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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Friday, November 19, 2010


The Indian Expedition is back in the UK. Richard rang me a few moments ago.

Of course, the most important thing that I wanted to find out was how Chris Clark is. The answer is thankfully pretty good. He was treated in India and managed to do most of the stuff that the other expedition members did.

The expedition appears to have been remarkably succesful. They have interviewed a number of mande burung eyewitnesses, photographed what appear to be footprints, and have obtained samples. One of these is a fragment of bone from the femur of what appears to be a bipedal creature, but until we have test results I would caution against getting one's hopes up.

They also have evidence for two other cryptozoological creatures. Richard gave me brief details, but he will be coming up here next week, and I will post further details then.

In the meantime it is just good to know that once again they have returned safe and sound.

ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 32

As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`.

This 32nd collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including Mussolini's diaries, a female vampire from Russia, and cryogenic cock ups. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.



You may recall that a few days ago I mentioned that on my birthday, November 5th, there was a report from November 5th 1966 in The Guardian on the Surrey puma. Here it is:

Puma a `case of the galloping bloodhound`.

There is, says Dr Maurice Burton, mammologist and a resident in the county for many years, no Surrey puma. That so many people in Surrey believe in its existence is due to the activities of a large feral cat, a galloping bloodhound, an assortment of lesser cats and dogs,several foxes,and other unclassified agents.Between them they are likely to have been responsible for all the evidence of the puma`s existence which has been put forward so far.

Dr Burton`s contention is made in this month`s issue of “Wild Life”. About 400 people claim to have seen the puma in the past two years. He says: “ Even if we whittle down the reports to those that are the more credible, we still have a puma that has been seen regularly about once a fortnight. “ Puma are secretive animals: Dr Burton doubts whether any self-respecting puma would let itself be seen so often.

Dr Burton says: “The case for the Surrey puma stands or falls by the 1964 Munstead pug-mark…thought to be far too big for any known dog or cat and therefore identified by the London Zoo as the pawmark of a large cat, the puma.” But Dr Burton believes that the zoo was wrong. He suggests that the mark was left by a galloping bloodhound or some other large dog.

London Zoo admitted yesterday some doubt about the Mumstead footmark, since it was left in sand-and sand scatters. But the case for the puma`s existence was not built on the Munstead footmark alone. There was the devouring of a deer at Wiphurst in 1964; the sighting on October 2, 1904
(sic – should be 1964?) of a creature which leapt between 10 and 12ft; and on September 30, 1963, of an animal which cleared an 8 ft gate.

But the most scathing dismissal of Dr Burton`s case came from Mr Oliver Moxon, hotelier and Liberal politician, who almost every weekend this summer has led expeditions in search of the Surrey puma. There were, Mr Moxon declared, at least two Surrey pumas, and possibly more.

He had tracked down the Crandall puma to a fairly small area now. “I`ve seen it myself.” He said. “It moves far too fast for any dog.” There was also a puma seen in the Worplesdon area. And there had been “ well authenticated sightings” further north, near Camberley. Dr Burton lives in Albury, just east of Guildford.

This ought to be well within the alleged beat of the alleged Worplesdon puma. Perhaps the best thing it could do to quell this outbreak of disbelief is to appear one night at Dr Burton`s window…. David McKie. (1)

1. The Guardian November 5th 2010


The other day, the following advert appeared in my email inbox from Freecycle:

[freecycle-exeter] offered armhair exmouth

The mind boggles


The latest (rather excellent) issue of Fortean Times contains a jolly good article on the intriguing 1930s mystery of `Gef` the talking mongoose of Cashen's Gap. However, totally by chance Richard Muirhead found this online. He was looking for something completely different, had never heard of the case, and was not aware that FT had a cover story on it.

OLL LEWIS: How the West Learnt About the Yeti: Part 2

The first particularly notable Yeti sighting of the 20th century occurred in 1925 when a Greek geologist and photographer called N. A. Tombazi was on an expedition to Tibet with the Royal Geographical Society. Tombazi saw a figure that looked black against the snow but very human in shape. It was occasionally bending over to pick at rhododendron bushes and was, as far as he could tell, naked. When descending the mountain Tombazi and the other expedition members found what they took to be the footprints of what they had just seen. In his book Account of a Photographic Expedition to the Southern Glaciers of Kangchenjunga in the Sikkim Himalaya Tombazi described the prints as being 'undoubtedly those of a biped' and similar in shape to that of a man but 6-7 inches long by 4 inches wide.

What a lot of articles on the history of the yeti will omit is that Tombazi did not believe that he saw a yeti. He explained the sighting as being possibly that of a local hermit; however, several people at the time and since have contested that what he saw was a yeti.

After the end of World War 2 westerners made several serious attempts to summit Mount Everest and several of the mountaineers involved made claims to have seen a yeti or evidence of one while on the mountain. Eric Shipton, who had been involved in some capacity in most British attempts on the summit of the mountain since the 1930s, claimed to have found a series of strange footprints, which he concluded had been made by a yeti, when on an expedition in 1951 with Dr Michael Ward. Shipton stood down as expedition leader for the 1953 successful attempt on the summit but both Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay, who would eventually summit the mountain, at the time of the expedition believed that the yeti was a flesh and blood animal that could be found all over the Himalayas. During the expedition they both saw large footprints on the mountain that they thought may have been yeti prints but in subsequent years they revised their opinions on the yeti. Hillary believed the yeti was more likely a spiritual being from Sherpa belief rather than an actual flesh and blood creature and Norgay, who at one time thought the yeti could be a large ape, became sceptical of the creatures existence despite his father having told him of seeing the animal on two occasions.

The British public were particularly intrigued by the upsurge in evidence of the yeti's existence coming out of the Himalayas and this prompted the Daily Mail to fund an expedition to the mountains specifically to look for evidence of the yeti. The newspaper had previously got its fingers burnt when Marmaduke Wetherell, under the paper's pay at the time, was hoaxed by persons unknown on the banks of Loch Ness. The Mail had tried to capitalise on the public's new-found interest in Nessie and sent the charismatic big game hunter to the loch, and it seemed like a sure thing that he would find the monster, especially when he found the beast's tracks. However, those tracks turned out to be all made by the same left foot of a hippo and the Mail distanced themselves Wetherell. This time things would have to go differently; this time the Mail would take the expedition very seriously and it would start by hiring people who would be taken a lot more seriously than Wetherell. The expedition's team consisted of several well qualified scientists and experienced climbers. Members of the expedition photographed pictures of the yeti from monasteries, tracked footprints and obtained hairs from an alleged yeti scalp in Pangboche monastery.

The scalp was perhaps the most interesting of the expedition's findings. The hairs on the scalp were of a reddish colour and were extensively analysed by Professor Fredric Wood Jones. Jones concluded that the hairs were not from a scalp and were not from a bear or ape; he thought that the hair was from a coarse-haired hoofed animal but did not pinpoint an exact animal. Perhaps given more time he would have been able so to do, but Jones died that September.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1984 the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) institute was founded.
And now, the news:

Two accused of stealing cockroach, happy ending fo...
Shark sanctuary declared in eastern Indonesia
Battle lines emerge in bluefin tuna battle
Great season for cetacean sightings in Isles of Sc...
Haiti on brink of mass extinctions
Badger cull plans are inhumane and unscientific, s...
Fears shot koala may die of lead poisoning
Duck has three legs - and four feet

The 80s was the best time to grow up, I present exhibit A: