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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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Saturday, February 19, 2011

NEIL ARNOLD: Tin Foil Man!

During June 2003, at 10 pm in West Sussex, two friends were travelling by car from a friend's house back home along a dark country road. They’d travelled this route many times but on this occasion got the shock of their life. As they came round a tight bend they both saw a movement in the trees ahead. Travelling at only 20 mph, both occupants could clearly, although for a brief time, see a bizarre humanoid ‘monster.’


A creature, standing over eight-feet in height stood in the woods and the car headlights reflected off what appeared to be a foil-like skin or clothing. The beast stepped upwards through the trees; its features were not discernible in the darkness and it moved away quickly uphill into the undergrowth, consumed by the shadows of night.


The witnesses were stunned by this peculiar entity and so the driver bravely reversed the car back to the spot.


There was no sign of the weird figure and no sound in the night air.

The passenger commented many years later, “I don’t personally believe in extraterrestrials, so for my own part I’ve ruled out anything like that, and being a fairly practically-minded person I’ve come up with various explanations, such as kids mucking about. But the problem of size keeps coming back – I even checked the Internet the following week to see if 8-ft plus people were more common than I’d thought, rationalising that it was some weirdo in a foil suit. It certainly wasn’t any kind of model, because it was definitely animated. I’m still puzzling over it.”

It’s difficult to comprehend some of the bizarre encounters that people report, and some of these perplexing mysteries are experienced by seemingly level-headed people. From zombies to hellhounds, from aliens to hairy humanoids, Sussex folklore is peppered with such accounts, leaving us to wonder just what kind of ‘spirits’ are lurking in the woods and darkest corners of this ancient county.

Neil Arnold is currently writing MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: SUSSEX

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