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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, September 22, 2011

SINGING MOUSE

Dear Mr. Downes,
I was re-reading "The Singing Mouse of Devonport" in Fortean Studies Vol. 3 last night and was reminded of an article I recently ran across in an online newspaper archive although it seems to be quoting a letter to Nature about a singing mouse in 1870s France. Just in case you haven't already got this in your files, here it is.

Portsmouth Times 12-15-1877 p. 1 Portsmouth, Ohio

Singing Mice.

The subject of singing mice is receiving considerable attention among the subscribers to Nature, and letters describing the musical habits of these little creatures are contributed by various observers. One, writing from Menton, France, says: “Last winter we occupied the rooms we now do at Menton. Early in February we heard, as we thought, the song of a canary, and fancied it was outside our balcony; however, we soon discovered that the singer was in our salon, and that the songster was a mouse. At that time the weather was rather cold, and we had a little fire, and the mouse spent most of the day under the fender, where we kept it supplied with bits of biscuit. In a few days it became quite tame, and would come on the hearth in an evening and sing for several hours. Sometimes it would climb up the chiffonier and ascend a vase of flowers to drink at the water, and then sit and sing on the edge of the table, and allow us to go quite near to it without ceasing its warble. One of its favourite haunts was the wood-basket, and it would often sit and sing on the edge of it. On February 12th, the last night of the carnival, we had a number of friends in our salon, and the little mouse sang most vigorously, much to their delight and astonishment, and was not in the least disturbed by their talking. In the evening the mouse would often run about the room and under the door, and into the corridor and adjoining rooms, and then return to its own hearth. After amusing us for nearly a month, it disappeared, and we suspect that it was caught in a trap set in one of the rooms beyond. The mouse was small and had very large ears, which it moved about much while singing. The song was not unlike that of the canary in many of its trills, and it sang quite as beautifully as any canary; but it had more variety, and some of its notes were much lower, like those of the bullfinch. One great peculiarity was a sort of double song which we had now and then, an air with an accompaniment; the air was loud and full, the notes being low and, the accompaniment quite subdued.”

Best,
Chris Woodyard

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