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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Sunday, August 01, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: Latest News

* Last year we received quite a lot of criticism because although we posted the draft programme months in advance, it was chopped and changed around a lot over the weeks and months. So this year we did the opposite. But now is the first time that we feel reasonably confident that we have something approaching a definitive programme. You can find it HERE

With less than two 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

ANDREW GABLE: Blue Dog Thoughts (1)

I’ve been attempting to contribute somewhat to the Blue Dog research going on in Texas, or at least as much as I can contribute being in the eastern US and unable to offer any real assistance beyond trying to keep up on reports of similar animals, sometimes from other states as well. Which is why I was intrigued when a hairless coyote was reported from Steelton, PA (a suburb of Harrisburg) just this week, on July 20 (it’s bizarrely coincidental that this happens to come only a week or so after several of the hairless canines were shot in Hood County, Texas). Although “mangy coyote” is a common explanation for the Blue Dogs, an examination of the photo of the animal (http://www.wgal.com/news/24323601/detail.html) reveals a few differences. There is a good deal of facial resemblance, implying that indeed the Texas dogs may be at least part coyote, but the Steelton animal lacks the rougher hide of the Texas animals. Also the hind legs appear to be shorter than on the Texas animals, and the ears (although difficult to see clearly) appear to be pointed rather than the more rounded ears on many of the Texas ones.

This isn’t the first hairless animal in the Pennsylvania/Maryland area, however. A family living in a rural area near Joppa (Harford County), Maryland reported a bald canine beastie roaming their property in the summer of 2003. Apparently amateur cryptozoologists, they set up game cameras and captured several photos of the animal, including one of it drinking from a horse trough. In the summer of 2004, a similar animal was seen near Glyndon (Baltimore County), same state. Photographs were also taken of the Glyndon animal, and soon the two Maryland animals were given the name Hyote (hyena/coyote), although the two may not have even been the same individual. At least it wasn’t called Chupacabra, though… in the Glyndon case, though, an animal was captured on the property soon afterwards. The captured beast turned out to be a young red fox with a severe case of sarcoptic mange (some veterinarians felt it may have been afflicted with some sort of endocrine disorder, and not mange).

Autumn, 2005 saw the first reports of the rather endearingly, but unfortunately, named creature called the Yardley Yeti (admittedly, it was also called Lower Makefield Lurker, Bucks County Boggart, or New Hope Hyena, but none of those have the ring of the first name). The animal was sighted in the area surrounding New Hope (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. Chief Ken Coluzzi of the Lower Makefield police received several reports of the “mutant” animal. Eerily, just before Halloween that year, author Jonathan Maberry, who lives in the area, and his wife photographed the “Yeti” in a New Hope parking lot. A local newscaster, Don Polec, also saw the animal, which he said was nearly the size of a German Shepherd dog and grayish in color. Polec wrote an article on the beast in the aftermath of his sighting. The beast as photographed by Maberry seems to be a mangy something or other, but whether it’s a fox, a coyote, or even a domestic dog can’t be said for sure.

One of the things I had mentioned to Naomi was that a perusal of Chad Arment’s Varmints (an invaluable resource on reports of strange carnivores) turned up no older reports of animals resembling the Blue Dogs. In fact, in general the Elmendorf carcass from 2004 is the first mention of them I could track down. There are older reports of canine animals from the same general area as the Blue Dog sightings, but they seem to be of hyena-like animals with hair. There are a few reports of black, canine “vampire” animals from other locales in the southern United States (similar to the sightings of bizarre animals sometimes reported in conjunction with animal mutilations in Britain), but none from Texas proper; this possibly implies that the Blue Dogs are a fairly new phenomenon, whether they are an outside species that for whatever reason migrated to Texas only a few years ago or whether they’re an indigenous one of fairly recent vintage.

Back in the East, an article appeared in the Baltimore Sun a few years ago stating that game wardens were concerned with a recent upswing in reported cases of mange. It is tempting to wonder whether the Texas dogs are merely one facet of a larger phenomenon.

Samson foxes, mentioned by others, are another possibility for the appearances. These are gray foxes which lose much of their hair during the summer months. It is notable that many of these reports of hairless canines take place in the summer and early autumn. Many also seem to be considerably larger than foxes, and it’s interesting to consider whether a similar phenomenon can take place in coyotes.

DALE DRINNON: Land of the Giants

When all is said and done, and when we are talking about the general category of big hairy erect man-ape creatures, the discussion basically begins and ends with Sasquatch. When all is said and done, the Sasquatch stands apart from all the others in several consistent features which are unique to the Sasquatch type alone and are distinct from both the standard humans on the one hand and the standard apes on the other.

Sasquatch feet look approximately like human feet at first glance, butr from the tracks are made, the foot skeleton must be working in a completely inhuman manner. There is no arch to the foot and in walking the foot basically rolls in sections front to back like a caterpillar tread. There must be essentially a set of hinges running straight across the foot at right angles to the long axis of the foot for that to happen, at the phalanges, at the proximal and distal ends of the metatarsals and there must be a most peculiar joint between the tarsals and the metatarsals, and on top of that the ankle must be proportionately much larger than in humans and set further foreward. That is partly in line with Krantz, partly from other authors and partly based on my own assessment.

The head-to-body proportion of the Sasquatch is also inhuman and at best could be compared to a robust Australopithecine. The cranial capacity allowing for the presumed sagittal crest is more in line with the absolute size of the brain in Homo erectus that it would be to Homo sapiens. The stance and walking posture is unusual but I would not insist that makes the gait necessarily inhuman: however it does indicate that the knees and hips are commonly used in a way that is very different from most modern human beings.

I do not work woith Sasquatc material myself, I work with materials pertaining to the Eastern Bigfoot, which I believe to be something else quite different again. Because of this situation, I defer to other authors on the subject and I have done so since the 1990s. Heuvelmans in his checklist deferred to Krantz on the matter of Sasquatch and I also believe that to be the most prudent course of action in this case. Two very good books on the subject are Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence by Grover NS. Krantz, Hancock House 1999,
and North America's Great Ape: The Sasquatch by John A. Bindernagel, Beachcomber Books, 1998.

Having said that much, I also agree with Krantz's classification of Sasquatch as a surviving Gigantopithecus, and I believe I have good indirect evidence for that identification posed in an earlier CFZ blog
And in that blog I also asserted my opinion that the evidence indicates that not only indicates a survival of Gigantopithecus in East Asia, the artistic traditions in East Asia and North America indicate it is the same surviving-Gigantopithecus on both sides of the Pacific.

Grover Krantz justified his naming the animal that left Sasquatch tracks as a Gigantopithecus in an article written in 1986 "A species named from footprints" in Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 19:93-99

Now all of this is only to build up to the assertion that the larger form of Chinese Wildman, Shan-Tu or Kung-Lu is the same as the larger form of Tibetan "Yeti", and that both are surviving Gigantopithecus and the same species as the Sasquatch. A slight side issue arises in this in that the creature in question is often said to be dark grey or black when smaller (younger or females) but lighter gray or white in the larger ones. This is not a mistake, Eberhart mentions in the Yeren entry that the larger Wildmen from Sichuan are reported as ten feet tall and white, and the same description occurs in Tibet and at least once in the cae of the Himalayan Abominable Snowman. So that it appears the "Bumble Snow Monster" does represent a legitimate tradition for the larger "Snowman", which is the same as the Sasquatch. Sanderson says that some Sasquatches are "Grizzled" and can even go white with age: I suspect that it is something like the big male Sasquatches being "Silverbacks" only in their case it is an overall effect. The rumor has also had it that the larger "Snowmen" are thus invisible in snowfields and on glaciers, and although the tradition has been denied, that is what is shown on the Bhutanese stamp showing the largest "Snowman" type

The same sort of Sasquatch creatre also seems to be commonly reported around Manchuria and Southern Siberia especially. That does not equate it with the ChuChunaa, although there seems to be some sort of confusion between the two types in that area.

Incidentally, although the name "Sasquatch" is not exactly any Native name fr the creature, it is close enough to "Sosq'atl" to be considered an English equivalent, given that English-speakers find it much easier to pronounce a ch sound than a tl sound.


I thought that my thread about the Lincoln Imp and other purveyors of impery from around the globe had finally run out of steam, but - just as I was posting this morning's blogs - I was proved wrong with this note from Neil Arnold...

Continuing the Lincoln Imp story, my friend owns a bell, thought to be over 100 years old, showing the figure of the imp.


This was posted to the Bug Club newsgroup yesterday morning. Does anyone know the species?


Since my research into the Texas blue dogs started in earnest about a year ago I have immersed myself in the lore, history and biology of the North American canidae. I was both interested and appalled to find, when I first read this item - which Glen Venezio posted to a Puerto Rico animal newsgroup of which I am a member...

New Mexico Governor Richardson Issues Trap Ban

Governor Bill Richardson today issued an executive order that temporarily bans leg-hold and body-crushing traps within the Mexican wolf recovery area in New Mexico. The Governor's announcement comes less than two months after WildEarth Guardians and a coalition of groups petitioned the Gila National Forest and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban traps within the Mexican wolf recovery zone.

Please send a message to Governor Richardson today thanking him for his bold leadership.

Sadly, more than a dozen Mexican wolves have been caught in steel leg-hold traps in the last few years, including members of the Middle Fork Pack in New Mexico. Today both the alpha male and the alpha female of the Middle Fork Pack have only three legs, one due to a trap injury and the other from a bullet.

The Executive Order also calls for the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish to study whether traps can be used with "minimal risk of harm or injury" and then issue a report to the New Mexico Game Commission. The order also calls on the New Mexico Department of Tourism to issue a report on the potential economic benefits due to wolf ecotourism if a healthy Mexican wolf population existed.

Governor Richardson's announcement and bold leadership come at a critical juncture in the Mexican wolf recovery effort. In the last few months four wolves have been illegally shot, including two alpha males, a female and a two-year old male.

But wolves still need your help. The New Mexico Game Commission will also take the matter up at its next meeting on August 28th in Albuquerque. Please send an email to the Game Commission urging the members to make the Governor's directive more permanent.

Thanks to all of you who have made phone calls, written letters, sent faxes, and showed up at meetings on behalf of the Mexican wolf. We'll continue to keep the pressure on and we plan to make today's good news the beginning of a positive trend for this fascinating and vital animal.

Long Live the Lobo,

John Horning
Executive Director
WildEarth Guardians

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:
If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1976 director Fritz Lang died. Lang is of course best known for the film ‘Metropolis’ and ‘M’.
And now, the news:

Everglades and Madagascar forests on Unesco danger...
Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

Bit hard to find a pun or song with today’s stories, Old Gregg will have to do…