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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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I don't think that we have posted this before, and if we have it certainly bears repeating.


Just 1 year after a lynx was shot and killed in Devon in 1903 a lynx (Lynx lynx) was brought back from India by Lieut Hugh Brocklebank of the 9th Lancers and got loose in what is now the Wirral. According to a web page the 9th Lancers were based in India closest to this date. The Portsmouth Evening News of 18th April 1904 reported as follows:


 An escaped lynx is causing trouble in the district of Heswall-on-Dee, Cheshire. The animal was brought home recently by Lieut. Hugh Brocklebank of the 9th Lancers, and chained up in a stable. With the cunning of its species,however,it contrived to effect its escape,and up to last night had eluded its pursuers. Farmers are looking to their shotguns. (1)

Also in the Manchester Courier of the same date:

A large specimen of the lynx species escaped from the stables of Mr. Thomas Brocklebank D.L. J.P at Heswall-on-Dee,Cheshire and has so far evaded capture. (2)

On April 19th The Evening Telegraph (Dundee) gave more information



In the neighbourhood of Heswall-on-Dee,Cheshire,an escaped lynx is causing considerable trouble.

Lieutenant Hugh Brocklebank,of the 9th Lancers,brought the animal home,and chained it up in a stable.With the cunning of its species,however,it contrived to effect its escape,and up to last night had eluded its persuers.Hunting parties have searched high and low for the disturber of the peace,says the “Daily Mail” but they have returned with empty bags, though primed with stories of the villagers concerning the doing of the animal.

Its ubiquity is apparently wonderful; it has been seen in scores of different places at one and the same time, while it rivals the chameleon in the matter of changing colour, if some of the tales are to be believed. Had a whole menagerie broken loose the destruction among fowls,rabbits,sheep,cows and horses could hardly have been so alarming for the lynx is said to have consumed such trifles with comparitive ease since it escaped. Farmerm are looking to their shot guns, but are careful to lock their doors at night and bury their heads in the bedclothes. (3)

Thanks to Bob Skinner for this information.
  1. The Portsmouth Evening News  April 18th 1904
  2. Manchester Courier April 18th 1904
  3. The Evening Telegraph April 19th 1904


The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper-column inches than any other cryptozoological subject. There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived by us in some way, so we should have a go at publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. In September 2012 Emma Osborne decided that the Mystery Cat Study Group really deserved a blog of its own within the CFZ Blog Network.

SIGHTINGS USA: Big Cat on Air base - Topix


In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that whereas the study of out of place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot or lake monsters, it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean zoologist to be interested in. So after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo Corinna took the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.


As I wrote the other day, I bought a CD of Adobe Acrobat from some person on eBay. It was lost in the post, which was not his fault. When it didn't arrive, however, he was not apologetic, and was more worried about the possibility of me giving him negative feedback. So this morning I did. On a much more pleasant subject I am, as many of you know, a devotee of old Victorian naturalist's diaries. It is a literary genre that I thought was lost forever. But no. Check out the 'personal diary' section of Pete Eeles' excellent 'UK Butterflies' website. They are a joy to read. In other developments, the new and expanded Gonzo Web Radio is soon going to get bigger and better so watch this space...
*  The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at  jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...

*  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link:
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat (who is currently on sick leave in Staffordshire) and a not very small orange kitten (who isn't) puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cats?

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

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

From CFZ Australia:
From CFZ New Zealand:

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