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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Monday, November 08, 2010


Corinna is in charge of the news blog whilst Gavin Lloyd Wilson is having a brief house-moving-related sabbatical. Whilst under her tutelage yesterday, the 4000th news story was posted. Haven't they done well?

NEIL ARNOLD: Of Kentish Marten Cats

The Marten Cat is, of course, an archaic term for Martes foina the beech or stone marten. This creature is found across its range in conjunction with the pine marten Martes martes. Until the late 19th century it was believed that both species were found in Britain, but Edward Alston wrote a paper in 1872 consigning the British M. foina to the historical dustbin.

In my 1996 book The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry I present a case for Alston being completely wrong. I have been proven right in other assertions I made in this book, and so I am waiting for more news on this one JD

Whilst trawling through local archives I found the following text from The Kentish Notebook, August 3rd 1889, in reference to the Marten Cat in Kent.

Marten-Cat (June 15th, 19th) – An interesting description of the marten-cat, by the Right Hon. Lord Clifton, appears in the Rochester Naturalist of January 1884, from which I extract the following remarks on the occurrence of this rare animal in Kent:

“With regard to Kent, it never occurred to me to ask about marten-cats, till the other day, when one of my father’s old keepers, G. Mannering, informed me they were not uncommon in the woods round Luddesdown, particularly Red Wood, in the early part of the century, but in the Cobham and Shorne Woods they were unknown. Edward Wells, who was keeper first to Captain Markett, and then to my great-grandfather and grandfather told Mannering that he had killed them, both on the Meopham Court Estate and in Red Wood. A stuffed marten-cat was preserved for some time at the Darnley Arms, Cobham. Mannering states that they were particularly fond of lying on the top of pollard beech-stubs, where was brushwood. I can well believe this, and should also think that they found harbour in ivy-covered trees, and in squirrels nests in the yew trees, which abound in Red Wood and neighbouring woods. Curiously enough, about ten or twelve years ago, a beast very like a marten-cat was twice seen in that district, once in Cobhambury Wood, and another time crossing a field towards that wood. All the men who saw it described it as something between a fox-cub, a ferret, and a small dog. No such description would apply to a badger or otter, letting alone the dryness of the locality for an otter. On the other hand, an escaped (foreign) genet, a large sort of weasel-like animal, was once caught in Chattenden, and another was reported to me from near Chatham. The pole-cat would be nearer the description, but I do not think that men accustomed to foxes would liken a pole-cat to a fox-cub. The pole-cat is also quite as extinct here as the marten-cat, unless it be true than an animal, seen last year at the lay-by (heaps of material excavated for the Higham and Strood tunnel) near the little Hermitage, was a pole-cat. Mannering, who was born in 1815, can just remember a pole-cat being caught alive at Brewer’s Wood Brickyard, close to the Cobham and Rochester Road. The pole-cat is a very marsh-loving animal, and it may be that it is still found in the reed beds of the Hundred of Hoo. Anyhow, Cobhambury Wood is a place far more likely to harbour a stray marten-cat than a stray pole-cat. The pole-cat delighted in old walls, stacks of faggots, ditches and banks, etc, etc. It is not so much a woodland animal.”

At the ‘Free Museum and Reading Room’, Gillingham, the Secretary meeting-place of the Gillingham Naturalists’ Club (Secretary Mr. S.J. West), there are two splendid stuffed specimens of the marten-cat.

Article submitted by ‘Observer’

RAHEEL MUGHAL: The DRACO Classification System: A Different Approach to Categorising Alleged Dragon Sightings

It is always a great pleasure to have a new author on the blog. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Raheel Mughal from the West Midlands, who - as well as his hopefully regular blog postings - is working on a book The Mystery Animals of Pakistan for CFZ Press....

Dragons are clearly not the stuff of legend. The dragon has been around in some form since antiquity, as Richard Freeman’s excellent book Dragons: More than a Myth shows. Nevertheless, the dragon phenomenon has manifested itself in a number of distinct forms, be they flesh and blood or supernatural in composition. The following study is essentially an extension of Richard Freeman’s brilliant research, and attempts to classify the dragon into several distinct but similar categories. I have also included a brief discussion of the particular categories along with some familiar, or in some cases less familiar, cryptids to illustrate the dragon type in question. The DRACO name is a play on the latin reference to dragons.

Dragonesque Dragons
These include dragon-like or dragonesque reptilian-looking creatures that superficially resemble dragons but might not be dragons on closer inspection. In Medieval times it could be possible that seemingly known creatures such as the sturgeon, Wells catfish, oarfish or large eels were given monstrous reputations by superstitious people.

Real Dragons
These dragons include the larger than life relatives (at 25-30ft) of the infamous Komodo dragon, and includes such characters such as the megalania or megalania-like giant reptiles reported from the Australasian region, including Papua New Guinea (Lake Murray) and Australia (giant lizards seen in and around the Grampian Mountains and Wattagan Mountains of New South Wales, respectively). In addition, the Kumi lizard of New Zealand was feared by the Maori and early settlers for its stealthy arboreal-based attacks on humans and livestock that strayed close to its domain.

Moreover, the Mokele Mbembe of the Lake Tele region of the Congo and surrounding tributaries of the Cameroons may be a large herbivorous dragon rather than a sauropod dinosaur. A point that can be used to lend credence to this idea is the Sirrush of the Ishtar Gates of Babylon. This creature is depicted alongside familiar animals that inhabited the Babylonian region alongside humans. Is it possible that a Mokele Mbembe could have been exported there as a gift to the queen? The Sirrush, if it really existed, does have a more than familiar appearance to a large monitor lizard rather than a sauropod dinosaur.

In Europe too there have been reports of large monitor-lizard-type creatures for centuries. The Lindworms (of which the Tazletwurm is a smaller variety) have been reported, though no recent sightings have emerged from this region; if it did exist it is probably extinct now. There was a spate of sightings in Italy during the early twentieth century of the Goro lizard. Similar in size to the afore-mentioned Australasian dragons, these reptilian oddities were even said to sport fur or hair, an implausible visage for a reptile.

Aerial Dragons
This category includes flying serpentine reptiles, which to a casual observer, may seem like dragons. These have also been seen over the centuries and describe more or less the same kind of animal. Sightings of flying dragons have been reported from Tanzania, Namibia, East Africa, Madagascar, the Arabian Sea and South America, among other locations.

Crocodilyoform Dragons
These dragons may possibly explain the lake monster and sea serpent phenomena. In Dragons: More than a Myth Richard Freeman suggested that certain lake monsters and/or sea serpents may constitute a relic population of elongated marine reptile from the late Cretaceous period – 65 million years ago. He suggested either Thallatusuchian crocodiles or mosasaurs (the apex predators of the Cretaceous). I also believe that at least one marine saurian may have survived the extinction 65 million years ago.

Here are a few lesser-known lake monster sightings that lend support to this view. Moreover, there are many reports on file that without doubt describe saurian sea creatures exhibiting features impossible for mammals or fish to emulate.

For instance, in 1934 at Campbell Lake, South Dakota, a farmer saw a giant four-legged dragon-like creature; there were many reports from around the area of animals and livestock disappearing round the lake. The farmer found huge tracks in the mud leading to the lake. Other similar sightings have been reported over the years by credible eyewitnesses.

At Menbu Lake in China during the 1980s there were many reports by terrified locals (as well as visitors to the region soon after) of a large, black dragon-like creature with an elongated neck and a dog's head. Animals had been vanishing near the lake, and many people claimed that they saw the creature snatch them and take them back to the lake. One man who was boating on the lake claimed that one day he was nearly pulled underwater by something large.

Occult Dragons
This category includes a diverse range of similar dragon-like beings reported from around the world and associated with many religions and cults. This category clearly contains many zoomorphic entities such as the Naga, which seem to bridge the gap with other seemingly paranormal topics. Examples of occult dragons include but are not limited to:

  • The Piasa Bird of the Amerindians of the Missouri River, Alton, Illinois,

  • Quetzalcoatl, the feathered-serpent deity of the Aztecs,

  • The Ninki Nanka of the Gambia,

  • The Chinese Elemental Dragons associated with the elements: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Metal,

  • The Persian Dragons of the Islamic Unseen World of Qaf,

  • The Naga: snake-like humanoids that were said to have brought Science and Mathematics to humanity; they are said to be benevolent and kind-hearted towards humans,

  • The Rainbow Serpent of Native Australian mythology.

UNCONVENTION 2010: Andy Roberts - Berwyn Mountain UFO Crash

Prices Crash In Guppy Auction

An interesting comment in the latest edition of the British Livebearer Association Guppy Section Newsletter:

'Prices this year fell well short of the normal value for top quality Guppies - the highest lot only reaching £17.00 a pair. Most were sold near or on the minimum bid of £3.00 . It is surprising that in times when the BLA-GS membership is growing rapidly, during the last three shows we have seen price values plummet. Is it that we are now exchanging fish or internet selling, that the new breeders can acquire these strains more easily? If so objective achieved.'

As regular readers will know, I am a devotee of the livebearer auctions, and whenever possible go to them with Max and/or David. I had actually thought exactyly the same thing, and it is nice to have my hunch confirmed. However, it is even more gratifying to find those who organise such things actually pleased with falling prices. These folk are obviously in it for the same reason as we are, rather than being capitalist bread-heads. Right on, brother!

MIKE HALLOWELL: A Bloggy Comic or Comicy Blog from Mike

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1888 Jack the Ripper's fifth, and it is believed final, victim Mary Kelly was murdered.
And now, the news:

Pink river dolphins at risk from drought
Grizzly bears enjoy the good life as they move clo...
Whales found dead on Donegal beach
World’s 10,000 most important bird areas mapped ou...
Russia’s logging rights auction derailed after pub...
Black Feline Sightings (via Chad Arment)
Bhootbilli on the prowl (via Chad Arment)
European Union seal ban takes effect

The Arctic, home to seals and this bizarre creature:

KARL SHUKER: His very first crypto article from 24 years ago