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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Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Dir: David Keating, 2011

Hammer Films

As a horror geek I’ve long bemoaned the lack of British horror and the dull tripe churned out from the US. But guess whose back? The one and only Hammer Studios, yes THAT Hammer! What’s more their first movie is areal cracker and wholly worthy of their blood soaked name.

Wake wood is a sort of cross between Pet Semetery and The Wicker Man. Set in rural Ireland it follows a young couple who have recently moved into remote village to start a new life after their daughter was savaged to death by a dog. The father, Patrick (Aiden Gillen) is a vet and his wife Louise (Eva Birthistle) works in a pharmacy. One night, when their car conveniently breaks down, they approach a lonely house in the hope of help. Louise stumbles upon a strange ritual were in a man is seemingly born from a cocoon of hardened manure. Later they are approached by Arthur (played by the wonderful Timothy Spall) the genial village patriarch who comes over like a sort of cuddly Lord Summerisle. He explains that the villagers practice an age old ritual of resurrection were in a person can be brought back from the dead for three days only. The couple, of course, jump at the idea of seeing their little girl Alice again. But there are certain rules (there always are in these films!). The person must have been dead for less than one year of there will be dire consequences. Also the resurrected cannot stray beyond the edges of the village and the titular woods that surround them. The ritual requires a newly dead corpse and a ‘relic’ from the body of the person whom is to be brought back.

In a genuinely harrowing scene Patrick and Louise dig up Alice’s grave and hack open her coffin to take a finger bone and a locket.

When a local farmer is killed by an unfeasibly large bull. His boy is used in the ritual. Placed inside the cocoon of cow dung with the relics and baked hard the body transforms into that of Alice who is reborn from the shit womb recalling little of her death.

All things seem fine at first but Patrick and Louise have been keeping a secret from Arthur and the villagers. Alice has been dead for over a year. Soon the innocent little girl transforms into a psychotic killer with sinister psychic powers a-la The Midwich Cuckoos. Alice is brilliantly played by 9 year old Ella Connolly who has a look of wide eyed innocence as she hacks and disembowels her way through Wakewood’s residents.

This is a tremendously acted and emotionally charged film were the grief of the bereaved parents is far more horrific than any amount of blood and guts. At the end there are not one but two twists.

It’s great to see Hammer return after an absence of 30 odd years. Let’s hope all of their output is of such a high quality. Now how about some Fortean ‘ folklore themed horror? Curse of the Big Grey Man or Revenge of the Lambton Worm anyone?

10 /10


Morning Jon,

Saw this in my local shopping centre on a recent expedition of my own, thought I had best share my discoveries!

Hope you are keeping well

All the best



Hello folks,

I was recently sent a 27 page pamphlet from the Chinese Studies Library(CSL) in Oxford which I had never come across before- I found it on the Bodleian Library`s On-line catalogue. It is called `Debating the Strange: Records of Animal Anomalies in Early China` by Roel Sterckx Institute for Chinese Studies University of Oxford. There is a footnote to the front page which says the paper is a slightly revised version of a lecture presented at the Department of Chinese Studies of the National University of Singapore on 7 November 1998. The CSL kindly e-mailed me the whole paper a few days ago for free when I explained to them I couldn`t afford to visit the Bodleian as planned. Seeing as unicorns have featured very recently on the Cryptozoology Online blog I thought I`d summarize the four pages on the unicorn as follows:

There is a subheading in the text: `Transcending the boundaries & merging the species` which includes: ` Having explored some of the main internal components of the anomaly account, I will now illustrate how strange animals figured within a philosophy of change and transformation which characterised early Chinese thought. The animal anomaly was an embodiment of changing circumstances, and a great deal of the discourse on animal prodigies hinges precisely upon the notion of a transgression of boundaries and received or implicitly accepted categories such as inner versus outer, central versus peripheral, the wilds versus the “ domesticated” or “ cultured order”, in other words a transcendence or flaw within the socio-biological order.` (1)

Here is a summary of the example of a white unicorn as such a transcendence of a boundary (Chinese characters have been omitted)

A most explicit exposition on the observance of a freak animal appears in a memorial submitted by Zhong Jun on the occasion of the capture of a white unicorn in 122 B.C.E. According to Ban Gu`s ( 32-92 C.E.) account of events, Zhong Jun joined the entourage of emperor Wu on a sacrificial procession to Yong when a white unicorn was captured. The report of the capture of the unicorn echoes the appearance of a unicorn to Confucius at the Chunqiu. The significance of the event in 122 B.C.E can be derived from the fact that the reign year title was renamed yuan shou. The creature in question was reported to have one horn and hooves cloven in five segments. At a strange tree was found with branches sticking outwards to join again on the trunk. The discourse on the event preserved in the Hanshu follows the standard structure of anomaly episode: the emperor holds the two phenomena to be strange, solicits advice from his ministers,upon which Zhong Jun presents him with a reply:….Now this animal from the wilds has united its horns to clarify its common root (with you).All the branches that adhere to the inside(of the tree) demonstrate that there is no outside. When there are responses like these, there is bound to be the untying of the hairknot, the cutting off of the left sleeve, the wearing of cap and belt and the dressing in Chinese garments and there will be those will be those who receive `cultural transformation`…(2)

The opening lines of an accompanying sacrificial hymn which marked the occasion, known as the Bail in zhi ge “Song of the White Unicorn”, reiterates the symbolism of Zhong Jun`s memorial. When we examine the discourse in this memorial, it is noticeable that in same way that changing and portentous animals echoed social, dynastic, and cosmological change, the hybrid animal in Zhong Jun`s memorial embodies the merging of the animal-like barbarian tribes of Han.. …………. The five tribes, symbolized by the five hoofs of unicorn, coagulate into one single antler- Sima Xiangru refers to the captured unicorn as “the beast whose pair of antlers butt as one” (shuang ge gong di zhi shou – which symbolises Han`s unification. Sinicising the outer regions is tantamount to “ domesticating” the barbarians as one domesticates animals. (3)

1 Sterckx R Debating the Strange: Records of Animal Anomalies in Early China pp 15-16

2. Ibid pp 23-25
3. Ibid pp 25-26



The Raptor Resource Project (RRP) maintains the cams, of which there are two, and the feed is streamed online 24/7. Both are positioned on one of thenest's supporting limbs about 4-5 feet above the nest. The main cam isautomated and is trained on the nest. The other cam has pan-tilt-zoomcapabilities (PTZ). At dark the main cam switches to infrared (invisible tothe eagles) night-time view



October 15th & 16th, 2011. King’s Croft Hotel, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Betty and Barney Hill alien abduction account, UFO MATRIX is staging a two-day conference. The conference will have a line-up of UFO researchers and experiencers plus new books signings and other unique UFO items for sale.

The full line-up of speakers is:

  • Travis Walton (USA). Abductee whose experience was made into the l993 Paramount movie Fire in the Sky, and author of the book of the same name.
  • Kathleen Marden (USA). The niece of Betty Hill and co-author of ‘CAPTURED – The Betty & Barney Hill UFO Experience.’
  • Nick Pope & Bridget Grant (A joint researcher/experiencer presentation).
  • Mike Hallowell.
  • Philip Mantle & Rosalind Reynolds (A joint researcher/experiencer presentation).
  • Robbie Graham.
  • Malcolm Robinson & Garry Wood (A joint researcher/experiencers presentation).
  • Dave Hodrien.

  • This will be Kathleen Marden’s first ever presentation in the UK and Travis Walton has not lectured here since the release of his movie in 1993. Kathleen will be speaking on both days and each presentation will be different. All speakers subject o change.

    Ticket Prices: Single day £30.00 per person

    Saturday & Sunday ticket: £50.00 per person. Full details and conference online ticket ordering at:



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1909 American explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson claimed to be the first people to reach the Geographic North Pole. However, a spanner was to be thrown in the works when Dr Frederick A. Cook claimed to have reached the pole a year previously.

And now the news:

Dotty the donkey saves sheep from savage dog

New species of marine snail found off Florida
The Sri Lankan elephants that got away

Ever wanted to see what an elephant would look like if it took up trampolining? Of course you have: