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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Friday, August 19, 2011

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
Tales of the Ningen

From CFZ Australia:
Australian Big Cats in Nexus Magazine
Oh deer - OOPAs run loose in Queensland
New blue dog footage from Maryland
Prehistoric big bird discovered in Nullarbor cave
How rat attack saved two NZ birds from extinction
Rare Pogonomys rat makes a cameo in Cairns
Moa bones and ancient poo dazzles researchers
Police crack down on trade in Australian wildlife
Calling all birders - solve this avian conundrum!
Weird Weekend 2011 kicks off!

From CFZ New Zealand:
Rat Island documents NZ birds' fight for survival
Moa exhibition impresses the experts

RICHARD FREEMAN: Swallowed by the wilderness (Part One)

Being a cryptozoologist can be a dangerous job. One has to traverse poorly explored, far-off regions often populated by dangerous wild animals. In the wild you might be hundreds of miles from the nearest help if anything untoward should happen. I have been attacked by a cobra, fallen off a cliff, fallen down a sheet of ice on a mountain, and blacked out due to altitude sickness.
Few people who have not travelled understand true wilderness. The yawning emptiness that is the Gobi Desert, for example, where one can journey for days without seeing the slightest indication of human life. You might as well be on Mars.

Some who venture into the heart of darkness pay the ultimate price: they are swallowed by the wilderness, vanishing as if they had never existed.

Anyone boarding the Southampton train from Waterloo Station on 23rd December 1919 at 11.30am may well have been startled by two outlandish figures. One was a fierce-looking hound that seemed more wolf than dog. The other was a tall weather-beaten man carrying a rifle. The man was Captain Leicester Stevens and his dog was Laddie. Laddie was a wolf/dog hybrid who had been a barrage-dog, bravely carrying messages under heavy fire in WW1. They were on the first leg of a journey to darkest Africa in order to hunt a living brontosaurus The creature in question was, of course, the infamous Congo Dinosaur known by various names such as 'mokele-mbembe', 'chepekwe', as well as many others. The creature is in fact more likely to be a giant monitor lizard than a dinosaur. Ironically, the report that inspired Captain Stevens to undertake his journey was clearly a hoax and the creature therein bearing no resemblance to any kind of sauropod.

Stevens had offers from de-mobbed soldiers, sportsmen, hunters and others all eager to join his expedition but unwisely he chose to go it alone. Neither man nor dog were ever heard of again after entering the jungle.

Vladimir Pushkarev was a bold young geologist who often braved Siberia's wilds alone on the track of the almasty, a relic hominin said to inhabit many of Russia’s mountain ranges. Siberia is one of the vastest and unexplored regions on Earth, and its great forest, the Taiga, is the largest forest in the world, stretching from northern Europe to eastern Siberia in a massive swathe. Rather than be involved in large expeditions consisting of many people, he chose to go solo and hoped to get closer to the Siberian wildman. In an area such as Siberia this took amazing bravery. Pushkarev was working on a thesis entitled Current knowledge on the Relict Hominoid in the North of Eurasia. Tragically, Pushkarev was drowned whilst on a one-man expedition to the Ob River Basin and the surrounding swamps and forests in 1978, the ultimate sacrifice in the name of cryptozoology. His body was never recovered.

Continued tomorrow....

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: The opening

WEIRD WEEKEND SCRAPBOOK: All Yesterday's Parties

Today started with the clear-up of the garden after the cocktail party. There’s always something a bit melancholic about clearing up after a party but I’m glad to say this year the task was made a bit more jolly by Aurelia’s puppy, Ozzy, who is now a good friend of mine (he’s better friends with Prudence judging by the things the two of them were trying to get up to last night, but we won’t go in to that…). This was followed by the open day when I showed several people around the CFZ animals and showed off my huge triop, which impressed all who saw it. And then came the last minute preparations for the weekend.

My talk on Barnum and Grizzly Adams went well, with several people coming up to me to tell me how much they had enjoyed it and if you weren’t there, or want to watch it again, it will be up on youtube fairly soon along with Darren’s talk on sea serpents, which like Professor Brian Sykes’s talk, was very interesting. Sadly I don’t think the sound came out very well on Professor Sykes’s talk so there is a chance we might not be able to upload it, which is a shame but when things like this happen it does provide a good reason why people should come to the Weird Weekend in person to watch the talks. If you did not then let that be a lesson to you to put us into your plans for your holidays next year.

A special surprise guest arrived via the now famous CFZ time machine in the evening too, who will be entertaining you all with the first of three small talks specially prepared just for the Weird Weekend from Saturday onward. Who could it be? All will be revealed tomorrow, but I can tell you that this year’s time traveller is one of my biggest heroes so you know it’ll be good (no pressure eh, Silas…). OLL LEWIS

HAUNTED SKIES: Bradford Telegraph & Argus 31.10.81


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1858 Charles Darwin's 'Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection' was first published in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London.
And now the news:

Mekong dolphin on the verge of extinction
Britain's fattest orangutan Oshine loses 20kg afte...
260.8kg tiger shark catch sets a new world record
Researchers Unravel the Magic of Flocks of Starlin...
Hamster killer spared prison term
Hidden Baja Undersea Park Is the World's Most Robu...
Chicken cull planned near Guernsey's Vale Castle

The Muppet's take on Ain't nobody here but us chickens: