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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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Saturday, May 12, 2012

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: THE WINGED CAT COURT CASE - A WINGED CAT IN LEEDS, JUNE 1893

This hitherto “unknown” cat with wings case was first reported in The Bristol Mercury, Friday June 23rd 1893 and at least one other paper. It may also be the only cat with wings ever to be featured in an English court, indeed one of the very few mystery animals to have been the subject of litigation? ! Now there`s an interesting piece of research for someone! I have not read the Bristol Mercury for the following few days so cannot tell you if any person(s) reported their own stories.

The Bristol Mercury, Friday, June 23rd 1893

A great deal of amusement was created at the Leeds County Court on Wednesday afternoon, when an action was brought by Mr W.E. Markham a relieving officer of the Bromley Union , against a labourer named named Benjamin Martin of Tong road, New Wortley (?) to recover possesion of a Persian cat, known throughout the neighbourhood as the “winged cat” , which he claimed as his property, or £50. Damages for detaining the animal were also claimed. The cat, which has extraordinary flap-like appendages on each side of its body, has for some time past been exhibited at the house of the defendant. Evidence was called to prove that the animal had formerly belonged to the Bramley Hill Top Workhouse. Since then it had dissapeared, and was eventually found in the possesion of the defendant. Mr Frank Somers, veterinary surgeon described the cat as a half-bred English and Persian cat He examined the “wings” very carefully , and was persuaded that they were matted hair. He thought the hair had simply accumulated because the cat had neglected and not licked the hair off. It was only a growth of matted hair. Mr Child – What is the value of the cat? Witness it is not worth anything as an imposition to an itinerant show. In reply to Mr Dunn, he admitted that the cat was in very neglected condition. He had heard Mr Markham say that he had clipped off the hair when he had the cat, and it was quite probable. He had seen the same accumulation on dogs. After the hearing of the evidence, which caused a considerable amount of merriment, his Honour Judge Greenhow returned a verdict for the plaintiff. (1)

1. The Bristol Mercury June 23rd 1893 p.8

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