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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Thursday, May 05, 2011


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 compiled by Lars Thomas. Lars has a wide and varied sphere of interest including zoology, cryptozoology, ripperology, photography and whiskey. He is also our regular 'go-to guy' when it comes to DNA and hair analysis. Take it away Lars:

1. THE THYLACINE Being of a strong cryptozoological persuasion, I have to name the thylacine as my favourite cryptid. I have no idea why this rather small, dog-like marsupial fascinates me so – but it does. I have walked the forests of Tasmania several times, especially the extraordinary Southwest National Park, where you could easily hide a rampaging horde of woolly mammoths, let alone a few thylacines. But although my heart was thumping like a demented bass drum I did not see the critter – although I did meet a guy who claimed he had seen one.

2. THE VIADUCT INN GHOST I have always liked ghost-stories for their folkloric values, but I have never been very interested in trying to prove the existence of ghosts and running around with E-meters and such gadgets, but I must confess to a certain fondness for the ghost/poltergeist in the Viaduct Inn in London because I have actually photographed the bugger. During a guided ghostwalk in London in 1988, I took a picture of part of the cellars under the Inn – apparently they used to be prison cells in the old Newgate Prison. The place was empty – but the photograph was not!

3. AVEBURY A lot of Fortean phenomena is associated with standing stones, and coming from a country where there are standing stones a-plenty, I do have a certain fondness for big boulders standing in all sorts of strange places. But my absolute favourite is the tiny village of Avebury, not far from Stonehenge, where the stones seem to outnumber the population. I would love to know whatever possessed people of long ago to work so hard dragging stones all over the place.

4. THE ROUND TOWER This rather strange-looking tower in central Copenhagen was build by Danish king Christian IV many a long year ago. The official explanation was the need for an astronomical observatory, but in a rather elaborate and grand scale (although there is an observatory on top of the tower today). But the Fortean bits are much more fun. You can (or so it is said) find all kinds of astrological, astronomical, magical and kabbalistic symbols, and a few riddles and ghosts thrown in for good measure, in the structure of the tower and the adjacent church. And the view of Copenhagen from the top is sensational!

5. THE HUIA BIRD I don’t suppose a supposedly extinct bird rates high on the Fortean scale, but this weird thing, that used to live in New Zealand, and supposedly died out in the 1930s, has always been a favourite of mine. It was so very strange – the male and female had different shaped beaks. And that’s not something you see every day. But for me the most exciting thing is that I am convinced I saw a living huia bird during a visit to New Zealand in 1991. That’s not something you see everyday either!
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