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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Monday, November 07, 2011

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From CFZ Australia:
From CFZ Canada:

NICK REDFERN: Lair of the Beasts - What is the Loch Ness Monster?

Two-hundred-and-fifty-million years ago movements in the earth’s crust led to the creation of a huge rift across Scotland that today is known as the Great Glen. As the centuries passed the deeper parts of the Glen filled with water and it now exists in the form of three main bodies of water: Loch Oich, Loch Lochy and Loch Ness. For more than a century and a half they have been connected by the sixty-mile-long Caledonian Canal, which provides a passage for small boats from the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

By far the largest of the three lochs is Loch Ness. Nearly twenty-four miles in length and almost a mile wide, it contains more water than any other British lake and at its deepest point, extends to a mind-boggling depth of almost one thousand feet.

Read on...

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Lake Tahoe monster

At 1,645ft-deep Lake Tahoe ranks as the world's 10th deepest lake. By volume it is the 26th largest lake in the world. It is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, and was formed about 2 million years ago. Eight creeks run into the lake. Its primary outflow is the Truckee River, which runs into Pyramid Lake (also known for monster sightings) and into the Great Basin.

Legends of this creature first began to surface in the mid-1800s when members of the Washoe and Paiute Indian tribes began to tell the white settlers about the "monster" dwelling in the depths of the Tahoe basin.

It has been described by eyewitnesses as being over 15-80ft long with an undulating, serpentine body, thick as a barrel and with smooth, dark skin. In modern times it has been given the nickname Tahoe Tessie.

In the 1950s two off-duty police officers out on the lake reported seeing a large, black hump rise from the water and keep speed with the boat, going over 60 mph.

Rick Osborne of Sacramento, California, and three of his friends saw one of the creatures in 1979:
“Myself, along with 3 others watched a large serpent-like creature feeding/hunting in a school of large trout. It was in the middle of winter of 1979 off the dock at Homewood. It was about as big around as a telephone pole and maybe 30'-60' in length from what we could see of it. It didn't swim like a snake (side to side). It was diving up and splashing down with it's [sic] head/neck? into the school of fish, which were leaping out of the water ahead of it. We were speechless for several minutes afterwards.”

Dan Pursley of Napa, California saw the creature in 1982. He writes...
'In the summer of 1982, my Wife and I had stopped are 22-foot boat to sun ourselves in Lake Tahoe, CA. We were about 400 yards from the shore near Emerald Bay, My wife climbed out to the bow of the boat and held on by holding the windshield behind her. I laid out across the seats. The water was very still and smooth as glass. About five minutes or so later, the boat began rocking as if it was being hit by a boat's wake speeding by. I sat up but saw nothing around that could have caused this disturbance. As I looked at the water around our boat, there were large air bubbles surfacing. I felt this was rather odd as I am an experienced scuba diver and they didn't appear to be bubbles coming from a diver's scuba equipment. Then in the water five feet away from the back end of the boat, I spotted the largest fish tail I ever saw. It was slowly submerging in the water. The whole scene was like a slow motion movie. I jumped up and told my wife to get back in the boat, as we had to leave. She asked, "What happened to you? You look whiter than a ghost." I didn't tell my wife what I saw until we got back to shore, nor did I tell anyone else except a few close family members. In the years that passed, I began looking through every book I could find that had pictures of fish tails. I found nothing that resembled what I saw. Then I began looking through dinosaur books with no luck. Finally, I heard about a catfish society in Nevada that published articles about experiences other people had with unusual fish. I learned that long ago when Indians lived in the area, they would talk about a great fish. Many people believed it was a large Sturgeon. What I saw, however, was no sturgeon. In fact in my opinion, what I saw was nothing like anything that ever existed before. It was longer across then the entire back of my boat. It was 10 to 13 feet across with smooth dark green skin and as the tail submerged in the water, it flipped towards the boat opposite to the way a whale's tail flips. To this day, I cannot understand how something so large could swim so close without hitting my boat and outboard motor. I remained quiet about this incident until now for two reasons: one, it was not worth hearing the scepticism, ridicule and disbelief of others.'

In the 1980s two fishermen reported seeing a 15ft-long (4.6m) serpent pass underneath the surface of the water, near Cave Rock.

Several weeks after, two divers reported finding an underwater cave; a creature shot out, leaving the silt stirred. Where the creature had been there were two large fin-prints.

In 1982 Chris Bebe and Jerry Jones, two sober Reno police officers, were out for a day of water-skiing on the deepest part of the lake when something resembling “the top of a Volkswagen Beetle” paced their boat from roughly 6ft away. It was so massive water was sucked down around it. “I knew that whatever it was, it was alive, and I knew it was bigger than my boat,” officer Chris Beebe said, estimating its length at 18 to 30ft. “My immediate reaction was that I would stop moving so that I didn’t lose any of my feet." Beebe never returned to the lake, and eventually left his job and moved away from Tahoe because of the publicity.

In 1982 Gene St. Denis and a friend were looking out across Lake Tahoe near Cave Rock when they reportedly saw a “blotchy gray creature about 10 to 15 feet in length.” On another occasion St. Denis reported that while swimming over a large hole in the lake bottom, he felt what he described as a large explosion underneath them, followed by what appeared to be a 16ft-long creature swimming away. “We waited for the silt to settle,” said St. Denis, “and found large fin prints where the creature had been.”

In 1984 on 17th June Patsy McKay and Diane Stavarakas saw a 17ft humped animal surface several times.

In 1985 Mike Conway and Virgil Anderson filmed an animal creating a 20-25ft wake at Zeyphr Cove. However, the film, to my knowledge, has never been shown.

In 1991 witness Andrew Navarro saw the creature whilst in a boat off King’s Reach.

He told researcher John Kirk the following…

“I was with a friend and we were on a party boat. There were other people but they were on the other side of the boat so they didn’t see anything. But my friend and I did. The first thing that I saw was water shooting out of the lake, like when a whale blows water out of its blow hole. Then I saw the surface of the water being disturbed by something underneath. This was followed by the hump of a brown creature which came out of the water. It moved round in a circle for a while then it was gone. The movement of the creature was more up and down not side to side like a snake. The sighting lasted for about 3 minutes or so. My first though was that it was a whale, since the creature had to be huge from the size of the hump, but I know that there are no whales in Lake Tahoe. Most of the other people on the boat said it was probably just a fish, but if it was a fish it was as big as a whale. I really don’t remember any more details since I was mostly scared to death, the creature was so close I thought it would eat me.”

In 1992 a witness called Barry from California saw the creature:

“I saw and watched "Tessie" for 30 minutes from the highway on the East side of the lake. I originally saw it swimming while I was driving, not sure what I was seeing, I pulled over to get a better look. It was all black in colour, very much serpentine shaped, like a giant snake. I estimated the length to be 50-60 feet. It just floated in the shallow water maybe 50 to 110 yards off shore like it was sunning itself. Then it made like a snake and swam off to deep water and disappeared. This happened in 1992, and I had a friend with me who saw it also. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not believe it.”

‘Samantha’ of Incline Village, Nevada saw the creature in 2003:

“About five years ago, my family and I were out boating for the fourth of July. That night as we were watching the fireworks, I heard something swimming next to the boat, and I felt the boat shake from the waves. I looked over and saw a long, serpent like creature swimming by the boat. After I stared at it for a few minutes, it disappeared under water. My mom and step brother saw it as well, and had I not seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. I didn’t know of Tahoe Tessie at the time, but now I know that's what it was”

In 2004 an off-duty bartender on the boat Tahoe Queen took a picture of a black hump in the water, which he claims is the top of the creature's head.

In April 2005 Beth Douglas and Ron Talmage, tourists from Sacramento, reported seeing a creature “with three to five humps along its back” in Tahoe.

In October 2007 multiple witnesses saw the creature swimming off City’s Commons Beach. One observer video-taped a dark humped object at the surface.

‘Jack’ of Kings Beach, California, saw the creature in 2008:

“I've lived in Tahoe for over ten years and this last month was the first time I saw anything. I was above Incline Village on a stormy day. There was nothing and no one on the lake, except a periscope-looking object on the lake. Then it dipped underwater and disappeared. I sat there looking at the lake for an hour afterward, with not so much as a ripple on the lake. I thought it was myth and played along; now I'm a believer.”

On April 19th 2009 the aunt of ‘Ingrid’ of Studio City, California, saw the animal:
“My aunt and I witnessed Tessie this morning about 300m offshore at Edgewood Golf Club in S Lake Tahoe. The morning was perfectly still and clear; the lake was glass. There were no waves, barely even lapping on the shore, and the only boat out there was some 5 miles or more away. Suddenly a wake churned up, which caught my attention, and I looked out and saw her - four dark blue humps still against the water. No head or tail though. I want to believe it was Tessie but, like all other sightings probably are, it was the generation of standing surface waves from the collision of air and water currents. They appear still in relation to the surface of the water, and in this case the set was drifting very slowly south to north before it stopped (or sank beneath the surface).”

Holly, of Tahoe City, writes...

'I was born in Truckee and moved to Tahoe City a year ago. During the summer 09 my boyfriend, son and I decided to go to the beach at Kings Beach. On the way there before passing Tahoe Vista I looked down towards the water and saw large humps in the water moving in a circular motion, the water was still with no waves. The humps were dark in colour like a brownish dark green, I didn't see a head or a tail, but I'm sure it wasn't a fish because there were no scales and I have never seen a fish of that size or shape in Tahoe. I would compare the size of the humps to those like a big anaconda. I have lived here forever and been to Lake Tahoe many times and have never seen anything like it. I truly know that there is something in Lake Tahoe that has not yet been identified.'

Dr Charles Goldman, limnologist and director of the Tahoe Research Group at UC Davis, organised conferences in Nevada in 1984 and 2004 to discuss “Unidentified Swimming Objects,” where a number of scientists testified they had seen Tessie. The only person to have been to the bottom of Lake Tahoe, Goldman says his ’79 expedition was “inconclusive” in terms of the monster. His possible explanations include frolicking river otters, mirages, colliding boat wakes and the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). The latter is found in the Sacramento and Feather rivers some 75 miles from the lake. It can reach 20ft and weight 1798 lbs. This may explain the whale-like sightings but the serpentine creatures are harder to account for. The serpentine sightings may be a gigantic mutant strain of eel. However, I do not know if eels occur in the Great Basin.

There is a rumour that Jacques Cousteau dived to the bottom of the lake and filmed the creature but did not release the film saying that “The world was not yet ready for what’s down there”. The whole thing seems to be no more than a tall story.
In 1998 the U.S. Geological Survey mapped the entire lake bottom of Lake Tahoe with multibeam sonar. They found nothing unusual. However, it is possible that the creatures, if they exist, are not full time residents but move around the waters of the Great Basin. However, it should be noted that none of these connect with the open sea.

HAUNTED SKIES: Scranton Times 4.11.57


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1956 Richard Curtis was born. Curtis’s best work to date has been as the co-writer of “Blackadder”, the writer of the Vincent Van Gogh episode of “Doctor Who” and being one of the founders of Comic Relief.
And now the news:

Halloween's pumpkins turned into power
Halloween UFO: 'Huge, hovering disc' reported over...
Prehistoric Pig Remains Found At Texas Excavation ...
Study Finds Culprits To Ice Age Mammal Extinctions...
Climate Shift Could Leave Some Marine Species Home...
Why fox hunting is more popular than ever
Dugongs facing multiple threats, warns EAD
Train affected by lion 'sighting'
Possible Ogopogo sighting in Okanagan Lake?
Two large sharks sighted off Rottnest Island

One of the funniest scenes from Blackadder III:


Now I know what you are all thinking- Muirhead has now gone completely crackers, lost all his medication in his attempt to find the legendary Atlantis or become ill trying to memorize the complete Works of Chairman Downes-tse-tung, or perhaps whilst celebrating Bonfire Night a stray firework on an anomalous horizontal trajectory passed through his ear drum and blew away that small part of his brain capable of rational thought, but no!

The other day I found the following passage in the Letters of C.S. Lewis edited, with a Memoir by W.H. Lewis (1966) and dated 29 October 1922:

Aunt Lily has been here for about three days and has snubbed a bookseller in Oxford, written to the local paper, crossed swords with the Vicar`s wife, and started a quarrel with her landlord….She is still engaged on her essay which started three years ago as a tract on the then state of woman`s suffrage, is still unfinished and now embraces a complete philosophy on the significance of heroism and maternal instinct, the nature of matter, the primal one, the value of Christianity, and the purpose of existence….She thus combines a good deal of Schopenhauer with a good deal of theosophy; besides being indebted to Bergson and Plontinus……She told me…that women had no balance and were as cruel as doctors, that what I needed for my poetry was a steeping in scientific ideas and terminology, that many prostitutes were extraordinarily purified and Christ-like, that Plato was a Bolshevist, that the importance of Christianity could not have lain in what He said, that Pekinese were not dogs at all but dwarfed lions bred from smaller and ever smaller specimens by the Chinese, that matter was just the stop of all motion and that the cardinal error of all religions made by men was the assumption that God existed for ,or cared for us……I got away, with some difficulty , at one o.c……. (1)

Now Aunt Lily, if you are a regular reader of Muirhead`s Mysteries, will you please contact me for tiffin and scones at one of Oxford`s Colleges or the Bodleian Library so we can discuss this. Thank you!

1. Letters of C.S.Lewis p. 83

BIGFOOT FORUMS: Georgia History Professor tackles the topic of Bigfoot

Professor Jeffery Wells is a 10th generation Georgian. Having grown up in the state, he is quite familiar with its terrain, geography, and history. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in history from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. He is currently the social sciences and education department chairman for Georgia Military College’s Atlanta campus. He has published several articles on Georgia history in various magazines and newsletters, as well as penned chapters on the state’s history for Georgia history textbooks.

Read on...

Yesterday's interview with Ben Radford

DALE DRINNON: The Saga of Sundaland continues

Here is the part 2 on the ethnic diversity of Sundaland; this includes some more skulls, some more reconstruction work, several maps, a couple of pieces concerning the identity of Lemuria AS Sundaland, plus some more links, and ends with a piece about the Lapita Ware people that seem identical to a swarm of Sundaland Survivors that went swarming in all directions, including South China, at about the time of Global Super-flood 3 (the Black Sea Flood, 5500 BC)

Part 3 of the series follows and concerns some of the distinctive myths and ethnozoology that can be traced back to Sundalanders, including parts that went to the Near East and wound up in familiar sources such as The Bible (this following Oppenheimer and with some personal exposition)

RSPB: Nature walks in Devon

Tranquil half hours with the RSPB
Busy life? Too much to do, and not enough time? This winter, the RSPB is inviting people to step back for a moment and enjoy the peace and quiet of a Devon beauty spot in the company of birds and wildlife.

Working together, the RSPB and Otterton Mill will show people the fantastic wildlife that can be found along the tranquil banks of the river Otter – all in half an hour!

Otterton Mill, a site of historical importance that is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, lies on the river Otter between Newton Poppleford and Budleigh Salterton. Working with the RSPB, the mill’s owners are hoping to bring people closer to wildlife, in as short a time as possible!

Shirley Hill, events manager at Otterton Mill said “We’re pleased to be able to offer people a new and innovative way of exploring this beautiful part of Devon. We often hear tales from walkers who are astounded by the variety of wildlife they see every day and we’re confident these walks will give people new ways to discover the wildlife on their doorstep.

“The great thing is, with the walks being just half an hour long, they can fit round even the busiest of schedules.”

Steven Henry from the RSPB said “The River Otter is one of my favourite places to watch wildlife. Kingfishers, birds of prey and even water voles can be seen throughout the year.”

“This is a great time to go looking for wildlife. The leaves are drifting off the trees in their autumnal moult and this makes the birds easier to see and even without the wildlife, the changing colours make for a beautiful spectacle.”

The first date is Sunday 20th November. The walks begin at 10 am with the final walk departing the Mill at 4 pm and include a walk over level ground. For more details, contact Otterton Mill on 01395 568 521.