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



In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are three episodes pretty much at random:


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...

Monday, June 20, 2011

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From CFZ Australia:
From the archives: Tigers were her hobby (1967)
From bird to brew - Moa Beer
Moa bone washes up on NZ beach

From CFZ New Zealand:
The blue albatross
Rare Moa bone found at Waiheke
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

DAVEY CURTIS: Now this is getting ridiculous! The shenanigans go on.

Dear Jon,

Who is this little devil? (no pun intended) Owl man? Beelzebub? Or the Genie of the lamp!

You may think I spend hours in front of my lava lamp waiting for things to appear but honestly Jon I simply switch the thing on and another imp from the never-world turns up!

You don't know a good exorcist do you?


Davey C
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2


Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

MICHAEL NEWTON: Not-So-Weird Wisconsin?

In Unnatural Phenomena, his exhaustive collection of Fortean clips from 19th-century American newspapers, Jerome Clark produced the following item from the Janesville Free Press, reprinted in the Alton (Illinois) Weekly Courier of 18 March 1853. The date of the original remains unclear. It read:

A singular reptile or fish was caught here a few days since, and is now in a glass jar before us. It has a skin like a catfish, a head and tail like an eel. The gills are on the outside of the neck, and it has four legs like a lizard, terminating in a miniature human hand. It is about fifteen inches long and was taken with a hook. No one here has ever seen a creature like it, though [naturalist Zadock] Thompson in his book of Vermont, describes a similar one, caught at Colchester, near Burlington.

A third similar specimen appeared in July 1902, when the Milwaukee Journal (10 July) reported that William Wuertzberger, from Racine, had “dipped a curious fish” from Lake Michigan. As described in the article:

It has the head of a lizard and body of a fish, is fourteen inches long and two-and-a-half inches in diameter, of grayish color and with black spots. It has four feet, resembling those of a lizard, but much smaller and the tail of an eel. When placed in the water with other fish it emitted pills which dissolved and killed the other fish. There were no eyes. There are two small ears, an eighth of an inch in diameter, but when the fish became angry would extend over an inch.

In retrospect, it is difficult to understand why these creatures confused and astounded local residents—much less journalists with reference works at their fingertips. Both animals described sound very much like common mudpuppies or waterdogs, formally described in 1818 as Necturus maculosus. This salamander species inhabits most of the American Midwest, including Wisconsin, and claims a record length exceeding nineteen inches. Their range of coloration matches the descriptions, and mudpuppies retain their fanlike gills into adulthood, simulating external ears.

Only the lethal “pills” remain mysterious—unless we take them to be normal amphibian eggs released into water en masse. Female mudpuppies lay an average of sixty eggs per spawning, but may produce up to 190. That said, their reported dissolution in water and deadly effect on “other fish”—whatever those were—is unexplained.


1. A common mudpuppy or waterdog.
2. Close-up of the mudpuppy’s ear-like gills.
3. Salamander eggs.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2


I have an account of Cockatrice Hall in Macclesfield and also a giant turtle in Mauritius in 1810, which may or may not be significant; I do not know.

The account of Cockatrice Hall is from Doug Pickford`s Macclesfield Mysterious and Macabre:

Hatched from a cockerel egg

'Just a little north of Pagan Wassail there used to be a building known as Cockatrice Hall. But information about this building is shrouded in mystery. Near to the former Town Mission ( which later became the Lorimar Studios and then, more recently, a nightclub) was, it is believed, an estate known as Cockatrice Estate.

It was mentioned in a deed dated 29 April 1754, when the estate and other considerations went to Joseph Hobson of Macclesfield and others in trust. Mr Hobson was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers.

Cockatrice is the name given to a fabulous serpent hatched from a cock`s egg. Little or nothing else is known about the building, or why it should have been given such a mysterious name - a pagan mythical beast`s hall almost adjoining a pagan site for drinking and fornication! Likewise, little or nothing is known about who was responsible for building it, or when….' (1)

A Giant Turtle

When Mauritius was ceded to Great Britain in 1810 there was a gigantic turtle in a court at the artillery barracks at Port Louis which is still there, although almost blind. It weighs 330 pounds, and stands two feet high when walking. Its shell is 81/2feet long, and it can carry two men on its back with ease. (2)

1 D.Pickford Macclesfield Mysterious and Macabre (2002) p. 29
2 Hopkinsville Kentuckian 29 Dec 1903
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

HAUNTED SKIES: The 1967 `Flying Cross`

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1631 Captain John Smith died. Smith was an explorer who set up Britain's first successful colony in North America.
And now the news:

Casino staff forced to wear flea collars at Auckla...
Plague of ravenous mice eat farmer John Gregory's ...
Illinois man who kept alligator to woo women charg...
Giant tortoise bachelors Al and Tex find romance a...
Orangutan rescues coot chick from water at zoo in ...
Seal rescued from Hinkley Point B power station wa...
Gyrfalcons are 'secret seabirds'
Thief demands £1m ransom for boy's cat

Seems a good opportunity to post the latest Simon's cat vid:
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2