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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Thursday, April 23, 2009


It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

One of my favourite authors is Elliot O’ Donnell. Sure, he leans more towards the supernatural with his yarns but the atmosphere he creates and the stories he unearths are often quite bizarre.

On July 24th 1898 Elliot had a peculiar encounter in Greenwich Park, London. He was perched on a park bench admiring the scenery and within the shadows of a diseased elm tree, when suddenly something caught his eye. Something had fallen, or dropped, from the tree. It was no leaf or piece of rotten bark but in fact a creature, half-human, half-animal, which, he recalls, “…was stunted, bloated, pulpy and yellow”, and moved sideways like a crab. Mr O’ Donnell was so scared of the form that he fled the park, and when looking back on the encounter simply spoke of it as a ‘nature spirit’. Just what had he seen ? Mere insect, or something akin to a fairy, or something far weirder ?

A freaky form was encountered by two psychics in 1921 as they investigated the allegedly cursed Exhibit 22542, at the British Museum. The item was a mummy discovered in Egypt in the 1800s, and such was its awful reputation that not many were brave enough to even look at the body. The psychics attempted some kind of exorcism to lift the curse, but were confronted by a floating monster said to have resembled a jellyfish!

London hides many mysterious monsters, and they are the subject of my next book!

1 comment:

dinosaurman said...

Hi Neil.
Alan F here.
I remember reading that story about O'Donnell's sighting of the 'nature spirit/elemental', in his book of true ghost stories when I was fourteen. I found it very creepy, to say the least.

Perhaps the Highgate vampire and many other creatures that seem to inhabit a world of 'questionable' reality are in fact beings that we glimpse through the cracks in time and space, and in the guise that quite possibly our own imagination invests them with.