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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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...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: Job Vacancy - Bigfoot hunters wanted

Wanted: A team to look for Bigfoot 2010-10-10 13:20:00

Beijing, Oct 10 (IANS) A research association in China has launched a global recruitment drive to form a team to search for the legendary and elusive ape-like creature called Bigfoot.The Hubei Wild Man Research Association in Hubei province will launch the search in the Shennongjia forest region. Located in the remote mountains in Hubei, the reserve has long been rumoured to be the Bigfoot's home, the China Daily reported.The association, which comprises of over 100 scientists and explorers, is hoping the search could end the long-running debate on the existence of the 'half-human, half-ape' creature, said its vice president Luo Baosheng. Over 400 people have claimed to have seen Bigfoot in Shennongjia but no evidence has been found to prove its existence. They say the creature walks upright, is more than two metres tall in adult stage and has a gray, red or black hairy body.The association said the team members should be between 25 to 40 years old and with good physical health.They should also have a basic knowledge of biology and know how to use a camera.


Chinese researchers to relaunch 'Bigfoot' search By Katy Byron, CNN
Job: Find Bigfoot.

Scientists in China's Hubei Province have announced they are looking for additional members for its special team tasked with tracking down the creature.The Hubei Wild Man Research Association (HWMRA) is recruiting researchers internationally to join the group's search in the Shennongjia forest region, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.Luo Baosheng, vice president of the HWMRA, told Xinhua that the organization is comprised of more than 100 scientists and explorers who have been chasing the ape-like animal for years. The last time a organized search took place was in the early 1980s, Xinhua reported Saturday."Most importantly, we want the team members to be devoted, as there will be a lot of hard work in the process," Luo told Xinhua. Team members are also expected to be in good physical health and preferably 25 to 40 years of age, he added.The search for the phantom, known as the "Yeren" or "Wild Man" in China, will cost at least $1.5 million U.S. dollars, according to Wang Shancai, a member of the the group and an archaeologist with the Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The group is seeking funding from various companies and institutions, Wang said.Chinese researchers have been searching since the 1970s. There have been more than 400 reported sightings of the half-man, half-ape in the Shennongjia area. In the past, explorers have found inconclusive evidence that researchers claimed to be proof of Bigfoot's existence, including hair, footprints, excrement and a sleeping nest, Xinhua reported.Witnesses say the creature walks upright like a human but is much taller, and is covered in hair head-to-toe. The search for Yeti is not restricted to China.People in the United States have been looking for years. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) claims it's the oldest and largest organization with the goal of finding Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The organization relies heavily on eyewitness reports from residents.According to BFRO's website, the animal began to be referred to as Bigfoot by journalists in the 1950s after a spat of sightings reported in northern California.



...and what a great job they have made of it. I am very proud of them.

NEIL ARNOLD: Zooform Classics Part Three: The Non-Monster Of Hardin

Some monsters just don’t do what the tin says! The Diamond Island area of Illinois has long harboured a legend known as the Hardin Monster. Of course, within the realms of zooform phenomena there are no rules as to what a monster can or cannot be, but the following tale really does stretch the limits of the category.

Since the 1880s there have been campfire tales often told on shuddersome nights by fishermen said to have encountered a fiery beast. Some would state that this creature, especially when looking back on the mystery, was an unidentified flying object, others may bring up the phenomenon known as ball lightning. Others claim that the legend concerns a creature.

In 1885 two fishermen claimed to have observed a ball of light that appeared over the murky river. The object then sped through the trees and remained suspended in the air over Diamond Island. Both witnesses fled in terror and reported to their parents that the fiery ball had a face. Others then began to report the same apparition, with one businessman claiming he’d seen distinctive features amongst the fiery glow, and that the object was the size of a barrel. Rumours were rife of the ‘thing’ and in 1888 several locals trudged through the wilderness, armed to their teeth with weapons and rowed out to Diamond Island in the hope of uncovering the sinister secret.

The locals were sceptical that a monster was on the loose and staked the area out into the dark hours, expecting to uncover a hoax or natural phenomenon. As the mists grew close the island became engulfed in a strange, eerie glow and a ball of light floated above the trees. The men panicked and fired their weapons and swiped the air with their blades. The object moved closer to the flailing men and they rushed for their boats. Bizarrely, so the legend goes, the ball of light bobbed into one of the boats and transformed into an old man before bursting into flame, and again, a ball of light emerged and floated off into the trees.

After a few more sporadic reports the sightings subsided. How on Earth this legend became known as the ‘Hardin Monster’ we’ll never know.


Friends, this is a Muirhead`s Mysteries Extra dedicated to Jon and Corinna`s memory of Biggles.

I`ve found a few interesting Hong Kong items over the last week or so in addition to what I found in Oxford last weekend.

There is a mention of a “black monkey” as a pet in S. Bard`s `Voices From the Past. Hong Kong 1842-1918 (1) but unfortunately I didn`t make a note of the exact date but I`m pretty sure it was around the time of World War 1. As far as I know there have never been any all black monkeys in Hong Kong. Anyone know about this?

The Hong Kong Telegraph of March 23rd 1911(2) reported porpoises in Hong Kong harbour whilst the same newspaper of May 13th 1914 (3) covered the story of a 23ft whale in Tolo Harbour. Tolo Harbour is on the eastern side of the New Territories.

And now this completely different story I found in The China Mail of December 16th 1931:


Year-Old Message In A 30-Year-Old Bottle

“After being in the sea for thirty years, and perhaps embedded for long periods in ice, a bottle dropped Overboard by the Baldwin-Ziegler Polar expedition (which returned to Norway in 1902), has been found at Aith, Shetland Islands.”

This is the opening chapter of a little romance of the sea that went wrong, for later news shows that Shetland got excited too soon. The bottle, true enough, had originally to the expedition of thirty years ago, but when opened it was found to contain a message from a Danish expedition sent to East Greenland last year.

This expedition has apparently been using drift bottles made for the explorers of thirty years ago

1 S.Bard Voices from the Past Hong Kong 1842-1918 Hong Kong University Press 2002
2 S. Bard Ibid p.259
3 Ibid p.310
4 The China Mail Dec. 16th 1931 p.9


And you know its time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Lights in the distance

And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, desire, time
And your earth moves beneath
Your own dream landscape…

OLL LEWIS: Crypto Cons - Shadow of the Advertiser

Pretty soon after the internet and email started to become popular advertisers noticed its potential to tap into new markets. This started off with things like banner adverts and pop up adverts but soon the good people of the internet tired of these distractions. Pop up adverts were particularly annoying as they often would produce an army of clones when you closed one, so soon bowser ad-ons were made to automatically close or mask unwanted adverts. This made the advertisers jobs a lot harder because the people they were trying to target would often not see their adverts. Another problem with online advertising was that it was dependent on a user visiting a site that carried the advert so sites that received healthy traffic would cost a lot of money to advertise on, which was a problem if you're representing a small company because you couldn't use the internet to get your word out in a cost effective manner. Then along came viral marketing.

The idea of viral marketing was quite simple: people often send each other emails with funny pictures, videos or inspiring stories and in later years will 'tweet' them or send them over facebook too; if an advert can be sent in this same manner you'll reach a large audience without spending a penny in advertising costs. The trouble is nobody is exactly likely to send someone an advert for no apparent reason. In order to be passed on then, viral campaigns need a decent hook, either something funny or cute, or something strange or mysterious. Cryptozoology certainly fits the bill for strange and mysterious so it comes as no surprise that it has be used, or rather abused, by several viral campaigns over the years. One of the most interesting campaigns was the Giantology campaign.

The campaign was intended to promote the forthcoming game Shadow of the Colossus for the Playstation 2. The game was a fairly limited affair, which saw you fighting a few giants and not much else but was billed as the Playstation's answer to the Legend of Zelda (which is still to this day unanimously agreed to have been the greatest game ever created). Trying to compare the game to something like Zelda was a fatal mistake as it would be the gaming equivalent of buying a copy of The Shawshank Redemption and coming home to find that, due to a mix-up at the manufacturer's, the box contained a Uwe Boll movie. In anycase, the people responsible for the viral campaign played it safe by not mentioning the game at all but trying to get people more interested in giants in general, perhaps reasoning that if there were enough of a buzz about giants then people would want to by a game where you can fight them. To this end they created a fake blog called 'giantology.'

According to posts on the blog it was written by an American man called Eric Belson who described himself as the world's first giantologist who was collecting information on real life giants for a book he was writing. The blog's author tried to add legitimacy to his blog by posting links to several of the more respected Fortean websites of the day like the Fortean Times and the CFZ (we didn't ask or give permission for the record) and by posting links and stories on a number of internet forums.

The blog itself was, although clearly a hoax, actually quite entertaining and clearly a lot of work went into it and can be read here in archived form:

The blog and several other websites it linked to were designed to look as if they had been put together by non-experts and even contained presumably intentional spelling and formatting errors to complete the authentic feel.

Obviously the proposed book, The Age of Giants, never did materialise and sadly the blog ended abruptly with news that Eric was about to embark on an expedition to South America to investigate one sighting. It would have been a nice touch if the advertisers had properly concluded Eric's story, perhaps with news from his girlfriend Lauren that he was missing in the Andes or something, but at least he provided links to websites claiming hoax or viral marketing in his final post just in case anyone had been too slow to catch on.

Who knows, though, if Sony ever were to make a sequel to Shadow of the Colossus it could follow the modern day adventures of Eric Belson.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1983 Bradley James was born. Unless you are the guy mentioned in this article [http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-constantly-mentioning-he-doesnt-own-a-tel,429/] you'll be aware that James plays King Arthur in Merlin.

And now, the news:

Feel the force: Tube-nosed bat which bears strikin...
Scientists find rare oasis of life on floor of Yel...
Horse Cachet stabbed, scalped in fatal attack at E...
In search of Sasquatch
Chimp Charlie dies at 52 despite smoking habit

As I seem to have exhausted youtubes collection of chimps throwing poo at people clips I'll have to post some chimps with other vices: