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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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


There have been a lot of suggestions about the identity of the Afghan mystery cat which we posted about the other day (see comments section of original post). So far it has been suggested that it is a snow leopard, a jungle cat and a sand cat.

Raheel Mughal writes:

Hi Jon,

How are you? Just to let you know, I was surfing the CFZ website today when I came across a blogpost concerning an Afghan Mystery Cat. I did some research on cats belonging to the (Felidae) family and I believe (taking into account - region, size and physical descriptions), that the cat portrayed in the picture is none other than a Jungle Cat (Felis chaus), also known as the Reed or Swamp Cat.

The Jungle Cat hunts around marshes and riverbanks - often near human habitations. It has an unpatterned coat varying from yellow to a tawny colour, and its tail has black rings and a black tip. its common in Africa and Asia and is approximately 50 - 94 cm (20-37 inches) in length and it weighs approximately 4-16 kg or (8.75 - 35 lb). This cat also nests in abandoned borrows and is active both by day and night.

I hope that you will mention my research above on the CFZ website. Thank you.
Best wishes to you and the CFZ family. Speak to you soon. Take care of yourself and the family.

Your Friend,


JON'S JOURNAL: Murder most foul (or should that be murder most frog?)

Yesterday afternoon, Prudence took Richard, Corinna and me out to Huddisford for another walk, and we walked along one of the areas next to the little stream we explored the other day.

We were running a bit late in the day, and therefore the light was not all that it could have been by the time that we arrived, and Richard managed to get Prudence out of the car (not an easy task at the best of times).

We walked through an area which - back when I first came back to Woolsery in 2005 - had been a thickly planted conifer plantation. It had been cut, and subsequently replanted about three years ago, and as you can see the young pine trees are making fairly good progress; there isn't any effective scale of reference in the photograph, but I am 6 foot 7, and they reached about a third of the way up me, or double the height of Prudence.

We walked a fair way and as Prudence bumbled her way through the undergrowth she put up several birds including something which I think was a skylark.

A couple of days back I told the sad story:

"We used to have a pond at the bottom of the garden and every spring the garden frogs spawned there.

When my brother and his wife had children my parents had the pond filled in lest the little ones would fall in and do themself a mischief. But the frogs didn't seem to realise and every spring for the next few years they would lay their eggs on the lawn where the pond used to be, even though there was no water.

My mother used to collect the spawn in a bucket and take it up to a friend's pond to release it, so all ended well. That was in 1997/8 and that particular generation of frogs must have lived out their alloted span (or learned their lesson) because by the time we came here in 2005 it didn't happen anymore."

Just by one of the two ditches that feed the aforementioned stream we found some frogspawn on the ground and I thought that we had another case of a similar scenario ...except that here there had NEVER been a pond on the path where the spawn lay.

Then on the way back to the car Richard noticed the froggy entrails lying on the ground amidst the spawn. This was obviourly a tale of batrachian trajedy, when a gravid female was on her way to spawn when a bird of prey, or perhaps a small carnivore had waylaid her.

One good side effect of the mild winter (at least as far as I am concerned) is that it is giving a chance for my Carpobrotus edulis or succulent mesembryanthemum to grow larger. I planted it back in 2006, and it started flowering last year, but the heavy winters have done quite a lot of damage to it, and I think that this mild one will finally give it a chance to get established.

It is originally a South African species, but has become naturalised at several locations in the westcountry (most notably at Baggy Point, which is where I first saw it in 1971, and I assume it is still there).

I am very fond of succulents and am slowly building up a collection..

NEIL ARNOLD: Film Review: Boggy Creek (2011)

I’ve often been of the opinion that any film that ranges from being half-decent to a classic should never…ever, be remade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good remake, and personally don’t think they’re necessary. So, when I heard that my all time favourite movie, The Legend Of Boggy Creek, was to be loosely remade, my heart sank with despair. The original movie – directed by Charles B’ Pierce in the 1970s – changed my life. It terrified me as a kid, and in its eerie suggestion allowed the mind to fill in the blanks. More importantly, the film really put the Bigfoot legend on the map, especially as it played like a docu-drama – presenting the creature as a half-hinted presence amidst the accounts told by actual witnesses. If I’d never seen The Legend Of Boggy Creek as a child, I would never have become a writer let alone a monster-hunter.

Now, let’s fast forward to 2011, and some guy named Brian T. Jaynes has somehow put together his pocket money to ‘make’ Boggy Creek, featuring a cast of all stars including the delightfully named Texas Battle, alongside Stephanie Honore, Melissa Carnell, Damon Lipari and Shavon Kirksey. Sadly, by the time the opening credits are on the screen, we find ourselves, like in so many, usually American remakes, that we don’t actually care who’s in the movie…or if they die. I’m guessing that the alternative title, Attractive Young Woman In Tight Shorts Who Likes Running (But Has Parental Issues) And Goes Camping With An Assortment Of Scantily Clad Females Who In Turn Introduce Us To A Myriad Of Goofball Hunks…Oh, And A Marauding Bigfoot, just didn’t have the same ring to it. Within seconds of watching this movie I almost choked on my Bigfoot burger…how on earth can people be allowed to make films as bad in this day and age ? It’s an insult to the intelligence of even primitive man and anyone who finds something good in this movie deserves the same punishment as those pea-brained actors… disembowelment by Mr Sasquatch.

It’s not a huge surprise that this movie went straight to dvd, but the fact it was able to incorporate the Boggy Creek name into its title is a disgrace. So, “what’s it about ?” I hear you ask ? Well, I think my alternative title pretty much sums up this shambolic film. Mutilated victims are turning up in the backwoods of Boggy Creek (although we only see a few – mainly at night of course!), but who cares when we’ve suddenly got three airhead femme fatale’s in hot pants! It’s your typical US flick, the type that has been bombarding our television, and somehow cinema screens since the ‘90s – taking the halcyon days of the ‘70s and ‘80s slasher flick to vomit-induced levels of trash. There are the three rather attractive girls, who have the combined IQ of Bigfoot excrement, completely bereft of character, except the blonde who likes jogging – and then we meet the hunk in the woods who has Bigfoot issues (apparently his wife was dragged off into the woods by a horny Bigfoot “many years ago”) as well as the two other ‘dudes’ aka, planks of wood, who eventually succumb to the grubby hands of the hairy one. And that’s it. Like so many countless other mundane, dire, appalling, mainly US movies, it’s about a camping trip into the heart of the forest where rumour has it some type of wild-man likes to chew on the bones of men but give the bone to women….but the major problem is – amongst so many other problems – no-one can act, and within five minutes I feel like I’m watching a porn film minus the sex scenes!

Badly filmed, badly acted, badly scripted, bad special effects – pretty much sums up a majority of modern horror films. However, the worse thing about all this is the fact that I’m pretty sure that out there, somewhere, there are people struggling to get their decent films made, and yet diarrhoea like this ambles into the dvd player, tarnishes the legend of Pierce's masterpiece, then disappears down the toilet. 80 or so minutes of garbage is how I’d sum this movie up. Avoid like the plague, and shoot all those involved.



Because I have a wide and rich range of interests I get sent all sorts of interesting links each day. I was particularly interested in this article on new breeds of dog...


HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Mail 28.1.58

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1905 the Cullinan Diamond was discovered In South Africa. Until the discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond the Cullinan Diamond was the largest pure diamond ever discovered and, according to unsubstantiated rumours, it was part of a much larger diamond. The 9 parts of the cut diamond are now part of the British Crown Jewels, the largest diamond of which is known as the Star of Africa and is set in the Sceptre of The Cross, which is held in the monarch’s right hand during coronations.

And now the news:

Miami Roofers Discover Massive Bat Colony In One R...
Rare Chinese white dolphin gets DNA bank
Sumatran elephant upgraded to critically endangere...
Migrating Somerset eels tracked by camera
Why Some Animals Are Fatter Than Others
Bid to save wildcats from amorous cousins

Brits don’t get overly patriotic very often as it is considered ‘vulgar’ and 'common' but we have our moments, such as coronations where we out-do everyone else, with the possible exception of North Korea (you can try spotting the Star of Africa in this clip if such things excite and amuse you) :


DALE DRINNON: The Year of The Dragon

My own contribution to the Chinese New Year, only slightly tardy:


Two New Articles on Frontiers of Anthropology:



When the legitimate media make cock ups on this scale, life is sweet:

Ofcom has ruled that ITV misled viewers by airing footage claimed to have been shot by the IRA, which was actually material taken from a video game.

A total of 26 people alerted the regulator, raising concerns over the footage broadcast in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA, in September.