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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Monday, August 03, 2009


Time for Richard Freeman again. It almost seems silly introducing Richard to you all once again when he makes an appearance as guest blogger several times a week. However, our viewing audience/ readers (whatever you like to call yourselves) is growing so fast that it is certain that some of you missed the last time I introduced him.

One of the most dramatic lake monster stories was that of a dragon-like creature inhabiting Lake Wembo (sometimes referred to as Membu or lake Wembu) in Tibet. In June of 1980 people living around the lake reported a house-sized creature with a long, scaly neck and large head. It was reputed to have destroyed boats and rafts and was supposed to have eaten a fisherman. It also devoured a yak tethered close to the lake that belonged to a communist party official.

According to Karl Shuker in his book In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, Lake Wembo covers 310 square miles and is up to 300 feet deep as well as being well stocked with fish. All in all Lake Wembo sounds like the ideal home for a monster, except it does not seem to exist. No travel guide, map or website on Tibet has any reference to lake Wembo, Wembu or Membu. There are quite a few lakes in Tibet but none go by these names. The closest I can come to it is the Namu Lake, the world’s second largest salt-water lake and the largest lake in Tibet. There is a lot of folklore attached to it including the legend that Buddha and his closest followers meet there every 12 years. As far as I know there is no tradition of a dragon or monster in the lake.

Could there have been some mistranslation? Or maybe the whole story had its genesis in newspaper tripe, a fabricated story of a lake and a monster neither of which existed except in the mind of an editor wanting to sell more papers.

Does anyone out there know any more about this case or about the elusive and possibly non- existent Lake Wembo?


Dr Karl Shuker said...

I was surprised to find that this lake had gone missing, especially as within 5 minutes of opening an old Times Comprehensive Atlas, I was able to locate it with no problem. It goes by several different Western names, all various translations and transliterations of its Tibetan name, and one of them is Wampo (yet another is Weng-po). If you search for it using either of these, you'll find it just below the centre of Tibet, at 31.20 N, 86.34 E. Interestingly, in the atlas index it isn't listed as a lake, even though a large lake is clearly visible at those co-ordinates on the map. So it is likely that it has simply acquired the name of the nearest town/village to it, which may have contributed to the confusion.

Tabitca said...

Wenbu Lake lying in Kunzha County, China's Tibet Autonomous Region is at 4,535 meters above sea level with an area of 835 square kilometers. In the 1950s, a lake monster had been seen in Wenbu Lake, which had a small head, big eyes, long neck and grey and black skin. It is said that the body of the monster looks like an ox.
Could this be the same one Richard?