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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Friday, January 14, 2011

DALE DRINNON: Snow lion of Tibet

Dale Drinnon does see the evidence for the existance of the actual snow lion, national symbol of Tibet: it would be a survival of the cave lion and others of the kind would be the original for all those Chinese temple-guardian lions.

RICHARD HOLLAND: Herefordshire black fox

Hi Jon,

Are you aware of the black fox that hides in people’s shadows in Herefordshire? It may all be cider-fuelled fantasy (I found the legend on a bottle of Dunkertons cider!) but it’s new to me. Perhaps you could alert your members to my short blog about it? I’d love to know what people think. The link is http://uncannyuk.blogspot.com/2011/01/beware-black-fox.html

Many thanks,


KARA WADHAM: The return of the Bugfest Blog

Something has happened to Bugfest. It’s grown considerably. From our New Year's Day count of 15 000 hits on our website, the figure has grown exponentially in the last couple of weeks. We attribute this to a number of factors. Last April Nick made the decision to register Bugfest as a business due to the growing number of birthday party and school talk bookings he was receiving. Although this is never going to make us rich it became substantial enough for the tax man to notice (and he notices everything).

Over the summer Bugfest visited lots of local towns on a play-days road show organised by the local council. There Nick and the bugs met thousands of people, all eager to gaze at a goliath or screw up their nose at a snail. Nick was able to cure long-standing phobias and dispel the myths about our creepy crawly crew. The summer also saw Bugfest putting on a display for the Phasmid Study Group bi-annual meeting at the Natural History Museum in London, which raised Bugfest’s profile and status among the invertebrate fraternity.

With only a few weeks to go until Bugfest 6 we have already secured some top notch names and stands with a bevy of followers promising to attend the day itself. Nick has taken over the organisation this year due to my work commitments and present ill health. The local paper have asked him to write a column promoting Bugs and the Bugfest 6 event on 26th February and we were lucky enough to have a photographer visit the house on probably the day I felt most ill! Luckily he only wanted to take pictures of spiders. An ailing grey lady just wouldn’t do it for anyone!

Bugfest is growing. Keep watching our website to watch the numbers grow and find out about our latest event.

Kara Wadham

Take a look at our redesigned website


Last weekend Jess and I went to the Roman Bath in Bath City, north Somerset. It was a brilliant display of Roman engineering. I thought I would share with you a snippet of their industrial technology and a few of my own pictures.

The Roman Baths are below the modern street level and have four main features: the sacred spring, the Roman temple, the Roman bath house and finds from Roman Bath.

The sacred spring lies at the very heart of the ancient monument. Water rises here at the rate of over a million litres a day and at a temperature of 460C. The spring rises within the courtyard of the temple of Sulis Minerva and water from it feeds the Roman baths. There is some slight evidence - an earthen bank projecting into the spring - that suggests it was already a focal point for worship before the Roman temple and baths were built.

Roman engineers surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. To provide a stable foundation for this they drove oak piles into the mud. At first this reservoir formed an open pool in a corner of the temple courtyard but in the second century AD it was enclosed within a barrel vaulted building and columns and statue bases were placed in the spring itself. Enclosing the spring in a dimly lit building in this way and erecting statues and columns within it must have enhanced the aura of mystery that surrounded it. Offerings were thrown into the spring throughout the Roman period.

Eventually the vaulted building collapsed into the spring itself. We do not know when this was but it is likely to have been in the sixth or seventh century. The oak piles sunk into the mud two thousand years ago continue to provide a stable foundation for the Roman reservoir walls today.

The Roman plumbing and drainage system is still largely in place and shows the ingenuity of the Roman engineers. Lead pipes were used to carry hot spa water around the site using gravity flow. The spring overflow is where surplus water from the spring, not used in the baths, flows out to a Roman drain.The Roman great drain carries all the spa water from the site to the River Avon four hundred metres away.

IDENTIFY THIS BIRD (Woodpecker? Pah!)

YOUTUBE BLURB: A friend and I saw this bird this morning and don't know what it is .. it allowed us to walk up to it and record with an iPhone for a minute before it flew off. Maybe some kind of woodpecker I don't know but it had a long beak. I'm not a bird guy so maybe some enthusiast or bird watcher can identify to what genus this little guy belongs.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 588BC the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II started his siege of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar can perhaps lay claim to being the world leader to witness the most paranormal events in his lifetime, if legends told about him by both his own people and the exiled Jews are true. Among the tales told of Nebuchadnezzar are: he witnessed 3 Hebrews being saved from being burned alive in his furnace by ‘a son of the gods’, the Jewish prophet Daniel emerging unscathed from a den of hungry lions, a disembodied hand writing on a wall, two prophetic dreams and a seven-year bout of clinical lycanthropy. The lycanthropy legend is backed up by a clay tablet from Babylon in the British Museum (which first opened on this day in 1759, as coincidence would have it) but some modern scholars interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s madness as being related to porphyria or syphilis.

KARL SHUKER: My cat it has two faces, two faces has my cat...