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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Monday, June 13, 2011

LAPIS 2011: An epistle from Michael of Geordieland (Mike Hallowell)

Now it came to pass that a call went out from the Pool that is called Black, for lo, a convocation was to take place at which the great and the good would gather for discourse. The gathering was to be a joyous occasion, for those who believed in the existence of phantasms, the mysterious flying things in the air and the great beasts of the sea could join together as one, and not feeleth ashamed. As the prophet Jon of Woolsery taught, “Lo, we may all be loonies, but we can at least be loonies together” (St Jon's Epistle to the SeeEffZeddites, 23;15)

Now it also came to pass that Michael of Geordieland received a call, for the masters of the convocation did desireth that he should address the multitude. And Oll of Lewis also spoke, and did terrify the crowd with his description of the Great Beast of the Sea, called Kraken. Although he pronounced it Kray-ken, for he is from the south, and speaketh weirdly.

Now on the sixth day the sky did darken, and St John of Nuttall did speaketh unto the multitude, saying, “Our work is done. We have caused great controversy and ruffled many feathers, as is our wont, for those who speaketh here are verily worky-tickets of the first order.” And lo, a huge feast had been prepared, including things of meat covered in crumbs of bread, and the Fries, which are French, unless you liveth in the USA, in which case thou shalt calleth them Freedom Fries. And there were sweet dainties of all kinds, and those in attendance said, “Verily, this is a bit of alright, is it not.” And it came to pass that it was.

Now as the night drew close, it came to pass that Oll of Lewis did speaketh unto Geordie Mike, and did say, “Wilt thou joineth my team for the quiz, which will soon taketh place?” And Mike did replieth, “Nay, for it is not really my type of thing, if thou gettest my drift.” But Oll of Lewis was a determined man of great fortitude, and he did say something like, “Look, matey, if thou doth not joinest my team it will not fare well for thou”, or something alongeth those lines. So Geordie Mike did yield, and sayeth, “Yea, verily, I will joineth thy team, but it will costeth thou a pint.”And Oll of Lewis did purchase Mike a bottle of the Ale which is Brown, and all was well.

Now amongst the multitude were many of great intellect, such as St Paul of Vella, Malcolm of Robinson and Rob of the Head which is White. And Mike did sayeth to Oll, “Lo, they all have five or so in their teams, and we have but two, thou and I! Verily, we are knackered before we even starteth!” But Oll did reply, “Fear not, for the spirit of the CFZ is with us, and yea, verily we will not faileth! Has not Richie of Freeman taughteth us well at the Weekend which is Weird, and honed our quiz-winning abilities till they are sharp, even like unto the sharp razory thing that doth stalketh in the night and whatever?” And Geordie Mike did concur, and yelleth, “For the CFZ! For freedom and St Richard!” And Oll of Lewis did counsel Mike that he may be drawing unto himself the attention which is undesirable, even like unto the hare which draweth unto itself...etc. And Oll also counselled Mike not to shout out into the crowd, “Eat my pants, Robinson!” or any such a thing, for yea, verily, it soundeth cheesy.

And so the quiz began, and Rob of the Head which is White did ask question after question of the multitude, and some in the crowd did cheateth, for beneath their cloaks they had the Berries which are Black, by means of which they could contact the Great Deity Google, and he would answereth them. Although, it must be said that I may be making this bit up-eth for the purposes which are dramatic.

Now Mike of Geordieland and Oll of Lewis called their team The CFZ Supremos and without fail or halt they did listen intently and answereth every question they could. And a stillness fell over the multitude as the scores were added up, and Mike did say to Oll of Lewis, “Yea, verily, I cannot see us winning, matey, for the Ale which is called Brown has dulled my senses, and lo, the room doth spinneth like unto the tawny owl which doth something or other on some mountain or whatever which to be frank I cannot remembereth.”

But lo, a miracle occurred, and it came to pass that the great and the good amongst the multitude did faileth, and Mike of Geordieland and Oll of Lewis did winneth! And they were carried aloft on the shoulders of the multitude – with some difficulty it must be said-eth – and their reward was an splendiferous skywatch kit which contained all manner of wondrous things, and even an tent for emergencies.

Now it came to pass that Oll of Lewis was carried away on the wings of angels, and the spirit of the CFZ did enter into his bosom, and maketh him desireth to sing. And Oll of Lewis did say unto Mike, “Lo, a karaoke taketh place, and it is sore long years since I did entertaineth the multitude with an hymn.” And so Oll of Lewis did taketh the stage, and did proceed to singeth an anthem, which was something by the Loaf which is Meat. And Oll proceeded to murdereth the song, and some in the multitude did say, “Yea, he exceedeth at the quiz but he singeth in a manner which is not unlike the screeching hyena which we knoweth nothing about, for it doth not liveth here.”And the crowd did depart all of an sudden, liketh unto the Bat out of Hell, in fact. But it mattereth not, for Oll was an hero and none dared challenge him.



ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From CFZ Australia:
Virgin Australia gets behind Tasmanian Devil campaign

From CFZ New Zealand:
LARS THOMAS: The bird that shouldn't bee

From CFZ Canada:
ROBIN PYATT BELLAMY: Canadian Cryptology at a Glance
Meet the Canadian Bloggers!



Tiny village is latest victim of the 'The hum' It is a mysterious sound on the very edge of perception that has driven thousands of people around the world to distraction.Now a tiny English village is the latest community to claim to be being hit by the phenomenon known as "the hum".Residents of Woodland, in County Durham, claim that every night a noise permeates the air similar to the throb of a car engine.

Read on...

I don't know whether it is just me being esoteric here, but doesn't this story remind you of Diana by Comus.

HAUNTED SKIES: Visit to Rendlesham Forest and Canines lots of them


Yesterday's News Today

Oll returns later today, but he reminded us that on this day in 1962 the European Space Research Organisation, later renamed the European Space Agency, was established.

Connecticut puma
Leatherback turtle in Western Isles
Flying bear kills Canadians
Alliance for Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals File Complaint Over Crimes Against Animals