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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Sunday, April 26, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: Giant snakes and goblins in Ecuador

Whilst waiting for the train from Exeter to Barnstaple yesterday I happened to sit down next to an exceptionally beautiful girl. I struck up a conversation with her, and it turned out that she was from Ecuador. Her name was Sandenily and she was in England for ten months. Back home she taught English and she had come over here to brush up. The first month she had spent in Brighton. For the next nine months she was going to be working in the restaurant of the Stag Hunters Inn http://www.staghunters.com/

She asked if I had ever been to South America and I told her of my hunt for the giant anaconda in Guyana. Sandenily told me hat she had not seen much wildlife outside of zoos, having never ventured into the deep jungle. However she said that two years ago a man had escaped from a jungle prison and gone on the run. He had apparently been killed and eaten by an anaconda. His carcass was found after the animal had vomited him back up!

She told me of other strange creatures she had heard of. One was a creature that looked like bigfoot but was much smaller. These ape like beasts were said to kidnap members of the opposite sex. Stories like these are widespread in South America. Indeed wherever there are sightings of relic hominids or mystery apes there are usually tales of them kidnapping and/or breeding with humans.

Another being she mentioned was he duende. Once again stories of these creatures are found in many neo-tropical countries. The duende is supposed to be a goblin, usually depicted in a pointed hat. Sandenily, who was once a journalist had to interview a girl in hospital who claimed to have been raped by a duende. The girl said I had red eyes and wore a tall, pointed hat. It’s hands and skin felt hard. She could no bring herself to describe the face. Sandenily thought she was telling the truth, as she had no reason to lie and seemed traumatized.

Sandenily said her cousin claimed to have been visited by such a creature for a number of nights. It had large dark eyes and a pointed hat. The girl had dark hair, body hair and pale skin, all things that the duende finds attractive. The duende smelled of human excrement. Her mother though the girl was possessed and took her to a shaman. The shaman told her that the only way to stop he duende coming was to eat her own excrement. That nigh the girl did as she was advised and he goblin never returned.

Finally Sandenily’s brother claimed to have seen a duende whilst at military school. He described I as short, with a tall hat and feet pointing backwards. That final detail is repeated right over Latin America and, oddly, is also attributed to he Islamic djinn.

The descriptions of the duende recall not only European goblins but also the Argentinean ‘gnome’ allegedly filmed a while ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81OwP7RJ3BI

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