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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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CFZ PEOPLE: Kara Wadham


CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 49

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Ronan Coghlan - The labours of Hercules

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Henry Hartley - Fortean aspects of the modern Maya


Dear folks,

today I would like you to meet, not Top Cat but the Dolt-cat. In fact, you have no choice: you`re going to meet the Dolt-cat right now!

A few days ago I was looking through Moonrakings. A Little Book of Wiltshire Stories by the Wiltshire Federation of Women`s Institutes. I flicked through and under the entry for Wishford in the History section I found the following entry: (Spelling is kept as in the original.)

The Churchwardens` Accounts contain some interesting items. A few are appended:-

1719. for Sparrows Heds 4 dozen……4
For 6 Poulcatts heds……………………2 0
For a Bagger`s hed……………………..1 0
For a Dolt-cat……………………………..4 (1)

This is all that is relevant from our point of view. So I contacted the Natural History Museum in London to ask them what the Dolt-cat might be. I first thought that it might be a badger, as they are dull and slow-witted (well, they are to me) but we have already seen that the 'Bagger' is mentioned. Then I thought about the otter: superficially cat-like, but hardly dull. Here was the reply I received on August 23rd:

(The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology defines dolt thus: doult dull fellow, blockhead, XVI. Prob. earlier in dial. Use, and rel. to dold (XV) numb, and dol (l), var. of DULL) (2)

Dear Richard,

With regard to your dole-cat (sic) enquiry….I`ve passed this onto several library colleagues in the hope that one of them can find this animal.

One colleague has written this note:

Hmmmm, fascinating, I`ll have a think about this, I wish we had the complete quote. Does he know it was an animal?
[I don`t - R] Might it not be some time type of equipment?

Assuming it is an animal, it could be something that was more valuable then than now. I wondered about a ferret but they were very useful then, so not likely to have a price on their head as vermin. A stoat,maybe? They can `dance` in a crazy fashion, leaping around & jumping in the air. Possibly a weasel?


The above gives some dialect meanings-as you see, dolt isn`t used in dialect to mean stupid or slow-witted, they had other names for these. This was my first thought but generally speaking mustelids/cats aren`t particularly stupid. On the other hand it may have nothing to do with cats or mustelids - look what they called moles.

4 shillings was a lot of money, suggesting it was something dangerous, very difficult to catch or rare (or not an animal at all).

I assume the word was transcribed correctly in the first place - what appears to be a `d` in old script can be a `cl` (not that I`ve had any more luck with this), &, as we said, there can be any number of possibilities.

Concerning a Hong Kong hyena, a blog about the slum and squalor town that once was the Hong Kong Walled City that I found, said that before the demolition of it was completed in April 1994, hyenas were supposed to roam the derelict place.

1. E.Olivier and M.K.S. Edwards Moonrakings a Little Book of Wiltshire Stories (n.d) p.32
2. C.T. Onions The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology(1982) p.282
3. E-mail from Lorraine Portch of Natural History Museum to R.Muirhead August 23rd 2011

HAUNTED SKIES: Glasgow Daily Record, 9.12.89


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1902 one of the first sci-fi films, A Trip to the Moon (a.k.a. Le Voyage dans la Lune), was first publicly shown. If you've not seen it then you should; it's quite short and very good and is loosely based on H.G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon and Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (proper Sci-fi with brass machines and valves; none of that soap opera set on a space-station guff). Watch it here; no excuses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JDaOOw0MEE
And now the news:

What is killing killer whales?
How elephants could solve the biofuel problem
Owl Eggs Reveal Complex Pollutant Patterns
Bird flu deaths in Asia prompt call for scrutiny
Chinese in Africa told: ‘Don’t buy ivory’
Fish-catching trick may be spreading among dolphin...
3 more Californian condors released in Arizona in ...
Rare freshwater jellyfish found in China

Shakes all over like a jellyfish:

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Kevin Goodman - Warminster Triangle

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Glen Vaudrey

CFZ CANADA: Monsters don’t live in your closet. They live in your backyard.


DALE DRINNON: Dragon names and Atlantis

Last two blog postings came out today:

At Frontiers of Zoology, further clarifications on the ambiguity of Dragon names:

And at Frontiers of Anthropology, more on rock art, evidence of Atlantis and the flood depicted as being caused by a comet; and then going back and adding more evidence for Younger Dryas meteor craters and evidence that the Carilina Bays are of meteoritic origin and date to the Younger Dryas (they overlie a 100000 year old paleobeach which is why there is some problem dating the samples):

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Max Blake and Dr. Darren Naish

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: P.T.Barnum (3)


Much to my surprise it is all good news. I had managed to convince myself that even with our best efforts, Prudence's lolloping about would have broken the new ligament in her back leg, but I am very pleased to say that it was all my paranoia.

She is actually doing very well and her leg is healing nicely. She has to have physiotherapy (done by Corinna and Graham) several times each day, but she looks likely to make a full recovery.

The next checkup is in two weeks time.

HAUNTED SKIES: A bizarre tale of apports at Warminster


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1888 Mary Ann Nichols was murdered. She was the first of the canonical victims of Jack the Ripper.
And now the news:

Rhino horn: Fooling the thieves lured by riches
Who, What, Why: Is it legal to eat wild birds?
Dolly scientist working on cloning Scottish wildca...
Selective Trawl Catches Norway Lobster but Allows ...
A Bloodsucker Goes to Washington: Is this the Chup...
Another Bear attack in Yellowstone
Torn apart by tiger sharks Fantome Is, Queensland

And because Jon missed the opportunity yesterday:

DALE DRINNON: A mystery shark from Somalia?


Monday, August 29, 2011


KARA WADHAM WRITES: I have lost my new Kindle which Nick bought me for my 40th. I am gutted as I have never had such an expensive present and I badgered him to get it early so I could enjoy it before I went back to work. I have had to retrace my steps and I may have brought it to the Weird Weekend and put it in my bag. It is no where to be found at home.

As someone who was previously averse to ebooks I now absolutely love my Kindle but only had it for a few days before the Weird weekend. If you think you may have found it, please let us know!

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
Searching for the Loch Ness Monster
Monstrous Ghosts?

From CFZ Australia:
Baby quoll no more than a handful
Thylacine prints discovered in WA on display
Matt Salusbury at the Weird Weekend 2011

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Richard Freeman sings the mouse song

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Adam Davies - the search for the orang pendek

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Lee Walker - Book Launch


Keep your fingers, paws, or other appendages crossed this afternoon. Prudence has her first post-op check up at the vet. This is when we find out
if the operation has been succesful or not.

HAUNTED SKIES: A visit to the Warminster Skywatch



Oll Lewis doesn't return until later today, but he asked us to remind you that on this day in 1984 The Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its first mission.

Possible Biological Control Discovered for Pathogen Devastating Amphibians
Twenty endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Laos
Sea Turtle Andre Dead
Zoo vet makes house calls for sick turtles
National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center adds endangered species
Rare sand lizards released back to the wild on Merseyside
Africa’s forest elephants are running out of space...
Famine threatens Australia's gentle sea cows
Extinct bumblebee to be reintroduced to BritainPoisoned pigeons used to kill wild buzzards
Guy Hawks: Ospreys return to Wales for first time
Chinese doctors to call for ‘cruel’ bear farms to close
Wayward penguin returning to sea

And now THIS happens:


At the Frontiers of Zoology we have more on the history of Dragons posted for Monday:


And at the Frontiers of Anthropology a posting that involves writings on stone, Astronomical records of incredible age, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings and the beginnings of Ancient Egypt:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

OLL LEWIS: An Unusual Water Horse

At the 2011 Weird Weekend one of the talks was Glen Vaudrey’s talk about the folklore surrounding water horses in Scotland. Water horses are reported throughout Europe; mainly in Celtic parts; and reports of them often follow a few set narratives. For more details and some great retelling of the folklore I recommend that you seek out Glen’s 2011 talk on youtube (when it has been uploaded of course; keep your eyes on the CFZ blog for details of that) or buy one of Glen’s books from CFZ press. Like Glen, the water horse has always been of interest to me, but whereas Glen knows it mainly from the Scottish folklore, I am more familiar with the Welsh folklore. The similarities between the accounts featured in the folklore of both these Celtic traditions are very interesting, particularly considering that the oral traditions of Wales and Scotland developed fairly independently of each other past the Dark Ages because they were more or less isolated from each other by land. This could mean that either stories about water horses are very old, pre-dating the invasions of Britain by the people who would become the English, or that a lot of the individual tales were fabrication of later folklorists based on original genuine tales from places like Scotland. The latter is certainly a possibility in Wales where Iolo Morganwg was a serial creator of “genuine” folklore. He might have seen the Scottish tales and thought “Hmm, we’ll have some of that.”

So, it is the tales that follow a slightly different narrative from the norm that are among the most interesting of the water horse folklore. One such tale comes from near Swansea in Wales. It tells of a hapless and tired traveller who met with a water horse in the Glyn Neath area. The horse, like most water horses, seemed quite normal when the traveller met her at a waterfall that formed a convergence point of three local rivers, and as he was running very late decided he would steal the horse to get him to his destination faster. The traveller looked around and finding no obvious owner in sight, jumped upon the beasts back. Rather than dragging the traveller to a watery grave, as water horses are usually want to do, the horse started to run away from the water. As time went on the horse started to run faster and faster and soon the hapless traveller found himself hugging on to the creature for dear life and burying his head in its mane with his eyes closed. After a while the traveller realised that he could no longer feel the fall of the creature’s hooves on the ground yet it was still moving at great speed. He opened his eyes and was surprised to see that he and the creature were flying through the air. Needless to say the man was terrified and held on even tighter.

After a few hours the horse touched down on a small hill just outside Llandewi Brevi. The traveller ran away from the creature as fast as he could and straight to the nearest inn where he told his story. Judging from many other water horse stories the traveller had a very lucky escape. Usually the horse makes straight for the nearest water and drowns its rider before eating it, save for the occasional bit of offal.

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: The Quiz

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: P.T.Barnum (2)

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: P.T.Barnum (1)

WEIRD WEEKEND: Peter Christie - Fortean North Devon

HAUNTED SKIES: Berrows Worcester Journal 30.6.89.



Oll Lewis is still gallivanting around Plymouth, but he asked me to remind you that on this day in 1839 Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction..

Goodness me.

Bryan’s shearwater, new Hawaiian seabird species
Minnesota: Expert discredits Bigfoot footprint find
Rare moth spotted during Lambeth wildlife count
Exmoor ponies – The true descendant of Europe’s wild horses?
More than 1000 ivory tusks seized in Tanzania
Mull of Galloway walk highlights kittiwake decline
Public urged to report alien species
Fox uses conveyor belt as fun slide

The most wonderful lyrics of all time:

DALE DRINNON: Another bogus bigfoot


Saturday, August 27, 2011



RICHARD FREEMAN WRITES: "Captive thylacines at dog shows"...

Species depart the biota, not with a bang but a whimper. The Thylacine, Tasmanian Tiger or Marsupial Wolf, Thylacinus cynocephalus, is one of a handful of species, joining the Quagga, Equus quagga, and the Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, where that whimper has a precise date. The Thylacine became extinct on 7 September, 1936, when the last known specimen died in captivity in the Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart (Smith 1981).

Records, both of employees and the visiting public to Australian zoological gardens displaying
the Thylacine (Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne and Sydney zoos) represent an important and largely untapped data source of additional knowledge upon the behaviour of this species.

Read on...


Info on a giant fossil cheetah:

The orange Alaskan mystery substance was spores, not eggs:

Ripley's is putting in a museum in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and wants to put a Chessie model on the facade:

WW2011: Richard Freeman - The India Expedition


Poor Pru is still feeling sorry for herself. I don't think it is the pain (remember what her ancestors were bred for - they are allegedly pretty impervious to pain) so much as the fact that she has to sleep in the kitchen rather than upstairs with us, and that she is not allowed to jump on and off the sofa or armchairs, and is confined to the floor. Poor dear, she thinks she is being punished for something.

HAUNTED SKIES: Yorkshire Post 23.4.88



Oliver is away, but he asked me to remind you that on this day in 1929 the actor Windsor Davis was born, he was in Terrahawks, Carry On films and a Doctor Who story during the 60s.

Dinosaur-Era Mammal Possibly "Mother" of All Humanity
Twenty rare Siamese crocodiles hatch in zoo
Map highlights world’s most threatened coral reefs
Mosquitoes 'disappearing' in some parts of Africa
Amphibian disease research yields weapon
Female seals drawn to deadly ship propellers
Darwin's Butterflies? Spectacular Species Radiation in the Caribbean Studied With 'DNA Barcoding'

Seems appropriate:

SATURDAY POSTS FROM DALE DRINNON: Dragons, Bigfoot and the fall of Phaethon

At The Frontiers of Anthropology:

At The Frontiers of Zoology:



On Sunday I received two photographs from the Daily Star. They asked me to identify them, and after consulting with Darren Naish, Jonathan McGowan and two vets (Aurelia and Shosh) I wrote the following email to the newspaper:

'Hi Marc,

Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you. Having checked with a zoologist, a big cat tracker and a vet we think it is a large domestic cat, probably a Russian Blue, or a crossbreed with Russian blue ancestry.


The article, when it appeared, made no mention of my email but wrote:

A British wildlife organisation said it had proof the animals were still alive and well in Britain.
And Jonathan Downes, director for the Centre for Fortean Zoology in Devon, said: “We know there were lynx living in Britain 1,500 years ago, but could they still be here?”

I did actually say that a few days earlier, it is true, but it was in answer by a question from a different journalist, from a different paper, and in answer to questions about the lynx that Max discovered in the vaults of Bristol Museum. So whilst technically the newspaper has done nothing wrong at all, it performed a clever piece of journalistic prestidigitation with that quote.

And they didn't even have to hack my telephone to get it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From Crypto Squad USA:
Attack of the Birds

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
The Wild Thing Of Warrington
The Weird Weekend
Posing with the Chupacabra
Ravens on the Rampage
Definitely A Weird Weekend...

From CFZ Australia:
Game camera project snaps amazing wildlife photos
Oll Lewis at the Weird Weekend 2011
Missing lynx revealed at Weird Weekend 2011
Aussie microfossils re-write the history books
Dr Darren Naish at the Weird Weekend 2011
Megalania puts in appearance at Vic exhibition
Jon Downes and Richard Freeman at Weird Weekend 2011
Clever dolphins teach each other to fish with shells
Nick Wadham at the Weird Weekend 2011

From CFZ New Zealand:
Happy Feet heading home at last

WW2011: Matt Salusbury - pygmy elephants

PRUDENCE UPDATE: Taking the pee

I think that Prudence is worried that if she lets us put a lead on her she will be taken back to the vet for another painful operation. Poor dear.

So she is being recalitrant and when we do get her outside she does her best to go back inside as quickly as possible, and grumpily refuses to perform her bodily functions.

However, all this changed yesterday when we had a noisy thunderstorm. Prudence is scared of thunder and in a panic she urinated copiously across the kitchen floor!

HAUNTED SKIES: Yorkshire Advertiser 4.11.88


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1962 Vic Mignogna was born. Mignogna is probably best known for his role as Edward Elric in Full Metal Alchemist.
And now the news:

The downside of sex with Neanderthals (via Rob Cha...
Whale skull found in Moosehead Lake (Maine) (via C...
Scientists discover new monkey species in Amazon (...
Sea eagle attacks reverend and his flock....of gee...
'Predator' crab caught by startled fisherman
Huge new wasp discovered in Sulawesi
Ariz. Street Sign Prank Warns Of 'Rogue Panda'

Baby pandas drinking milk:




Devil's hair and quake hair, from the Eclectarium of Doctor Shuker:

Lusmore and the Little People, a traditional Irish folktale recalled by Karl Shuker:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HARRIET WADHAM: Weird Weekend 2011 Part One


If you were at a lecture and someone asked the audience, ‘What do you think cryptozoology is?’, and some funny person stood up and said something along the lines of, "I’d say it’s where you conjure up demons and dabble in the occult!" would you laugh or be worried?

Well, we laughed.
Because that was Ronan.
And Ronan has a knack for saying funny things like that.

I’m sorry to say I was only able to go to the Weird Weekend for one day: the Saturday. But I must say: that Saturday was one of the most hilarious Saturdays of my life! Packed full of jokes, Yamaha crimps, and funny, strange, and yet pleasing surprises.


I attended my dad’s talk, as you do, because if you don’t then you get disowned. I’d seen the movie before but not with the music and I was all, “WOW DAD YOU’RE SO AWESOME.” And everyone in the audience was all, “WOW NICK YOU HAVE CLIPS OF GIANT BUGS THERE.”
And Lily was all, “Well done, dad. You know how to use Movie Maker.”

Ungrateful little-

I laughed! I stared! I facepalmed!

*note* Laughing at the assumptions of movie producers, staring at the creations of movie producers, facepalming at the epic fails of movie producers.

I get that it seemed like a good idea to make a GIANT BUG film at the time, but I’m a woman of science and so I hate it when people do stupid stuff and fail to take into account that it’s not possible.

A woman of far-fetched occurrences that are both theoretically and scientifically possible. hee hee…
Can I tell you one thing that confused some and amused others? That worried many and disappointed a handful?
Yes? Good. When dad said, "It wouldn’t be crypto without a bit of crypto."

My sister and I were both interested to hear that phobias come from the survival instincts of when we were just cavemen and cavewomen. However, when questions time came around, I was really confused upon hearing my mother’s bamboozling comment about Cyril the Hong Kong centipede. Can someone please explain to me what she was on about? Please? No? Ah well.

To summarise, I discovered I have a long-lost brother who looks just like my sister (hair wise). John and Lily both had the same hair style and hair colour, much to the amusement of Jon (not to be confused with my ‘brother’ John), who thought that my sister was sitting where John was and that John was sitting next to me and Mum.

So, I have a new sibling.

Do you know what made me really happy at the end of the talk, though? Mum saying, "Girls, after this we can have a pot noodle each."

Yum noodles.

Just because I can, I’m going to do these in parts again. So, thank you for wasting your time reading my blog and I hope you’re excited for the next one!

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Nick Wadham - giant insects


Last week we posted two videos about the supposedly extinct pink-headed duck. Somehow I totally missed this letter, which came with them...

Hi there,

my name is Richard Thorns and I'm glad to make acquaintance with you. You might remember my trip to Kachin State a couple of years ago where we got some anecdotal evidence of a male Pink-headed Duck on a lake in Bhamo region (an area historically known for records of Pink-headed Duck). I went back there with my guide and have some anecdotal evidence of TWO this time, in the cool-season gap between my two trips. You can see the footage on YouTube under: "anecdotal sighting of two Pink-headed Ducks. Myanmar 2009).

If you go to the website http://richardthorns.webs.com/ you can see the whole trip written up, plus the preparations fot two months time. Just go to the sidebar and click.

I hope you find it interesting. I'd be interested to know what you think and feel free to share if you wish.; I am back there in December 2010, I hope the timing will this time be spot-on!

With warm wishes

Richard Thorns.
PS The photo of the mysterious duck on the lake was a Spot-billed duck - the white WAS the tertials rather than sunlight. :-(

Biomass export of salamanders and anurans from ponds is affected differentially by changes in canopy cover

Article first published online: 11 AUG 2011
Freshwater Biology
How to Cite
EARL, J. E., LUHRING, T. M., WILLIAMS, B. K. and SEMLITSCH, R. D. (2011), Biomass export of salamanders and anurans from ponds is affected differentially by changes in canopy cover. Freshwater Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02672.x
Author Information
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, U.S.A.
*Correspondence: Julia E. Earl, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, 212 Tucker Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, U.S.A. E-mail: jee9rb@mail.mizzou.edu
Present address: Bethany K. Williams, Columbia Environmental Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, U.S.A.

Publication History
Article first published online: 11 AUG 2011
(Manuscript accepted 16 July 2011)

1.  Previous research shows that canopy-associated shifts from an algal to a detritus-based food web can affect anuran tadpoles negatively. This may not be true of salamander larvae, however, because they are predators.

2.  To investigate the influence of canopy cover on the survival and growth of salamanders, and on the subsequent export of biomass from ponds, we conducted a mesocosm experiment examining effects of shading (high or low) and litter (leaves or grass) on Ambystoma maculatum (a forest specialist) and A. texanum (a habitat generalist). Additionally, we reanalysed data from Williams, Rittenhouse & Semlitsch (2008) to examine the effects of shading and litter on biomass export of three anurans: Rana sphenocephala, Pseudacris crucifer and Hyla versicolor.

3.  In contrast to previous studies, we found that salamanders performed better in mesocosms with the characteristics of closed canopy ponds (high shade and leaf litter), which resulted in a greater export of biomass. Salamanders grew larger under closed canopy conditions, probably because of differences in prey abundance among treatments. Anurans responded differently to canopy cover than caudates. The biomass export of R. sphenocephala and P. crucifer was reduced under closed canopy conditions (although differently affected by litter and shading), while the biomass of H. versicolor was not affected.

This and other studies suggest that changes in canopy cover may induce a shift in the amphibians emerging from ponds, from primarily anurans in open canopy ponds to primarily salamanders in closed canopy ponds. Additional multispecies studies will determine whether these trends hold true for more diverse amphibian assemblages. Further investigation into the effects of canopy cover on salamanders will be important for understanding aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

PRUDENCE UPDATE: Getting Better all the Time...

Prudence has been confined to the kitchen for much of the past 48 hours. However, the anaesthetic and post-op opiates have worn off now and she wants to go further afield. Normally she spends much of the day lying on the sofa in the sitting room but until her bones heal she mustn't jump on and off things, so we have placed boxes of Weird Weekend impendemata on all the chairs and the sofa, much to the poor little doggy-girl's dismay and disgruntlement.

However, Davey C and family turned up last night, and despite being obviously in pain, Pru had a lovely time being fussed by everyone. This evening Lee Walker and family are scheduled to turn up....

(Note her shaved leg and scar)

HAUNTED SKIES: Welwyn and Hatfield Review 10.11.88


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1946 Mark Snow, the composer of the X Files theme tune, was born.
And now the news:

Fast Asleep to Wide Awake: Hibernating Bears, Pred...
Georgia hunter fined for shooting endangered Flori...
Sweden fears swimming raccoon invasion
Earth is home to 8.7 million species
Stillwater Sasquatch video arouses scepticism
Attack of the killer ravens: Flocks are suddenly s...
Burbank businessman arrested over feeding of birds...
Wildwood joins the fight to save Britain's badgers...

At the cocktail party the other day I was shocked to discover that certain young CFZ members didn't get my reference to mushrooms and snakes when I was handing out badges, so just for them:


Karl Shuker discovers the Bird of Dreams inside his Eclectarium:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RSPB UK Overseas Territories appeal update

I'm writing to update you on our UK Overseas Territories appeal.

We're delighted to have so far raised £280,000 in donations and had 15,000 pledges from people like you. This means we're getting close to our target of £527,640 to take care of rockhopper penguins and the other species in our UK Overseas Territories for the next few years.

I'm also pleased to tell you that thanks to all this support, we're completing three island restoration projects with our international partners. This is the largest number of islands ever to be cleared of invasive species in one go, and will include a rat eradication programme on the UK's very own Henderson Island.

This is a great step forwards for our work to restore and conserve the precious wildlife living throughout the UK Overseas Territories. You can find out more about this voyage in our update, where you'll also find exclusive images of some of the wildlife of these islands, which you can download for free!

There is still time to donate to this appeal if you can. We realise that this is a difficult time for many people to donate to charity and every donation is greatly appreciated. A donation of £11, or whatever you can afford, will help us continue our fight for these unique and extraordinary islands.

You can also show your support by adding your name to our pledge. We're asking the UK Government to do its bit to protect these beautiful and precious islands.

Thanks to the support of people like you, we're a step closer to protecting these places and saving their unique wildlife.

Best wishes,

Clare Stringer
RSPB International Department

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Jonathan McGowan discusses evidence for Big Cats in the UK (A short film by Gavin Lloyd Wilson)

Jonathan McGowan, naturalist, taxidermist and alien big cat researcher, discusses and shows evidence for big cats in the UK at the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) Weird Weekend 2011, filmed in Woolsery on Saturday 20 August 2011.

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: The `Orgone Accumulator` video

A new abberation of the purple emperor


Corinna and Graham collected Prudence from the vet late yesterday afternoon.

The operation seems to have gone quite well but the poor little girl is feeling very sorry for herself as you can see from this photograph.

She will be confined to the kitchenand the sitting room (under supervision) for the next month or so and Corinna and I will probably spend much of that time sleeping downstairs to keep her company. She has to be kept as immobile as possible to give the bone time to heal and to make sure she doesn't break her new artificial ligament, because that would be a disaster.

We would like to thank North Devon Animal Ambulance in their kindness in covering the cost of the operation. We made a donation to them out of CFZ funds.

Keep her in your prayers and thoughts, and if you feel like lighting a candle to St Francis on her behalf it can do no possible harm. Others of you might feel like having a quick few words with Pan or whichever other goat-legged fellow of the woods seems appropriate.



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1835 what became known as 'the great moon hoax' was first published by the New York Sun.
And now the news:

Ancient 'Daddy Long Legs' Revealed in 3-D Models
Ancient Wild Horses Help Unlock Past
Iberian lynx 'not doomed' by low genetic diversity...
Wetland birds being frozen out of Britain
Count of rare Australian cockatoo reveals 2,000-st...
Critically Endangered Ploughshare tortoises rescue...
Females Can Place Limits On Evolution of Attractiv...
Lake Erie Watersnake to be removed from endangered...
International Trade Restrictions Sought to End Uns...
International Trade Restrictions Sought to End Uns...
Walruses forsaking sea ice for sand

Jim Carrey attempts to sing 'I am the walrus'... Somebody stop him:

CFZ "PEOPLE": Pru (Update)

We spoke to the vet last night and again this morning. The operation went well and there seems no reason at all why she won't be back here by this evening.

CFZ PEOPLE: David Braund-Phillips (Update)

David telephoned last night. His first day at his new job seemed to go very well....


CFZ reprint on Frontiers of Zoology, because it fits:

And on Frontiers of Anthropology:










DOUG SHOOP: I captured the elusive Sunflower frog today in our garden.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Golden Baboon awards

LIZ CLANCY: Heywood Aquarium

As promised. Sorry it's wrong way up....
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Jon Downes/Richard Freeman - a brief introduction to cryptozoology

HAUNTED SKIES: Leicester Trader 14.9.88


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1957 Stephen Fry was born. He likes Twitter.
And now the news:

Scientists reveal health benefits of breeding with...
Kangaroo goes on lingerie theft rampage in Czech R...
Dolphin With Prosthetic Tail Gets Ready For Waves ...
Clucky find: Man lays claim to world's smallest ch...
Fossil microbes discovered in Australia could be E...
Kent sightings confirm otters recently found every...
Homo erectus was first master chef: study
Homo Erectus travelled the high seas

Travelling the high seas, eh?



CFZ PEOPLE: David Braund-Phillips

David, Technical Director of the CFZ and my beloved nephew, starts his new job today. Good luck, mate....


Prudence went into the veterinary hospital today for her operation. It should be straightforward, but in the light of what happened to Biggles a year ago, Corinna and I are both very worried.

Remember her in your thoughts, prayers and intercessions to Saint Francis.

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Dr Darren Naish

HAUNTED SKIES: Kent and Sussex Courier 2.12.88


Monday, August 22, 2011


CFZ CANADA: Waheela watching


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 79 AD the volcanic eruption that would bury Pompeii started.
And now the news:

Decline in bottlenose dolphins is linked to pollut...
Unusual sighting - A pink grasshopper
Swedish House Up For Sale, Complete With Tomb, Ske...
Snakes and toads in London

The trial of Hissing Sid:

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
The Werewolf Book - Reviewed
The Wild Thing Of Warrington

From CFZ Australia:
New Zealand's big cats on the prowl again...
Cassius the monster croc of them all
Happy Birthday Jonathan Downes!
Hopping news - how the kangaroo got its bounce
Prof Brian Sykes at the Weird Weekend 2011

From CFZ New Zealand:
Is this a UFO? An Unidentified Feline Object?

From CFZ Canada:
Waheela Watching

Sunday, August 21, 2011


A Westcountry-based organisation with a worldwide following last night announced that it has two crucial elements of proof which confirm the belief that big cats live in the region – and that they have done so for at least a century.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), based at Woolfardisworthy, is staging its annual conference this weekend and organisers kicked off proceedings by unveiling evidence that they claim proves big cats were running wild in Devon over 100 years ago – and that they are still here today.

Read on...


WEIRD WEEKEND SCRAPBOOK: Modern shameless CFZ advertising


WEIRD WEEKEND SCRAPBOOK: Saturday in pictures



Today was the last day of the 2011 Weird Weekend and it kicked off with a fantastic talk by Glen Vaudrey on the Water Horse. The Water Horse has fascinated me for some time and it was very interesting to hear about the Scottish folklore surrounding the beast, which I could compare to the Welsh folklore I grew up with. Ronan was, as ever, the last talk before Jon’s address and produced a fantastically entertaining talk as always, this time recreating the Labours of Hercules.

In Jon’s address he announced publicly that the CFZ are putting together a new pier-reviewed journal on cryptozoology. This should, as all the reviewers of papers for the journal are respected academics, answer critics who think cryptozoology is a waste of time.

The evening saw the dinner at the Farmers Arms and after which Richard, Perry, Nadia, Mark, Darren and John Hare discussed such diverse subjects as serial killers and the Japanese Porygon panic. Same time next year I hope. OLL LEWIS

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Prof Bryan Sykes

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 565AD St Columba reported seeing a creature in Loch Ness, this is widely regarded as the first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster (although the sighting actually happened on the River Ness and may have been just a local witch).
And now the news:

ñ Scottish SPCA helps 'silly moo' remove head from l...
ñ Loch Ness search for mysterious balloon-like objec...

And because of today’s anniversary and the last news story:

Saturday, August 20, 2011


It's Official: over one hundred thousand visitors to the Frontiers of Zoology blog in the first six months:


RICHARD FREEMAN: Swallowed by the wilderness (Part Two)

Perhaps the strangest case involved an explorer almost forgotten in the modern age, and an equally obscure monster: Peter Grayson was an Oxford-educated businessman who set sail from England in 1917 with six companions. Their destination was the Richtersveld, a mountainous desert in South Africa’s Cape Province.

Stories told of a cave in the mountains known as the Wonder Hole or Bottomless Pit and filled with diamonds. A monster known as the grootslang supposedly guarded it. The grootslang was said to be a huge snake 40-50 feet long, and was said to have eyes like gems.

Some explorers claim to have seen the grootslang. One man told a South African newspaper that he seen such a creature, describing it as a monstrous snake more than 50 feet long. Another said that he saw two such creatures, but that he killed one with his high-powered rifle.

Other witnesses confirm the beast's length as 40 to 50 feet long and tell of 3-foot-wide tracks along the Orange River. Prospectors once followed the track for miles before it disappeared into the river.

Only one man (a prospector called Travis) has supposedly visited the Wonder Hole and lived to tell the tale. According to one account, he dropped his torch into the pit while descending and had to crawl his way back out through pitch darkness. One version tells that he was attacked by the grootslang, but survived by playing dead.

Grayson had consulted old maps and accounts from prospectors before his expedition left. On their first night in the bush, the party was attacked by a lion that killed one man and badly mauled another. A few days later, a third man was bitten by a snake and died. Yet another became seriously ill and begged to be taken back to civilization.

Two of the others took the sick man to the nearest village for medical attention. Grayson pushed on alone and a week later a rescue party found his empty camp. Peter Grayson was never seen again, and local stories had it that the grootslang had eaten him.

The big mistake all of these men made was going it alone. One man against the wilderness might look good on TV survival shows, but in reality it is very poor odds. On any expedition, you should have knowledgeable local guides and travel in a group. A man I know once tried to search for the orang-pendek in the jungles of western Sumatra. I’ve been there three times and can vouch for their deepness and tracklessness. His team consisted of him, his girlfriend and one guide. The guide was not an official park guide and knew very little about the area. The three of them became lost in the jungle for weeks. The man fell down a crevasse and broke several ribs. The ‘guide’ became so scared that he began to cry with fear, sobbing that he would never see his wife and children again. It was only by pure, blind luck that they stumbled into a logging camp and were taken back to civilization.

Remember if you try to do this sort of thing alone, the wilderness is waiting, and it is hungry.

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Oll Lewis


Saturday is always a hard slog if you’re working behind the scenes at the Weird Weekend and this year was no exception. Today there were 10 different speakers (not counting the other members of the forthcoming Sumatra expedition who joined Richard on stage after his talk to tell us briefly about their plans, and the CFZ Awards honourees and quiz teams) with talks lasting from midday until 11pm, although we do often over-run a tad. As far as I’m aware NO OTHER cryptozoological conference offers their ticket-holders such good value for money.

As ever I was responsible for filming every talk, which although might sound like easy work, is most certainly not as I have to be on the ball hunched over a camera sitting in an uncomfortable chair following the speakers round the stage, anticipating good moments for close-ups and slide changes, which is easier said than done especially if you get tired or leg cramps. Thankfully I had my secret weapons of cheap knock-off Red Bull and cramp-zapping tonic water to fall back on so things turned out ok. The advantage of being the camera man, though, is that I get to watch all the talks and every single one of them today was a corker. Although every one of the talks were brilliant my favourite tonight was Lee ‘Dead of Night’ Walker’s two stories.

Oh and for those wondering who the special guest I mentioned yesterday was, it was P.T. Barnum himself. I suggested to Jon that we summon the great showman in the CFZ time machine (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Silas Hawkins’s car) about 6 months ago and my talk this year was on Barnum and his friend Grizzly Adams, but this year he has by pure chance been mentioned in a few of the other lectures too, notably Peter Christies’s talk about Fortean North Devon where it was mentioned that Barnum’s friend and employee, the famed dwarf Tom Thumb’s ornate tiny carriage is actually on display in a local National Trust property. I shall have to see if I can convince Mrs Downes, who is an N.T. member, that a trip there would make a good CFZ outing… OLL LEWIS