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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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

GLEN VAUDREY: Dragons and sea serpents

Glen is one of the newer additions to the bloggo family. He wrote to me out of the blue last year to ask whether we wanted a Western Isles volume in our Mystery Animals of Britain series.

We agreed that we did indeed want one, and commissioned him. What we were not expecting was such a bloody good writer and all-round nice guy, who - by the way - is writing several other volumes for us, and he is even going to be speaking at the 2010 Weird Weekend.


Once again I have been looking at the Iron Age coinage and have found reference to yet another cryptid character: the dragon. This beastie turns up on the silver coinage of the Cantiaci, a British tribe that occupied the Kent area around 50BC. Once again we are faced with the dilemma of judging the creature shown as real or imaginary. Going from the creature on this coin it would be hard to be sure which end of the spectrum this animal turns up in. But if we are to take it at face value what kind of size are we looking at? Is the animal just another version of the horned snake or does it offer a glimpse of something bigger?

There is of course no way to judge the size of the animal, and that again makes identification difficult. You’re looking for a creature the size of a bus and it turns out to be no bigger that a flea. But if we go to the bus-end of the scale we are given two suspects: the dragon or the great sea serpent. If it is a dragon it lacks the wings so often associated with the creature but it does appear to have a pair of horns atop its head. I personally consider it to be more likely to be the image of a sea creature. Maybe it is only a sea horse, but who is to say it wasn’t much bigger? And who knows: it could be the UK’s first image of the great sea serpent a mere 1900 years before Oudemans.

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