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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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...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


In Fortean Fives the great and the good of Forteana pick out Five interesting events from the history of Forteana. If you want to submit your own Fortean Five, email it to Oll Lewis at fortean5s@gmail.com. Today’s Fortean Five are compiled by Richard Freeman, a man who needs no introduction, making this paragraph redundant. What are you doing still reading this purply-coloured bit? Go forth and read Richard’s rather spiffing Fortean 5. Take it away, Richard....

One sunny morning, on 25th March 1962, a group of children were walking along a beach several miles from Pensacola, Florida. They came upon what they thought was the drowned body of a teenage boy. To their amazement, the youth was still alive, albeit barely. He was rushed to Pensacola Naval Base Hospital suffering from shock, exposure and exhaustion. He was identified as Edward Brian McCleary who had been missing since the previous morning along with four friends. When he was strong enough he spoke to the Director of Search and Rescue Units, E.E McGovern. His story was truly amazing; like something from a horror novel. McCleary claimed his companions had been killed by a sea serpent.

It began on the morning of 24th March 1962 when Edward, along with Eric Rule, Warren Sulley, Brad Rice and Larry Bill, set out to go diving at the wreck of the Massachusetts, several miles off the coast of Pensacola. As they rowed out on their 7-foot Air Force life raft, they found that the tide was stronger than they had anticipated. Storm clouds began to gather and the boys decided to turn back. Several of them swam behind the raft and pushed it. As the waves grew higher, swamping the raft, they swam to a 20-foot buoy and clambered onto its metal scaffolding.

In the violent storm that followed the raft was sucked under and the buoy was rocked by lashing winds and icy rain. Finally the maelstrom passed and a fog rolled in as the sea became mill-pool-calm. A foul smell akin to dead fish filled the air. A strange whining cry echoed through the dark. Then something as long as a telegraph pole reared up out of the water and plunged back in.
The boys panicked and jumped off the raft. Behind them they heard hissing and splashing. Suddenly Warren yelled out “Help me! It’s got Brad, its got Brad.”

Warren’s cries were abruptly cut short. The three remaining boys huddled together and tried to swim for shore. Then something grabbed Larry from below and dragged him under. Eric was becoming exhausted, and Edward tried to help him stay afloat but the sea, now turning choppy again, pulled them apart.

Then a monstrous reptilian beast reared up from the deep. It had a snake-like neck, gleaming green eyes and a gaping maw that fell down on Eric and dragged him under.

Swimming for his life and expecting to feel the sea dragon’s teeth in his flesh at any moment, Edward became exhausted and felt the tranquillity of death take over him. He recalled nothing further until he was in hospital. Unsurprisingly he suffered a breakdown afterwards. The police decided it would be better for them all if they kept the sea dragon out of their official report, but E. E. McGovern said to Edward “The sea has a lot of secrets. There are a lot of things we don’t know about. People don’t believe in these things because they are afraid to. Yes I believe you. But there’s not much else I can do.”

The Wendigo is known by many names. The beast itself is supposed to be a pallid, emaciated giant. Some say it has a skeleton and a heart of ice. The Wendigo is generally hairless save for a wild mane of white hair about the head. Its eyes are owl-like or sunken with glimmering points of light like indigo stars. The gaping lipless mouth is fringed with teeth like a forest of icicles. The beast is a personification of hunger and winter. It thirsts endlessly for human flesh and with each person it devours it gets larger so that its ravening appetite is never sated. It is constantly hungry and constantly searching for prey. Some say the Wendigo can fly or ‘walk on the winds’, travelling miles in search of its human prey.

Although a Canadian monster in the main, alleged sightings have been made far away from Canada.

But this dire spirit is doubly dangerous as it can also possess human beings. Once a person has tasted human flesh, they will kill again and again to satisfy their unnatural hunger. If a possessed person is caught early the process can be reversed and the spirit driven out by turning the victim on a spit above a fire. But if the possession has progressed too far there is only one course of action: to kill the victim. Those possessed were usually shot, strangled or beheaded. After death the body was generally burned in the belief that the cannibal’s heart of ice needed to be melted to ensure that it was dead.

So runs the folklore of the Wendigo. Yet like so many legendary creatures the Wendigo and its baleful influence seems to manifest in the real world. Cases of possession by the Wendigo - known as Wendigo Psychosis - are well attested, and could fill a hefty volume. These are just a tiny sample.

The best known case of Wendigo Psychosis occurred in Alberta in 1879. It gained notoriety in newspapers across Canada and the US. A plains Cree hunter called Swift Runner wandered into a Catholic mission in St Albert. He claimed that his whole family had starved during the harsh winter. The priests became suspicious when Swift Runner began to scream out in his sleep, plagued with nightmares. He also looked very fit and well nourished for a man who had supposedly almost starved to death. He told the priests that he was being tormented by a Wendigo.

The priests reported their suspicions to the police who took Swift Runner to his camp in the forest northeast of Edmonton. There they found the bones of his family. Every scrap of flesh had been gnawed from them and even the marrow sucked from the bones. He did not eat them out of desperation: there was plenty of food at the Hudson Bay Company post only 25 miles away; no distance at all, even in winter, for a Cree hunter; this was true Wendigo Psychosis, an overwhelming desire to eat human flesh. He told Father Hippolyte Leduc, “I am the least of men and I do not merit even being called a man.”

A contemporary photograph of Swift Runner shows a haunted-looking man staring blankly as snow swirls around him.

In the autumn of 1925 Major General Mikhail Topilsky and his scouting party were tracking down a group of anti-Soviet guerrillas operating in the Western Pamirs. The guerrillas were trying to shake them off by heading to Sinkiang via the Eastern Pamirs. On their way through the Vanch district, the Major and his men heard stories of man-like monsters in the mountains but dismissed them as folklore.

A little later on they came across what looked like tracks made by bare human feet in the permanent snowline. The band’s dog refused to follow the scent. They ran across the path and some 150 metres to a sheer cliff that no human could climb. At this point they found dung that contained dry berries.

Continuing their pursuit, the Major and his men caught up with the guerrillas in a cave. A glacier had been split apart by a stone cliff and the upper tongue of the glacier overhung it. The cave was in the stone cliff. The men surrounded the cave and put up a machine gun. One of the men tossed a grenade in the direction of the cave. Shortly after, one of the guerrillas ran out shouting at them to stop. He said that any more shooting would cause the ice to cave in.

The Major demanded that they surrender and the man asked for time to talk it over with his colleagues. He returned to the cave but soon after, an ominous hissing noise began. Fearing an attack the machine gunner opened fire.

Splinters of ice began to cascade down and fell upon the fugitives as they tried to escape from the mouth of the cave. Three of the men were killed by falling ice and two more by bullets. One man was wounded but survived. He turned out to be an Uzbek tea-house owner from Samarkand. When questioned he told a strange story.

Whilst they had been discussing the Major’s order of surrender they had been attacked by a group of hairy, man-like beasts howling inarticulately and wielding clubs. The creatures had clubbed one man to death and attacked the others. The survivor had been beaten on the shoulder. He had fled from the cave entrance with the monster in pursuit. The wildman had been killed in the hail of fire, and buried under the falling ice.

They cleared away the debris and found the creature dead with its club nearby. It had been shot three times. The team’s doctor made an examination of the body and it was clearly not a human, but it did not seem like an ape either.

Topilsky described it thus:

“The body belonged to a male creature 165-175 centimetres (5 feet 4 inches to five feet 5 inches) tall, elderly or even old, judging by the greyish colour of the hair in several places. The chest was covered with brownish hair and the belly with greyish hair. The hair was longer but sparser on the chest and close-cropped and thick on the belly. In general the hair was very thick, without any underfur. There was least hair on the buttocks, from which fact our doctor deduced the creatures sat like a human being. There was most hair on the hips. The knees were completely devoid of hair and had callous growths on them. The whole foot including the sole was quite hairless, and covered with a hard brown skin. The shoulders and arms were also covered with hair which got thinner near the hands and the palms had none at all, only callous skin.
The colour of the face was dark and the creature had neither beard of moustache. The back of the head was covered by thick, matted hair. The dead creature lay with its eyes open and its teeth bared. The eyes were dark and the teeth were large and even and shaped like human teeth. The forehead was slanting and the eyebrows were very powerful. The prominent cheekbones made the face resemble the Mongol type of face. The nose was flat, with a deeply sunk bridge. The ears were hairless and looked a little more pointed than a human being’s with a longer lobe. The lower jaw was very massive.

"The creature had a very powerful broad chest and well developed muscles. We didn’t find any anatomical differences between it and a man. The genetalia were like a man’s. The arms were of normal length, the hands were slightly wider and the feet much wider and shorter than a man’s.”

The last surviving rebel died two days later. Topilsky and his team thought of skinning the creature but it looked too much like a man. Instead they buried it were they found it. Fear of another cave-in stopped them investigating the cavern.

The group moved south, crossed a river and left the mountains. Later they met with local people known as the Baluchi who were amazed that the soldiers had come down from such a place inhabited by man-like monsters.

Legend has it that centuries ago, during the Heian Period (794-1185), there was a beautiful woman who was the wife or concubine of a samurai. But the woman cheated on her lover and the enraged samurai slit open the sides of her mouth, leaving her with a gaping maw and telling her that “No one will find you beautiful now.”

She was supposed to have become a yokai and the story goes that she still wanders around on foggy nights to this day. Kuchisake-onna, ‘the slit mouthed woman’, is said to cover her mouth with a surgical mask. She approaches victims (usually children) and asks, “Do you think I am beautiful?” If they answer yes then she removes her mask and reveals the jagged tear that extends her lips all the way into her cheeks. She again asks, “Do you think I am beautiful?” If the victim answers either yes or no the Kuchisake-onna will attack them and slash open their mouths with a knife or scalpel so that the resulting wound resembles the mouth of the Kuchisake-onna. Reputedly, there are two ways of stopping her attacking. One is to answer her question by saying “you look normal to me” or by offering her a piece of candy.

The Kuchisake-onna has become one of the most well known urban legends in modern Japan. She seems to have stepped out of mythology and into the modern era in the 1970s. New stories of her origins emerged to fit in with the times. In 1979 rumours abounded in Japan that the slit-mouthed woman was hunting down children. The scare stories spread via playground lore and within one year had covered most of urban Japan. She has even travelled abroad: in 2004 a similar scare occurred in South Korea.

Kuchisake-onna even became the subject of a record. ‘Catch Kuchisake-onna’ was recorded by Pomâdo & Kometiô on King Records in August 1979 and featured a trio of girl singers wearing surgical masks. The single was not released, however, due to the fact that the advertising director of King Records had received a phone call from a woman claiming to be the Kuchisake-onna herself and accusing the company of trying to profit from her ‘distinct physical characteristics’! In 2005 the single was released as part of a CD from Teichiku Entertainment.

From July 1897 to 1904 marine creatures strongly resembling dragons were reported from Along Bay, Vietnam. The French gunboat Avalanche was the first to encounter them. A Lieutenant Lagresill described how he and his crew watched a pair of grey and black serpentine animals some sixty-five feet long. They sported saw-like crests running along the spine and blew jets of vapor from their nostrils. This last detail recalls the rain-bringing breath of Asian dragons. Revolving guns were fired at them from a range of six hundred yards but seemingly had no effect on the animals whatsoever. The Avalanche gave chase but was outpaced by the creatures.

Lieutenant Lagresill was laughed at by many of his fellow officers when he recounted his story a week later at a reception for the Governor General of Indo-China. He invited the naysayers to return to Along Bay with him. Lagresill was vindicated when the animals returned in front of a collection of officers, who watched them for thirty-five minutes from the deck of the Avalanche.

In his own words:

“Undoubtedly these animals, known and feared by the Annamites, must have provided the idea of the Dragon, which modified and amplified by legend, has been, if I may so term it heraldized into their national emblem.”

Admiral de la Bedolliere of the French Navy wanted to try and capture a specimen but a diplomatic crisis in China saw to it that his plan was never carried out.

Another one of these beasts was seen from the Vauban the following year. Jean Baptist, a marine guard, noted scaly skin and a snake like head.

The Charles-Hardouin was on passage from Nantes to Hong Kong when in December 1903 it ran into a latter-day sea dragon. The helmsman wrote:

'I think that the Taiwan embroidered the beast on Imperial and Annamite is just a stylized version of this animal.'

Later the same year a number of passengers on board the Gueydon observed the dragon.

On February 14th 1904, Lieutenant Peron saw the serpent of Along Bay from the steam launch Chateau-Renault. He observed the sixty-foot serpentine creature shoot jets of vapour from its nostrils.

A fortnight after Peron’s sighting another gunboat - the La Decidee - met with a monster that Lieutenant L’Eost and his crew estimated to be one hundred feet in length.

Finally, in May 1904 the Gueydon met again with the dragon off Along Bay. On this occasion, over one hundred people saw the creature.

HAUNTED SKIES: Two UFO incidents from October 1967




Dear friends…

This blog is the result of all my years of writing, researching, and trying with all my might, to establish the truth with regards to all matter of the paranormal. I, among many others, have known for many a year now that there exists walls of silence, built by those who control this so-called “civilised” world of ours. These walls are put in place by these governments etc, so as to limit the knowledge that any reasonably intelligent person can hope to attain, by any means at their disposal.

When the internet was born, I, along with many others, sincerely hoped that these walls of silence would be broken down, and at last, we would lean the truth that so many had tried to hide from the public, for years. Sad to say, this was not to happen. Instead, the government agencies used this marvellous research tool for their own ends. They used the internet to spread false rumours and downright lies to the masses. These were so cleverly hid inside true records etc, so as to pass off as the truth. As it became apparent that the internet could be a massive tool for this purpose, the falsehoods became more and more outrageous in their nature. Today it seems to me that the more totally “far-out” the claims seem to be, then the more gravitas it is given! If this is obvious to me, then you can bet your last dollar that the agencies have been far ahead of us in thinking the same way.

The reason for them spreading such falsehoods?...well if you really wish to cover up any really big secret, then the best way of doing this is to layer really spectacular lies over the top of it. It’s all a big game of bluff and counterbluff. The hope being that you and I, as laypersons, would get so confused by all this subterfuge, that we would give in, and go away and live out our life quietly, without trying to seek out any real truths.

Well my friends, the time has come to hit back!...How do we do this?...I have noticed just how much really good research and articles etc there is, out there on the web. The trouble is, well to me anyway, that this great work is just spread too thin!, amongst hundreds if not thousands of websites. The more spread out the probing, the less effect it has!

Now is the time to pull all this work into just one point of contact! We need, no!...We MUST have a really big website created right now! This giant website must be the one contact point for everyone on the web that have ideas, articles, etc, that push the boundaries back in favour of the common man. If we can achieve such a site, then all our combined energies can be focused into a blinding point of journalistic probing!....

So, let me know if you think I am right in this!..Please feel free to contact me on mailto:Nigel-wright@talk21.comto let me know your thoughts on this subject…


KITHRA: Bio Station Alpha on Mars




Sermon One

My dear people,

The Lord sends us sweet refreshing rain from his throne on high and it's getting through the church roof.

Therefore, much as it pains me to ask for money, I am constrained by circumstance to do so. You may notice a man with a large club standing by the church door. Nobody gets out without forking out at least a fiver for the Church Roof Restoration Fund.

On Friday the pews were so damp that the cleaning lady, Mrs Furble, took twice as long to clean them. She then approached me and broached the subject of Time and a Half. I fear some contentious words followed, but I feel there was no need, Mrs Furble, to poke me in the eye with your mop.

However, I regret that I then seized your mop and stuck it where I stuck it. Happily the nice people at the hospital were able to get it out again.

Have your fivers ready as you leave the Church. The Lord go with you.


Lair of the Beasts: Monsters in Print


By Nick Redfern June 11, 2011

I'm very pleased to announce that the good folks at Britain's Center for Fortean Zoology are going from strength to strength ...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 2008 Stan Winston died. Odds on, if you watch sci-fi or horror movies you are a fan of his work even if you don't realize it; his credits in special effects include Terminator, Edward Scissorhands, Jurassic Park, Alien, Predator, Lake Placid and Iron Man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Winston

And now the news, expertly compiled by Gavin Wilson:

Man eating shark spotted off St Ives coast
Feared 'Deadly Shark' Spotted Off Cornwall
Dam Busters dog renamed for movie remake
Upton Heath fire police hunt two young men
Leatherback turtle seen in The Minch off Western I...
St Ives harbourmaster told of two 'shark sightings...

As tradition dictates: