animals of Britain series, which were reviewed by Karl Shuker in Fortean Times. Darren Naish's new book just sneaked into the US charts but as it was only released late in the month and there has been no publicity as yet, I think we can expect it to be a massive bestseller by CFZ Press standards, and Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo will be out in a few weeks, and will also (we are confident) dominate the sales charts for the rerst of the year....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1948 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) was founded. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Union_for_Conservation_of_Nature
And now, the news:

Indian carnivore eats mostly fruit
Indonesia’s Coffee Bean-Excreting Civet Cats a Dis...
Scorpions and tarantulas found in Preston alleyway...
Did Australian Aborigines reach America first?
Galapagos frigatebirds genetically unique

Some animals just look naturally comical:



Karl Shuker looks at a truly bizarre mystery beast from Peru: a shelled snake. Surely so bizarre a beast cannot be true....

Read all about it