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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Friday, January 30, 2009


Glen is a very new recruit to Planet CFZ. Indeed, we had never heard from him until a few months ago when he wrote - slightly diffidently - to us, asking whether he could write a volume in our ongoing series The Mystery Animals of The British Isles. We asked him for a proposed synopsis and a sample of his writing, and were overawed by what we received. Here was a man who loved both words and the countryside, and could use one to describe the other in poetic but always down to earth terms. We were beginning to come to the conclusion that here was someone that Bob Marley would have described as a `Natural Mystic`, when the final manuscript arrived, and we knew that we were right. So we asked him to be a guest blogger..
The only sighting of a cryptozoological nature that I can claim to have had was of a turtle, well actually it was three turtles, which used to pop out from the murky depths of the shopping trolley-choked waters of a cutting of the River Irwell, known locally as the Old River, in a town called Irlam.

Many a warm day you could sit in the beer garden of the pub that stands on the riverbank and watch not only the rats scurry about but also out on the still water the three turtles sitting on their own special half-submerged log, what type they were I couldn’t say unless there is a breed out there called the ‘German coal scuttle helmet turtle’. But that was years ago when I was still living in the sunny outskirts of Manchester.

These days my knowledge of turtles is still just as poor but fortunately you don’t need a great deal of knowledge to spot turtle stories in the press. Earlier this month the Edinburgh Evening News (10th January) featured a story about a pig nosed turtle under the delightful if questionable headline ‘Club’s turtle is a real stud’. The article told the tale of Hugo the pig nosed turtle that had for the last six years been living in a tank inside an Edinburgh night club, El Barrio. He might well have lived there for a lot longer if it hadn’t been for renovation work at the club, this meant Hugo had to go and so the plucky shelled fellow has found himself heading off to the Scarborough Sea Life and Marine Sanctuary where it is hoped he will become part of a breeding program.

Now if Hugo had been a marine turtle the future would have been a little different. Last June the BBC website told the tale of two loggerhead turtles that had been washed ashore. The first turtle, with the rather sensible name of James, washed up at Blackrock beach, Bude on the 26 January 2008, with a second one, unfortunately named Dink, turning up a week later on Putsborough Beach, Woolacombe. After five months rehabilitation the two loggerhead turtles were flown out to Las Palmas, Gran Caneria to be released back into the wild.

And what you may ask is the point of this tale? Well it seems that if you are a rescued turtle there is no such thing as Sun, Sea and Sex. You either get the sun and the sea or just the sex.

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