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:


Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


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...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


* Sadly, we have lost another speaker. Lindsay Selby, who is one of our favourite writers here on the blog, has pulled out due to ill health. She has been replaced by American film director Sheridan Thaywer who will be presenting excerpts from his new documentary on Ken Campbell, the Fortean actor, playwright and all round good egg who died a couple of years back. Although we will all miss Lindsay (and I have asked her to come next year instead), Sheridan is a welcome addition to the line-up because Ken C was an old mate of us all, and is sadly missed.

With less than 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

RICHARD FREEMAN: Legends of Lincolnshire #11

Bayard's Leap
A cave in a wood in Ancaster Heath was once inhabited by a witch. She terrorised the local people into giving her whatever she demanded. One family who refused her suffered from a stillborn child. Finally the people decided to do her in.

A local shepherd knew her better than anyone, so he was chosen to be the one to kill her. He was to invite her up onto a horse, then stab her in the breast, and throw her into a pond. He chose between two farm horses by leading them to the pond to drink. He then threw a stone in the water. He used Bayard, the horse that raised its head first. Mounting up, he rode to the witch's cave and called out to her to come and ride with him. She cried back "Wait 'till I've buckled my shoes and suckled the cubs, and I'll be with you."

Eventually the crone emerged and scrambled up onto the horse. He at once plunged his knife into her breast. The old hag, in her agony, clutched at the horse's back with the long sharp nails of her fingers. The horse in alarm made one wild, sudden bound, which landed him full sixty feet from the spot. The witch fell back into the pond, and was drowned; and so her career was ended. Bayard’s horse shoes left imprints next to the pond and a local farm was named `Bayard’s Leap` after the story.


Jason writes: 'do you know what this insect is? Its been in my room the last two nights.'

I actually do know for a change. It is one of my favourite British lepidoptera, but let's see if you guys out in Bloggoland can match my knowledge?


I'm sure you're very busy but here's an item you might want for CFZ blog. Probably not a source you read regularly:

'A plume from the extinct huia bird has sold for a record sum at auction in New Zealand. The feather was bought by a family from Wellington who declined to be identified. The brown and white feather traditionally used to adorn Maori chiefs sold for £3,800. No huia bird has been since 1907' -- Daily Sport, 23 June 2010.


Over on Karl Shuker's blog, he visits one of the most desolate places on earth in search of one of the most peculiar organisms....

Imagine a cold, barren, ghostly desertland whose fog-enshrouded coastline is littered with the sun-bleached wrecks of beached ships and the skeletons of dead sailors, whose sandy dunes not only move stealthily like stalking lions but also roar like them, whose pebbles unexpectedly split apart to reveal bright jewel-like flowers, whose ancient bizarre trees grow not upwards but lengthwise, extending enormous leathery leaves across the ground like alien ribbons, where elephants surf the sand dunes, and where slinking jackals and menacing hyaenas flit like sinister shadows around a long-abandoned oil rig that time and the elements have transformed into a towering edifice of rust and decay. This eerie, surrealistic vista may seem like the bleak landscape of a disturbed dream, but in fact it is an accurate portrayal of one of the world's most amazing regions - the Skeleton Coast, in southwest Africa.

Read On

DALE DRINNON: The Lincoln Impology continues

This is meant mostly as an amplification on my comments about the Lincoln Imp. 'Imp' is a funny word and it was usually taken to be a sort of demon towards the end of the Middle Ages, but before then the word was more usually used to mean one of the smaller and uglier of the Faery realm, a goblin. Goblins and brownies were mostly interchangeable and they were basically described as small hairy-but-naked humans that lived in the woods but could come to live around the house; usually hiding in the cellar or in the dark corners, but they could come out when the masters were asleep to inspect household goods, steal or wreck things - and they could also be trained to do household chores, presumably on the 'Monkey see, monkey do' principle. These are the same stories of the 'Little People' the world over, but these are also characteristics of current seriously-reported Wildmen reports out of Russia. The Wild Woman Zana was one example of a Wild Woman that took to living in a human house and doing household chores.

Oftentimes if the Little People are given human clothing as a reward they will stop working and go away, and the story should be that they thought themselves to be real humans and too good to work as slaves.

The section of Folklore that deals with such creatures calls them household sprits and this is partly because images of the creatures were made and set about the house or garden for protection (maybe in hopes of enticing such a creature into your house to do your work for you.) Nancy Arrowsmith in A Field Guide to the Little People assumes that the kobolds of Germany were originally JUST the carved icons, and the illustration shows basically what looks like a vaguely humanoid carrot stuck into the ground - ancestor of the common garden gnomes later on, I suppose. They are also represented by masks stuck on the walls inside the house, and certain ones of these masks have specific names presumably denoting different kinds of creatures: the same sort of masks or icons are put into churches and in ships for protection. Hence the traditition of representing Wildmen or Wudewasas in churches.

The icons are also ancestral to charms carried for personal use and the kobolds or goblins are ancestral to the Gobbo charms in Italy, considered the most powerful protection against the Evil Eye. 'Gobbo' is supposed to mean 'hunchback' but the concept seems to be pre-Indo-European and the lucky dwarf or hunchback may originally have been distributed throughout Megalithic Europe under the name Kobbok. In Greece the name was Kobalos and this is often given as the root for kobolds.

The leprechauns of Ireland were basically brownies of the 'Shoemaker and the Elves' type run off but still keeping themselves useful. 'Leprechaun' seems to have originally meant only 'Pygmy' but later was commonly construed to mean 'Shoemaker.' As the references below show, there is a wide variety of suggested derivations for all of these terms. And there is not much distinction in character between the helpful imps and the troublemakers except for the fact that the helpful ones might do a person a good turn. The helpful ones are also just as likely to go into a terrible rage and cause physical harm if threatened or mistreated. I shall append the pertinent passage from Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, and then the references from Wikipedia.

Sanderson p. 384
I do not propose to go into the details of MLF. Not only is it not specifically our province but it is, except to specialists, incredibly boring; in fact almost as boring as having to wade through the names and perquisites of gods in multiple pantheons. Also, with respect to ABSMs or ABSM-like creatures, the whole business becomes unutterably monotonous for, from all over the world, the stories told are nothing but almost word-for-word repetitions of the modern reports that I have already given aplenty—giant, funny, or pigmy foot-tracks; tiny, man-sized, or giant hairy people; high-pitched whistles or gibberings; abducting of young human females usually followed by their release; and an almost invariable smiting or eradication of such types "In the beginning." The whole dreary business is a bore but it does still have very great significance, for it means that almost everywhere [apart from Australasia, Oceania, and Antarctica, as far as we know] sub-humans if not sub-hominids inhabited the whole earth prior to the arrival of the first Homo sapiens persons who proceeded to oust them or at least take over their territory.

In ferreting out noticias—as the Spanish so aptly put it—of the existence of these sub-humans in all the welter of written, transcribed, spoken, and remembered MLF, one does, however, have to be extremely careful to observe one basic fact. This is the very clear distinction made by most peoples—though little so by Caucasoids of the West during the past few hundred years—between three types of Beings; exclusive of the all-pervading Spirit, or God. These are: (1) Divine Entities, being representatives of God, gods, demi-gods, or disembodied noncorporeal personalities of another world but which may appear in this one and influence it. These are entities

in their own right that, while being able to assume human form or "enter into" humans, do not change their own identities. (2) Disembodied Spirits of various kinds. These may be the souls of people, dead or alive, mass-produced ancestors, spirits of animals, plants, stones, or anything else, either collective [generic] or individual, together with all manner of lares and penates. To most peoples these are just as real as living people, animals, or plants. (3) Unknown or as yet undiscovered but live, corporeal things.

ABSMs have always fallen very clearly and distinctly into the third class. Nowhere in the world is there any doubt about this. If asked, the "benighted natives" will usually say something like the Nepalese at Pangboche when asked by Stonor about the Meh-Teh alleged to have been seen the year before. The answer he got was "How could they [i.e. any of Nos. 1 or 2] leave footprints?"

I have a fancy that a somewhat extensive galaxy of alleged creatures in the folklore of Western Europe is of this same most pragmatic nature. If you come to look into what was said about Fairies, Pixies, Trolls, Titans, Vampires, Ghouls, Gnomes, Imps, Bogies, Brownies, Elves, Leprechauns, Satyrs, Ogres, and Fauns [as diametrically opposed to "ghosts," "specters," "apparitions," "spirits," "phantoms," "wraiths," "spooks," "banshees," "lemures," or "lorelei," which were definitely of Class 2], you will find that they may all be summed up by the classic line from the somewhat bawdy old English song that begins "There are fairies at the bottom of our garden"

Creatures, usually hairy, generally malignant, only rarely benevolent, but perfectly capable of breeding, as well as communicating with human beings, form the basis of these tales. And note, they come in four convenient sizes. The same may be said for all similar types known by whatever other languages all over Europe, North Africa, and a great part of what is today Russia. There seem, indeed, to have been "in the beginning" ABSMs of just the usual four types—pigmy; man-sized [and specifically of the Neanderthaler kind]; giant; and the bestial Meh-Teh with its abominable feet [cloven?] and pointed head.[end of Sanderson passage]


Origins and etymology
The kobold's origins are obscure. Sources equate the domestic kobold with creatures such as the English
boggart, hobgoblin and pixy, the Scottish brownie, and the Scandinavian nisse or tomte;[1][2][3][4][5] while they align the subterranean variety with the Norse dwarf and the Cornish knocker.[6][7]
Kobold beliefs represent the survival of
pagan customs into the Christian and modern eras and offer hints of how pagan Europeans worshipped in the privacy of their homes.[9] Religion historian Otto Schrader has suggested that kobold beliefs derive from the pagan tradition of worshipping household deities thought to reside in the hearth fire.[10] Alternatively, Nancy Arrowsmith and George Moorse have said that the earliest kobolds were thought to be tree spirits.[11] According to 13th-century German poet Conrad of Würzburg, medieval Germans carved kobolds from boxwood and wax and put them "up in the room for fun".[12] Mandrake root was another material used.[13] People believed that the wild kobold remained in the material used to carve the figure.[11] These kobold effigies were 30 to 60 cm (one to two feet) high and had colourful clothing and large mouths. One example, known as the monoloke, was made from white wax and wore a blue shirt and black velvet vest.[13] The 17th century expression to laugh like a kobold may refer to these dolls with their mouths wide open, and it may mean "to laugh loud and heartily".[12] These kobold effigies were stored in glass and wooden containers.[13] German mythologist Jacob Grimm has traced the custom to Roman times and has argued that religious authorities tolerated it even after the Germans had been Christianised.[6]

Several competing etymologies for kobold have been suggested. In 1908, Otto Schrader traced the word to kuba-walda, meaning "the one who rules the house" [since wald ordinarily means "forest", it would seem that the original meaning would actually have been "One who dwells in the forest"].[10] According to this theory, the root of the word is chubisi, the Old High German word for house, building, or hut, and the word akin to the root of the English cove. The suffix -old means "to rule".[14][15]
Grimm has provided one of the earlier and more commonly accepted etymologies for kobold,
[3] tracing the word's origin through the Latin cobalus to the Greek koba'los, meaning "rogue". The change to the word-final -olt is a feature of the German language used for monsters and supernatural beings. Variants of kobold appear as early as the 13th century.[18] The words goblin and gobelin, rendered in Medieval Latin as gobelinus[19][20], may in fact derive from the word kobold or from kofewalt.[16][21] Related terms occur in Dutch, such as kabout, kabot, and kabotermanneken.[12] Citing this evidence, British antiquarian Charles Hardwick has argued that the house kobold and similar creatures, such as the Scottish bogie, French goblin, and English Puck, all descend from the Greek kobaloi, creatures "whose sole delite consists in perplexing the human race, and evoking those harmless terrors that constantly hover round the minds of the timid."[22] In keeping with Grimm's definition, the kobaloi were spirits invoked by rogues.[23] Similarly, British writer Archibald Maclaren has suggested that kobold beliefs descend from the ancient Roman custom of worshipping lares, household gods, and penates, gods of the house and its supplies.[24]

Another class of kobold lives in underground places. Folklorists have proposed that the mine kobold derives from the beliefs of the ancient Germanic people. Scottish historical novelist Walter Scott has suggested that the Proto-Norse based the kobolds on the short-statured Finns, Lapps, and Latvians who fled their invasions and sought shelter in northern European caves and mountains. There they put their skills at smithing to work and, in the beliefs of the proto-Norse, came to be seen as supernatural beings. These beliefs spread, becoming the kobold, the Germanic gnome, the French goblin and the Scottish bogle.[25]
German writer Heinrich Smidt believed that the sea kobolds, or Klabautermann, entered German folklore via German sailors who had learned about them in England. However, historians David Kirby and Merja-Liisa Hinkkanen dispute this, claiming no evidence of such a belief in Britain. An alternate view connects the Klabautermann myths with the story of Saint Phocas of Sinope. As that story spread from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Scholar Reinhard Buss instead sees the Klabautermann as an amalgamation of early and pre-Christian beliefs mixed with new creatures.[27]

[Klabautermannen are represented by carved wooden figurines or masks which are said to bring good luck to ships, and these descend from similar wooden representations made in houses and gardens in the wooded and hill countries.]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The kobalos (pl. kobaloi) was a sprite from Greek mythology, a mischievous creature fond of tricking and frightening mortals.[1] Greek myths depict the kobaloi as "impudent, thieving, droll, idle, mischievous, gnome-dwarfs",[2] and as "funny, little triksy elves" of a phallic nature.[3] They were companions of Dionysus [which identifies them as the same as satyrs]and could shapeshift as Dionysus in the guise of Choroimanes-Aiolomorphos.[4] According to one myth, they robbed Herakles while he slept. He captured them in revenge but took pity on them when he found them amusing.[This is the same story told of the Cecropes or Apes] In one version of the myth, Herakles gave them to the Lydian queen Omphale as a gift. The kobaloi were thought to live in Euboea or near Thermopylai.[2]

Parents used tales of the kobaloi to frighten children into behaving.[5] The term also means "impudent knave, arrant rogue" in ancient Greek, and such individuals were thought to invoke kobaloi spirits.[6] Depictions of kobaloi are common in ancient Greek art. Robert Brown has speculated that their inhuman features show that the kobaloi are non-Hellenic in origin.[2]

The kobalos is related to two other Greek sprites: the
kabeiroi (pygmies with large phalluses) and the kerkopes.[2] The kobalos and kabeiroi came to be equated.[2] Other European sprites may derive from belief in kobaloi. This includes spirits such as the Lancashire boggart, Scottish bogle, [Welsh bwca], French goblin, Medieval gobelinus, German kobold, and English Puck.[7] Likewise, the names of many European spirits may derive from the word kobalos. The word entered Latin as cobalus, then possibly French as gobelin. From this, the English goblin [and the regional variants hob and hob-goblin] and Welsh coblynu may derive.[8]

['Kerkopes' were said to have been transformed into monkeys by Zeus, hence the term Cercopithecines to mean 'Old-world monkeys.' Since no monkeys or apes are actually native to Greece, there has also been the suggestion that the creatures were the same as the fauns and satyrs of other myths]

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1945 Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, was born. Few people are aware of the dark truth behind the adventures of the portly puss but the comic is actually about the fevered dreams of Garfield as he is starving to death in an empty house having been abandoned by everyone, see here:


Well, that was depressing; here’s the news:

Rare Otter civet filmed for first time in Borneo
Australia's marsupials 'have American roots'
Jesus seen in chicken's feathers

Operating standard chicken procedures: