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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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The latest Russian Lake Monster story has taken the cryptozoological world by storm, and today both Richard Freeman and Dale Drinnon provide their own unique takes on the events...

This article appeared in the Daily Mail in the UK, the other day, and can be found here

Russian fishermen demand an investigation into killer Nesski's 19 lake deaths in three years

Russian fishermen are demanding a probe into a creature resembling the Loch Ness monster in a remote Siberian lake. Locals say that 'Nesski' has devoured anglers who have been pulled into the murky waters of Lake Chany from their boats. Those claiming to have glimpsed the creature say it resembles the classic long-necked image of Scotland's fabled monster. It has also been called 'snake-like', while other accounts suggest a large fin and huge tail.

In this photo illustration, a witness points to where one of the men went missing, alongside a close-up of the creature that has been dubbed 'Nesski' The latest mysterious death of a 59-year-old man last week has fuelled demands for a proper probe into what lurks beneath the surface of Chany, one of Russia's largest freshwater lakes. 'I was with my friend... some 300 yards from the shore,' said 60-year-old Vladimir Golishev. ''He hooked something huge on his bait, and he stood up in the boat to reel it in.
'But it pulled with such force that he overturned the boat. I was in shock - I had never seen anything like it in my life.
'I pulled off my clothes and swam for the shore, not daring hope I would make it.'

He said his friend was pulled under the surface, a description in common with earlier incidents. 'He didn't make it - and they have found no remains.' Three years ago 32-year-old Mikhail Doronin - a special services soldier - was lost. 'The lake was calm, but suddenly the boat was rocking, and it capsized,' said his 80-year-old grandmother Nina, who has lived beside the lake all her life. 'Something of an awesome scale lives in the lake, but I have never seen it,' said her husband, Vladimir, 81. Official figures say 19 people have drowned in the lake in the past three years and in most cases their remains were never found. Locals say the true figures are higher. Some bodies that have been washed up had been eaten by a creature with large teeth, they claim.
'It is time to find out the truth,' said Golishev.

Unlike deep Loch Ness, Lake Chany is no than 23 feet in depth. Frozen in winter, it is warm and popular with swimmers in summer. It is known to contain large carp.

The lake is 57 miles in length by 55 miles in width. A relic of the Ice Age, accounts of monsters in its waters were first made public in Soviet times.--Lake Chany is about 200 miles east of Omsk and is in the Ob River system basin. However I thought it might help to add a quick map of the Central Asian Water Monsters to demonstrate the common threads among them (locations of some lakes are only roughly indicated owing to the scale)

Here is a quick rundown on these creatures from standard internet sources (Wikipedia, etc: ultimately drawn from sources such as Peter Costello and Bord and Bord)

Canavar (Lake Van in Turkey): Also known as Vanna or the Lake Van monster, this creature has created quite the controversey of late since the Lake Van footage was taken. This shows an object, presumed to be the monster, swimming at great speeds through the lake. Then there is a close up of the beast's presumed head which could be legitimate, although there is something odd about the way the creature moves. A legend of a beast in the lake goes as far back as all written history of the region goes, and there is a depiction of the beast in an engraving in an ancient church on one of the lake's four islands. The canavar is said to bear triangular spikes on it's back. These could be the scutes along a sturgeon's spine.

Vorota beast (Lake Vorota in Siberia): One of several isolated lakes on the Sordongnokh tablelands which are said to contain monsters. The closest villiage is 120 kilometers away from the lake, and even so very few, if any, people ever visit the lake, because they are afraid of the beast within. It was seen by a geologic expedition to the tableland, and sicne then a few expeditions have been sent to look for of, two out the three having seen the creature. It is described as being about ten meters long, with a head two meters wide with widely seperated eyes. It was grey in colour and had a dorsal fin about one meter high, being shaped like the fin of a shark or porpoise. It was said to move "in a jumping manner", in the fashion of a porpoise. Other sightings saw the same creature, sometimes describing "humps" on the surface. The humps as usual merely indicate the waves in the wake on the surface.

Lake Labinkir carnivore (Lake Labinkir in Siberia): Another Siberian creature, the Lake Labinkir beast is feared because of it's dangerously agressive disposition and carnivorous habits. The first reliable reports date back to the 60's, as that is when people started to settle more aound the lake. Witnesses saw the beast swimming beneath the lake ice, and said it was lizard-like. It should be mentioned that Lake Labinkir is freezing cold, and is covered in ice for much of the year. People have also observed the creatures rising out of the lake to catch birds in mid flight, and one hunter who sent his dog to retrieve a goose that had fallen in to the lake after being shot lost both the goose and his dog to the beast! This all sounds very similar to Ogopogo, and the "Long Neck" reports due to the long fishlike creature occasionally leaping into the air.

Kokkol (Various lakes of Turkestan, Central Asia): Named after Lake Kokkol, where one such beast was seen by an archaeologist and his son, the Kokkol creatures are large serpents said to dwell in various lakes in the Tien Shan mountain range area. The beasts are said to be immense serpents, perhaps 20 meters long, inhabiting the cold lakes. The head is described as being similar to a beluga sturgeon's head in size and shape, but the estimated body length is doubled of what it should be.

The Lake Kanas giant fish are also in the area where China abuts Russia and Mongolia. These are often written of as if they are gigantic landlocked salmon (Hucho) but it seems that this is based on a mosprint for the genus of giant Sturgeon, Huso.

It would seem that the "Nesski" is another fish of the same type: Huso sturgeon can be very large, and capable of running into small boats and upsetting them. There are other reports elsewhere alleging that they will eat swimming men and dogs, and so that part is not surprising. NONE of these Water-monsters are really long-necked, and the "Nesski" photgraph very likely simply shows the sharklike tailfin of a big sturgeon going away.

Once again to recap in case some readers have missed it, Huso sturgeon are of a different body shape than ste smaller Acipenser sturgeon, shaped more like a whale with a much blunter snout. Their scutes are relatively smaller and spread out instead of overlapping. There is a good chance that the white sturgeon of the far Western parts of North America are Huso sturgeons, but any sturgeons at Loch Ness would NOT be. The ones that are seen as "Water monsters" in Central Asia and Siberia might well be of the "Known" species: but if a similar creature is being sighted in Central Canada and the Great Lakes region, it is presumably an unknown species: Huso is supposed to be unknown there.


The latest Russian Lake Monster story has taken the cryptozoological world by storm, and today both Richard Freeman and Dale Drinnon provide their own unique takes on the events...

One of Russia’s largest lakes seems to be the home a large, powerful and dangerous creature that locals say has killed 19 fishermen. Lake Chany is virtually unknown in the west but it is a vast expanse of water covering 770 square miles. Its is 57 miles long by 55 miles wide but is fairly shallow at only 23 feet deep with an average depth of only 6 feet. Lake Chany is in the southern part of the province of Novosibirsk Oblast close to the borders of Kazakhstan.

The creature involved in the attacks is described as serpentine and huge. The beast claimed its latest victim, a 59 year old fisherman last week. 60 year old Vladimir Golishev was in the boat then the creature overturned it and dragged his friend away. He told the Daily Mail...

“I was with my friend some 300 yards from the shore. He hooked something huge on his bait and stood up to reel it in. But it pulled with such force it overturned the boat. I was in shock-I had never seen anything like it in my life. I pulled off my clothes and swam for the shore, not daring hope I would make it. He didn’t make it and thy have found no remains. It’s time to find out the truth.”

In 2007 a 23 year old special services soldier, Mikhail Doronin was lost when something capsized his boat. His 80 year old grandmother Nina was watching from the shore and said that the lake was calm. Her husband 81 year old husband Vladimir said “Something on an awesome scale lives in the lake, but I have never seen it.”

Official figures say that 19 people have vanished in the lake in the past three years. Locals say the figure is actually much higher and that remains have washed ashore with bite marks showing large teeth.

Now fishermen are demanding an official probe.

Lake Chany is too far north and far too cold for crocodiles.

In Kazakhstan there is a tradition of gigantic black snakes 10 meters long. On my almasty expedition in 2008 the Ukrainian archeologist Anatoly Sidorenko told me that he had seen such a serpent in Kazakhstan and his father, an experienced hunter in his youth had seen one as well. Snakes how ever swallow their food whole and do not bite it into pieces.

The creature could be a gigantic eel or alternatively something unknown to science. It may be a giant semi-aquatic reptile, possibly one that hibernates in winter. The case brings to mind medieval stories of lake and mire dwelling dragons. The long and short of it is that as it stands there is too little information on which to make a decent guess at the nature of the beast.

This story runs like something out of a Hollywood horror movie. A giant serpentine monster lurking in a lake and eating human victims. A community held in terror and demanding an investigation. One wonders if an offical investigation will ever take place and if it does, what it will find?



The new radio-show I'll be co-hosting with Raven Meindel - Exploring all Realms - starts this Thursday night, 8PM Central (the show site link is contained in the link below). The first guest is legendary author Brad Steiger, so if you can make it, see you Thursday!


Feel free to link etc to the press-release.



Dear Readers,

Most of you will have heard of Beth Tyler King who runs Hartland Animal Rescue. Despite being totally deaf, Beth works seven days a week rescuing injured animals and nursing them back to health. Those too badly injured to find a home in the wild she keeps herself or finds good homes for. I have entered Beth into an online competition were you can upload stories about deserving people and their work. The winner will get £1000 to help them with their good deeds.

Can everyone please click on the link below and vote for Beth, she really deserves it.



Much to the surprise of everybody involved, today saw the 4,000th posting on the main CFZ Bloggo. When you add the 3,200 newsblog stries and the articles on the smaller blogs on the CFZ Bloggo network this really is a phenomenal number...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 2003 the United States government finally admitted the existence of Area 51. Area 51 is and has been involved in the production and testing of top secret and experimental weaponry and aircraft so has been associated with a fair few UFO sightings presumably sightings of experimental craft, but some ufologists believe that a number of these craft may be alien in origin or use back engineered alien technology. I don’t, but then I’m by no means an expert in UFOs or aliens so you needn’t take my word for it.
And now, the news:

Octopus Paul retires from football
Marching ducks join Houston Police Academy
Wild Horse Roundup suspended
Hot monkeys love a lolly
Dog honks for help when left in a hot car
Dog 'shoots' owner in New Zealand
Drunk man bitten after riding on crocodile's back
River Dolphin threat

Ok, continuing the song theme how about this one:


Over on Kaye's blog things are getting a little in tents (intense)...