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 three episodes pretty much at random:


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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: The Lincoln Imp

Hi Jon,

After reading Richard's tale of the Lincoln Imp, I thought you'd be interested in posting the attached image - two postcards I own concerning the imp.




This almost unbelievable story turned up in my email inbox a few days ago. The accompanying text reads:

'Los Angeles Herald, November 19, 1905. Americans in the 19th and early 20th century were nuts about "wild men," which is why circus geeks were a popular attraction: It was like a chance to see Bigfoot in captivity. Everybody knew wild men were out there in the wilderness: Newspapers at this time would report rural sightings of supposed wild men (or women) all the time. They were always described as being "as fleet as a deer," many could jump 15 feet or more in a single bound (!), and they all lived on raw meat of some sort (cattle, snakes, whatever). Your typical showbiz wild man was probably just a hobo in a fright wig with just enough teeth left to bite the head off a live chicken. But as this story shows, some enterprising carnies were willing to go that extra mile to impress the marks.'

Read more (and see the rest of the clipping)

DALE DRINNON: Revised Abominable Family Trees

Ivan Sanderson finishes up his book Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961) with a suggested family tree of what he termed as ABSMs together with apes and men. This chart always intrigued me because several placements imply relationships that are not where you would expect them to be. Sasquatch and the neo-giants are on the Neanderthal level for one thing, a position that fits for the eastern Bigfoot I am more familar with around here but a rather odd placement considering what he says about sasquatches in general. And by the chart, proto-pygmys are fully human.

Given that the chart was made probably decades before comparisons of DNA revolutionised the making of such family trees some discrepancies with the more modern way of looking at things was understandable.

For comparison I also include a standard family tree chart drawn on genetic information.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be a key and basic inter-relationship between yetis and sasquatches, which most researchers have missed. They are both apparantly in the Asian-ape line of development and completely apart from the African apes (and presumably including human beings in with the African apes)

To illustrate this I include a graphic of my own, just made up, to demonstrate what seems to be going on. And things are not quite exactly what would be expected on THAT family tree either.



In Japanese folklore it is said that on the 100th birthday of a discarded object a magical thing happens. What was once someone's functionless debris is now animated and given self-awareness. It is said that out of spite most of these young spirits turn to lives of debauchery and deviance, although some, those who choose to do well with their newfound independence, earn the chance to attain enlightenment.

This is Kameosa... 'the old jar.' Ironically it becomes a vessel of inexhaustible plenty. Its joyful, giving nature are sure to bring promise in its following lives.

Derrick Wesley McNew
Speedball nib pen & acrylic ink
8.5" x 14"


Some years ago I was asked to travel to Geneva, Switzerland, and look into a rather peculiar story. During my stay I went with some colleagues to the huge Lake LeMan, and took the opportunity to investigate one of the areas greatest mysteries – that of the terrible LeMan Eels.
In the thirteenth century William, Bishop of Lausanne, started to receive complaints from fishermen that they were being “troubled by eels”. Some were simply scaring the fish. Others – of an altogether larger variety - were supposedly gobbling up the fishermen.
William decided that the Devil was behind it all (he was to blame for everything in those days) and promptly carried out an exorcism.
Unfortunately the eels apparently didn’t attend and were unaware that they’d been banished to a remote part of the lake where they couldn’t cause any more trouble.
Since then, stories of the giant eels have persisted, although most modern Genevans I spoke to seemed blissfully unaware of their presence.
When we arrived at Port des Mouettes the weather was quite good. The sun was shining but I noticed with some concern that the water was pretty choppy. Still, duty called and I wasn’t going to let the Swiss see that the world’s greatest paranormal investigator was scared of the water.
I boarded the Solaris and as we pulled away from the quayside I was determined to find out if the terrible eels of Lake LeMan truly existed. Captain Cyril was very helpful. Yes, he conceded, the lake was an enchanted place, but he was a Parisian – nobly, I did not hold this against him - and although having worked the lake for years, was not immersed in the local culture enough to know too much about the eel stories.
As we headed to Port Noir, the longest leg of the journey, I kept my eyes peeled. Hoping against hope, I really wanted to catch site of something large, dark and slithery gliding through the water. It was not to be.
At Port Noir I talked to some locals.
“Yes, I’ve heard the stories”, a young man called George told me. “Do I believe them? I don’t know. One day, you know, I thought…but no; it was my imagination, I think.”
Leaving the Solaris – a fine vessel – we transferred to the older L’eau de Vive. I talked to one of the passengers, a young woman who, in a decidedly frosty manner, made it quite clear that she a) didn’t believe in the eels and b) didn’t want to feed the paranoid delusions of mad Englishmen who came to Switzerland hunting for them. True, I really was paranoid, deluded, mad and English, but surely she could have been a tad more sympathetic. Oh, well. You can’t win ‘em all, I suppose.
As the L’eau de Vive docked at Perle du Lac it dawned on me that Genevans do not seem to have the same thirst for mysteries as we do. Back at my hotel I talked to waiters, bar staff and tourists. Some had heard of the eels; others had not. Intriguingly, none seemed to have the faintest interest in finding out the truth.
“If they’re there, they’re there…” policeman Norman Gross told me.
Lake LeMan – which has borne the same name since Roman times – possesses a timeless beauty. Near the shore one occasionally sees boulders that seem to be floating bizarrely on the water’s surface. In fact they are huge rocks deposited there during the last Ice Age, and their submerged aspects trace all the way down to the bed of Lake LeMan – the lake where the terrifying eels are said to dwell.
Did I see them? No, but I wasn’t put off. If there weren't giant eels in Lake LeMan then I'd bloody well find them elsewhere.
And I did, or at least a reference to them. Ironically, they turned out to be dwelling in darkest Northumberland.
Back in 1807 – on June 21, to be precise – a resident of the village of Morrick decided that he needed some water.
"Go to the well", his missus suggested.
"Which one?"
"The one with all that wet stuff in…you know, water".
After informing his spouse that she was a complete smart-arse (he meant it in a caring, sharing sort of way) the man proceeded to the well, which was just less that six feet in depth and three feet in diameter.
So far so good. The chap lowered his bucket into the orifice and shuggied it about a bit to get the wet stuff in. Then he hauled it back up, proud of himself that he had managed to engage in such a sophisticated process so successfully. And that's where things started to go a bit shonky, as we Geordies say.
There was indeed water in the bucket, but not nearly as much as he had hoped for. Basically, the problem was all to do with the laws of physics, which dictate that when you place an object in water it will displace exactly the same amount of wet stuff as its own volume. A goodly amount of water had indeed been displaced – right over the edge of the bucket. But by what, pray? He looked again, and suddenly saw that the receptacle contained far more than H2O. There was a bloody great black thing in there, and it was moving.
The Black Thing, as it became known, was thirty-six inches in length and had a girth of seven and one-half inches. The resident of Morrick carted the Black Thing home in his bucket.
"Did you get the water?"
"Sort of, pet".
"What do you mean, 'sort of'?"
"Well, its sort of fortified, if you get what I mean…you know, like they say on them adverts: 'New improved Morrick Water – now with extra added eels!'"
His missus grabbed the Black Thing – or the Great Eel of Morrick – as it was later renamed – and slapped it on the scales.
"Bloody hell…it weighs over four pounds!"
In the absence of the Geordie Eel Police, who were busy doing other things, an investigation was instigated by the local vicar. It was established that there were no tunnels in the well that connected to any other water source. The only way the Black Thing could have got in the well was to either a) have been spawned there, or b) climbed in from the top. Neither of these struck the vicar or his fellow investigators as viable propositions.
The mystery of the Great Eel of Morrick was never solved; but at least the critter existed, unlike those diminutive, cowardy-custard, nancified types in Lake LeMan, which may or may not.
I'm going to ask my colleague and fellow Geordie investigator John Triplow – although he doesn't know it yet – to join me in an expedition to Morrick in an effort to track down the truth about the Giant Eel. Who knows, we may even find one. If we do, we'll bring back the evidence one way or another. That'll show them Genevans.…

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: Good Morning Campers

If you want to camp at the hall this year you must register with Mrs Yvonne Robertson at the hall. Until we have details of how to do this please just let Jon know. Camping permits are a fiver a head for the weekend.

If you are a speaker or crew and want to camp let Jon know and he will probably be in a position to pay the camping fee.

With only three weeks to go, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1834 the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge died.
And now, the news:

Homo sapiens lived in South America at least 100,0...
Meet 100-year old Salamander (Via HerpDigest)
Calaveras Frogs Jump Farther (HerpDigest)
Frog killer caught in the act
Hundreds of endangered Malagasy tortoises have bee...
Primitive Frogs Do a Belly Flop (Via Herp Digest)

Something somewhat less poetic than Coleridge’s works was once written about frogs by someone who really should have known better: