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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are the last three episodes:


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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AUBREY MENEZES: Kestrel Rescue in Canada..

Hello Jon ,

I hope all is well with both you, your family and all other members of the CFZ. Today at work I found a baby American Kestrel or Sparrow Hawk that had fallen out of its nest.

These birds are rare to see, and indeed it and its other two siblings are the first ones I have ever seen. Again this poor little guy fell out of a pipe where the parents had built their nest and into a puddle of water below. I got there just in time as a couple of sea gulls had sights on him for their lunch. I was able to find two construction workers who were working near by and they gave the little guy a ride back up to his nest.

He, I am sure, is resting comfortably tonight.


I am enjoying my on-going mini project, of trying to photograph the animals I can see through my office window. Photographing moths is particularly challenging. The upper moth is one of the carpet moths (a Devon carpet I think) but I have not been able to identify the lower one. Anyone out there know?

OLL LEWIS: Open Season on Gardeners

Last weekend you may have noticed a few posts on the blog about something called ‘Open Gardens’, and if you don’t live in our little part of Devon you might be wondering what its all about. Well, make yourself a nice cup of tea, possibly augmented with a biscuit (I recommend the noble Hobnob for this purpose), and sit down for I am about to tell you.

Open Gardens is a fundraising event for the Woolsery Community Centre and Sports Hall, which is where we hold the Weird Weekend every year. The hall is, as attendees of the Weird Weekend will already know, a large state of the art building comparable in size to a modern leisure centre with tiered theatre seating in the main auditorium, several smaller rooms, a second large room (used for stalls and art exhibitions at WW) a kitchen and café area and a bar, all run on a mix of wind and solar power. The hall is a lot more important to the village than just being the venue of the Weird Weekend, it is used every day by at least one of the village clubs, be it for Tiny Tots (most attendees of which have in recent years been involved in the opening ceremony of the Weird Weekend and made some smashing UFOs to decorate the hall’s café at last year's event too), badminton, the Woolsery Society, dancing clubs or the occasional film nights. As you can imagine, in a large village far from the beaten track where bus services don’t run after 6pm, the hall, like the Farmer’s Arms pub, is very important.

Open Gardens itself is when a number of people from the village and around open up their gardens to the public for the weekend as part of a walking tour and people pay for a guidebook from the village hall. Each garden offers something different ranging from attractions you might expect like flowers, right through to the unusual like statues of meerkats engaging in cosplay, and endangered species.

When I’ve been touring people round the CFZ menagerie this year it’s been interesting to see which of our animals have been the most interesting to people, because where as Jon, Max and I might get wildly excited about some aquatic snail it doesn’t necessarily follow that anyone else would. The animal that generated the most interest was Vic, our Reeves pheasant, as he strutted around his large aviary showing off his yellow, black and white plumage. The interest in the Reeves pheasant was closely followed by the Triops cancriformis (it’s not every day you get to see three-eyed endangered species performing underwater acrobatics for you), the snapping turtle and our softshell turtle. Quite a few local people also showed an interest in the casts of large feline prints I had taken in January, with a few doubters walking away more convinced when I compared them to some casts of canine prints and to some casts of fake prints to show the differences.

On Monday it was the turn of people who had been showing people their gardens to see everyone else’s and I represented the CFZ in this. First in the tour was Town Farm where I peered into their stream, hoping to spot an invertebrate or two through the crystal clear water. After that it was on to the Snapes’ house where I met their son Kieran’s rabbit and saw some really well made Lego models that he had made, which made me nostalgic about my youth and the fact that, as I turn 30 in July, I will soon be officially an old gripper and able to use phrases like “The youth of today…”, “In my day…” and “Do you know how old I am, boy?!” without a hint of irony.

Next on the tour it was back to Myrtle Cottage where Hazel and a few other people from the village who have actually seen the big cat got to hold and examine the casts along with looking at the animals and the pheasant who was still busy showing off and seemed to be enjoying the attention.

One of the highlights of the rest of the tour was the garden of Robin and Gill Edmunds who, like us, are friends of Hartland Wildlife Trust. In the Edmundses’ garden there were lots of little animal statues including whimsical meerkats, dressed in various disguises, and a surprising ‘fossil.’ According to the attached sign it is a zenomorph (as seen in the Alien films). Now I’m not entirely convinced but it certainly made me smile as I walked around. Unfortunately I could not see every garden in the village as my back is a bit dodgy but those I did see were immaculately kept and every garden was different. If you are in North Devon when Open Gardens is on next then I really do recommend that you visit.

GLEN VAUDREY: Introducing the Kipumbubu

What a spread of darts I threw. The third one landed just in Tanzania; yet another African country, this time on the east of the continent. It seems my first three crypto darts were a little low; still, I did well to miss the oceans. So what mystery animal is to be found in Tanzania? Well, one contender has to be the Kipumbubu.

While hippopotamus may lay claim to be one of the most deadly creatures to occupy the waters of the African continent, the crocodile shouldn’t be forgotten. Each year around three hundred people are killed by the Nile crocodile,but there is a mystery crocodile that also has a taste for human flesh, and that is the Kipumbubu. Supposedly it manages to munch six unlucky people a year.

So what sets the Kipumbubu apart from the Nile crocodile? Well, its behaviour for a start. The Kipumbubu doesn’t just lurk in the water; it actively goes hunting at night for people on river boats. It’s said that it is fully capable of getting onto the rim of a boat and grabbing passengers in its mighty crushing jaws.

So could the Kipumbubu just be a Nile crocodile? Well, maybe, but it appears that the Kipumbubu has a special talent that the Nile beast lacks and that is the ability to jump out of the water and onto boats. Jumpin’ crocodiles, as they might have said in a 1960s episode of Batman.


Hey Jon

Hope you are keeping well. Will you please place the following piece onto the CFZ blogs for me?

Ryedale Aquarist Society

25th Anniversary Open Day - Sunday 11th July 2010

Old Malton Memorial Hall, Malton, North Yorkshire Y017 7HD

Doors open at 10.00a.m.


10.00a.m. to 11.10a.m. - Booking of auction lots.

11.15a.m. to 12.15p.m. - Talk by our special guest Dr. David Ford.
Dr. Ford will be talking about his life and work in fishkeeping with a talk entitled ‘It began with a goldfish’.

12.15p.m. to 12.45 p.m. - Booking of auction lots.
During this time we will be having a ‘tea and coffee happy half hour’ when such refreshments will be served free of charge.

12.50p.m. onwards - Auction of fish and aquatic items.

This is an open auction so TO PRE-BOOK AUCTION LOTS PHONE 01751 472715


Please note that Ryedale A.S. will take a 15% commission on all auction lots sold.

Please label lots to assist the auctioneer.

Please make sure that all electrical goods are clearly marked with the name and address of the seller.


ALL of the Classes, BCA Classes and Championship events listed are of an OPEN nature.

Y.A.A.S. ‘A’ Class Judge Mr. Steven Grant has accepted our invitation to be the Sitting Judge



This ‘Fish of Fishes’ is open to any type of egglaying or livebearing fish however; exhibits are limited to ONE EXHIBIT PER PERSON.
Exhibits are to be entered in the name of the person who owns the fish only.

Fish entered in the Championship do not need to have scored 85 points or more at an Open Show to be eligible.

Prizes for 1st to 6th place.

The Championship will be judged in 2 stages:
Stage 1. The Sitting Judge will reduce the exhibits to 6 fish that go forward to stage 2.
Stage 2. All ‘A’ Class Judges present (with the exception of our own David Marshall) will be invited to point the 6 remaining fish. Their points will then be averaged to decide the places. In the event of any tied places the points given by the Sitting Judge will be decisive.

Entry fee 50p per exhibit.



To take part in this ultimate fishkeeping contest requires one show tank split into 3 sections or 3 separate show tanks.

An egglaying or a livebearing fish can be chosen but all 3 sections/show tanks must contain the SAME SPECIE as follows:
Section/tank 1 - An adult fish of either sex.
Section/tank 2 - A matched pair.
Section/tank 3 - six fish, over four months old, bred by the exhibitor with the date of spawning/birth of the fry and breeding group clearly marked.

Each of the 3 sections will be judged up to 100 points and then the total scores averaged.

The Sitting Judge has sole responsibility for the judging of this contest.

Prizes and cards for 1st to 3rd places.

Entry fee 50p.



Entry fee 20p per exhibit. Prizes and cards for 1st to 3rd places.


Class 1 - Guppy.

Class 2 - AOV Livebearing fish.


Class 3 - Goldfish and AOV Coldwater.

Class 4 - AV Characin of the America’s

Class 5. - AV Fish of the America’s (excluding cichlids and characins).

Class 6 - AV Characin of Africa.

Class 7 - AV Fish of Africa (excluding cichlids and characins).

Class 8 - AV Fish of Asia.

Ladies Day

Class 9 - A Class for lady showers only. AV fish.

Not usually on the show bench

Class 10 - This is a ‘one off’ Class for those fish not usually seen on the showing bench such as Asian Parrot cichlids, Flowerhorns, other hybrid Cichlids, hybrid Synodontis, hybrid Botinae, Hooded Goldfish, Long-finned fish, Albino fish, Xanthic fish etc.
No pointing for this Class. Places to be awarded at the Judges discretion.

All of the Mini-Open Show Classes will be judged by the Sitting Judge. Y.A.A.S. rules and standards apply.

Your chance to show your artistic skills in the following Classes:


Produce a fish craft item. Entry fee 20p per exhibit. Prizes and cards for 1st to 3rd places. Judges to be announced on the day.


Framed or unframed prints up to 25cm by 20cm. Amateur and professional photographers are welcome to exhibit.

Portrait or Landscape e.g. Fish only or Aquarium set up. Exhibitor to choose the classification. Entry fee 20p per exhibit. Prizes and cards for 1st to 3rd places. Judges to be announced on the day.


4 Classes as follows:

1. AV Cichlid of the America’s.

2. AV Cichlid of the African Continent.

3. Cichlid - Matched Pair.

4. Cichlid - Breeders. Six fish, over four months old, bred by the exhibitor with the date of spawning group clearly marked.

Y.A.A.S. Rules and standards apply. Prizes and cards for 1st to 3rd places. Entry fee 20p per exhibit.

FNAS ‘A’ Class Judge Mr. John Cowan will judge these Classes.

Several Specialist Groups have accepted our invitation to present small information table.


Tea, coffee, soft drinks and a variety of food items will be on sale throughout the day.


There will be a special 25th Anniversary raffle.



Regards David


Dan Holdsworth solves the mystery

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1908 the Tunguska event happened. Something, thought by most people to be a comet, exploded above the ground near the Tunguska river in Russia. The Tunguska event has so many connotations and different theories associated with it that I couldn’t possibly do it justice in a small blog post like this, so when you’ve read today’s news hop along to the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event
And now, the news:

Meet the 'radical rodent' surfing mice
VIP treatment for jet-setting sharks
Nessie centres in £1.3m legal row

Sounds like a bit of a ‘ness’ to me.