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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Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The sharp-tailed snake was known to range over the Canadian border (where it is considered endangered) on Vancouver Island and a few other small islands. It's now been found on the Canadian mainland in B.C.



NIGEL WRIGHT: I know that orange 'orbs' are not Chinese lanterns

For years now we UFO investigators have had to deal with weird, orange, glowing orbs that seem to appear from nowhere and move across the skies by day and by night. These strange visitors to our skies seem to pop up in some very odd places: over large bays, over moorland and hills. Indeed, they have even been seen floating over fields later displaying crop circles!

Up to now there have been mainly two fields of thinking over these strange “orbs.”

1) They are a form of plasma energy, or ball lighting.
2) All of the sightings refer to Chinese lanterns, released by over-enthusiastic wedding guests etc.

Ah, if only UFO research was that simple! I am very sad to report that, contrary to what many of our sceptical critics may think and say, there is a VAST difference in the way in which these very pretty paper lanterns move gently, with the wind, across the sky and the more rapid, and non-wandering, routes taken by the more intriguing, and true “orbs.”

Over the last ten years or so I have been very lucky in witnessing both varieties by day and by night. In Devon, over the Lyme Bay area and Exmouth, I saw steady, glowing orange orbs, floating in a clear, blue cloudless sky. They moved steadily in a straight line for about two to three minutes before simply fading away. I have also witnessed the same phenomenon, moving over the area of Woodbury common, an area of wild gorse land just outside Exmouth. This time it was in the early hours of the morning. Again, the weather was fine, with no cloud cover.

Now, lets deal with the two explanations given by sceptics.

To have been plasma energy or ball lighting one would have expected there to have been a local geomagnetic or weather-generated event occurring at the same time as the ball of light appeared. At NO time during my sightings was there any type of such an event occurring in the area involved.

I have observed these nice, little Chinese toys and will agree that if one has little or no experience observing objects in the skies, especially at night, then it might - just might - be possible to mistake this type of short-living paper lantern for a more substantial and far more solid object. If your object continues to travel in a perfectly straight line for at least three minutes at quite a rapid speed, then I would stake a king's pension that it was NO lantern.

Now for the really interesting thing: I recently moved up to the northwest. I live in Morecambe, quite close to the nuclear power station at Heysham. Quite soon after moving up here, I was taking my family out for a early evening drive along the main coast road from Morecambe to Hest Bank. It was just about dusk and the sky was not quite fully dark. Suddenly, from the right of the road appeared a glowing, orange light, quite low in the sky.

At first I was, I admit, prone to thinking 'Ah!..a Chinese lantern.' Then, as I and the rest of my family watched the light (I had pulled up on the side of the road to observe it) this orb continued going up into the sky, gaining height as it went, and speed. Again, this would be sort of consistent with a lantern. However, there were two things about this sighting that made me wonder. First: the light itself at no time flickered at all. All the lanterns I have ever seen (and there have been several both here and in Devon) do indeed flicker. Second: my wife decided to try and capture a photo of this orb on her phone camera. As she tried to frame the object on her phone screen, the phone camera jammed up, and not only did it refuse to take a photo of the object, but all of the photos stored on the phone were deleted! Now, no doubt an expert in phone cameras may be able to explain this but the really interesting thing is that the phone and camera began to work perfectly well immediately after the object disappeared from sight over Morecambe bay and continues to do so until this very day.

Having seen all of this, I was getting a bit excited about this area's possibilities re. UFO hunting! However, the next sighting to get my juices really flowing happened right outside my own front door during a cloudy but dry early evening a few months later.

From the direction of the power station at Heysham came a floating orange orb. This travelled across the sky towards the sea for about five minutes or so. Eventually it disappeared out of sight, somewhere over Morecambe bay. Then, as I looked towards the direction of the power station, or to be more precise, the direction of a large, old aircraft hanger-type building that lies just to the east of the power station itself, there came a sight that left me totally bemused!

From what appeared to be ground level, or as near as can be, came two orange orbs, one very quickly followed by another. These orbs rose at an angle of approx. 45 degrees to the ground, at a very quick speed. They seemed to reach the cloud base, which was about 1000ft or so, in a matter of two/three seconds, and disappear up into the clouds themselves! There was NO way these were lanterns, not unless they have taken to launching these lanterns by high-speed catapults! The only thing these strange orbs reminded of was the tail flames of ground-launched rockets, such was their speed!

I have never read any account of such 'launched' orbs having been sighted before. I am, however, intrigued by the location of the sighting. In my life as a journalist I have often been amazed by life's little trick of throwing up opportunities of getting new leads on stories. This was such a case. A few weeks later I was given new information about the waste recycling plant and the aircraft hanger. According to my informant, the recycling plant is run by ICI, and the hanger is used for growing or storing potatoes.

As you can see from my photo of this building, it must take one heck of a lot of spuds to fill this hanger! This is a very big hanger, which, again according to information given to me, dates from WWII. The whole area around the hanger and recycling plant is a bit of an odd mix of farmland and commercial properties and aerial masts etc. As I surveyed this area I realised just how easy it would be to hide a whole array of secrets amongst the mix of everyday buildings and other perfectly normal objects across this landscape. Add to this mix of objects and buildings the huge array of power substations and power lines etc. that run to and from the power station at Heysham, then there presents a new opportunity to hide even more guilty government secrets! Add to this the presence of Bae Systems at Preston, not too far away, and one's mind can run away with one at the plots you could imagine.

Now, of course there may very well be absolutely no secrets to hide around this part of the Lancashire coastline. The only thing I can state for sure is the behaviour of the orange orbs that I saw taking off from around that part of the local area.

Does the nearness of Heysham power station have anything to do with the sighting? Does the really large, old aircraft hanger type building nearby, have a bearing on the events? I really don't know! But I have a strange feeling in these old investigator's bones of mine, that they do indeed have a bearing of some kind.

Images (from top): Heysham power station; Hanger; Entrance to recycling centre.

BLUE DOG: Naomi sent this (and yes, hun, it does have a ridiculously long tail)

Ryedale Aquarist Society 12th Open Show & Auction

Ryedale Aquarist Society 12th Open Show & Auction

Sunday 11th September, 2011


Old Malton
Memorial Hall,
Malton, North Yorkshire
Y017 7HD

Open Show exhibits - 20p

Schedule of Classes

1. Danio and Minnow
2. Rasbora
3. Rainbowfish
4. Guppy
5. Molly and Platy
6. Swordtail
7. A.O.V. Livebearer
8. AV Female Livebearer
9. Breeders - Livebearer
10. Matched Pair - Livebearer
11. Aspidoras and Small Corydoras (up to 5.5cm)
12. Betta splendens (Siamese Fighters)
13. A.O.V. Small Anabantid (up to 10cm)
14. A.O.V. Large Anabantid (over 10cm)
15. Small Barb (up to 10cm)
16. Large Barb (over 10cm)
17. Angel and Discus
18. Endemic Rift Lake Cichlids
19. A.O.V. Small Cichlids (up to 10cm)
20. A.O.V. Large Cichlids (over 10cm)
21. Albino and Xanthic
22. Fundulopanchax, Scriptaphyosemion, Archiaphyosemion, Aphyosemion and Callopanchax
23. A.O.V. Killifish
24. Scleromystax, Brochis and Large Corydoras (over 5.5cm)
25. Female Egglayer
26. Sharks and Foxes
27. Single Tailed Goldfish
28. Double Tailed Goldfish
29 A.O.V. Coldwater
30. Botia and Loach
31. Pencil Fish
32. A.O.V. Small Characin (up to 7cm)
33. Large Characin (over 7cm)
34. A.O.V. Small Catfish (up to 15cm)
35. A.O.V. Large Catfish (over 15cm)
36. A.O.V. Tropical (up to 15cm)
37. A.O.V. Tropical (over 15cm)
38. Matched Pair - Egglayer
39. Breeders - Egglayers
40. Junior







‘A’ Class:
Mrs. P. Jones
Mr. T. Douglas
Mr. K. Webb
‘B’ Class
Mr. P. Brown

10.00a.m. to 12.30p.m.




Please note that Ryedale A.S. will take a 15% commission on all auction lots sold.
Please label lots to assist the auctioneer.

Please make sure that all electrical goods are clearly marked with the name and address of the seller.


1. Judging to Y.A.A.S. rules and standards. All exhibits to be shown in slab sided containers. All show tanks to have sufficient airspace above the waterline.

2. Once benched, exhibits are not to be removed without the permission of the show steward. When de-benching is announced all exhibitors should remain within the show room until it is established that no exhibits are missing.

3. To assist the public, exhibitors must name their entries.

4. Although Ryedale A.S. will take all possible care of exhibits, and provide access to airpump facilities for use by exhibitors, no responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage to exhibits. Non-exhibitors must gain permission from the Show Steward to take photographs (flash photography is prohibited prior to and during judging) within the showing room. Members of the Ryedale Aquarist Society will be present within the showing room at all times.

5. Fish entered in Classes 9 and 39 are to consist of six fish bred by the exhibitor with the date of spawning/birth of the fry and breeding group clearly marked.

6. Fish entered in Classes 10 and 38 must be true pairs.

7. Entries in Class 40 are for Juniors only. Entries will only be accepted if the Junior, age limit 16, in whose name these fish are benched, is present on the day.

8. Classes 22 and 23 follow the current killie showing guide as laid down by the Y.A.A.S. Judges and Standards Committee.

The venue operates a strict NO SMOKING or CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL policy.

There is ample FREE PARKING around the venue. Refreshments will be available at the venue.

Further details can be obtained from:

David Marshall Tel: 01751 472715
E-mail – aquariumgazette@yahoo.com
or visit our web site at http://www.ryedaleaquaristsociety.co.uk/


From WEST YORKSHIRE, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, LANCASHIRE, THE SOUTH etc. – From Tadcaster follow the A64 onto the Malton by-pass. Branch left at signs for Flamingo Land and Steam Railway. At the roundabout take the 3rd exit (A1472) into Old Malton. Carry on past the Wentworth Arms (right-hand side) and the venue is on your left.


From Thirsk (A1 or A19) - Follow A170 road towards Helmsley. Follow road down from Sutton Bank and approx. 2 miles from Helmsley turn right after bend taking the B1257 signposted Malton.

From Stokesley go into Helmsley. Turn right at Church and at mini-roundabout turn right onto A170 signposted Thirsk. At top of hill branch left B1257 signposted Malton.
If using caravan route from Thirsk branch right onto B1257 and continue to Malton.
As you enter Malton turn left at first traffic lights and go past the industrial estate. Continue on (schools on right-hand side) down hill to mini-roundabout. Turn left into Old Malton. Church on right. Parking and venue on the right-hand side.

From HUMBER BRIDGE, DRIFFIELD, HULL etc. - Follow the B1248 into Norton turning left into the high street. Go past the swimming baths, turn right over the railway crossing and follow the bend to the traffic lights. At the lights turn right. Go up the hill and past a large glass building (RDC) on your left. At the mini-roundabout go straight over and past the Church. The venue is on your right-hand side.

SCARBOROUGH, BRIDLINGTON - Follow the A64. At the Malton by-pass take the exit signposted Old Malton (A1472). 1st exit at roundabout. As you enter Old Malton go past the Wentworth Arms (right-hand side) and the venue is on your left.

From WHITBY - Follow the A169 Whitby to Pickering road into Pickering. Going past the cemetery carry straight on to the roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto A1472. Going past the turning for Eden Camp brings you to Old Malton roundabout. Take the 2nd exit. As you enter Old Malton go past the Wentworth Arms (right-hand side) and the venue is on your left.

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: One of our Dinosaurs is missing

Well, it wasn't actually a dinosaur; it was Ronan, and he's not actually missing anymore, but you get the point.

Ronan's flight was severely delayed due to mechanical problems, and for a while we had lost track of him completely. Max was due to collect him at Bristol airport but couldn't find him, and for a while there was a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth.

But now he is found, and the intrepid duo are on their way down the M5 to buy cake.

All is well.

HAUNTED SKIES: The latest news from John and Dawn


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1590 Governor John White returned from a supply trip to the Roanoke colony in North America to find it deserted, with little indication as to the fate of the residents of the lost colony, which remains a mystery to this day.
And now the news:

New Pacific eel is a 'living fossil', scientists s...
Shark attack Briton 'had no chance'
A spot of summer fun: make your mark on ladybird m...
Ecuador: four months to save the world's last grea...
UK Seabirds falling through safety net
Another Mountain Lion Sighting Reported In Greenwi...
David Shepherd to talk at WildlifeXpo
Bear necessities

See you all at the Weird Weekend, I hope. On Friday I'll be talking about the real Grizzly Adams and his run-ins with the world's greatest showman in my talk 'The Man Who Humbugged Barnum.' Grizzly Adams was certainly nothing like this TV incarnation:

KARL SHUKER: Surf Hippos, here they come


Two New Blogs up at Frontiers of Zoology. The first one sheds some new light on some old Orang Pendek reports which now seem to be at odds with the newer descriptions:

And then the follow-up part on Oriental Dragons touching on the point that they appear to be Euryapsids, like Plesiosaurs and as previously stated for the Viking Dragons and Gargoyles.

And at Frontiers of Anthropology, the first of three articles submitted (in German) on the twin subjects of Jurgen Spanuth and the myth of Phaethon as describing the impact of some celestial body(Translation is still in progress for the other parts):