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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Friday, November 11, 2011


‘Spooks In White House Recall Green-Eyed Kitty’, ‘Ghost Sounds Had Margaret Worried; Not So Ike, Mamie’. Just two confusing headlines pertaining (would you believe it?) to the same strange ghost story in connection to a phantom cat at Washington’s White house.

Several newspapers; such as the Spokane Daily Chronicle, the Eugene Register Guard and the Williamson Daily News; all reported on the ghost story. The Williamson Daily News was the first to report on the tale on June 13th 1955 under the headline, ‘Nichols Says: Black Cat Or Some Ghost Definitely Was On The Prowl In Statuary Hall’. The article, by Harman W. Nichols, a United Press Staff Correspondent, stated: ‘Washington – Margaret Truman claims that she heard ghost sounds around the White House when her pappy was president. Our present leader, Mr Eisenhower, claims she’s a sound sleeper and that he and Mamie don’t pay any attention to noises in the dark of night.

All of that sent me to the library to look up the business of spook's around the nation’s capital. Seems that back here in the 1920s, a ghost or something, showed up and scared the wits out of a Capitol floor-scrubber. This fellow finally got so worked up that he threw in his broom, disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. According to some fine research done by an unknown reporter for the National Tribune, on Sept. 8, 1927, a black cat, or some other form of ghost was on the prowl nightly in Statuary Hall – where live the marble and bronze likenesses of the great in our history. According to the reporter, who made a thorough study of the problem, the cat was black, as, indeed, all cats are in the dark of night. The fellow who wrote the story said that the cat was all over the place every night. Frightening the daylights, or nightlights, out of night caretakers. Before the floor-washer disappeared, the reporter got hold of the man. The cat, although he never saw her, must have been “big as a big tiger” on account of she flashed green eyes “as big as saucers” when she went running around statues of the likes of Uriah M. Rose of Alabama, the jurist, writer and world traveller. Not to mention Gen. James Shields, the only man who ever served in the Senate from three states.

The cat, and her offspring, according to the latest reports, also became quite fond of Gen. Lew Wallace, the soldier, statesman, and lawyer. Maybe the pussy had read, or heard about the wonderful tribute paid to the general Jan 11, 1910, be Sen. Albert J. Beveridge, of Indiana, from whence the general sprang. “General Lew Wallace loved liberty for all men and fought for it.”
Mayhap the cat, dearly loved liberty too, and was looking for a way out of the gloomy hall of the immortals which looks so eerie in the after hours. Samuel Adams, according to the old-time chroniclers, also was a favourite haunt of the kitty and her tribe. How could she and her young help but be impressed by the likeness of a man who signed the Declaration, and was the press agent, you might say, for what happened at the Boston Tea Party ? After all, Sam was known as the “father of the American Revolution”, and it says so right there under his statue.

Any smart cat also couldn’t help but cuddle to the likeness of Daniel Webster, “an expounder of the Constitution.” It is said that old Dan had a bunch of cats in his back yard and fed them catnip and other feline delicacies by the hour.

But, cats or ghosts I’ll go along with old Charles Anderson Dana, who once said: “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’ve been afraid of them all my life.”

AMERICAN FOLKLORE.NET: Birth of the Jersey Devil


Corinna recently discovered this website and sent me some stories for the blog:

Birth of the Jersey Devil
A New Jersey Legend
retold by S.E. Schlosser

A storm was raging that night in 1735, when Mother Leeds was brought to bed in childbirth. The room was full of woman folk gathered to help her, more out of curiosity than good will. They had all heard the rumors that Mother Leeds was involved in witchcraft, and had sworn she would give birth to a devil.
Tension mounted when at last the baby arrived. It was a relief (and to some a disappointment), when the baby was born completely normal. But a few moments later, before their terrified eyes, the child began to change. The room erupted with screams as the child grew at an enormous rate, becoming taller than a man and changing into a beast which resembled a dragon, with a head like a horse, a snake-like body and bat's wings.

As soon as it was full-grown, the monster began beating all the woman (including his mother) with its thick, forked tail. With a harsh cry, it flew through the chimney and vanished into the storm.

The Monster of Leeds, or the Jersey Devil as he was later called, still haunts the pines of New Jersey, wrecking havoc upon farmer's crops and livestock, poisoning pools and creeks, and appearing on the New Jersey shore just before a ship wreck.

GLEN VAUDREY: Whole Wide World #24

Canada - Bigfoot
This is a vast country with lots of room for cryptids to hide in, possibly in one of the many lakes or perhaps in the dense woods. We couldn’t really travel through North America without having a mention of what many consider to be the poster boy of cryptozoology: Bigfoot.

It should surprise no one to find out that sightings of Bigfoot have been recorded in British Columbia, the western-most province of Canada. Perhaps one of the most interesting sightings dates from the summer of 1924 when a prospector going by the name of Albert Ostman claimed that he was kidnapped by a Bigfoot family, spending a total of six days living with them. He described the biggest adult as standing somewhere between 7 and 8 feet tall, and it was this creature that had carried Ostman in his sleeping bag into captivity. While not many would like to spend time as captive of a cryptid it did give him chance to study the behaviour and habits of Bigfoot.

I bet you’re wondering how he managed to escape; well, he tricked the adult Bigfoot into eating his handy box of snuff and was able to make good his escape during the ensuing chaos.

Where next? Well, how about somewhere less well known....


Corinna and I are off to The Unconvention, and after that we shall be visiting Corinna's mother in Rutland. We shall therefore be away, and out of contact, until next Wednesday at the earliest. This is old-school out of contact meaning the bliss of having no computer, so if you email me don't be offended when I don't reply for a week or so.

Graham and Prudence are in charge of the CFZ, and Graham and Lizzy (with contributions from Oll Lewis and Andrew May) are in charge of the blog. I am sure both teams will do a superlative job.

Until next week. Over and Out!

PS: In case of emergency email graham@cfz.org.uk

CFZ CANADA: New Ogopogo footage?

Is it Ogo? Is it not? Is it Ogo? Is it not? Recently a BC gentleman named Richard Huls taped something in the water at Lake Okanagan in BC. The national news media, then the international news media, immediately ran with the story that he had seen the famous lake monster.

Check it out

DALE DRINNON: Faunal Evidence for Transoceanic Diffusion Before 1492

The newest blog posting on Frontiers of Anthropology just went up:

And it's also an article involving zoology, but it is all another fellow's work; I just reprinted it and added the illustrations. Good stuff, though.


Richard's new book is published today and we are distributing a leaflet at The Unconvention with a special offer. However, for those of you who still wish to take advantage of our almost obscene generosity, and who are not going to Uncon, just double click on the image of the leaflet, print it off, and Lo and Behold, you can get your discounted, autographed copy....

We are impressed by big things; dinosaurs, whales, rhinos, super-tankers, skyscrapers. Mention mystery apes to the man in the street and he will imagine bipedal hairy giants, 10ft tall. Indeed most reports of such things speak of massive animals; the yeti, the yeren, the sasquatch, and the yowie. But for every bigfoot there is a littlefoot. Stories of little hairy men are widespread - but none are as famous as Sumatra’s orang-pendek.

Orang-pendek means ‘short man’ in Indonesian. The creature is said to be powerfully built and immensely strong but relatively short at around 4½ to 5ft in height. It walks upright like a man and rarely, if ever, moves on all fours. It is generally said to have dark brown or black fur but honey coloured or reddish hair has been reported. Sometimes a long mane of hair that falls down to the shoulders is also mentioned. The orang-pendek generally seems to be a solitary creature, though there are rare reports of groups of them being seen together.

This book looks at the history of sightings of the orang-pendek; similar creatures across the world; has in-depth accounts of the author’s four CFZ expeditions in search of the creature; and finally analyses the evidence to produce a cogent theory as to what the elusive short man of the forest might actually be. It is a tour de force by RICHARD FREEMAN, one of the most popular cryptozoology authors on the planet and the author of Dragons: More than a Myth and The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia - The A-Z of Japanese Monsters.

ISBN/SKU: 1905723822
ISBN Complete: 978-1-905723-82-9
Title: ORANG PENDEK: Sumatra's Forgotten Ape
Publisher: CFZ Press
Price: 13.99

To get a personally autographed copy for the special discount price of £12.99 (post free in the UK) send this leaflet to:

The Centre for Fortean Zoology,
Myrtle Cottage,
Bideford, North Devon
EX39 5QR

Make your cheque payable to ‘CFZ Trust’ or paypal payment to: jon@eclipse.co.uk


This weekend at The Unconvention, we shall actually be launching the publicity machine for next year's Weird Weekend.

"But what? I didn't go to Uncon" I hear you cry. You can still buy the tickets for next August's event by clicking on the leaflet on the right to read the details of our special offer and writing to me enclosing a cheque (or paying by paypal) before the end of 2011.

Aren't we nice?