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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Tuesday, August 04, 2009


* Here is the review of my latest book Island of Paradise in Fortean Times. The reviewer clearly thinks that I should stick to writing about the chupacabra rather than about my own experiences.

* Someone made a terse comment on the latest edition of On The Track: "Too much soap opera." they wrote. I know what they mean - my life is a bloody soap opera, and has been for years.

In my opinion both commentators have missed the point. Neither the book nor the webTV show are meant to be straightforward books on phenomena. Back in 1994 I met Tony `Doc` Shiels for the first time, and he gently guided me into a life path that I have followed ever since (and I don't mean borderline alcoholism). He showed me how everything is interconnected, and how if one wishes to study forteana one has to grok forteana, and open one's life to the myriad possibilities of the universe.

"Not a bottle of catsup can fall from a tenement-house fire-escape, in Harlem, without being noted — not only by the indignant people downstairs, but — even though infinitesimally — universally — maybe — affecting the price of pajamas,[sic] in Jersey City: the temper of somebody's mother-in-law, in Greenland; the demand, in China, for rhinoceros horns for the cure of rheumatism — maybe —
Because all things are inter-related — continuous — of an underlying oneness. So then the underlying logic of the boy — who was guilty of much, but was at least innocent of ever having heard of a syllogism — who pasted a peach label on a can of string beans".

So if people buy my books, or watch my webTV broadcasts expecting an Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World-type of thing, they are going to be sorely disappointed. What I write, and what I film are basically slices of my life and life experiences from which I try and extrapolate stuff. I have never pretended to have all the answers; indeed I don't think I have ever pretended to have any of the answers - my books and films are just as much of a journey for me as they are for the viewer/reader. They are merely one man's attempt to make some semblance of sense of an infinitely confusing omniverse.

Now, go out and buy the bloody book. I need the money!


And here (just in case you missed it) is the latest `On the Track`. Enjoy the soap opera.


Gavin Lloyd Wilson said...

Not trying to sound sycophantic, but I *liked* the opinions, beliefs and childhood memories. I thought these were what made the book.

Neil A said...

Here, here Jon...the same thing happnened when they reviewed my 'Monster!' book. They picked out errors which in fact weren't errors, still didn't know what a zooform was and completely missed the point.

Listen people, the CFZ Press are the only organisation publishing such unique books relating to cryptozoology, from authors who actually take the the time to go out into the field. Magazines such as Fortean Times may like their books to be full of sources, but as we know, the world of Forteana isn't about straight-forward mechanics and any researcher worth their salt should know that this meandering path is something we all should take, if we are to uncover any kind of excitement in a genre over-run by anoraks and armchair enthusiasts.

'Island of Paradise' is about the chupacabara, the quest for the chupacabra, and also Jon's personal views and crazy experiences which most monster-hunter's can only dream of.

Buy it if you want a true story about a crazy mystery...if not, stick to 'Most haunted'.

Anonymous said...

"if one wishes to study forteana one has to grok fortean"

From what I've seen of F.T. articles and reviews in recent times, I'd say that these sad sacks of protoplasm ceased to "grok" the Fortean a long time ago.