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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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...

Sunday, February 20, 2011



ROBERT SCHNECK: This is not a squid

I've heard it a hundred times: where can I go to see some good squid art?

The answer is here:

And here

And also here

See Cathy McMurray's "Giant Crocheted Squid"

MIKE HALLOWELL: Geordie rock/frog story

We've all heard the story: man finds rock. Man splits rock open. Frog jumps out of rock. Man exclaims “Bloody hell, there's a frog just jumped out of that there rock.”

The point is that this sort of incident has happened not just once, but scores of times. I'm aware of at least two dozen such tales from Tyneside and Wearside alone. There are a number of points that need addressing regarding such events, so instead of simply rattling off yet another Frog Jumps Out of Rock story (although I will refer to one in just a minute) I'll cut straight to the chase and get to the heart of the issue.

But first, the aforementioned account.

On the morning of Wednesday, April 18 1827, several workmen were engaged in their duties at Fulwell Quarry, Sunderland. At some juncture they happened upon a large block of limestone that needed transporting to another place, the exact location of which I haven't been able to determine. The problem was that the boulder was simply too large for them to lift onto the cart. By employing the creative genius for which we Geordies are known across the globe, they figured that if they split the rock into two, each piece would weigh only half of the original, and that lifting two smaller boulders onto the cart would be infinitely easier than hoisting up one big one.

And so they set about the boulder with their sledgehammers, and eventually cleaved it into two pieces. Now I know what you're thinking: a frog jumped out of the remains of the boulder, right? Wrong. What jumped – or rather slithered – out of a recess in one part of the rock was a 5-inch-long snake with “a brown back and a freckled belly”. Five inches isn't incredibly big for a snake, but there again, if you'd been trapped inside a rock since the Triassic era you'd probably have lost a bit of weight yourself. I know I would.

Anyhoo, here are the knotty issues – and questions - as I see them.

1) How can an animal be encapsulated in rock, which, presumably, must have been molten when the event occurred, without being fried to a crisp?

2) In the event that such a thing is possible, how could the animal survive for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years without food, water or air in anything but negligible amounts, if any at all?

3) If the above two points make such an event impossible, how have so many people reported being witnesses to them?

4) If it is physically impossible for a creature to be encapsulated in rock in such a manner, then what other explanations are available? Are all the witnesses lying? A ridiculous suggestion. Are they all mistaken? That's hard to imagine, as the cavities from which such animals have emerged often fit their body shape and size perfectly, and are hard to explain away if the animal in question was never inside the cavity in the first place.

If you'll excuse the pun, we're caught between a rock (with or without a beast incarcerated in it) and a hard place, for on one hand the events as described seem impossible, whilst on the other the sheer volume of witness testimony makes them hard to deny.

Answers on a post-card, please....


The rarest of all the rhinos, the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), believed to be functionally extinct, are now mating. The species, once found across central Africa, is now thought to be extinct in the wild. The last individuals, in Garamba National Park, have not been seen in several years and are feared dead.
Two animals live at San Diego Wild Animal Park and until recently six lived at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the The Czech Republic. These were thought too old to mate. Four of the six were translocated to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in December of 2009. The animals have surprised conservationists by mating. The first mating was between Fatu and Suni, both former residents of Dvur Kralove Zoo. The second mating was Sudan - the oldest northern white male - with a southern white known as Aramiet.

The southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) the largest and least endangered rhino was once reduced to around 15 individuals in one valley in South Africa. Now 17,480 animals live in the wild.


You all know about my obsession with butterflies. According to the BBC's Natural World programme, kindly sent to me by Richard Freeman, they are a British obsession. You only have four days left to watch it so....

Check it out on I-Player



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1937 the world's first flying car Waterman's Arrowbile had its first successful flight.
And now the news:

Man's First Best Friend Might Have Been A Fox
Hibernating Bears 'A Metabolic Marvel'

The first 1 million selling song was 'The Preacher and the Bear' by Arthur Collins, it was a bit rubbish truth be told (evidence here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8VKxFTadLc ) but in 1958 The Big Bopper recorded his version and that really was fantastic: