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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Saturday, May 02, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: It's a hoax folks

There’s a lot of it about, hoaxes that is. In recent weeks we have seen a ridiculous doll touted as being some kind of unknown primate and, hot on the heels of the discovery of Titaniboa a badly photo-shopped picture of a giant snake swimming up a jungle river. Then the ‘water blackfella’ reappeared. I recall seeing this in Fortean Times in the 1990s and thinking it was an obvious fake back then.

As it happens I believe in both unknown primates and giant snakes, but neither of these pictures showed one. I also believe in sea serpents but as it happens there is a new hoax doing the rounds at the moment. Mark North warned me about it. He had an e-mail to his Dark Dorset website hat ran thus…

Hi there,
> Hope you don’t mind me getting in touch. I’m from Unruly Media, a
> viral marketing company in London, and we’re currently running a
> campaign for the Association of Marine Research, a small, non-existent
> organization which is currently conducting research into possible
> sightings of suspicious sea creatures in the English Channel. The AMR
> has asked us to contact bloggers asking for any information that could
> be helpful.
> I thought the story might go down well on your site, and was wondering
> if you’d be interested in writing a sponsored post about it, for which
> we can pay you £75. 30 days after the campaign ends via Paypal.
> If you’re interested, please drop me a line and I’ll send you the
> assets so you can get the blog underway- it will need to be proof-read
> by us before going live, which needs to happen before Friday 1st May.
> The sort of posting we are after:
> http://thedailyblast.blogspot.com/2009/04/have-you-seen-channel-creature.html
> Our videos/images are clearly marked as commercially sponsored and we
> adhere to a strict code of ethics, which you can read here:
> http://www.unrulymedia.com/ethics-code
> We'd love you to be involved,
> Kind Regards,
> Salwa Azar
> --
> Salwa Azar
> Campaign Manager, Unruly Media
> Unruly Media
> www.unrulymedia.com
> 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
> +44 (0)207 247 4176
> +44 (0)7515 543 598

I had never heard of the ‘Association of Marine Research’ and thought the whole thing sounded very suspicious so I visited their website www.thechannelcreature.com

Here was posted an unconvincing photograph and a piece of film purporting to show the monster. It is some of the very worst computer animation I have ever seen. If Frank Searle had been alive today and computer literate this is the sort of crap he would be churning out.

There are two filmed interviews on the sight one with ‘Audrey Du Pre’ a supposed member of the ‘Association of Marine Research’ and obviously someone putting on a bad French accent and an ‘eyewitness’ called Matt Williams (no not our crop circle making, micro-light flying, sunflower shirt wearing Matt Williams!). He claims to have seen a fast moving creature 300 meters or 1000 feet long! The very concept that a Godzilla sized beast is swimming around of the coast of Dover is absurd. What the hell would it ea for a start?

They also have a Facebook page with an even less convincing piece of animation on it.


Stuff like this, and that ridiculous bigfoot costume stuff with animal gut that was been touted as a real sasquatch corpse, do us no favors. They put the idea in the heads of the general public (most of whom have he attention span of an invertebrate) that all cryptid sightings must be hoaxes. They also queer the pitch for real researchers. What kind of a chance of funding or support can we expect with rubbish like this polluting the collective brains of the masses. When, one day, someone does find a genuine cryptid most people will dismiss it at a hoax.


Anonymous said...

Doing a bit of basic looking-up of information on that website, I find that it was registered with a Paris-based hosting company on the 22nd of April of this year. Google searches for "The association of marine research" turn up a number of similar hits, like "The Scottish association of marine research" or the Israeli one, but no organisation that is JUST called by that name.

All hits on that specific name lead back to that same website.

The youtube videos are all posted by the same user, associationmarine, who joined on 24th of April of this year.

My conclusion is the same as Richard's; this is a hoax, an obvious hoax and one which was initiated at the very earliest during April of this year. My only regret is that these twerps couldn't have gotten a move on and released the whole thing at the start of April, when it might actually have raised a chuckle.

Neil A said...

Personally, I thought they'd found the bloated carcass of Robert Maxwell!

Whatever happened to good hoaxes that either raised a laugh or at least gained some kind of respect for cleverness in construction.

Chris Clark said...

Come on people, it does actually say 'a small non-existent organisation'. I feel this gives us a clue.

Geordie Paranormalizer said...

Erm...would it actually be possible to MISS the bloated carcass of Robert Maxwell? You know the old maxim about large elephants in small cloakrooms, etc....

borky said...

"...the general public...have [t]he attention span of an invertebrate...queer the pitch for real researchers...rubbish like this polluting the collective brains of the masses..."

Translation: "Only people who do the same kind of research as me or the kind of research I approve of count as REAL researchers, (researchers like Nick Redfern who're willing to consider paranormal evidence are not just heretics but a very abomination)...the public are all idiots who must be protected from people who have a different outlook from people like me...these same jelly-brained morons must be compelled to exclude from their collective consciousness any thoughts but those me and my kind deem fit to put in them."

. said...

I wish to hell these idiots out there who waste time of these sorta pranks would focus their attention elsewhere.

If you want to start looking for fortean just look at out government, apparently ( unless their mentally ill ) they believe they can help improve the economy by pocketing other peoples money.

Apparently even though this has been proven numerous times ( even with out PM ) no minister has yet to be charged for fraud , thievery or treason for abusing their positions, and trust of the uk public.