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...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

DR BEACHCOMBING: Mermaids Sighted from Early Submarine

Good old Dr Beachcombing has done it again...

Beachcombing promised a month ago a mermaid text from the Isle of Man that would amaze one and all. And what Beachcombing particularly likes about the following eighteenth-century description is the way that the we have not only mermaids but also a ‘submarine’, using the word very loosely, that makes an appearance a century before such vehicles had became part of the popular imagination.





Once again we are looking for Sponsors for the Weird Weekend.

For the second year running we're pleased to say that Tell Tale Travel have again kindly donated prizes for our raffle, including an elephant-lovers pack including a fantastic book and DVD, a £200 gift voucher towards their wildlife holidays in Thailand or a wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka as well as a £500 gift voucher towards any family adventure holiday in Thailand , all of which include the opportunity to get up and close to elephants and some weird and wonderful creatures.


Mothman, a new winged-thing, a synchronicity, and a parcel in the post... http://monsterusa.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-winged-humanoid-report.html


In ‘Fortean 5s’, Forteans from around the world get the chance to pick 5 Fortean, paranormal or just unusual events that they find personally fascinating. It’s like a weird version of ‘Desert Island Disks’. If you would like to submit your 5 and I haven’t got round to emailing or facebook messaging you yet please email it to fortean5s@gmail.com , There is no need to go into quite the amount of detail I have, a sentence or two for each one is fine too I just got carried away. Without further ado, here are my selections of 5 fascinating Fortean events (in no particular order):

The Red Barn Murder:

On the 19th of April 1828, after his wife, Ann Marten, saw visions of her step daughter Maria's ghost in a dream, Thomas Marten was persuaded to dig in search of her body. Thomas discovered his daughter's corpse in a grain barrel at the Red Barn in Sufolk, England and her former lover, who had been sending the family letters, supposedly from Maria, for the past year was convicted and hanged for her murder.

Elvis Presley’s vision:

Elvis Presley’s road to Damascus moment was a very strange one and appears to make very little logical sense at all. On the 7th of March 1965 whilst taking a quick break during a trip across the desert with a few hangers on in tow, Elvis Presley claimed to have seen a vision of 'God' in the clouds, a formation that morphed from looking like Joseph Stalin to looking like Jesus Christ. According to the witnesses Elvis was visibly shaken by the event and took it as a sign that he should be acting more like Jesus and less like Stalin, who had been, with the cold war, America’s number 1 bogeyman. To my knowledge Presley could hardly be called Stalin-like, there was a distinct lack of a Gulag at Graceland, but the experience did cause Elvis to take his life more seriously after that and led Elvis to join a religious group called the Self-Realization Fellowship. As to whether he saw a legitimate sign that day in the clouds or if it was just a case of seeing vague shapes in the clouds and putting two and two together and getting 5 it doesn’t matter that much but it makes for an interesting story.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin:

Not a lot of people realise that the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is actually based on a tragic event that wiped out all, or nearly all, of the children in Hamelin on the 26th of June 1284. The event itself is a mystery but it left behind a few clues, firstly in the town chronicles in 1384 it says “It is 100 years since our children left.” And seccondly in a stained glass window dating from the time meant as a memorial to the event. The window likely is the inspiration for the familiar fairy tales as it shows a noble looking man in gaudy striped clothes playing a pipe and leading the children into the mountains. It is likely that the piper in the window is meant to represent death leading the children out of this world into the next but some have sugested that the piper was an army recruter or another official who needed the children for either fighting a war or colanising parts of Eastern Europe. Others have sugested that the piper was a serial killing pedophile but as the reputed toll of dead/disappeared children is around 130 I seriously doubt this theory as it would be rather impossible for one individule to kill so many children, an entire generation, in a small town and for him to get away with it or never be mentioned or spoken of by name, not to mention the events were supposed to have taken place over suddenly over 1 day or at most no more than a few weeks. A sudern deadly disease that that hit children hard would seem a more logical cause, but nobody will ever know for certain what happened to the children, unless their mass grave is ever found in the hills around Hamelin.

The Pokemon Panic:

On the 16th of December 1997 TV Tokyo aired an episode in the animated series of Pokemon that was to become notorious. The episode, DennĊ Senshi Porygon, aparently caused tens of thousands of children across Japan to experience photosensative epeleptic fits nausia and illness. In reality what occoured was a mass panic and only a few genuine fits. Although an epeleplic fit is not to be taken lightly it was irrisposible reporting of the event by the media that caused many people who did not know what was happening to themselves or their children when viewing the episode to belive that they had experienced an epileptic fit caused by the cartoon and by the time these reports made it to the west it was being reported as fact that nealy all of Japan’s children had had epeleptic fits from watching the episode. What had happened was that unknowingly an optical illusion had been shown on the show that caused motion sickness, this illusion, which happened when Ash’s pikachu was preforming an electric attack, also acted as a possible trigger for photosensative epeleptic fits. Many concerned parents phoned their local hospital or doctors when their children complained of the nausia the motion sickness had caused and when doctors started to get several calls they started to take the insident very seriously and ambulances were sent out for the children all of which but the very few (only two according to some reports) who had genine epileptic fits either recovered before the ambulances arrived, on the way to hospital or shortly after arriving after the hospital. Facts didn’t actually stop the majority of people believing the worst though. The insident was used in the USA by people crusading against ‘violent Japanese cartoons’ and as part of the shockingly racist ‘Japan episode’ of The Simpsons.

The Loch Ness Flipper Photo:

On the 7th of August 1972 Robert Rines and the Academy of Applied science appeared to have achieved the impossible and captured on a photograph a close up view of the Loch Ness Monster’s flipper. When the photo was published it looked like at last science had proved the existence of the Loch Ness Monster and Sir Peter Scott, founder of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, even proposed a binomial classification for the monster in the hope this would help it to obtain legal protection. Sadly, the photos turned out to have been heavily retouched and the original photograph could have just been showing something as mundane as a few bubbles. The photo was, however one of the first photos of Nessie I saw as a young boy on a TV documentary where it was presented as fact. Being somewhat obsessed with dinosaurs at the time, as most boys are, I was wowed by the prospect that the Loch Ness Monster could be a plesiosaur. As an adult I know that particular theory as a candidate for Nessie’s identity doesn’t hold water, but that photo was one of the contributing factors that kindled my interest in Forteana and cryptozoology.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1962 the character actor Mimsy Baraclough was born. And now the news:

Big 'cat' seen by residents in Arborfield


http://frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com/2011/04/repost-cfz-blog-on-pauline-ss.html This is a repost of something he did some years agon, but still jolly interesting...


I took this picture of mounted passenger pigeons whilst in San Antonio during November 2004. It comes in useful now, as Karl Shuker writes a blog on the subject (passenger pigeons not my trip to SA)