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



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...

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Today I found a few notes today on snakes in Ireland, as follows:

'Bede ( Hist. gent. Anglor i. 1) points out that there are no serpents in Ireland and if any are introduced from Britain they quickly die on breathing Irish air. In the twelth century Giraldus Cambrensis ( Topogr. Hib I, 23) testified to the absence of snakes, adders, toads, and frogs from Irish soil. An Irish monk, known under the name of Marcus, who had settled in the Irish monastries of Ratisbon towards the middle of the twelth century, described his native country as free from serpents, frogs, toads, and venomous animals in general. An Irish MS quoted by Whitely Stokes compares Ireland with Paradise for the same reason.' (1)

'...The reputation of Irish earth as deadly to serpents was believed to antedate the Christianization of Ireland.' (2)

'At Chatton, in Northumberland, it was believed , as late as the last century, that if a native of Ireland drew a ring round a toad or adder the creature could not get out and would die' (3)

'As late as the last century it was believed in Northumberland that when a dog is bitten by an adder the only remedy is to wash the place with the milk of an Irish cow.' (4)

'To conclude: the tradition concerning the efficacy of Irish earth against venemous serpents and snake poison is of Mediterraenean origin, being attached, in classical antiquity, to the soils of a number of Mediterranean islands (Ebusa, Galatia, Sicily, Malta, and, chiefly, Lemnos), some of which were known, or supposed, to be free from venemous serpents.' (5)

'In the ancient writings of the saints of Ireland' says Bede 'we read that attempts were often made by way of experiment to introduce, in brazen vessels, serpents into that country. But when they had accomplished half the voyage they were found lying dead in their brazen vessels.' (6)

In BioFortean Notes 2, unpublished as of now, I will be talking about sightings of snakes in Ireland since the 19th century.

NEW RESEARCH TOOL: The British Library today announced a new online (fee paying) newspaper archive. See http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

1. Alexander H.Krappe Collecteana `Irish Earth`. Folklore vol. 52, 1941, p. 229
2. Ibid p. 230
3. Ibid p. 232
4. Ibid p. 232
5. Ibid p. 235
6. Catholic World vol. 47 no. 277 p. 43

1 comment:

Sylver Wyrd said...

The myth of St. Patrick driving the "snakes" out of Ireland is a metaphor for Christianity driving out the pagans, who were known to worship animals (re: Druids), and in particular used a snake as a symbol of the Goddess [Brigid].

It amuses me that this myth is still considered to be factual. That the myth antedates Christianity in Ireland only gives emphasis to my point.