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 the last three episodes:


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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 27, 2011

RICHARD FREEMAN: `Monsters of New Jersey` Review

Monsters of New Jersey
Loren Coleman and Bruce G Hallenbeck
Stackpole Books 2010 ISNB-13:978-08117-3596-4

A couple of years back the CFZ decided to launch a series of books highlighting the mystery animals of the UK and Ireland with books tackling individual counties. Now Stackpole Books are embarking on a similar series for US states. The first in the series looks at strange beasts reported in the state of New Jersey. Loren Coleman should be familiar to any fortean worth their salt, having been in the field for decades and having penned such classics of the genre as Mysterious America and Curious Encounters. Co-author Bruce G Hallenbeck is a screen writer and film director.

In the book’s introduction the authors state how New Jersey’s monsters are hard to pigeon-hole and they are quite right. The states weird critters seem to defy and attempt to categorize them beyond the most basic and by their nature seem nebulous and fluid.

Case in point is the state’s most famous monster the Jersey Devil, variously described as resembling a bird, a deer, a horse, a dragon, a hairy biped and all kinds of ungodly hybrids of the afore-mentioned. Only the most basic outline of a winged, two-legged creature emerges when the descriptions are examined. The Jersey Devil, like the chupacabra, is likely to be a catch-all term for odd creatures seen in the Pine Barrens. The weird stories about its genesis have likely grown up around the phenomenon rather than visa versa.

Other creatures examined include Bigfoot, with ‘wildman’ reports going back as far as 1759. Stranger by far is the ‘Monkey-Man’ scare of 1982 were the students of all the schools in the Hoboken were convinced in the existence of a simian beast that lurked in school hallways, threw children out of windows and had killed a teacher. Needles to say the fiend almost certainly had no existence outside of the minds of frightened kids but it was a weird precursor to the much later Monkey-Man scares in Delhi, India.

An interesting sideline is given in the chapter dealing with freshwater monsters: the all too real case of a shark that swam 11 miles inland up Matawan Creek in 1911 and killed a number of people. The case supposedly inspired the book and film Jaws.

The best part of the book, though, is the chronological list of all known Jersey Devil sightings. It is the most comprehensive and up to date list available and really does showcase how variable and odd the state demon’s manifestations are.

Monsters of New Jersey is an interesting first volume in what promises to be a highly collectable series.

ROBERT SCHNECK: Serve With Eel Pie

Cakes, like dogs, are inherently good. They can be square or cylindrical, chocolate, coconut, or banana, with icing that's flawlessly applied or slapped on with a trowel; it doesn't matter... it's cake.

Bakers that emphasize appearance should be regarded with suspicion, yet how easy it is to be seduced by craftsmanship.

In short, take a look at this cake by Karen Portaleo of the Highland Bakery at Atlanta, Georgia.

EVERY DAY THE GARDEN IS LOOKING NICER (Thanks to Graham's hard work and the advent of Spring)

LINDSAY SELBY: New Nessie Blog

Hi Jon,

A new blog about Nessie has started. The person does his research quite thoroughly from the posts I have seen so far. Nessie watchers may be interested .


hope everyone is ok.love to all

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1978 science fiction and fortean author Eric Frank Russell died.
And now the news:

Bigfoot search planned in N.C.
The 'Bownessie' monster sighted again in UK
Doggone if it's not a yeti hurtling down the ski s...
Sharks sighted off Perth beach

You know what they're going to need:

DALE DRINNON: Salute to Harvey Pratt, Native American Forensic & Bigfoot Artist