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, December 09, 2011


For those of you who were not up at silly o'clock on Wednesday morning my appearance on NEAR Skeptics and Believers Radio


SIMON REAMES: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) – Review

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) – Review

Hearing that Guillermo del Toro (the writer and director of Hellboy one and two, Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade 2 to name a few) had completed the screenplay for gothic horror remake Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and had hired an unknown director, Troy Nixey (whom I hoped del Toro would take under his wing), I had extremely high hopes that this was going to be chilling and suspenseful horror with good acting, a great story, stunning set pieces and a fast pace; all the things that we have seen with his previous films. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed. And then trampled on. And then kicked about a bit more.

Although I haven’t yet seen the original 1973 film, the plot of the remake does appear to loosely follow that of the original with some twenty first century updates. Sally (our heroine) is a young girl who is sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend at their new home; a gothic mansion that they are renovating. While exploring the gardens, Sally manages to stumble across the existence of a cellar that was unknown to her parents. When they open it up and unlock an old fireplace, they let out a group of mythical creatures that focus all their attention on Sally.

As with most horror films at the moment, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark starts with (what is hoped to be a) shocking and horrifying scene to set the tone of the film. Unfortunately, it’s not and you just wonder what is going on. Once all the characters have been introduced (and you come to realise that the acting isn’t going to get better), the plot then jumps ahead to get the film moving. (This is very blatant and involves Sally stumbling across the existence of the cellar that was somehow unknown to her ‘professional’ house renovating father; but at least the plot is moving on.) When the cellar is opened, you hope the atmosphere can begin to build as you hear mysterious whisperings and see shadows move. Instead, you are treated to a site of multiple CGI fairies/goblins hell bent on creating mischief. This was the biggest let down for me as I was hoping that the ‘monster’ would be revealed at the end thereby giving you plenty of time to create something (infinitely more) scary in your mind. The plot then begins to race on until it culminates in a fairly predictable way.

Not everything in the film was a let-down however; the location and set for the film is stunning and the whole feel of the house seems overbearing. It is just a shame that the rest of the film doesn’t live up to the set’s standards. The mythology of fairies is also delved into and an interesting account of why children leave teeth under the pillow is touched upon but it is no more than a cursory look which is a shame. However, it does make you want to go out and investigate further which is always a good thing

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark could have been an intensely creepy and horrifying film and you do feel slightly let down that it isn’t. I am sure there will be some who love the film but I fail to see how you could.

Watch the trailer here!



Details on the second volume of BioFortean Notes can be viewed here:


HAUNTED SKIES: Times (The) 21.2.52.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1972 Henry Carrington beat Reg Ableforth and Anson Kibbles in the longest ever three way game of Sloigs on record. The game lasted 37 years in total and Carrington’s victory was not only shocking because he was a novice player of Sloigs but because he died twenty years before the game’s conclusion. Carrington’s death went unnoticed in part due to the fact that Sloigs is traditionally played in freezer rooms, because the Clurbs have to be kept below freezing point, and because he was always a quiet, thoughtful type who would take a long time to make his moves it was suspected that he was engaging in psychological warfare with his opponents by not moving for twenty years.
And now the news:

Freezing lemur found on UK common
Japanese tsunami fund 'used for whaling programme'...
Polar bear 'cannibalism' pictured
Savage cruelty towards a mother Brown bear with tw...
Snow leopards photographed in Siberia for the firs...
The Monster of Mount George
Siamese Crocodile

True aficionados of Sloigs will be familiar with the official anthem of the sport which has been used to open all official games since 1987:


DALE DRINNON: New on 'Frontiers of Anthropology'

Two short blog postings up for Frontiers of Anthropology now:



A Cedar And Willow blog on The Bionic Woman (Women) has been waiting in the wings all week and it shall probably go up over the weekend.

CFZ PEOPLE: Karl Shuker

Happy Birthday dude

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

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

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
From CFZ Australia: