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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Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Wednesday 24th November 2010
19:30 - 21:30
St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1DY
Entrance Price: £5.00

UFOs: The Secret Story is a lecture by Robert Hastings, the renowned UFO researcher. Hastings has appeared on Larry King Live, and has given his lecture to numerous universities in the US. This is his first appearance at Oxford University, sponsored and organised by polymath and Oxford alumnus Paul Parl. The main theme of Hastings' lecture is his meticulous research of documented UFO incidents at nuclear missile sites around the world, a topic which he has investigated for decades. He has been approached by numerous high-ranking military officials who have provided him with impeccable testimony. It promises to be a fascinating evening.

To book a ticket for this lecture, visit http://www.eventelephant.com/hastingslecture


From BoingBoing:

D R SHOOP: Stinky invader arrives in Minnesota

First came the gypsy moth, then the Japanese and Asian lady beetles, the soybean aphid and emerald ash borer.

Now say hello to the brown marmorated stink bug, the next invasive insect to land in Minnesota -- this one with its own unique, er, scent.

Of all places, the first specimen was found at the plant protection division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Although Minnesota has been home to other varieties of stink bugs, it is the first time this bug -- also known as the Asian stink bug -- has been found in Minnesota, state agriculture officials said. It most likely hitched a ride on a shipment of equipment from the east coast, officials said, and that makes them think there might be others elsewhere in the state.

"The fact it arrived here the way it did suggests that it's happening elsewhere, too," said Bob Koch, an entomologist with the state Agriculture Department.

The brown marmorated stink bug, which has distinctive black and white markings on its abdomen, has been making a nuisance of itself across the Eastern United States since 2001. Native to Asia, the pest was first identified in the U.S. in Pennsylvania. It has since been reported across the mid-Atlantic region, in Oregon and in other states.

If - or more likely when - it becomes established in Minnesota, it is likely to be particularly troublesome for farmers and vegetable gardeners, said Koch. "It can become a significant pest to the production of fruit trees and vegetable crops," he said. "It also feeds on soybeans, field corn and sweet corn." The stink bugs aren't nearly as problematic as the emerald ash borer, which kills the trees it inhabits, said University of Minnesota entomologist Jeff Hahn. But in the last year or two there has been an explosion in the number of marmorated stink bugs in other regions, causing loss in some crops, he said.

The bugs also have an annoying tendency to become home invaders in the fall. When the weather cools, they seek warm places. But unlike Asian lady beetles, which do the same thing, the stink bug, well, stinks. When threatened, it releases a foul-smelling liquid as a defence mechanism. That, said Koch, could be one reason why birds aren't likely to go after them.

Unlike the stink bug varieties that are native to Minnesota -- and like all invasive species in general -- the marmorated stink bug could be difficult to control because in this country it has no natural enemies or predators. Koch said the Agriculture Department will start trying to figure out how farmers can control it with pesticides or other methods.

The bug typically spreads to new areas by flying or by stowing away in shipping containers or vehicles. It is unclear how the insect arrived in the laboratory building, state officials said. The agriculture department's bug hunters are now searching the laboratory to find and eradicate any other stink bugs that may have arrived, Koch said.

"In Arizona, there was a motor home coming out of the East that was infested with them," Koch said. "They are getting moved around pretty easily."

Koch said the bugs will show up in homes before they start damaging crops. Don't smash them unless you're willing to live with the smell. Koch said the best way to get rid off them is with a vacuum cleaner. But he advised putting a nylon stocking over the end of the hose to catch the bug before it gets inside the vacuum cleaner "Otherwise you'll have a pretty smelly vacuum cleaner," he said.


A few days ago I read an obituary of the Cottingley fairy debunker in The Guardian, part of which runs as follows:

'The photographic scientist Geoffrey Crawley, who has died aged 83, played an instrumental role in the debunking of the world`s longest running photographic hoax. The unlikely deception was hatched in 1917 by two cousins, Elsie Wright, aged 15, and Frances Griffiths, 1o, who claimed they had captured photographs of fairies near there home in Cottingley,west Yorkshire. The “Cottingley fairies” tale quickly caught the public imagination, rolling on until some six decades later, when Geoffrey`s scientific analysis of the pictures led the cousins to confess that the fairies had been nothing more sensational than cut-outs kept in place using hatpins….

Geoffrey was born in Bow, east London. Aged four, he moved with his parents to Southend-on-Sea, Essex,and then to nearby Leigh-on-Sea, where he helped out in the darkroom set up by Tom, a keen amateur photographer,who worked for the Admiralty in London. Geoffrey attended Westcliff high school for boys. His mother, Alice, died when he was 12….

It was as editor of the BJP ( British Journal of Photography) in 1982 that he applied a detective`s eye to the five Cottingley fairies photographs, the authenticity of which had first been endorsed by Edward Gardner, a theosophist, in 1920. Gardner had heightened the allure of the story by having the glass plate negatives retouched for public show, in a way that Photoshop software might be used today. The tale snowballed further when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a spiritualist- endorsed the revelations in the Strand Magazine.

Geoffrey brought an objective, in-depth, technical analysis to the case. He acquired two of the cameras used by the Cottingley cousins – a quarter-plate Cameo folding camera and a Midg box camera – to assess whether they could possibly have used them to take the pictures. “ Of course there are fairies,just as there is Father Christmas,” Geoffrey concluded. The story proved irresistible to Hollywood: the films Fairy Tale: A True Story and Photographing Fairies based on the case were both released in 1997….' (1)

1. The Guardian November 16th 2010 p.32


Jessica Taylor would like it to be known that she is now thirteen, and demands to be treated like a young lady. Jon may be her adopted uncle, but is henceforth forbidden to call her a horrible child....

NICK REDFERN: The Crypto-rats of Roswell

This is one of the strangest tales I've ever come across, and I've come across some strange ones! http://monsterusa.blogspot.com/2010/11/crypto-cover-ups-rats-and-roswell.html

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On the day in 1971 a hijacker using the alias Dan Cooper jumped from a plane flying over Washington State, USA, with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money were ever seen again.

And now, the news:

Keep an eye out for stranded dolphins, urge scient...
Spice of Life: Variety Is Also Good for Hares
Atlantic Ocean migratory sharks not covered by fis...
University of the Basque Country research team inv...
Wild wolves in Missouri? (via Chad Arment)
Echidnas now ranked as most endangered animals

Cute and funny echidna video:


Richard won't be coming up today as originally planned because he has an urgent appointment tomorrow morning. However, when he has got that out of the way, he will be back up as planned...