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, August 23, 2009

RICHARD MUIRHEAD: Snake stones in Yorkshire

Richard Muirhead is an old friend of the CFZ. I have been friends with him for 40 years now, since we were kids together in Hong Kong. He is undoubtedly one of the two best researchers I have ever met; he and Nigel Wright both have what Charlie Fort would have no doubt called a wild talent; a talent for going into a library, unearthing a stack of old newspapers, and coming back with some hitherto overlooked gem of arcane knowledge.

Dear folks,

About two weeks ago I was looking in my late father`s garage for a collection of his doodles (as one does) when I came across a facsimile of part of an old British atlas, which I guess originally dated from the 17th century; the original map I mean not the reproduction. So I thought, well, this looks very interesting. I found a part of it covering the East and North Riding and read the following: (Original spelling adhered to)

“Places of memorable note are Whitby, where are found certain stones fashioned like Serpents, foulded and wrapped round in a wreath, euen the very pastimes of Nature, who when shee is wearied (as it were ) with serious workes, sometimes forgeth and shapeth things by way of sport and recreation: so that by the credulous they are thought to have beene Serpents, which a coate or crust of stones had now couered all ouer, and by the praiers of S.Hilda turned to stones: And also there are certaine fields here adoining, where Geese flying ouer fall downe sodainlie to the ground, to the great admiration of all men:…At Skengrause ( a little village) some seventie yeeres since , was caught a fish called a Sea-man, that for certaine daies together fedde on raw fishes, but espying his opportunitie escaped agiane into his waterie Element…..At Huntley Nabo, are stones found at the rootes of certaine rockes, of diures bignesse, so artificially shaped round by nature, in manner of a Globe, as if they had beene made by the Turners hand. In which (if you breake them) are found stony Serpents, enwrapped round like a wreath, but most of them headlesse”.

I have asked the Bodleian Library if they can provide me with any information about this atlas but so far without success. Dr Darren Naish informed me that the Whitby and Huntley Nabo stones were ammonites and the latter were nodules but William Corliss (who I rang) and I noted that the Huntley Nabo stones were globular. Indeed, I sent Corliss the information in this blog. He had never heard of such a thing. Strangely a day or two after I had found the facsimile map I found my dad`s doodles and he seemed to have specialised in ammonite-like drawings!

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