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:


Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


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...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 44

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 44th collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including a lot of archaeology, ageing in worms, an escaped jaguar in a plane, the genetics of rabbits, and the heart of Robert the Bruce. Good stuff.



The latest episode of On The Track is finished, but due to our internet connection being very slow here at the moment, it has failed to upload. Hopefully it will be up later today....



HAUNTED SKIES: Various items of interest


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1928 Bob Monkhouse was born. Monkhouse was in my opinion the greatest comedian Britain ever produced but was perhaps best known as a quiz show host. He was also recently revealed as the owner of one of the first television recorders ever made and recorded a personal collection of over 36,000 videotapes, which is thought may contain missing episodes of Doctor Who.
And now the news:

Bradford Council launches investigation after big ...
Bigfoot Sightings: Spokane River, WA / Green Mount...
Mysterious Killer Canid Stalking Bowen Island, B.C...
Wolf-dog hybrid puts B.C.’s Bowen Island in ‘lockd...

Hungry like the wolf:


Monday, May 30, 2011

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From CFZ Australia:
Giant snake - a real reptile or herp hoax?
Meet the Cryptozoologist: Neil Arnold

HAWKWIND LIVE 2011: Those with an interest in such things should check out what happens at 5:11

TERATOLOGY: Four legged Chicken

ROBERT SCHNECK: Octopus With 84 - Yes, 84 - Tentacles

It seems the well of strange octopus stories will never run dry. Am I the only one who didn't know that:

"every so often an octopus with extra tentacles is discovered. These octopi [sic] typically have the usual eight tentacles branching off their trunk. But then the tentacles branch out themselves, and continue to branch out, until you have something like the last specimen: an 84-limbed beast."

The author goes on to call it a "fractal octopus".

(Read the full story and see more pictures at http://uglyoverload.blogspot.com/2008/08/fractal-octopi.html ; the original source is the amazing Pinktentacle.com)

HAUNTED SKIES: The great 1967 UFO wave begins


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1578 Martin Frobisher set sail for Canada with a large fleet intending to mine what he thought was huge quantities of gold and make his fortune. It was several years later that he found out he had been mining fool's gold all that time and it was almost worthless.
And now the news:

Global carbon emissions reach record, says IEA
Butterflies close wings to avoid sex

It's that song again:

BROOKLYN SEA MONSTER: "Much ado about Nothing," says Max

In fact he wrote something far less printable. However, I agree - of course its a sturgeon. How could any idiot think otherwise? However, in our increasingly urbanized society people are less and less in touch with the natural world. A few years ago a neighbour came to us in a state of high excitement because "one of our animals had escaped" and she would call the police if we didn't come and collect it now!

It was a large elephant hawk moth caterpillar.




Sunday, May 29, 2011




REBECCA LANG: Christian the Lion

Hi Jon,

Thought you might be interested in this news story given Christian the lion was originally purchased from Harrods! Of course the whole Christian story inspired a lovely film and a reunion with Christian and his owners. And of course there's the antipodean connection - with Rendall and Bourke being Aussies!




HAUNTED SKIES: Summer, strange stones, UFOs? and naughty dog!


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1593 Christopher Marlowe was murdered. His most famous play was The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.
And now the news:

Bubbling sea signals severe coral damage this cent...
Tests show Arctic reindeer 'see in UV'

Somewhat out of season but a nice little cartoon none the less:

Hikers: Bigfoot captured on video near Spokane


CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Thylacine footage from 1931

I was aware that there was film of the thylacine kept at Beaumaris Zoo at Hobart in 1931, but I was not aware that it had been taken by naturalist David Fleay (the first person to breed platypus) and until today I don't think that I had seen all of it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ROBERT SCHNECK: Artificial ears

Japan is a remarkable place. Despite earthquakes, tsunamis and reactor meltdowns they still manage to produce surreally cute devices that are both endearing and vaguely disconcerting. Consider the negomimi:

'From the cybernetic labs of Japan come these moving cat ears, which purportedly adjust themselves in response to your thoughts or mood...the ears seemed eerily good at foreshadowing facial and vocal expressions, leading the more poker faced among us to wonder if they don't give away too much.'

(Full story and video at: http://gawker.com/5800564/mind-reading-cat-ears-promise-endless-embarrassment)

An even more interesting possibility is the way animals, for whom an ear-flick can be an invitation to romance or a challenge to butt heads, might react.

LINDSAY SELBY: Swimming in Jellyfish lake

Video: What it's like to swim in 'Jellyfish Lake'
By Olivia Solon
24 May 11

Jellyfish Lake, located on Eli Malk Island in the Republic of Palau, is home to vast numbers of moon and golden jellyfish, which thrive there without predators. Filmmaker Sarosh Jacob has captured the creatures on his Canon 5D camera.The two species of jellyfish became trapped in the natural basin when the ocean receded 12,000 years ago. Both species of jellyfish have gentle stinging cells (nematocytes) but these are not powerful enough to cause real harm to humans. Swimmers report light stinging sensation only on sensitive areas, such as the mouth (and presumably other, more personal, parts).

Visitors to the lake are not allowed to scuba dive because of a nutrient layer containing large quantities of stinky hydrogen sulphide that is toxic to humans. The effects of hydrogen sulphide are less severe when it enters through the skin (as it would do for divers) than if it is breathed in -- a single breath of gas containing hydrogen sulphide can cause you to enter a coma.

Read rest see the amazing video here :http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-05/24/jellyfish-lake-video
Says a lot about a species surviving in a lake after the ice age and the sea receded....I don’t think there is a jelly fish in Loch Ness though lol.



HAUNTED SKIES: 1967 Skywatch/Canadian scientists warn about UFOS

Skywatch, June 1967
Canadian scientists warn airforce about UFOs

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 2010 Dennis Hopper died. Hopper is not best known for playing King Kooper in the woefully inaccurate Super Mario Bros movie.
And now the news:

Mystery Mersey ‘monster’ baffles marine life exper...
Nazis tried to build army of talking dogs to help ...
First stage play with dog and cat cast debuts in B...
They didn't croak after all! World's rarest toads ...
Mutant turtles terrorising London ponds

Not as awesome as a monkey riding a pig, but this is still quite good:

CFZ PEOPLE: Tania Poole

It is Tania Poole's Birthday (she is the one with the hair). Happy Birthday, my dear....


Friday, May 27, 2011

NEW PAPER: Cold-Induced Mortality of Invasive Burmese Pythons in South Florida

Cold-Induced Mortality of Invasive Burmese Pythons in South Florida
2011. Biological Invasions 13: 143-151

Frank J. Mazzotti, Michael S. Cherkiss, Kristen M. Hart, Ray W. Snow, Michael R. Rochford, Michael E. Dorcas and Robert N. Reed

Abstract: A recent record cold spell in southern Florida (2-11 January 2010) provided an opportunity to evaluate responses of an established population of Burmese Pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) to a prolonged period of unusually cold weather. We observed behavior, characterized thermal biology, determined fate of radio-telemetered (n = 10) and non-telemetered (n = 104) Burmese Pythons, and analyzed habitat and environmental conditions experienced by pythons during and after a historic cold spell. Telemetered pythons had been implanted with radio-transmitters and temperature-recording data loggers prior to the cold snap. Only one of 10 telemetered pythons survived the cold snap, whereas 59 of 99 (60%) non-telemetered pythons for which we determined fate survived. Body temperatures of eight dead telemetered pythons fluctuated regularly prior to 9 January 2010, then declined substantially during the cold period (9-11 January) and exhibited no further evidence of active thermoregulation indicating they were likely dead. Unusually cold temperatures in January 2010 were clearly associated with mortality of Burmese Pythons in the Everglades. Some radiotelemetered pythons appeared to exhibit maladaptive behavior during the cold spell, including attempting to bask instead of retreating to sheltered refugia. We discuss implications of our findings for persistence and spread of introduced Burmese pythons in the United States and for maximizing their rate of removal.

A pdf of this article is available from the CNAH PDF Library at

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
Loch Ness Weirdness
Giant Salamanders....
Spectral Animals: Coming Soon...
Gevaudan in Print

From CFZ Australia:
Camden's Macarthur Panther Mk II
Mystery beast of Vietnam caught?
Quinkana - the land crocodile
More on the Grafton Yowie

CORINNA: Leonora Carrington has died



White-nose syndrome has killed more than 1 million bats in North America over the past five years, from Nova Scotia to Tennessee; the fungus linked to the disease has been found as far west as western Oklahoma. The bat malady is spreading at staggering speeds and several species are facing imminent regional extinction. It is now confirmed or suspected in 19 states and four Canadian provinces, and could soon jump to the West. Meanwhile scientists have determined that the loss of insect-eating bats could cost American agriculture $3.7 billion to $53 billion per year in lost pest-control services.

The federal government has been painfully slow to take precautionary steps like cave closures to keep humans from spreading the disease. Please join us in speaking up for bats.

Become a Bat Advocate and send a letter today telling the U.S. Forest Service to take immediate steps to close caves and mines in the West, where the spread of white-nose syndrome by peop le can still be prevented.

Visit http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6898 to take action now.



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1908 Ian Fleming was born. Fleming is best known today as the author of the James Bond books but he also worked in British intelligence during World War 2 and came up with many now famous plans to sabotage the Nazis including Operation Mincemeat AKA the man who never was.
And now the news:

Thailand jungles mask surprise rise in tiger numbe...
Red rodent shows up at Colombian nature lodge after...
new bat uncovered in the Caribbean

Bats amazing:

CORINNA DOWNES: A complicated story involving Jon's big toe, and a not-so-young woman with ill fitting jeans


Thursday, May 26, 2011

MICHAEL NEWTON: What's Eating You? Florida's Hungry Sea-serpent Revisited

TOP: The sea monster sketched by Edward McCleary for Tim Dinsdale in 1965
MIDDLE: The sinking of the USS Massachusetts in 1921
BOTTOM: An exhibit from the Creation Museum, wherein a child plays with a dinosaur in the Garden of Eden!

In May 1965 readers of Fate magazine were treated to a remarkable tale, penned by then 19-year-old Edward Brian McCleary. Titled 'My Escape from a Sea Monster,' the story has achieved near-legendary status in cryptozoological circles, and forty years after the fact inspired a bizarre Internet parody.

The facts of the case—if facts they are—may be simply summarized. On Saturday, 24th March 1962, McCleary and four young companions left their homes in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, for a diving expedition offshore from Pensacola. Their target was the USS Massachusetts, a decommissioned battleship deliberately sunk by naval gunfire in January 1921, still popular today with scuba divers who enjoy exploring wrecks. Joining McCleary on that fateful day were 17-year-old Warren Salley Jr, 16-year-old Eric Ruyle, 15-year-old Larry Bill, and 14-year-old Bradford Rice.

Aboard an rubber raft, the five companions paddled toward the Massachusetts, but they ran afoul of unexpected currents, gale-force winds, and fog that left them stranded on a buoy anchored to the sunken hulk. At nightfall, according to McCleary, a long-necked and foul-smelling sea monster approached the buoy, prompting all five boys to swim in panic through the fog. McCleary saw the beast grab Eric Ruyle and drag him underwater, followed shortly by the sound of Salley shouting, "It's got Brad!" Moments later, a scream signaled Salley's fate, while McCleary lost sight of Larry Bill in the mist. McCleary alone reached the shore, spending the night in World War II-era gun emplacement near Fort McRae, where a helicopter crew from Pensacola's Naval Air Station found him at 7:45 A.M. on Sunday.

Writing three years after the supposed event, McCleary claimed that he immediately shared his monster tale with personnel at Pensacola's naval hospital, where he was treated for shock and exposure to the elements. E. E. McGovern, a verified member of the Escambia County Search and Rescue Unit, allegedly listened in awe, then said, "The sea has a lot of secrets. I believe you, but there's not much else I can do."

Two months after Fate published his story, McCleary sent an abbreviated and amended version to Loch Ness researcher Tim Dinsdale, who apparently accepted the tale at face value and remarked on "the potential danger faced by those who swim in waters inhabited by these animals, which must be fish-eating carnivores." As for the fate of McCleary's friends, Dinsdale wrote, "I feel Mr. McCleary has been right to omit the details in his letter, because the facts cannot be proven."


Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans briefly recapped McCleary's story in 1968, suggesting a possible hoax but leaving room for speculation. Sensationalist author Warren Smith presented the tale as fact eight years later, suggesting that
"a storm, unfamiliar waters, or other factors affecting behavior could trigger a vicious attack by these beasts." In 2007 researcher Matt Bille told Internet readers: "As so often happens in cryptozoology, we are left with a story with no corroborating evidence. That story, as unbelievable as it sounds, still could be true. But we don't know. Until and unless we get a specimen of a creature that matches McCleary's beast, the death of four young men will remain a mystery of the sea."

Or will it?

While researching Florida's Unexpected Wildlife in 2005, I attempted to locate any available corroboration of McCleary's tale. Fate had referred to stories published in the "Pensacola Journal" (actually the News Journal) and the Playground News of Fort Walton Beach, but I struck a dead-end on that front. Archivists at the News Journal denied any record of the case in their paper (incorrectly, as I later learned), while the Playground News eluded me, having changed titles during 1988. Strangely, despite published descriptions of a full-scale search for the five young divers, my inquiries to local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard likewise proved fruitless. No one, it seemed, had any record of the case.

Enter Kent Hovind, a Christian evangelist who once styled himself "Dr. Dino" while promoting a doctrine of creationism, including tales of l
iving dinosaurs cited to prove that Earth is only 6,000 years old. Presently incarcerated at Jesup Federal Correctional Institution in Georgia, serving a term for tax evasion that will keep him caged until August 2015, Hovind formerly referred skeptics to Val Bill, stepmother of alleged monster victim Larry Bill, as a corroborating witness.

According to Hovind, Mrs. Bill approached him following a sermon he delivered in 1998, relating the tale of her son's grisly fate.
"You can write her a letter," said Hovind, providing an address in Fort Walton Beach. I did so, and received no answer.

Enter Dusty Ricketts, a reporter with the Northwest Florida Daily News (formerly the Playground News). Armed with a copy of my book, Ricketts launched his own investigation of McCleary's story and phoned to get my take on the events. He had unearthed copies of four newspaper articles about the case, published between 26 March and 2 April 1962, providing me with photocopies that shed more light on McCleary's article in Fate and his letter to Tim Dinsdale. (He had also located McCleary, hoping for an interview, apparently in vain.)

First, it should be noted that McCleary hedged his bets in Fate, claiming that Florida reporters warned him they could not publish a monster story, which was "better left unmentioned for all concerned." And in fact, the Pensacola News Journal quoted McCleary at length on 26 March 1962, including this description of the fatal incident:

"Larry, Eric and I tried to swim together. Eric suddenly developed cramps. Larry and I tried to hold him up and suddenly my legs stiffened and I wasn't able to use them to swim with. I tried to get Eric to hold onto me. He finally started shouting that he couldn't make it. I told Larry that I didn't think we were going to make it and he said, 'We're sure going to try.'"

Whatever happened next remained unstated, as McCleary jumped ahead to his arrival on the shoreline, by himself. There was no mention of a monster, or indeed any description of what befell his friends. More to the point, the Playground News of 2 April 1962 reports the funeral of Brad Rice, washed ashore on 31 March, a presumed drowning victim. Larry Bill, Eric Ruyle and Warren Salley Jr. rated no mention at all.

Which raises the question: why not? Was the disappearance and presumed death of three teenagers so routine that the local paper in their relatively small town—19,992 residents as of 2008—chose to ignore their passing entirely?

In an effort to resolve that question, I consulted the U.S. Social Security Death Index, a public resource that purports to list dates of death for any resident of the United States who has possessed a Social Security card since Congress launched the program in 1935. No resident of the U.S. may legally work without first acquiring a Social Security number, and paying mandated taxes into the system. Warren Salley and Eric Ruyle were certainly of working age in 1962, while the other alleged monster victims may also have possessed Social Security cards. (I obtained mine at age 13, for my first summer job. Child actors may be registered in infancy.)

That said, a note of caution is required, since research on other projects has shown me that some persons who should be listed are not, including both the famous and infamous. With that in mind, my search for McCleary's companions revealed the following information:

According to federal records, only one Eric Ruyle has died in the U.S. since Social Security was established. Born in August 1883, he died at Alton, Illinois, in January 1965, aged 81.

Two Warren Salleys made the government's list. One was born in 1921 and died in Panama City, Florida, at 85, in March 2007. The other was born in 1925 and died a month before his namesake, in February 2007, at Derby, Kansas.

By comparison, we have too many Larry Bills. The only one with that precise name—Larry G. Bill—died at Naples, Florida, in April 2008, age 72. Five Lawrence Bills, born between November 1898 and November 1953, died in Virginia (July 1972), Louisiana (February 1983), New York (October 1985), North Dakota (June 1996), and Ohio (July 2006). Laurence B. Bill was born in 1935 and died in Pennsylvania, in October 1996.

Seeking other avenues of verification, I checked the weather for Pensacola, Florida, and environs on 24 March 1962, through the Old Farmer's Almanac online. The day was reasonably warm, with a high of 64.9° Fahrenheit. No precipitation or fog was recorded, visibility was cited as 4.8 miles, and the stormy winds that allegedly drove McCleary's raft off-course never topped 13 miles per hour.

So, was the story a shameless hoax?

One Internet prankster obviously thought so, when he mocked Kent Hovind's recitation of the case on the FARK "not news" Web site, quoting fabricated author "MacArthur Vick's" proclamation that "Dinosaurs are Sodomites!" In that piece, we are regaled with the story of 23 teenage divers swept off-course in March 1959, while searching for a shipwreck near "Surf City, New Jersey." Lost in a "satanic" fog, they are attacked and fatally buggered by a reptilian beast, which spares only survivor " Percival Patterson." "Atheist satanic scientists" dismiss the tale, but author "Vick" proclaims that the youths "had been ravaged and eaten by the sea monster."

And there, at least for now, the matter rests. Unless McCleary someday offers evidence supporting his account, whatever that might be after the passage of nearly half a century, logic demands dismissal of his claim.

Adrenaline Given Before Snakebite Anti-Venom Treatment Reduces Allergic Reactions, Study Finds (Via Herp Digest)

Adrenaline Given Before Snakebite Anti-Venom Treatment Reduces Allergic Reactions, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (May 11, 2011) -

Giving low-dose adrenaline to patients who have been bitten by a poisonous snake before treatment with the appropriate antivenom is safe and reduces the risk of acute severe reactions to the treatment, but giving promethazine has no such effect and giving hydrocortisone may actually be harmful. These findings from a study led by Asita De Silva from the Clinical Trials Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya in Ragama, Sri Lanka, are important because in some countries where snake bites are a major health problem, acute allergic reactions to poor quality antivenoms are common and often fatal.

In a study involving more than 1000 people who were admitted to five hospitals in Sri Lanka after experiencing a snakebite, the authors randomized patients to receive low-dose adrenaline, promethazine, hydrocortisone or placebo -- alone and in all possible combinations -- immediately before treatment with an antivenom infusion. Compared with placebo, pretreatment with adrenaline reduced severe reactions to the antivenom by 43% at one hour and by 38% over 48 hours.

By contrast, neither hydrocortisone nor promethazine given alone reduced the rate of adverse reactions to the antivenom and adding hydrocortisone appeared to negate the beneficial effect of adrenaline. These findings also emphasize the high rate of acute adverse reactions to antivenom and stress the importance of improving the quality of the available antivenoms in Sri Lanka and South Asia.

The authors say: "The need for concerted action by local health and regulatory authorities, the World Health Organization, and other stakeholders, including technology transfer programmes between antivenom manufacturers, to improve the quality of antivenom can not be overemphasized."

They continue: "Until these overdue improvements come about, we have shown that pretreatment with low-dose adrenaline is an effective and safe therapy to prevent acute reactions to antivenom. Meanwhile, we continue to reiterate that the need for careful observation of patients receiving antivenom and prompt treatment of acute reactions when they occur remains undiminished."

Journal Reference:

H. Asita de Silva, Arunasalam Pathmeswaran, Channa D. Ranasinha, Shaluka Jayamanne, Senarath B. Samarakoon, Ariyasena Hittharage, Ranjith Kalupahana, G. Asoka Ratnatilaka, Wimalasiri Uluwatthage, Jeffrey K. Aronson, Jane M. Armitage, David G. Lalloo, H. Janaka de Silva. Low-Dose Adrenaline, Promethazine, and Hydrocortisone in the Prevention of Acute Adverse Reactions to Antivenom following Snakebite: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS Medicine, 2011; 8 (5): e1000435 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000435

Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:

Public Library of Science (2011, May 11). Adrenaline given before snakebite anti-venom treatment reduces allergic reactions, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/05/110510175159.htm

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

D.R.SHOOP: From the Mufon Archives

I was digging around the Minnesota Mufon archives and found a report I had submitted back in 1996.

(This report recieved via Skywatch)
Date: Monday September 16, 1996, Approx. 8:30 PM
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Witness sighted a lighted object in western sky (not the Moon, I checked with USNO) Object first appeared as almost perfect triangle. Moments later it transformed into a solid circle, or disc shape. It illuminated a bright white light with no apparent texture or variation within the light. Moments after appearing as a circle it once again changed shape into a elongated triangle, point at the bottom. Then once more it quickly shifted into a circle shape. It held this shape for only a few seconds. The object then faded away completely. I witnessed this
object from approximately 1 to 3 miles away in distance. Object was absolutely silent. Object was approximately one third the size of a full moon regardless of shape assumed. This is not my first sighting
of unusual objects. It is however my first sighting since 1994.

Click here for descriptive image.


A few days ago a friend called Joe (probably no significance in this whatsoever!) told me about a “homing snake” in Macclesfield about 10 years ago, which I must say amused me. So I have been looking through back-issues of the Macclesfield Express from January 2000 and have got as far as the beginning of September 2000 without success. I intend to go as far as the end of December 2001. The snake in question was apparently trained to go from Tytherington to Hurdsfield in this town, which is at least 2 miles across busy roads so even if it's possible to train a snake to do this I don't know how it could survive heavy traffic. Watch this space!

I also have the following story from Hulme's Natural History Lore and Legend

Burton* tells us that in Samogitia, a small province in Poland, the people nourish amongst them “ a kind of four-footed serpents, above three handfuls in length, which they worship as their household gods, and if mischance do happen to any of their family, it is imputed presently to some want of due observations of these ugly creatures.” Some old writers tell us of hairy serpents, and depict a thing something like the well-known larva of the tiger-moth, the caterpillar popularly known as the “ woolly bear”, and familiar enough to all dwellers in the country, the only difference, though that a very serious one, being that the woolly bear is barely three inches long, while the hairy serpents are stretched to any number of feet that the credulity of the narrator will permit”(1)

* I do not know who Burton is.

1. F.E. Hulme Natural History Lore and Legend (1895) pp 305-306

Correction: A short while ago I asked if anyone wanted to see back issues of the ISC newsletter or journal. What I should have said was sell!

HAUNTED SKIES: Good and bad news


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1884 Dashiell Hammett was born. Hammett is credited with being the inventor of the hard boiled detective story.
And now the news:

White kiwi chick hatched
Bones of elephant ancestors discovered in Oman
'Deadly' spider forces Crosby family from home

He's got radioactive blood:



DALE DRINNON: The waterhorse debate continues




Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Roger Hall who did all the drawings for the magnets


Each drawing has text below it describing the turtle.

The Turtle and Tortoises are:
Aldabra tortoise, Red-eared slider, Radiated tortoise Blanding's turtle, Three-toed box turtle, Spotted turtle, Red-foot tortoise, Western pond turtle, Eastern box turtle, Southern painted turtle, Ornate diamondback terrapin, Desert Tortoise, Galapagos tortoise, Florida cooter, Gopher tortoise, African spurred tortoise or as we call them Sulcatas, Texas tortoise, Matamata turtle, Chinese box turtle, and Indian star tortoise.(All turtle and tortoises pictured as adults).
Comes rolled up in a a special tube for mailing posters and sent first class.

To send your donation and get your poster. See Below on how to send your donation.


1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org

3) By credit card, Master or Visa, Discover and Amex, only, send us your credit card number, expiration date, billing and shipping address to asalzberg@herpdigest.org. (Though I haven't heard of this happening, a credit card number stolen from an email, I'm told to prevent this send ccard number divided into two emails.)

And don,t forget to include those 3 numbers from the back of the credit card.

4) By phone, call us at 1-718-275-2190 Eastern Standard Time (NYC) - Any Day Of The Week, 11 A.M.- 6 P.M. If not in, leave message and we'll call back.


HAUNTED SKIES: Newcastle 1967 clippings


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1904 George Formby was born
And now the news:

Strange sea creature
Endangered gourmet sea snail could be doomed by in...

And, they're off!


CFZ: Help Wanted

For various reasons not entirely unconnected with my failing health, we are looking to take on some employees for a couple of dull, but worthy specific tasks. Now, as anyone who knows the CFZ will attest, we have no money. However, I believe that there are charitable trusts out there to whom one can apply for grants for such things, and as we are a company limited by guarantee, and the aims of these specific projects (having the entire CFZ archives online) is most definitely for the public good and in the public interest, I see no reason why we should not be eligible for said grants.

The sticking point is that I am not terribly good at this stuff. Out of the 3,000 or so people who read the CFZ bloggo, are any of you charity fundraisers, or something like that who could point us in the right direction, and help us along the path?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LIZ CLANCY: Animal waste doesn't always go to....

Marketing experts behind one of Peru's major tourist attractions might be about to launch a new advertising campaign with the slogan 'Machu Picchu - It's Made of Poo!'

Not really. Though they should.

The ancient Inca city wasn't strictly made of the brown stuff - I think the buildings are probably traditional stone and similar - but Alex Chepstow-Lusty of the Lima-based French Institute of Andean Studies has been studying the mud in Marcaccocha, a small lake in the Cuzco area, for some years now and his team have found a link between an increase in maize pollen and the presence of excrement-eating mites. Conclusion: farming leads to civilization and the people who became the Incas used llama dung as fertilizer.

The current indigenous peoples, the Quechua, still follow aspects of the Incan lifestyle, which includes using llama droppings for fertilizer and cooking fuel. So in a sense, they like to have their cack and eat off it, so to speak....


I have gone on and reprinted a sampling of the CFZ blogs on the water horse theory together with a little new material:


And I forwarded a short review of literature on TransPacific pre-Columbian contact as continuing the discussion on connections between ancient India and Ancient Mexico:


Which is a matter that keeps on getting bigger and bigger the more you dig into it.
Best Wishes, Dale D.



HAUNTED SKIES: The Bill Muir Case, 1967


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1977 Star Wars was first released in cinemas. There are a lot of stories told about George Lucas's original ideas for the Star Wars films and they differ vastly from the film that he eventually came to make. The first draft of the film featured a 'Jedi-Bendu' space commando called C.J. trained in the ways of the force by 'Mace Windy' (thank goodness for second drafts).

And now, the news:

Greensboro bear reappears near Battleground Avenue...

Chapel Hill, Durham police receive several bear si...

Black bear sighted on UNC's Finley golf course

Sat nav-style technology used to track UK seabirds...




Over on the News Blog Gavin L-W has racked up an incredible 5,000 postings. Well done mate :)

TERATOLOGY: Richard Freeman sent us this story about an extraordinary mutation of the Thompson's gazelle


Monday, May 23, 2011

CRAPPY CRYPTO PIC CONTEST: Lars Thomas suggests...

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From CFZ Australia:
Is this the end of Port Maquarie's koalas?
Our top five - and it's a bit of a surprise!
Meet the Cryptozoologist: Jonathan Downes

Mildly intriguing...

HAUNTED SKIES: 1967, "Flying Tadpole" seen over Reading


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1941 Bob Dylan was born. Also on this day but in 1953 Nell 'Little Nell' Campbell, of Rocky Horror fame, was born. Both have what you might call 'distinctive' singing voices.
And now the news:

Forget Nessie... big cat is stalking locals
Whipsnade Zoo Celebrates 80th Birthday
Request for hippo for India’s zoo
Basking shark sighted off Cumbrae

Lets be honest; if you're a regular reader of YNT then you'll probably have guessed what video the link leads to today:


Good news. Diana Lewis at
North Devon Animal Ambulance has very kindly offered to arrange for Prudence's operation (if indeed it turns out that she needs one). When I first posted the story about Prudence's cruciate ligament on Saturday, I did so purely to tell you all what was happening. Several of you (and I have already thanked you individually) offered to help pay for Prudence's treatment. After all £1,000 is a heck of a lot of money. Thank you to all of you. There is no need now but Prudence, Corinna and I are all very grateful....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

GLEN VAUDREY: Trail Cameras for Sumatra Part 6

Another advantage of the trail cam is that it is small enough to be well hidden; so well hidden that a passing animal may not even know it’s being spied upon. Once again Trevor will demonstrate this ability, cunningly hidden in the undergrowth he can take plenty of pictures of animals going about their lives, and who knows what surprising things he could spy.

Today it looks like he has found an orang pendek riding a bicycle; now you really wouldn't have expected that.

Many thanks to those who have so far donated. Your contributions are very welcome and much appreciated. Don’t despair if you haven’t yet donated, or if you wish to contact me about the trail cams, the campaign still has many more weeks to run.

Just to recap: to sponsor a trail cam will cost £100. If that seems a little steep why not get a group together to sponsor one of these trail cams; a group of five will pay just £20 each. Sponsors will get an update on any pictures and when something exciting is spotted your name will go up in lights alongside the photo.

Don’t despair if you miss out on Trevor; he has plenty of friends who also need help in breaking free.

Your sponsorship will pay for the release and upkeep of Trevor and kin, but sadly you will have no rights to take him home.

Now doesn’t that sound like a good deal? Armchair cryptozoology at its best. All the fun of an expedition without being bitten by scary tropical insects.

If you like the sound of this then please get in touch; we would love to hear from you.

For further information you can contact me at glen@cfz.org.uk

Donations can be made via PayPal to Trailcams@CFZ.org.uk

ROBERT SCHNECK: This is cute in a horrible, horrible way

I don't pretend to understand the market for poseable collector-quality vinyl orangutan toddler dolls, but according to the advertisement for Mollie' the Orangutan Toddler Doll:

'She's always dressed for fun! Make a play date with Mollie, an adorable orangutan doll created by master sculptor Simon Laurens - his Ashton-Drake Galleries debut! You'll delight in her exceptional realism, like the wrinkles around Mollie's pretty blue eyes and mouth, and the tiny folds and creases on the bottom of her feet, just like real orangutans. She has hand-painted nails, and wispy hand-applied auburn hair that is adorned with a big bow.

Mollie child doll is an Ashton-Drake Galleries exclusive. Her head and limbs are realistically sculpted, then hand-cast in collector-quality vinyl, giving Mollie a soft, huggable and poseable body. Her adorable bright summer outfit is fashioned by hand. Strong demand is expected for this first-of-a-kind orangutan toddler doll, so order now!'


The people at Ashton-Drake Galleries presumably know their business and that last part about strong demand is not wishful thinking. As for me, I don't want a play date with Mollie or to be in a room containing Mollie, and that's with the sun up. Can you imagine lying in bed watching the moonlight play across her wispy auburn hair and strangler's hands?

As Doug Shoop says, You can’t make this stuff up!

You can’t make this stuff up!


Animal communicator, Janet Roper, is founder and President of Talk2theAnimals, a division of Harmonious LIfe, Inc., a Minnesota based company which provides online and offline services and information about animals and animal communication.

Janet Roper has communicated with animals all her life and in 2008 decided to make that her full time business. She is the founder and President of Talk2theAnimals, a division of Harmonious Life, Inc, based in Shorewood, Minnesota specializing in animal communication through individual sessions, TeleConferences and TeleParties.

Roper trained for years as a spiritual director before she began specializing as an animal communicator in 2000. In her communication sessions, she holds heartfelt conversations with the pets, gets answers from the pets and renews the relationship between the pets and their humans.

Active in social media, Roper has created a unique venue for people the world over to experience animal communication. Her award winning blog, Talk2theAnimals.net, contains a wealth of information on animal communication and her popular Talk2theAnimals TeleParties allow people to talk with their animals in a fun-filled, unique and safe environment. Roper can be followed on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, AllTop and Flickr.

Janet has appeared at the Celebrity Gift Mart of the American Music Awards, and has been featured in a number of news articles, on radio shows, and appears regularly as both a speaker and animal communicator at animal and charity events. She is a contributing author to the book “Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope” by Linda and Allen Anderson. Visit her web site to learn more.

Ms. Roper conducts sessions with animals both living and deceased, in person, and via phone and email.

HAUNTED SKIES: The 1967, Martino Case




DAN HOLDSWORTH WRITES: How many other big cat hoaxes have involved cuddly toys?Perhaps the Weird Weekend ought to include a tongue-in-cheek competition for the least convincing cryptid photo?

We agree. Send us your nominations for the least convincing crypto photo that is in the public domain. We shall find something jolly as a prize!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1701 Captain William Kidd was executed on the charge of piracy. Kidd was not technically a pirate but a privateer working for the crown, but the political tide turned against him. Kidd is also rumoured to have buried a large amount of treasure in an elaborate booby-trapped vault on Oak Island that later became known as the money pit.
And now, the news:

Catbeast - Four new sightings
Pilot whales leave Loch Carnan following death
Appeal to trace tiger toy owner after police alert...

Now, you see, I was going to post up a tiger video of some sort but I thought I'd post the best video on Youtube instead; it has little relevance but it will make you smile, even if you're having a really rough day:


Thank you to all of you who have sent best wishes to Prudence. At the moment she is only slightly lame, but we are doing our best to dissuade her from rampaging around the garden like a baby rhinoceros on steroids. We can only wait and see.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


On Friday, May 13th I went to Manchester; about 1 and a half hours by bus from Macclesfield. I am not superstitious, given the date, and I was not unlucky. Read on!

I was looking through the North Express, which I know nothing about except it caught my eye as the Local Studies Library only had 18 months of film and I didn`t have much time. I found three items of interest from a cryptozoological and ancient-technological point of view.

Firstly, a story from December 2nd 1901 from the Klondike, the gold rush speculating area of the Yukon.

A miner named Beaumet, who has returned from Klondike, has brought with him evidences of prehistoric man in that region in the shape of solid silver shoe nails of the same shape as those now used, the nails having regular indentations in their sides.

Several dozens of them were found at a depth of 110 feet on the bed rock of a creek. Some bones of a mastodon which were found in the same place give a clue to the age of the nails (1)

Part of the following item is reproduced here; the parts of relevance to us:

Many parts of China Afford Great Attractions to Sportsmen

The Northern Deer Park, in the mountains north-west of Peking, is one of the finest preserves in the world, and contains a very large herd of giant deer…Szechuan is also the home of a peculiar animal that might be called a “ missing link”. It is a species of ape growing quite large, adults reaching four feet in height. It lives in the mountains, and is protected from the cold by heavy fur and mane. It is peculiar for the fact that hibernates like a bear and the Chinese recognizing this peculiarity call it the run-hiung, or the man bear. It is much sought for its flesh, and its paws are prized as great delicacies…The southern provinces of China are remarkable for a monkey, which in grotesque and variagated colurs, can only be compared to a mandarin duck and gold fish, which are also peculiar to China. These southern China monkeys have bodies of a light brown colour, but the face is a brilliant orange, with a black band across the forehead.

The arms are white, but the hands a most intense black. The tail and a large spot over it are also white, while the thighs are black, and the legs a brilliant red. (2)



A small gulch near Florence, in Colorado, has been found to be full of snakes – great stone snakes whose wriggling days are over; prehistoric snakes with enormous heads and tails like rudders.

An effort is being made to get some perfect specimens of some of the strangest of these wonderful fossils for museums.

The first find, which was made only a few months ago, was a head measuring two feet and a half by two feet eight inches.

It was so unmistakably the head of a fossil animal of some sort that the discoverers determined to search for the rest of the body. They found it in sections, part on one side of the gulch and part on the opposite side…The tail is shaped like a rudder and pitched downward, which leads the discoverers of the reptile to the belief that it was a swimmer rather than a crawler. The shape of the body is much like that of a salmon, with the narrow edge downward. The marks on the fractured, stony edges of the body indicate that the serpent had no vertebrae, but only cartillage for holding the long mass together…Many of the fossils are to be found in this spot. One that has been taken out has a head thirty-three by thirty-six inches. Four pieces of the body and the head measure seven feet in length, and weigh 700lbs.

The belief amongst scientists who have heard of these discoveries is that they are of great value. Can the sea serpents whose reported appearance from time to time we treat with such incredulity , be the descendants of such monsters as these? (3)

1. North Express December 2nd 1901
2. Ibid Dec 7th 1901
3. Ibid Dec 23rd 1901


You are the “power and the glory”
You are the weakness in defeat
Like the rise and fall of the British Empire
You make me sick with your conceit

You are,you are the weakness
You are,you are,you are
You are the sickness that`s in my soul
You are, you are,you are “the Maker”
You are called greed and you re a cheat
You are,you are, you are the Deceiver
You are not welcome in my life



In Fortean Fives the great and the good of Forteana pick out Five interesting events from the history of Forteana. If you want to submit your own Fortean Five email it to Oll Lewis at fortean5s@gmail.com. Today’s Fortean Five is complied by J.T. Lindroos. J.T. runs the Point Blank Press publishing house and is also a rather superb designer as you can see here: http://jtlindroos.posterous.com/ . Take it away J.T.

1. The Well to Hell

The story went around in the early '90s how Russians had drilled a 14.5-mile borehole next to the border of Finland and cracked the Earth's shell direct into Hell. This tale has it all: from subterranean mysteries and hollow earth theories to theology, ultraterrestrials, Edgar Rice Burroughs with overtones from my favourite short story ever, Arthur Conan Doyle's When the World Screamed.

2. Philip K. Dick and the Pink Beam
The wealth of brilliant writing that sprouted from this event alone would be enough to qualify it to the top 5. What makes it more significant is PKD's ability to speculate on the event itself, to consider all open options about its significance and its randomness, to make a valid case for opposing answers to the mystery, and to turn it loose on the world. Not to mention that it also resulted in a Robert Crumb comic book.

3. Dean Radin bends a spoon
A trivial incident that conceptually hits a nerve. Accidental, believable, unexplainable and unrepeatable.

4. The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor
Ever since I read the Tintin adventure Seven Crystal Balls, I've had a fascination with ball lightning. This 1638 event was so dramatic and the reaction to it so speculative that it is perfect as a representation of the narrow bridge between mystery and nature, and how they intermingle. That we still don't understand the phenomenon, that we haven't even got decent documentation of it, enforces the fact that the universe is much more mysterious than we often give it credit for.

5. Patterson-Gimlin film
I don't want to hear another word about it, be it speculation or 'facts' or anecdotes. But it remains a fascinating piece of history; a question without an answer, yet one you can actually see for yourself. Singular and suffused with a sense of wonder.

HAUNTED SKIES: A Bumper Crop of Archive Material

As work on Volume Three intensifies, there is just too much material, hence today's bumper bag of out-takes.

1966 Interview with Gordon Creighton
1966 Report Card from the Isle of Wight UFO Society
Source material from an interesting 1966 case from the Isle of Wight

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. As well as being the creator of Sherlock Holmes, whose adventures would sometimes include fortean themes, Doyle had a very keen interest in the paranormal, being a member of The Ghost Club and holding strong beliefs in spiritualism. His best known foray into paranormal investigation was the case of the Cottingley Fairies, a hoax by two young girls, which he was convinced was genuine. Still... good writer, though.
And now the news:

Hampshire 'tiger sighting' causes major alert
Legendary chupacabra spotted in Texas?

Some videos are more or less mandatory when certain things are mentioned in the news, like this for example:


Yesterday evening Prudence was rushing around the garden like she had the wind in her tail. When she came in, however, she was limping on three legs.

Although, this morning the limp was largely gone, we took her to the vet in Bradworthy. It seems she may have a problem with her cruciate ligament, which will require expensive surgery. She goes in to the vet in Holsworthy on Tuesday to be examined under an anaesthetic, and probably x-rays. This alone will cost up to £250.

We are not whingeing about the cost of her treatment; I have no sympathy with people who take on an animal and then complain about the cost of its upkeep. You should have thought about that before you joined, Sonny Jim (as my father would have said), but I want to explain why we won't be out and about as planned for the next month or so. The Charity fish auction in Redditch next month is a no-no, for example.

All we ask is for you to remember Pru in your thoughts and prayers, and keep your collective fingers crossed.
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DALE DRINNON: Follow-up to PNW Giant Salamanders

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LIZ CLANCY: Heywood Headlines

Just to prove that even a remarkable story can be exaggerated, on my way to work last week I noticed that part of the town had been cordened off and was being guarded by the police. The taxi driver informed me that there had been an explosion. At work and after lunch one of my colleagues came in to tell us she had been over to find out the full story; there had indeed been an explosion at Bar Vino (officially renamed Miami Ice a while ago but locals take little notice of such things; The Old Fashioned will ever be to us The Queen Anne).

Of interest to us here is the fate of the rabbit who lived in the flat above the bar. Apparently, though the whole building burnt down, firefighters found the fluffy-eared fellow among the wreckage and rubble after they had put the fire out, and he was completely unharmed. Not so.

Waffles, as The Heywood Advertiser reported this morning, was indeed left with hardly a scratch on him but rather than miraculously emerging from the ashes like the Heywood Phoenix (buy our beer; visit our health/council/learning/social centre), was rescued by the afore-mentioned Firemen Sams from the flames as they still burned. Incredibly lucky, yes; asbestos bunny, nope.

Headline number two: we have a new fish shop just two or three doors down from the one I bought my supper from last night, except unlike Ruby's, this one sells fish intended for the tank rather than the tummy. We wish 'em well at CFZ Heywood and promise to pop in some time without salt and vinegar. And to report the shop's name to CFZers as soon as the sign goes up....
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