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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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Outrage over poisoning of rare birds of prey in Devon

RSPB offers £1000 reward for information leading to a conviction

Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after four goshawks and one buzzard were found dead in woodland to the west of Exeter. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

The RSPB was informed of the incident by a member of the public and recovered the birds in liaison with the police and the Forestry Commission who own the land.

The birds, that showed no signs of being shot, were sent for toxicological analysis where it was discovered they had been poisoned with the banned pesticide carbofuran. This substance has been identified in a number of other bird of prey poisoning incidents.

In the UK there are only 410 pairs of nesting goshawks. In Devon the most recent surveys suggest no more than 20 pairs breeding in the county.

PC Josh Marshall, Wildlife Crime Officer with Devon and Cornwall Police said: “These four goshawks represent a significant percentage of the Devon population and it’s a huge setback for what is a magnificent bird. This is the worst single incident I’ve dealt with since becoming Wildlife Crime Officer.”

All birds of prey are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In addition, goshawks are specially protected and listed under Schedule 1 of the Act.

RSPB Investigations Officer Mark Thomas said: “This is truly shocking. To find just one dead goshawk in these circumstances is dreadful, but to find four and a buzzard is unprecedented, especially when you consider that they have been deliberately lured to their deaths.

“We hope that the reward will encourage anyone with information to come forward.”

The birds were found on Forestry Commission land. Ian Parsons, Forestry Commission ranger for the area, said; “The people that do this to our wildlife not only deprive people of the chance to see these rare birds but they also put the public at risk. The poison involved is lethal to dogs and humans and the land where this happened is open to the public. These people obviously don't care about the dangers of doing this."

If members of the public have information about this crime they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or email PC Josh Marshall directly on Joshua.MARSHALL2@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk . This will be handled in strictest confidence.

PC Josh Marshall: “We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears in wildlife crimes such as this so if anyone knows anything about this, please get in touch.”

WW2012: Davey Curtis suggests....

Dear Jon,

An idea for the next Weird Weekend. How about you get the Bairns to sing Silver Machine whilst Richard rides into the hall on an infant's tricycle (clearly out of all proportion to his size and painted silver of course) and tries to jump over two or three toy buses?

The icing on the cake would be to get him to sport a day-glow jump suite and cape! Now wouldn't that be something to behold?

Regards Davey C

SUMATRA 2011 EXPEDITION: Indonesia has crop circles too

Whilst there is still no news from Sumatra, Oll is hard at work looking at the forteana of that strange island...

Indonesia has crop circles too

While waiting for news from the latest CFZ expedition to the Indonesian island of Sumatra to search for the Orang-pendek I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the background of the general area, both biologically and in Fortean terms.

Where-ever you go in the world certain Fortean tropes will surface in one form or another. For example the classic ‘big three’ of Ghosts, Monsters and UFOs are reported in just about every culture in the world, interestingly even from tribes with minimal contact with other cultures. Where it gets a bit more complicated, and to me a lot more interesting, is with the more obscure and more culturally specific reports of what are often lumped under the banner of strange phenomena. Do you get many reports of sightings of Djinn in Chipping Norton? Of course you don’t. But would you expect to see something that is as quite distinctly Western like a crop circle near Jakarta? Well actually you might be surprised, because occasionally they do ‘crop’ up, like one did in a paddy field this January (2011).

Before I go any further I should point out that I personally do not think crop circles are paranormal. They are often very beautiful works of art but I have seen no evidence that has convinced me they are made by anything other than human hands and feet (and wooden boards), but if you want to believe they are made by aliens, electromagnetics or rutting hedgehogs that’s no skin off my nose. All I will say on the subject is if crop circles are messages from extra terrestrials I’d really hate to be around if they were making a wedding speech.

What a crop circle in Indonesia does tell us is just how far cultural memes can travel in this day and age. People in the Far East are certainly well aware of crop circles there have been several documentaries made by Japanese TV companies for example and the best British crop circles make the papers there and occasionally the broadcast news along with all the speculation and theories. When you think of it, it is no small wonder that someone thought that it would be interesting to see what would happen if they made one nearer to home. The circle was made in a paddy field, allegedly during the night while farmers kept guard over the ripening crop, and from the photographs in this article, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/01/25/mysterious-crop-circle-found-farmer-yogyakarta.html , it looks like they did a really professional job. According to the article the Indonesian Air-Force scrambled a helicopter to photograph the site and the local police were stopping hundreds of visitors from getting too close to the circle.

HAUNTED SKIES: Chicago Sun Times IL 2.8.53


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1440 Gilles de Rais was arrested. He was a compatriot of Joan of Arc but is best known as a serial killer. It is claimed that he killed between 80 to 200 children 1435 to 1440, which seems an impossible amount of victims. For more information see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_de_Rais
And now the news:

'White-Coat Effect' Elevates Greyhounds' Blood Pre...
Bats only roost with their closest buddies
Sea turtles make their home at Ningaloo
Namibia's seals are worth more alive than dead
Mexico to reintroduce wolves into Sonora
Crocodile goes unnoticed by swimmers at a pool in ...

Take it away Elton: