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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Friday, August 28, 2009


I have known Neil for fifteen years now, since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippy 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....

There are many zooform tales to chill hearts around a campfire, and the legend of the Warrington Toad Man is one of those. Despite its absurd title, the Toad Man is a nefarious bogeyman, also known as the Toad Goblin, or Monster of Morley Common. It is a tale passed through several generations, and originates from the 1800s. The local public house, known at The Shipp Inn, situated at Walton, had several ‘Alice In Wonderland’ pictures on the wall, which were eventually taken down. All that remained on the wall was a strange picture of a dwarf-like entity known as the Toad Goblin.

One day the picture was said to have disappeared from the wall and the locals were very upset, believing a thief to be responsible. The picture never returned but the landlord spoke of how this was the local bogeyman. The Cartwright family spoke about the local bogeyman also, saying he dated back to the 1870s. This surreal creature was said to have bandy legs, and a bowler hat perched on a grotesquely bulbous head which had red whiskers. This creature terrified children for decades for it was said that the monster used to hide behind trees and spring out on unsuspecting victims. It’s possible the legend originated from a local recluse who lived on Morley Common. But one day several children walking through the area were said to have found the battered body of the hermit, but when the children ran home to tell their parents of the macabre find, upon returning there was no sign of the body.

Some believed the recluse was killed by another recluse, but since that time the Toad Man was said to haunt the local woods of the Common and children would not venture there after dusk.

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