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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Sunday, December 11, 2011


Taking advantage of the improved and newly launched British Library online newspaper archive, (in which I`ve found about 6 new odd animal stories from the Manchester and Lancs area for Lizzy and my forthcoming “ Mystery Animals books”) I found these two Victorian stories (amongst others) on day 1 of my 2 day £7 search:


Two Warrington men – William Mather and John Smith – whilst netting in the river Weaver near Frodsham, a short time ago, came upon a monster which is rarely seen in this country, except in some parts of Ireland and Scotland, and on the coasts of Cornwall, Devonshire, Norfolk, and Yorkshire. It was the Devil-fish ( the Lophius piscatrix of Linnaeus and Cuvier) sometimes called the Angler, from a very curious propensity which it has of decoying fishes into its capacious mouth by means of long slender appendages situated upon its head. The first of these is broad and flattened towards the end with a shining, silvery appearance at its dilated part, is curiously articulated, and capable of great freedom of motion. Naturalists state that, while couching close to the ground, the fish, by the action of its ventral and pectoral fins stirs up the sand and mud: hidden by the obscurity thus produced it elevates its appendages, moves them in various directions by way of attraction as a bait, and small fishes approaching either to examine or to seize them immediately become the prey of the fisher. Numerous writers have borne their testimony to this habit. The fisher caught in the river Weaver was about four feet long, and weighed probably a hundred weight. Fourshilling pieces of the reign of George III [*2] , were said to have been found in its gills. (1)

*2 1760-1820

And now a story from down our Dear Leader`s way (J.D. I mean) A statue of whom is shortly to be erected in both Exwick,Exeter and Pyongyang, N.Korea.


A few days since Mr Blackmore, plumber, of Sidmouth, was employed to discover why no water passed through a pipe leading to the hot and green houses at Peak House. The pipe was sound, without a fracture, and seemingly air tight. On cutting it he found a large eel 21 ½ inches long, and 4 ½ inches in circumference, wedged in the pipe, which was only of one-inch bore. The strainer at the end of the pipe having fallen off, the animal had evidently wriggled itself inwards as far as possible, and then died, fitting the pipe like a cork. That was remarkable enough, and so Mr B thought; but when he returned on the following morning to complete his job, he found a second eel, one of 11 ¼ inches long, in exactly the same position. But the strangest part of the affair is the fact that the water in which these eels have been nurtured comes direst from springs in the high hill at the back of the house, from Muttersmoor, nearly 500 feet above the level of the valley and the river, with which there is no water communication whatever to be seen. How did the eels get to the springs? – Sidmouth Journal. (2)

How indeed? Would anyone care to follow this one up with me?

1. Manchester Courier and Lancs General Advertiser May 12th 1864
2. Westmorland Gazette October 6th 1866


HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 3.12.53

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1970 the actress Jennifer Connelly was born. She has starred in quite a few films of Fortean note, including Labyrinth, Phenomena, Dark Water and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

And now the news:

Traditional farming in the rainforest
Endangered Hoolock gibbons moved to safety in Indi...
English man arrested in Bulgaria for egg collectin...
Irwandi Yusuf, Indonesia's 'Green Governor,' Allow...
Gender-Bending Deer With Crazy Antlers Shot
Ancient super-predator eyes found in Australia
Bedbugs Inbreeding But Still Thriving: Research

Nearly as good as ‘The Laughing Gnome’:

DALE DRINNON: More on ChupaBats, Jersey Devils, False Vampires and Real Chupacabras

We did a computer swap with a local Bigfooter on Saturday, with a consequence that we lost some data and that the new computer is not quite manageable yet. We had to work around that and do some rescheduling. I was able to get out the next blog posting at the Frontiers of Zoology, though:


CFZ PEOPLE: Graidi Rivenberg Taylor-Rose

Happy Birthday my dear...


In the last ten days we have lost seven aquarium heaters, that have suddenly ceased to work for no apparent reason. It seems unlikely that they have failed from a common cause, because they have been in three different locations: The conservatory, my study, and the tanks that we maintain in the village pub. The most recent was found in the pub yesterday with a damn great crack in it. So far we have lost no fish, but it is only a matter of time. Any ideas?