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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Monday, November 28, 2011

THE 1942 HONG KONG TIGER: A new twist...

Some months ago I wrote about a tiger shot in Hong Kong in 1942 by soldiers of the occupying Japanese Army. Regular readers of my inky-fingered scribblings here and elsewhere will know that I have been obsessed with the provenance of this particular animal for many years. Now, thanks to a passage in an excellent book called Prisoner of the Turnip Heads by George Wright-Nooth, which tells the often harrowing story of his time spent as a P.O.W in Stanley Internment Camp on Hong Kong Island during WW2, the mystery is a little closer to being solved.

30 May, 1942.
Last night Langston and Dalziel who were sleeping outside at the back of the bungalow were woken up at about 5.00 am by snarls and growls. Langston, at Dalziel’s instigation, got up to have a look. He went to the edge of the garden and looked down the slope to the wire fence. There Dalziel saw him leap in the air and fly back into the boiler room shouting ‘There’s a tiger down there’ .... Next morning, on being told the story we were inclined to laugh.

31 May, 1942.
Slept very badly owing to stomach trouble. During the night we were woken by three rapid shots and much shouting.

1 June, 1942.
Early this morning there was much activity on the hill behind the camp which was being searched by parties of Chinese and Indian police under Japs .... One of the Chinese supervisors told me that an Indian policeman had been mauled by a tiger at about 2.00 am."

Two tiger guards were instituted, one armed with a gong, the other with a gardening fork. The bungalows had no doors or windows so for several nights there was considerable apprehension at night.

4 June, 1942.
As usual we all slept outside. At about 3 am I heard Colin say, ‘Geoffrey! Don’t move there’s a TIGER eating a bone behind your bed!’ Then he said, ‘Stephen, nobody move. The tiger is at the foot of Stephen’s bed.’ My bed was around the corner so I loosened my mosquito net and very gradually slipped out of bed ready to take some action, but what I, or any one else, could do was doubtful. Then Colin said, ‘Where is Farrar? My God! He’s eating him.’ This was too much for Searle who came along to see what was happening. Colin then shouted, ‘Don’t move, you fool Searle!’ Just then Farrar woke up and it was discovered that what Colin had seen was a black coat lying across Farrar’s body with one end lying on his white pillow. The pillow he thought was the bone and the coat the animal."

A tiger was indeed on the loose, probably from a circus that had been located at Causeway Bay. It was subsequently shot and the carcass, which weighed some 240 lbs, was given to an internee called Bradbury to be skinned. He had worked as a butcher at the main dairy farm and was probably the most unpopular man in the camp a real life Uriah Heap as I will explain later. As the reader is aware this skin is still on display today in the Stanley Tin Hau temple.

Bradbury’s photograph subsequently appeared with the dead animal in a Japanese newspaper, although I did not see it in the Hong Kong News."

So, it looks like it was a circus animal after all, rather than a bona fide South Chinese tiger. This, however is supportive evidence for an even more intriguing question. As I write in my autobiography Monster Hunter (2004):

Back in the late 1960s I remember talking about the affair to my beloved amah - Ah Tim. She told me that according to Chinese belief, the tiger was the King of Beasts and the arrival of a tiger unexpectedly in a neighbourhood was often seen as an omen that a new Emperor or King was about to take the throne. It is certain that some people at the time saw the death of the unfortunate tiger in Stanley Internment Camp as being a signal that the reign of the King-Emperor George VI was nearing an end, and the reign of the God-Emperor Hirohito was about to begin!

It seems likely that the invading Japanese were determined to extract the maximum of publicity from the event by exploiting local folk beliefs. Near the end of the war when it was obvious that they would lose, they were still fermenting Chinese Nationalist feelings, often through the use of cultural motifs, and sometimes by recruiting collaborators, in an attempt to ensure that at least the British would no longer be in power in Hong Kong. They failed, as history has proven, but the different stories I managed to unearth over a period of some thirty years suggested that someone, either wittingly or unwittingly, was not telling the whole truth.

The whole affair is a real mystery, and excitingly it is a mystery that I hope that eventually I shall be able to solve. Although there is no doubt that South China tigers did visit Hong Kong on many occasions, it is very tempting to speculate that the unfortunate creature that was shot in 1941 was, indeed, a captive animal which had been released in the area by the occupying Japanese forces as a crude - but remarkably successful - piece of psychological warfare.

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From CFZ Australia:
From CFZ Canada:


Police officers are widely regarded as amongst the most highly credible of eyewitnesses. And yet here they risk professional ridicule by revealing their otherworldly encounters with things that shouldn’t exist - but do.

They include:

* Crime Scene Investigators sift through the grisly remains of Cattle Mutilations and Spontaneous Human Combustion - and reach some startling conclusions
* Police officers’ spine-chilling encounters with ghosts, and some who have set up their own paranormal research teams.
* A Constable is hypnotised to recount his alien abduction
* Detectives enlist psychics to help crack murder cases
* Patrols see panthers and pumas at close quarters
* A Detective reports the longest-ever sighting of Nessie
* Officers’ close encounters of the first kind, second kind, third kind and deadly kind

Gathered together for the first time, this unique collection of true-life encounters between the police and the paranormal is utterly compelling and highly believable, suggesting that the long arm of the law extends way beyond this world and into the next.

HAUNTED SKIES: Times (The) 13.01.50.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun to the public. Some say the tomb was cursed, “poppycock!” I say (mainly because it gives me the excuse to say ‘poppycock’ as if I were in some Victorian gentleman’s club with high-backed leather chairs and one of those large globes that opens up to reveal a selection of classy drinks like Brandy, Port and Tizer).
And now the news:

Oldest Hairy Microbe Fossils Discovered
Short Snouts Gave Fruit Bats a Forceful Bite
Rare butterfly sighted in State
Fresh wave of killings by hunters takes Indonesian...
Albatrosses off the hook in the nick of time
84 new species of ant-like flower beetles discover...

The opening of the tomb was probably nothing like this clip from Count Duckula:

Corinna highlights 'Enigmas' by Pablo Neruda


CFZ CANADA: Looking for guest bloggers



Hutchinson’s sea serpent: Cryptozoology Orkney
is the first in a series of paintings of Scottish Sea Serpents by Glen Vaudrey.

It is for sale on eBay, but it looks probable that a set of signed prints of the whole series will be available later in the year...



With regards to yesterday's story about whales in the desert. It turns out that the whales were fossil and the desert was in Chile.


Thank you to Lawrie, Jan and Marilyn for enlightening me...

DALE DRINNON: Mini-Rex/Neodinosaurs/Reptillian-Chupacabras

Newest posting on Everything on the Mini-Rex/Neodinosaurs/Reptillian-Chupacabras all in one place: