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 14, 2011

BREAKING NEWS - Death of cryptid tracker Sahar Dimus

It's with sadness that we learn of the death of the expert tracker Sahar Dimus.

Richard Freeman writes these words:

February 3rd 1969- November 14th 2011

I first met Sahar in 2003 on the first of my trips to Sumatra in search of the orang-pendek. He was to be our chief guide and had been personally recommended by Debbie Martyr. I was surprised upon meeting him at how unassuming he was. A smiling, be-spectacled little man he could have easily passed for an accountant if dressed in a suit. A great example of how looks can be deceptive, Sahar was a master of bushcraft and the most impressive guide I ever had in the jungle. He could tell what animal had passed and how long ago simply by the slightest disturbance of leaves that no one else would have noticed. He was immensely strong and fit and could carry huge weights up the steepest and most treacherous hills like an ant carrying a leaf up an anthill.

Not only that, he was a tiger shaman. His people held the tiger as a sacred animal, according to their tribal tradition the man who founded their tribe lived to a huge age before walking into the jungle and becoming a tiger. Tiger shaman are supposed to be able to call down the tiger spirit in tribal ceremonies. They are said to be able to look through the eyes of the tiger, observing far off things in the jungle and to become possessed by its spirit. Debbie herself had witnessed this and seen the happy, inoffensive Sahar turn into a feral, snarling dervish unrecognizable as himself.

He proved not only to be a great guide in the jungle but a great friend too. He was patient with slow bumbling westerners who found the terrain hard and the food harder. He held us spellbound around camp fires with stories of the jungle and the experiences of both himself and his late father. He was a mine of information on both Sumatran folklore and wildlife.

So good was Sahar that we used him as chief guide all of the CFZ expeditions to Sumatra. We often stayed in his house at the foot of Gunung-Tuju with his lovely wife Lucy and his sons. Over our many trips we watched them grow up. His eldest, Raffles, was training to become a guide and accompanied us on our last expedition.

Sahar had lived and worked in the jungle for 14 years and had come across orang-pendek tracks and heard its call but never saw the creature until 2009 when he and Dave Archer encountered the creature in the clod forests of Gunung-Tuju. After the sighting he wept for a quarter of an hour due to the fact that he had no camera to capture an image of the beast on. Plans were afoot in 2011 to plant permanent camera traps in Kerinci Sablat National Park and had to pay Sahar to check the pictures each month.

On our last trip he seemed a little tired and slower than usual. His leg was hurting him. We all thought that in was nothing but age catching up with him and the rough terrain. I came home from the Fortean Times Unconvention 2011 to the news Sahar had died on 11th of November. He had been taken ill and was unable to walk. He was taken to hospital were apparently he was finding it hard to recognize people. He died shortly afterwards of what appears to be liver failure.

To me Sahar was Sumatra. He was just as much a part of Kerinci National Park as the lake, the mountain and the jungle. Sumatra and Sahar Dimus are inextricably linked in my mind; they are one in the same. Now he has gone it feels like a piece of Sumatra has died. The island can and will never be the same. He leaves behind him four children and a wife.

Goodbye old friend.

Sahar Dimus: Jungle guide, tiger shaman, orang-pendek witness and researcher.

Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages

Dale Drinnon presents-

Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas, part 1

This is an astonishing piece of scholarship which covers a very wide variety of organisms involved in Pre-columbian tranOceanic two-way exchanges....


I found the following in the Irish Independent of May 21st 1906:


The only definite result so far, of Mr H.S. Gray`s treasure-hunting expedition to Cocos Island, in the Pacific, the members of which have just returned to England, is bringing home of a wild cat, caught on the island, and which had been tamed on the homeward voyage. The party was absent 2 ½ years. While on the island the members met Earl Fitzwilliam`s exploring party. (1)

The Wikipedia page for the fauna of the Cocos Islands does not list a species of wild cat.

1. Irish Independent May 21st 1906

For those of you not 100% sure of where these islands are, try this link:


GLEN VAUDREY: Whole Wide World #25

Saint Pierre and Miquelon – Sea Serpent

One of the fun things about writing the Whole Wide World is that not only do I come across a creature that I haven’t heard of before but also I occasionally find a place I’ve never heard of, and that’s the case with Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The islands are a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, and are located just 12 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, some 4000 miles from the nearest bit of France. It is the only part of New France that still exists. With a surface area of only 98 miles it was always going to be hard to find a cryptid for these islands so it’s perhaps fortunate that we have the nearby waters to look at.

In 1834 the crew of the Robertson reported seeing something very strange in the waters south of Newfoundland. At first it was thought that the dome they observed in the water was nothing more than a boat until they noticed it moving, and then they thought it was a big fish. This is what the crew described:

Immediately above the water its eye was seen like a large deep hole. That part of the head which was above the water measured about 12ft high and its breadth or width 25 feet. The snout or trunk was about 50ft long, and the sea occasionally rippled over one part, leaving other parts quite dry and uncovered.

Perhaps this was a very strange sea serpent but Bernard Heuvelmans suggested it was an injured fin whale swimming on its back; certainly an interesting theory.

On with our travels. How about from one small island to a rather big one? Yes: we are off to Greenland.

FORTEAN: Honolulu sighting from the Haunted Skies archive

Back to Honolulu, for this Haunted Skies news item from 1967....


CRYPTOZOOLOGY: A New Zealand Lake Creature?


DALE DRINNON: More from Cedar and Willow

A new Cedar and Willow blog has just gone up!


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1907 William Steig was born. You’ve probably not heard of him but you’ll have heard of the character he created: Shrek.

And now the news:

A great scene from the 4th Shrek film: