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...

Search This Blog



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...

Monday, September 06, 2010

DONDI RATLIFF: Blue Dog report

Hello there, Mr Downes.

I'm Dondi Ratliff and I live here in Texas. I keep tabs on your site and blog. I'm fascinated by cryptozoology and the like, so it's definitely in my bookmark list. ;)

I'm writing today because my sister, who is an editor of the Olney Enterprise newspaper, just contacted me about a "chupacabra" sighting. Now, having seen you and Corinna came down to Texas in March looking for the blue dogs, I figured you might find this interesting. Is it a parasite or mangy coyote or raccoon? They've sent it off for testing after having shot it. It apparently bit a woman, though!

This is more or less in my "neighborhood" in that it's in Jack County, about one up and over from where I am in Stephens (I've attached a .gif I found with Texas counties on it so you're not completely lost with the names I'm tossing out - we have something like 245 counties in Texas or something akin to that). I know you and the team were down to the south looking for blue dogs, but this article from KAUZ Channel 6 in Wichita Falls states that other "grey" looking "chupacabras" have been found in Hood and Wise counties (south of Jack and east of it, respectively). They turned out to be parasite-filled coyotes and mangy raccoons, so this one may turn out the same. But who knows? The link my sister pointed me to is:


She's from Texoma, but was in Jack County.

Now, my sister had something interesting to say about the blue dogs/"chupacabra" - she's heard that some decades ago, the coyote population here in Texas was such a nuisance that the Texas or national government actually infected several populations with mange or some other form of illness trying to eradicate them. These creatures may be the descendants or results of that attempt. I don't know where she got her information, and it may just be an old wives' tale she's heard some old folks talking about in the countryside, but there you have it.

I'll see if she can't keep me posted on what turns up out of this, if anything!

- Miss Dondi Ratliff

HARRIET WADHAM REPORTING: More on Australian Big Cats

EDITOR'S NOTE: At the 2009 event Harriet met Neil Arnold and bought his two CFZ Press books. Neil was forced to cancel his 2010 WW appearance due to work commitments, although he has said that he will do his best to get to the 2011 event. Harriet is still not placated, and continues to berate poor Neil. If she is like this at 11, God help some poor lad in ten years time LOLOL

Now to inform those such as Neil Arnold (I’m talking to you again!!) just what was relayed to the spectators of the Australian Big Cats lecture…

As the lights dimmed and the first slide came up on the projector, the sound of what Rebecca afterwards identified as a cougar growl echoed around the lecture theatre. She introduced her talk and then the next slide appeared - a family-friendly warning, letting it be known that during the presentation there would be films that would make some people uncomfortable or that parents may not want to let their young children see. I don’t think there were any young children or any squeamish people in the audience; however, the warning wasn’t wasted on anyone because we could be prepared for a bit of gore, such as the videos of the big cat prey.

A film that particularly startled me was one of some extremely badly mauled sheep. The sheep pictured in the film had the top part of its jaw chewed off and its tongue was dry from having had no roof over it. Sceptics, where’s your proof that big cats AREN’T in Australia? It couldn’t have been mauled by a pack of wild dogs as they usually all gang up on one animal, and the corpse would have been scratched and bitten all over. This big cat was interrupted during its feasting, which was why only the sheep’s muzzle was chewed. After filming, the injured sheep were put down.

Rebecca commentated on all the videos as they were playing, giving the facts to us so we could see the scenario clearer; also she told us about people she had had a conversation with about Australian big cats; during these the other person gave their opinion about the subject at hand. So, Neil Arnold, here is your summary of an awesome talk. I hoped you enjoyed it and keep reading, fellers!

SAMUEL MANASEH: Bob the friendly fish

Hello there; I think your biologists will find the following video from Brazil quite interesting:

CARL PORTMAN: Challenge to Corinna


This is the very poorest of a set of photographs I have of a bird growing in several stages of development. You are a ‘bird expert’ so I am going to see how long before you identify it. So, give it your first punt...

Only ONE guess each time...


Dear Carl,

As I sit here stroking my chin looking at the photo, with a look of intent concentration etched across my face, methinks this could be a tricky one. Another slurp from my coffee mug and I would have to ask, however - from a scientific point of view you understand - what is the box behind the bird (for scaling purposes) and was this photo taken chez vous or at a ‘bird kindergarten’ in a zoo?

Two quite important questions perhaps, but even if those questions were answered it would probably still leave that furrowed look upon my brow for I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what sort of bird this little creature would grow up to be once it donned a suitable set of feathers and proper wings. But for the record, I don’t reckon it is a wren.

One guess a day eh? You are a hard taskmaster...erm, uhm, a bird born without down...hmm ...my guess for today is...a jay. I am right aren’t I! I get a badge for extreme cleverness don’t I?

love as always



Hey Jon

On Friday 3rd September the Sky Chinese televison station CCTV9 aired their long-running series Nature & Science. Sometimes they repeat this programme a couple of days later.

I try to catch this programme as sometimes it features fish-related topics.

The first part of the programme was all about the Chinese Caveman. Sorry I did not note the location but local people, who are very afraid of the yeti-like creature they frequently encounter, found strands of hair fastened around bushes.

The hair was passed on to the local science community. These folk became very excited as it matched no known animal. Sadly, after much research, they discovered that this hair was actually strands of a rare algae-like plant.

Only a small note but may be of use.

Regards, David

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1936 Buddy Holly was born (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku5UeUT7yIQ&).
And now, the news:

Black panther back on the prowl...
Police issue warning after Highland big cat sighti...
Another "Lost" Amphibian Rediscovered (Via HerpDig...
Bear Attack Highlights Lax Ohio Exotic Pet Laws (...
Scientists Research Alligators, Chickens (Via Her...
Diamondback Terrapins Focus of Barnegat Bay (Via H...
Atlanta Zoo Faces State Inspection After Snake Esc...
Anson Wong Jailed for 95 Snakes On A Plane -6 Mont...
Bee decline already having dramatic effect on poll...
Sea snake sighted at Sanghumukhom
‘Panther’ sighted at caravan park
Whaling and fishing for the largest species has al...
Coyote lunges at two children, bites father in Rye Brook...

Being bitten in your Rye Brook sounds quite painful....

A REAL EXCLUSIVE: Karl Shuker has done it again


I have been publishing material by Karl Shuker for sixteen years and have been his friend even longer, and still he has the capacity to completely flabbergast me. Over the years he has regularly come out with revelations that knock me for six but this one takes the biscuit. 80-odd years late, a photograph of the aftermath of one of the most intriguing episodes in 20th Century cryptozoology has emerged.

Well done, Karl.