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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD HOLLAND: Two obscure Welsh dragons

Once again we hand you over to guest blogger Richard Holland, editor of Paranormal Magazine, and all round good bloke. He is a regular visitor tho these pages, and I am sure that you will all agree with me that this is jolly good news for all of us..

The Red Dragon (Ddraig Goch) is, of course, the cryptozoological symbol of the Principality of Wales (although only officially for 50 years). Not surprisingly, there are numerous dragon yarns from Wales, one or two of which have escaped the standard works on the subject. The following are both from ‘Bye-gones’, that little known journal I have found so useful for odd snippets of Fortean interest.

In June 1896, correspondent ‘N.W.T.’ contributed this bit of folklore: ‘I have been informed that some 50 years ago at Ystradgynlais [
Powys, Mid Wales] it was generally believed there was a flying serpent existing on a spot called “Winllan”; it was a rough, stony piece of ground covered with brambles on the river side, and is now the site of Yniscedwyn Board Schools. Lizards infested the place. My informant suggests that the story was invented to keep children from going blackberrying.’

A quick Google search finds an Ysgol Ynyscedwyn in Ystradgynlais but their website states that this school was founded in 1906, so this may not be the Board School referred to, despite carrying the same name (I attach a picture, anyway – imagine being taught over a former dragon’s nest!).

In response to this account, ‘T.H.J.’ dug out a reference to another dragon from an old Welsh language journal of 1877 and submitted a translation to ‘Bye-gones’ later the same month. This beast inhabited the valley of the River Conwy in North Wales and went by the name of a carrog. This is the only such usage I know of (although there is a village called Carrog not far from Llangollen, in the valley of the Dee). T.H.J. informs us:

‘The carrog somewhat resembled a flying serpent. According to popular tradition, this fearful creature sheltered at night in the brushwood that then grew on Dol-y-garrog, and during the day frequently visited Eglwysfach, kidnapping and eating children; and in order to slay this creature Saint Beuno paid a visit to the place.’

St Beuno is an important name in North-East Wales, a Dark Age saint to whom many churches are dedicated. He is said to have been the uncle of St Winefride, whose severed head created the famous Holywell in Flintshire. The village where the action takes place is today spelt Eglwysbach, but this is probably an inaccurate spelling. But back to the story:

‘He reached Eglwysfach very early. He went to the church, and repeated his prayers, and after the sun had shone for some time the Carrog came and lay down on the hill. Saint Beuno ascended the church tower, and directed an arrow from his bow to the tender spot on his throat, which took fatal effect; and it is said this was the only penetrable part of the creatures hide, being like that of a crocodile.’

A practical bunch these early saints. However, there is another tradition relating to the area in which a hero slays a fearsome wild boar, so this may be a variant on that theme.

Richard Holland, Editor of Paranormal Magazine (
http://www.paranormalmagazine.co.uk/) and Uncanny UK (http://www.uncannyuk.com/).

No comments: