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, January 16, 2012

DAN HOLDSWORTH: Afghan mystery cats


I saw this blog post from a war correspondent who has extensively covered Afganistan. Apparently there have long been rumoursof very large cats in Kandahar province of Afganistan, which the locals usually laughed off as mere supposition.However, when the US soldiery started seeing these cats on night vision and even thermal imaging kit (the US Army has some quite incredible technology these days) they were taken seriously. Here are photos of one such cat.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly there is no scale given.

According to Wikipedia, the following species of felid live in Afghanistan (although I would question the lion):

Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae (cats)
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Acinonyx
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus VU
Genus: Caracal
Caracal Caracal caracal LC
Genus: Felis

Jungle Cat Felis chaus LC
Sand Cat Felis margarita NT
Wildcat Felis silvestris LC
Pallas's Cat Felis manul NT

Genus: Lynx
Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx NT

Genus: Prionailurus
Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis LC

Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera

Lion Panthera leo VU
Leopard Panthera pardus LC
Tiger Panthera tigris EN

Genus: Uncia
Snow Leopard Uncia uncia EN

HAUNTED SKIES - 1957 Flying Egg

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1896 the x-ray machine was first publicly demonstrated. Two weeks later the first x-rays showing unusual objects that creepy people had managed to “accidentally sit on, from a great height, while not wearing trousers” appeared in the newspapers funny pages. And now the news:

“Darling, have you seen my car keys? I can’t find them anywhere...
Oh heavens to Betsy, not again.”


NEIL ARNOLD WRITES: For those of you interested in strange tales of UFOs, monsters, and other weird esoteric phenomena may I draw your attention to the release of 'Darklore' volume 6, edited by Greg Taylor. Over the years Greg has done a fantastic job of compiling extraordinary articles into book form.

Since its inception Greg has featured the work of people such as Nick Redfern, Nigel Watson, Jon Downes, Richard Freeman and Regan Lee. I've been fortunate enough to contribute articles to several volumes including the new tome. My entry, 'There's Something Strange In The Sewers' looks at bizarre, and mostly obscure stories concerning strange phenomena associated with sewer systems, drainage pipes etc. The article mainly looks at weird and wonderful animals found in such subterranean networks, covering reports of alligators, snakes, giant rats and even a lion and a cow!! You couldn't make it up!

Sewers have also harboured monster legends too, whether it's been the discovery of prehistoric remains in storm drains or reports of Bigfoot and other unexplainable monstrosities crawling through the dank tunnels. Ghost stories and a few urban legends also get a mention.

Elsewhere in the book Nigel Watson looks at a strange tale of alien contact, Cat Vincent looks into the sinister legend of the Slenderman, and Jack Hunter explores the darker side of anthropology.

'Darklore 6' is available from Amazon

Herpetological Conservation and Biology (Via Herp Digest)

Herpetological Conservation and Biology - Bibliography- New Issue Announcement
Volume 6, Issue 3 - December 2011 Open Access (Got to the following URL for links to entire papers and contacts)

The Editorial Staff at Herpetological Conservation and Biology is pleased to announce the release of the latest issue, Volume 6(3). This issue is packed with editorials, herp-spectives, research articles, and techniques manuscripts. We encourage you to peruse the new website to see the latest issue and also to join our mailing list or our growing community on Facebook. Signing up will ensure you receive the latest news and updates about Herpetological Conservation and Biology!

All of our publications are open-access and freely available to anyone interested. The Governing Board extends its most sincere thanks to authors and readers alike; our success is only made possible by your continued support.

Happy New Year,

Rob Lovich, PhD.
Communications Editor
Herpetological Conservation and Biology


The "Peer" in "Peer Review."
Gad Perry, Jaime Bertoluci, R. Bruce Bury, Robert H. Hansen, Robert Jehle, Jonh Measey, Brad R. Moon, Erin Muths, and Marco A. L. Zuffi


Trade in Non-native Amphibians and Reptiles in Texas: Lessons for Better Monitoring and Implications for Species Introduction.
Heather L. Prestridge, Lee A. Fitzgerald, and Toby J. Hibbitts

The Amphibian Ark: A Global Community for Ex situ Conservation of Amphibians.
Kevin Zippel, Kevin Johnson, Ron gagliardo, Richard Gibson, Michael McFadden, Robert Browne, Carlos Martinez, and Elizabeth Townsend

Research Articles

The Sea Turtles Captured by Coastal Fisheries in the Northeastern Sulu Sea, Philippines: Documentation, Care, 
and Release. [Photo Gallery]
Teodora U. Bagarinao

Ecology of a Population of the Earthsnake Conopsis biserialis in the Mexican Transvolcanic Axis.
Oiva Castaneda-Gonzalez, Javier Manjarrez, Irene Goyenechea, and Victor Fajardo

Which Habitat Selection Method is Most Applicable to Snakes? Case Studies of the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) and Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis gloydi). [Photo Gallery]
Brett A. DeGregorio, Brian J. Putman, and Bruce A. Kingsbury

Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in Coastal and Montane California, USA Anurans.
Gary M. Fellers, Rebecca A. Cole, David M. Reinitz, and Patrick M. Kleeman

Thermal Selection and Temperature Preference of the Aquatic Salamander, Amphiuma tridactylum.
Clifford L. Fontenot, Jr. and William I. Lutterschmidt

Ecology of the Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) in Southern Alabama with Evidence of Seasonal Multiple Broods.
Gabriel J. Langford, Joel A. Borden, and David H. Nelson

Reproductive Physiology of the Broad Banded Watersnake, Nerodia fasciata confluens, in Southeastern Louisiana. 
[Photo Gallery]
O. Tom Lorenz, Brian D. Horne, Noah J. Anderson, and Ann O. Cheek

Abundance and Roosting Ecology of Chameleons in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania and the Potential Effects of Harvesting. [Photo Gallery]

David A. Patrick, Philip Shirk, James R. Vonesh, Elizabeth B. Harper, and Kim M. Howell
Morphological Abnormalities in Amphibian Populations from the Mid-eastern Region of Argentina.
Paola M. Peltzer, Rafael C. Lajmanovich, Laura C. Sanchez, Andres M. Attademo, Celina M. Junges, Clarisa L. Bionda, Adolfo L. Martino, and Agustin Basso

Annual Survival of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) Nesting in Peninsular Florida: A Cause for Concern.
Christopher R. Sasso, Sheryan P. Epperly, and Chris Johnson

Chemosensory Response of the Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) to Chemical and Visual Stimuli of Mus musculus.
Anthony J. Saviola, William E. Lamoreaux, Regis Opferman, and David Chiszar, Steven J. Price, and Michael E. Dorcas

Population Status and Natural History Notes on the Critically Endangered Stream-dwelling Frog Craugastor ranoides (Craugastoridae) in a Costa Rican Tropical Dry Forest.
Hector Zumbado-Ulate, Federico Bolanos, Beatriz Willink, and Fernando Soley-Guardia

Size Dimorphism and Growth Rates in Distinct Populations of Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Nova Scotia in Relation to Environment.
José Lefebvre, Trevor S. Avery, and Tom B. Herman


The Use of Fluorescent Powdered Pigments as a Tracking Technique for Snakes.
Bejamin L. S. Furman, Brett R. Scheffers, and Cynthia A. Paszkowski

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Three Survey Methods for Sampling Terrestrial Herpetofauna in South China.
Yik-Hei Sung, Nancy E. Karraker, and Billy C. H. Hau

DALE DRINNON: New at the world of 'Cedar and Willow'

Two new entries in on the Cedar and Willow blog, the most recent one including Noel Neill photos from her "Pirate" period:

And the one just before that with a couple more things that have been waiting to go up, including two new proposed Thomasina Edison book covers starring Toby Wing, and some material on The Golden Amazon:


Best Wishes, Dale D.

AMERICAN FOLKLORE.NET: Joseph Bonaparte and the Jersey Devil


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

Joseph Bonaparte and the Jersey Devil
A New Jersey Legend
Retold by S.E. Schlosser

Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, was the King of Spain. Unsuccessful in defending Spain against England during the Peninsular Wars, he was forced to abdicate his throne in 1813. Following Napoleon's defeat, he went into exile in America. Joseph purchased eight-hundred acres at Bordentown, New Jersey because it was between the two great sea ports of New York and Philadelphia. From this place, he could obtain the very latest news from France and Spain.

As befitting royalty - even the dethroned sort - Joseph built himself a lovely mansion with beautiful, landscaped grounds and plenty of parkland. Joseph Bonaparte entertained many of the great men of his day, including John Adams, the Marquis of Lafayette, and Daniel Webster. He led a very glamorous social life, throwing marvelous parties with mountains of food and many guests. The Americans were very impressed with him.

One snowy afternoon, the ex-King of Spain was hunting alone in the woods near his house when he spotted some strange tracks on the ground. They looked like the tracks of a two-footed donkey. Bonaparte noticed that one foot was slightly larger than the other. The tracks ended abruptly as if the creature had flown away. He stared at the tracks for a long moment, trying to figure out what the strange animal might be.

At that moment, Bonaparte heard a strange hissing noise. Turning, he found himself face to face with a large winged creature with a horse-like head and bird-like legs. Astonished and frightened, he froze and stared at the beast, forgetting that he was carrying a rifle. For a moment, neither of them moved. Then the creature hissed at him, beat its wings, and flew away.
When he reported the incident to a friend later that day, Bonaparte was told that he had just seen the famous Jersey Devil, who had haunted the Pine Barrens ever since he was born to Mother Leeds one dark and stormy night in 1735. Bonaparte was impressed by the story of the Jersey Devil, and thereafter kept a lookout for the fabulous creature whenever he went hunting. Once things settled down in Europe, Joseph Bonaparte returned to Europe and was reunited with his wife in Italy. He never saw the Jersey Devil again.


Max Blake sent this video in - it is truly extraordinary...

Haunted Skies


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1912 Captain Scott reached the South Pole 1 month after Amundsen. Scott’s poor planning of his expedition led to the deaths of all the men he had taken to the Pole with him, but in the aftermath he was portrayed as a heroic martyr. A memorial to him and the other members of the expedition is situated in Roath Park, Cardiff, the city the expedition left from. And now the news:

I had an idea once that a film could be made where Morgan Freeman sits by a roaring fire in a high-backed leather chair and reads out the dictionary for two and a half hours. It’d be compelling viewing and a sure-fire hit with great potential for a sequel (Morgan Freeman reads the Thesaurus) or a possible third film (Morgan Freeman reads Reader’s Digest’s ‘How to Fix Just About Anything’). If 20th Century Fox or another studio are reading this blog then feel free to contact me and make me an offer for the rights. Anyway here is Morgan Freeman talking about penguins:

DALE DRINNON: California monsters

The start of a new series on California monsters...
Check it out