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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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Monday, March 21, 2011

RICHARD FREEMAN BOOK REVIEW

Monsters of Pennsylvania
Patty A Wilson
Stackpole Books 2010 ISBN-13: 978-8117-3625-1

One of the advantages of having a multi-volume, multi-author series, is the differing styles in which they are written. Coleman and Hallenbeck write in a calm, almost detached, manner somewhat like field biologists recording data. Patty Wilson is much more like a traditional storyteller, recounting sightings like an author writing passages from a novel.

The monsters of the Keystone State are dominated by sasquatch with over half the book taken up by encounters with mystery primates. Wilson has cherry-picked the most dramatic and re-tells them with a flare that would make Stephen King proud.

Some of these encounters are standard (if one can ever use such a term when encountering a Bigfoot) sightings of what appears to be a yeti-like upright ape. Others have an element of ‘high strangeness’ including a man’s roadside encounter with an ape-like beast that seemed capable of teleportation.

Known Bigfoot but still humanoid creatures are reported within the state. One case sticks out in particular. The Ridge Road monster, reported in the late '60s, was described by witnesses as an emaciated giant with a skull-like face, glowing eyes and grey skin. The description sounds somewhat like the Algonquin India cannibal spirit the Wendigo. I am currently researching a book on the creature and have other sightings on record that sound much the same, some from as far south as Kentucky.

Known humanoid monsters in the book include eastern cougars, out-of-place panthers, giant snakes and the ever popular thunderbird. Also our old friend the Jersey Devil who seems just as changeable here as it does in New Jersey.

For a state with so many German immigrants in its history, it is no surprise that the werewolf raises its head in Pennsylvania. Some of the stories here are from colonial times but much harder to explain are modern-day sightings of bipedal, hairy creatures with wolf-like heads. Some of the most recent occurred around the campus of West Chester University. A student prank or something stranger?

Thus far Stackpole have given us two impressive titles. Let’s hope that the remaining states get treatment as impressive as these.

GLEN VAUDREY: Whole Wide World #14

Colombia
For many years the name Colombia has mainly conjured up images of drug dealers and kidnappings; hardly the best advert for any country. It’s the only South American country with both Pacific and Caribbean coasts and by all accounts is not as bad as it used to be.

As this is our last day in South America I will bring you two tales. First we have an out of place animal, the Hippopotamus; hardly a creature you would expect to find running loose in South America, and of course if it hadn’t been for Pablo Escobar and his drug-funded animal collection it would never have been there. Following the death of Escobar, his menagerie made a break for freedom and somewhere out there in the jungles of Colombia there are rumoured to be up to twenty of these big lumps running amok, or at least lurking in the lonely rivers, avoiding capture.

So what could I come up with to trump that? Well, how about a dinosaur? Way back in 1921 travellers along a river in Colombia reported an encounter with a large reptile that looked for all the world like an Iguanodon; that’s about as good as the report gets so in this case I wouldn’t really expect one to be spotted again any day soon. Perhaps it is better to look for the Hippopotamuses then.

Well there you go: we’ve managed to travel all around South America looking at a different animal in each country and with the exception of Suriname, I think it went rather well. So let’s grab our packs and head north into Central America.

Next stop: Panama.

The New York Turtle and Tortoise Seminar

The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society announces:
SEMINAR 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Registration 9:30 a.m.; Sessions 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Third floor Gallery, The Arsenal, Central Park
(in front of the Central Park Zoo)
64th Street and 5th Avenue, New York City

The twenty-sixth NYTTS Annual Seminar will be a full-day event, featuring in-depth presentations by three prominent researchers. The fee for the day, including lunch, is $40 per person ($20 for students with ID).

SCHEDULED PROGRAM

Morning Session:

Ward B. Stone, Wildlife Pathologist (retired),
New York Department of Environmental Conservation:
"Turtle Pathology in New York"

Afternoon Session:

Roger C. Wood, Paleontologist, Professor of Biology,
Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey:
"Fossil Leatherback Turtles from Northern Europe"

Peter C.H. Pritchard, Director, Chelonian Research
Institute, Oviedo, Florida
"Latest Developments in the Galápagos"

There are two ways to register:
By mail: print and send in the attached registration form.
Online: at http://nytts.org.
See the Central Park Zoo Web site for Directions to the Arsenal:
http://www.centralparkzoo.com/plan-your-trip/directions.aspx.

SPRING AUCTION

British Livebearer Association
SPRING AUCTION

and

Guppy Section
2nd leg of the 2011 UK Guppy League

Sunday 27th March

George Hotel (Regency suite)
Sheep Street.
Kettering.
Northants
NN16 0DN

There will be a bar available.
Brian Chittenden and Tim Addis will have their usual sales tables.
Expect to see rare and unusual livebearers as well as cultivated species.

Doors open 9.30am
Booking in 10.00-11.30am
Auction starts 12.00(approx)
Pre-booked auction lots contact

nigelhunter@tuscali.co.uk

Guppies booked in and benched by 11.45am (Judging starts 12.00 noon)

Guppy league information or postal entries contact


BY POPULAR REQUEST: Andy Roberts' Badger Videos (3)

Robert Schneck wrote to me asking whether we could possibly post some of the videos that Andy Roberts has done of the badgers in his garden. We emailed Andy who was kind enough to post three of them on Youtube for us. Here is the third one:

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1997 the comet Hale-Bopp had its closest approach to Earth. This would be used by the Heaven's Gate cult as a supposed sign that the time had come for them to commit mass suicide. Their website is still online 14 years on so if you find such things interesting you can look it up http://www.heavensgate.com/ but remember kids, mass suicide isn't cool so resist the temptation to join, ok?
And now, the news:

Rare Basking Shark Sighting In Florida
Peter the Wild Boy's condition revealed 200 years ...
Craig Venter’s Genetic Typo
Monster battle: Nessie tourism businesses get go a...

The first episode of the fantastic cryptozoological cartoon, 'The Family Ness':
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdjqFAXMF0