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, December 21, 2009

NEIL ARNOLD: The Vampire Cat

There are many dark and hideous legends across the world concerning vampyric entities that take on varying forms. From inflating, winged dogs that increase in size when sucking the blood of victims, to night-prowling bat-babies. In the Netherlands there is a sinister legend pertaining to Keijenborg, and also the nearby Kraanborg and Steenderen. The apparition in question was said to prowl the grounds of an old farm. It appears that the presence of the monster brought poltergeist activity too, as doors were often slammed shut or left open, buckets of Holy Water thrown about the place, and the increasing failure of machinery. The beast was first seen in the attic of the property and described as a cross between a bat and a cat! A priest was called in immediately but could not rid the property of the wicked presence, and most of the cattle fell ill and could not produce milk.

A priest was then called from the Monastery of Kraanborg, and with the help of six farmers, a car and six horses, they somehow managed to extract the monster from the farm. Although legend of the monster is vague, the creature was described as having very long teeth and bright green eyes. It is said that the entity was removed and cast to some desolate place where it still exists today.

Across Europe there are legends of fearsome critters known as Cat-Witches, which appear in the form of giant black cats. Slavic Gypsies believe in similar forms meanwhile the Romani witch, known as the Chovihani, hunts after dark in the form of a big, black cat.

In Japan the vampire cat is said to have two tails and as it laps at the blood of its victim, its body inflates to the exact size of the person it feeds on. Canadian folklore speaks of winged black cats, which are said to hover in the sky and then drop down on unsuspecting cattle. During the 1950s residents of Nacaome in Honduras suffered great loss of cattle after several sightings of a giant, black bird-like creature with leather wings. The creature was blamed for several cattle mutilations in the area. The monster was said to strangle its prey with its strong, whip-like tail.

A majority of vampire-cats are potent in folklore. Interestingly, some of the original ‘goatsucker’ reports from Puerto Rico described a cat-like creature, at times described as having wings. However, delve into monster folklore throughout the world and you’ll uncover a bizarre vampire menagerie pertaining to winged cats, dogs, monkeys, etc, all with one sinister motive: to drain blood. From the Chu’Uan-T’ou of China – a fish-eating, bat-winged monster said to have a human head – to Huxwhukw, or ‘canninbal bird’ of Amerindian lore. One thing is for sure, our livestock have more to worry about than Foot and Mouth Disease!

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