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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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CFZ PEOPLE: Kara Wadham


CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 49

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Ronan Coghlan - The labours of Hercules

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Henry Hartley - Fortean aspects of the modern Maya


Dear folks,

today I would like you to meet, not Top Cat but the Dolt-cat. In fact, you have no choice: you`re going to meet the Dolt-cat right now!

A few days ago I was looking through Moonrakings. A Little Book of Wiltshire Stories by the Wiltshire Federation of Women`s Institutes. I flicked through and under the entry for Wishford in the History section I found the following entry: (Spelling is kept as in the original.)

The Churchwardens` Accounts contain some interesting items. A few are appended:-

1719. for Sparrows Heds 4 dozen……4
For 6 Poulcatts heds……………………2 0
For a Bagger`s hed……………………..1 0
For a Dolt-cat……………………………..4 (1)

This is all that is relevant from our point of view. So I contacted the Natural History Museum in London to ask them what the Dolt-cat might be. I first thought that it might be a badger, as they are dull and slow-witted (well, they are to me) but we have already seen that the 'Bagger' is mentioned. Then I thought about the otter: superficially cat-like, but hardly dull. Here was the reply I received on August 23rd:

(The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology defines dolt thus: doult dull fellow, blockhead, XVI. Prob. earlier in dial. Use, and rel. to dold (XV) numb, and dol (l), var. of DULL) (2)

Dear Richard,

With regard to your dole-cat (sic) enquiry….I`ve passed this onto several library colleagues in the hope that one of them can find this animal.

One colleague has written this note:

Hmmmm, fascinating, I`ll have a think about this, I wish we had the complete quote. Does he know it was an animal?
[I don`t - R] Might it not be some time type of equipment?

Assuming it is an animal, it could be something that was more valuable then than now. I wondered about a ferret but they were very useful then, so not likely to have a price on their head as vermin. A stoat,maybe? They can `dance` in a crazy fashion, leaping around & jumping in the air. Possibly a weasel?


The above gives some dialect meanings-as you see, dolt isn`t used in dialect to mean stupid or slow-witted, they had other names for these. This was my first thought but generally speaking mustelids/cats aren`t particularly stupid. On the other hand it may have nothing to do with cats or mustelids - look what they called moles.

4 shillings was a lot of money, suggesting it was something dangerous, very difficult to catch or rare (or not an animal at all).

I assume the word was transcribed correctly in the first place - what appears to be a `d` in old script can be a `cl` (not that I`ve had any more luck with this), &, as we said, there can be any number of possibilities.

Concerning a Hong Kong hyena, a blog about the slum and squalor town that once was the Hong Kong Walled City that I found, said that before the demolition of it was completed in April 1994, hyenas were supposed to roam the derelict place.

1. E.Olivier and M.K.S. Edwards Moonrakings a Little Book of Wiltshire Stories (n.d) p.32
2. C.T. Onions The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology(1982) p.282
3. E-mail from Lorraine Portch of Natural History Museum to R.Muirhead August 23rd 2011

HAUNTED SKIES: Glasgow Daily Record, 9.12.89


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1902 one of the first sci-fi films, A Trip to the Moon (a.k.a. Le Voyage dans la Lune), was first publicly shown. If you've not seen it then you should; it's quite short and very good and is loosely based on H.G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon and Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (proper Sci-fi with brass machines and valves; none of that soap opera set on a space-station guff). Watch it here; no excuses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JDaOOw0MEE
And now the news:

What is killing killer whales?
How elephants could solve the biofuel problem
Owl Eggs Reveal Complex Pollutant Patterns
Bird flu deaths in Asia prompt call for scrutiny
Chinese in Africa told: ‘Don’t buy ivory’
Fish-catching trick may be spreading among dolphin...
3 more Californian condors released in Arizona in ...
Rare freshwater jellyfish found in China

Shakes all over like a jellyfish:

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Kevin Goodman - Warminster Triangle

WEIRD WEEKEND 2011: Glen Vaudrey

CFZ CANADA: Monsters don’t live in your closet. They live in your backyard.


DALE DRINNON: Dragon names and Atlantis

Last two blog postings came out today:

At Frontiers of Zoology, further clarifications on the ambiguity of Dragon names:

And at Frontiers of Anthropology, more on rock art, evidence of Atlantis and the flood depicted as being caused by a comet; and then going back and adding more evidence for Younger Dryas meteor craters and evidence that the Carilina Bays are of meteoritic origin and date to the Younger Dryas (they overlie a 100000 year old paleobeach which is why there is some problem dating the samples):