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, February 15, 2012

BIG CAT NEWS: Gloucestershire sighting/Farmers Weekly Poll

The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper column inches than any other cryptozoological subject.

There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived in some way by us, so we should have a go at publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in.

It takes a long time to do, and is a fairly tedious task, so I am not promising that they will be done each day, but I will do them as regularly as I can. JD

Big cat spotted crossing A40 in Andoversford
This is Gloucestershire
CONVERT: Beverley Jones said she did not believe previous big cat sightings, until she spotted an animal running across the road. Inset: a big cat She said the animal, which was the size of a dog, ran out across the road and into the nearby woods.

The sightings in Gloucestershire continue. Beverley Jones appears to be an eminently sensible witness. She makes no extraordinary claims about the animal she describes as
"...exactly like a domestic cat but it was bigger. I slowed down almost to a stop and saw it run into the woodlands. It was the size of a Labrador and black in colour. It had a long tail, the size of its body, which curled at the end. I know what I saw and it was not a dog."

Farmers back big cat claims in FW poll
More than half of FWi users believe that big cats are roaming wild in the UK countryside. That's the statistic revealed by responses to FW's Weekly Poll, with 58% of the 700 respondents so far convinced that the animals are at large.

I am actually surprised that only 58% of respondees believe in the cats! I would have expected the figure to be considerably higher.

JON'S JOURNAL: Wot No Curlews?

For the third day running I went to Northam Burrows this afternoon, in an attempt to film the herd of curlews that we saw the other day. (Yes, the collective noun for a group of curlews is a 'herd'. Thank you for that, Corinna).

Nope, there was nothing there.

The only thing that we did see was a huge flock of some birds or other (possibly starlings) in the middle distance. Graham hiked off to get close enough to photograph them, but a dog being walked by a young bloke in garish sportwear ran up to them and the flock flew off.

The moral of the story here is, not only CHECK YOUR BATTERIES BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE which is not only common sense but pretty much self evident, but also a more philosophical one.

Basically, when one has a magickal experience due to the good offices of Mother Nature, and - believe me - seeing a whole herd of these comical birds skittering about earnestly, like badly animated clockwork figures (I was sooooo reminded of The Mouse and his Child) is a truly magickal experience - these things are one-offs, and should be treated as such. Mother Nature isn't some crappy cable network. Magickal experiences like a herd of curlews don't happen on the hour every hour with gaps for advert breaks.

No siree. It doesn't work like that.

So if - like me - you wish to be a humble supplicant worship at the altar of Mother Nature, you had better make sure your camera works properly. Here endeth the Gospel for today.

There were also so many people there including revolting adolescent males on trials bikes, and the aforementioned bloke in his designer sportware, that I began to get cross, so we went home via Boots (yes, I finally managed to get my diabetic shortbread HUZZAH!!!) and stopped off at Kennerland where we found that my gloomy prognostications were correct, and the recent cold snap did indeed kill off all the January frogspawn, which is now sadly rotting away (see bottom picture).

HELEN TAYLOR SENT ME THIS (bless her little cotton socks)


Williams and Lang's Australian Big Cats: do pumas, giant feral cats and ...

Scientific American (blog)
By Darren Naish February 13, 2012 Virtually all people interested in animals are aware of the so-called 'mystery big cat' phenomenon. Large, often black, cats are reported with apparent frequency from the eastern USA and the UK.


On far more than a few occasions, people have asked me what it was that prompted me to immerse myself deeply in the worlds of flying saucers, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Roswell, Area 51, Mothman, the Men in Black and…well, you get the picture, right? Actually, there was not one reason, but several. All of them were linked to matters of a definitive supernatural, conspiratorial, or just plain weird nature, but in very different ways. And here they are…

HAUNTED SKIES: Times (The) 15.9.62


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1946 Ian Lavender was born. Lavender is best known for his role as Pike in Dad’s Army but also played a memorable role in time slip comedy Goodnight Sweetheart as the grown up son of Garry Sparrow, the series’ main character who took advantage of a time portal to commit bigamy in war time and early 21st century Britain.

And now the news:

India’s wolves struggle for survival
High noon for mackerel talks
Rare bird has humans flocking to Julian
Rare bird spotted after decades
Honeybees tell hornet predators to buzz off
Deer night-vision cameras in Welsh forests as cull...
How toilet paper is threatening Indonesia's tigers...
Mussels colony wiped out after Delphi Bridge Repai...
Environment's Effects On Evolution of Survival Tra...
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi agree ...
Marcia Davis: Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

“Don’t tell him Pike!”

CRYPTOZOOLOGY NEWS: The Iceland serpent, and the Siberian mammoth explained

So the two great cryptzoological stories of the last week or so have been solved - apparently. First up is that bloody mammoth which was actually the better executed of the two media sensations.

The general opinion within the cryptozoological community both on this blog and elsewhere was that it showed a bear with a large salmon in its mouth. Now, it is claimed that the person who shot the original footage has come forward and denounced it as a fake.

Ludovic Petho came forward to say he shot the video that made headlines during a 10-day hike in Siberia's Sayan Mountains in 2011. He recognizes the footage as his own except for one thing: his original video never showed a mammoth.

"I don't recall seeing a mammoth; there were bears, deer, and sable, but no woolly mammoths. I had no idea my footage was used to make this fake sighting."


And the Icelandic river monster?

Finland's Miisa McKeown has analyzed the video, matching up the position of the monster's head with relation to static reference points. Her conclusion? The "monster" is actually stuck in one place on the river. The snaky thing looks as if it's swimming upstream because water is streaming past it. It's the moving water that creates the illusion of a swimming snake.

It appears that the monster was nothing more than a piece of fishing net snagged in a river.


The thing that I find particularly interesting is not that both videos were not what they pretended to be. I never thought they were. But that - if these explanations are true - they are completely at variance with what the cryptozoological community (who didn't believe in them either) thought that they were.

I have a sneaking suspicion that both these stories have some life in them yet!

KARL SHUKER: Mystery pink monster/the other grinning cat

If there are any regions in North America with prospects (however slim) for concealing living dinosaurs, they must include the humid swamplands of Florida - especially as a creature reputedly akin to such animals has been reported from here on several different occasions.
Read on...

The Cheshire Cat, from Lewis Carroll's classic children's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), may well be the literary world's most famous grinning felid - but it isn't the only one...
Read on...

Shark devours another shark whole


DALE DRINNON: Early Japan's connections to Sundaland/Archaic America/Cedar and Willow

New articles up on the Frontiers of Zoology blog dealing with the connections of early Japan to Sundaland and to Siberia:

And about the Archaic period in America and why it is like Atlantis:


New on Cedar and Willow:

Best Wishes, Dale D.