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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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Once upon a time we used to have hard copy Christmas cards which we sent to everyone. But with postage rates as ridiculously high as they are, this is no longer an option. But Seasons Greetings to all of you who have supported us over the last year. Thank you for everything that you have done, and continue to do. May you all have a happy Christmas, and a peaceful New Year. And whether or not you believe in Him/Her/It, may the deity of your choice bless you all..

Lest we forget

While Corinna was photographing Prudence playing in the snow (see yesterday's postings) she also took this picture of Biggles and Tessie's graves in the snow. There is something very poignant about this picture, and I thought that we would share it with you...


The following news item is found on various sites on the internet, mostly deriving from the site Cryptomundo. It is a newspaper clipping originally submitted by Jerome Clark.

Kingston Daily Freeman
Kingston, New York

June 17, 1922


It Has an Irish Name and Fishermen Insist That Sight of It Is Bad Luck.

This being the time for the annual crop of sea-serpents the public here is being regaled with a new one of Irish nationality.

Its Irish name is “Gorramooloch.” It cannot only swim and lash its tail in orthodox sea-serpent manner, but reports from the west coast of Ireland, where it is alleged to have been seen frequently, credit it with the power of flight.

According to inhabitants of the wilder parts of the coast of Connemara, Mayo and Donegal, the “Gorramooloch” frequently turns up for exhibition stunts, principally at night. It is described as being shaped like a porpoise, 100 feet long, and rushing through the water with the speed of an express train. Occasionally it would leap out of and forward over the water a distance to its own length. When it fell back into the sea again the splash was said to sound like the crack of a three-inch gun.

The fact that these creatures are not seen more often is because, it is explained, they appear principally at night. It is then that they go a-hunting after the gannet, a sort of seagull. When they see one flying near the surface of the ocean, they leap out of the water 40 or 50 feet and gliding, by the aid of their large wing-like fins, guided by their vertically set tail, bring down the bird.

Fishermen, curiously enough, consider the appearance of the “Gorramooloch” to be a sign of bad luck, though it has not yet been reported to be cannibalistic. But there is another brand of sea serpent which they fear more as a sign of ill omen. This one is yclept the “Bo-dree-more.” It is said to be a large whale-like animal, so large and powerful that it chases whales for sport. According to local superstition, the sight of a “Bo-dree-more” means certain ill luck for the men and the craft who spot it.

The identity of the Goramooloch is almost transparently obvious because it is a fairly good description of a humpback whale leaping fully out of the water, as they sometimes do. The size is only somewhat exaggerated since the humpback whale only grows to about 60 feet long; but still a guess of a hundred feet is less that double the actual length and double the actual length in a report of an "Unknown animal" is almost standard. The statement about their leaping after gannets would basically be only a bad guess as to what is going on: similarly the allegation of a vertically-set tail (which is not in the original reports but in the "Explanation" part) would only be another bad guess.

As to the "Bodreemore" (Alternate spelling) I would like to know more because this sounds exactly like the Untersee Crocodile as reported by the German U-boat captains in World War 1.

NEIL ARNOLD: Stig Of The Dump And It’s Crypto-Connections

When I were a lad (as they say in Yorkshire, apparently!) I watched and collected some of the weirdest examples of children’s television. From eerie documentaries, to low-budget dramas, from supernatural series to psychedelic cartoons. One of the most intriguing and certainly most influential thing I watched was Stig Of The Dump’, adapted from the Clive King classic novel which was originally published in the ‘60s. Despite being a huge fan of both series and book, I never realised that such a work may well have been based on an area close to my heart, and my house – Blue Bell Hill in Kent. In the book there is mention of Sevenoaks, but only recently I re-read the book and to my amazement found some odd cases of synchronicity which often pepper local folklore.

For those of you who are not familiar with this delightful tale, it concerns a young boy named Barney who, whilst staying with his nan, somewhere in Kent, discovers an old chalk quarry which just happens to be inhabited by a Neanderthal-type humanoid who Barney calls Stig. When we are first introduced to Stig, one could almost visualise a completely hair covered humanoid, something akin to a small sasquatch. Over the course of the fascinating book Barney and Stig become great friends, but like so many great kids programmes and books of that era, from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, we are often left to wonder as to whether Stig was a real creature or all part of Barney’s strange imagination. Either way, upon re-reading the book I was amazed at how the author had mentioned several ‘fictional’ items which I would eventually cover as fact many decades later.

On a less cryptozoological note, we are introduced to the ‘Standing Stones’ in Chapter Nine, which could be a reference to Kit’s Coty House, a set of Neolithic stones said to be older than Stonehenge, which jut from a field at Blue Bell Hill. These stones have a lot of folklore attached to them. Some suggest that the stones are used as a calendar, or could be a mark of where a great and bloody battle once took place. Others believe the stones to have once been used for sacrificial means and there are those who opt for the more fanciful rumour that they were constructed by witches on a dark and stormy night.

When we are first introduced to Stig, Barney, with a bump on the head along the way, falls into a steep chalk quarry (there are such quarries at the base of Blue Bell Hill) and accidentally stumbles upon the den of the creature called Stig. Oddly, for almost a century there have been reports from the quarries around Blue Bell Hill of a ‘wildman’ of sorts. A woman many years ago, growing up in the neighbouring village of Wouldham, often spoke about how in the 1960s her grandmother would tell her bedtime stories of the local ‘hairy man’ seen near the standing stones. The woman mentioned that her grandmother had grown up with these stories and seen the man-beast herself. In the 1970s a woman named Maureen saw a hair-covered, hulking great creature with glowing eyes one night whilst tending to a campfire with her boyfriend. In 1992 a similar beast was seen at Burham, a neighbouring village of Blue Bell Hill, by several men on their way to the pub. The men were all members of the territorial army and not prone to flights of fancy but they were all spooked by the massive humanoid which appeared near the chalk quarry. In 2008 a man-beast was seen by a female motorist in Kent. She was so terrified by the creature she almost crashed her vehicle.

‘Stig Of The Dump’ also makes a couple of references to leopards, and in particular one specimen which Stig captures and skins in the local quarry. Barney finds the skin of the exotic cat in Stig’s den and one begins to wonder whether Barney has stepped into some ancient period or Stig has killed an animal that has escaped from a private collection. Interestingly there are several reports of large cats on the loose around Blue Bell Hill dating back to the 1500s. I saw a black leopard three times (twice in 2000 and once in 2008) near Blue Bell Hill, but interestingly the area where Stig would have killed his prey is the same area which once housed a local zoo. During the early part of the 1900s several children playing on the Downs reported seeing a black leopard. Some people believe it escaped from the zoo, then owned by Sir Tyrwhitt-Drake, although this was never proven. The children reported that the authorities came out, flushed the animal from the undergrowth and shot it dead. During the 1700s a large animal was said to have killed a rambler on the Pilgrim’s Way, an ancient track-way which runs through Blue Bell Hill. The ‘beast’ was also recorded by a local Reverend as being the size of a calf. Some believe the animal was a hellhound but I’m of the belief it was a large cat, misunderstood at the time and confined to superstition.

A number of children’s programmes and books a few decades ago always hinted at some bizarre, psychedelic landscape of imagination, dream and eerie drama. I just wonder if Clive King knew of such local folklore and built the story around it, or by accident manifested some of the forms which have become embedded into local lore. Either way, ‘Stig…’ is a magical story and a great place to start for any would-be adventurer and explorer, like I was all those years ago.



This really is one of my favourite blogs!

Beachcombing – three long moons ago – ran an article on a European sighting of two unicorns at Mecca (of all places) in the sixteenth century. Given his bewilderment at the time he feels obliged to add this fascinating fragment that he recently stumbled upon...

Read on

Squirrel in toilet startles granny

This has to be the headline of the year.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1967 Richey Edwards, of the Manic Street Preachers, was born. Edwards went missing around Valentine's Day 1995 and no trace has been found of him since. Despite this, many people claim to have seen him since in Goa and the Canary Islands. His family agreed to declare him legally dead on the 23rd of November 2008.
Now for the news:

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'Tweeting' mouse

Baby mice in a bowl, part of the YNT cute baby animal series: