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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Tuesday, May 08, 2012



Richard Freeman, of the Center for Fortean Zoology, has been busy, busy, busy lately. As well as having had his first full-length foray into the world of cryptozoological/horror-driven fiction published (Green, Unpleasant Land), he has also just penned a 315-page book on none other than the orang-pendek. Titled ORANG-PENDEK: Sumatra’s Forgotten Ape, the book is a fascinating and excellent study of what might justifiably be termed the world’s most famous “Littlefoot.”

The book begins in fine, scene-setting fashion with a Foreword from Adam Davies – author of Extreme Expeditions – who is himself hardly a stranger to the orang-pendek, having been on, and led, several expeditions in search of the creature.

Most people reading this post – I’m sure – don’t need any sort of background briefing on the nature of the orang-pendek. But, just to be safe and certain, Richard provides precisely that in the pages of his book, and clearly and graphically demonstrates the long history of the beast and its presence on Sumatra. Indeed, Richard regales us with accounts and case-histories dating back to the 1700s, thus demonstrating the longstanding body of reports that exist. Early 20th Century reports abound, too, and Richard provides in-depth data and on-the-record witness testimony as he delves deep into these later accounts.

But, for me, the most important part of the book is that which describes Richard’s four, firsthand expeditions to Sumatra – which began eight years ago and extend right up to last year.

As for why I think it’s this highly-detailed section of the book that is so important, the answer is very simple: While the Internet is a great resource tool, and books can provide valuable data, in my own personal opinion when it comes to Cryptozoology, the only way we are ever going to really solve the mysteries of the cryptids of our world is to go looking for them.

Without field investigations, not only are our chances of finding the beasts we seek massively diminished, but – in a worst case scenario – the creatures may even become extinct before they even stand a chance of being formally identified. Thus ensuring we never find hard evidence. Richard clearly realizes this and it’s typified by what we get to read about, and learn, in the particular section of the book dealing with his own, personal trips to the island of mystery.
I do not exaggerate when I say that this particular section of the book is absolutely vital reading for anyone and everyone who wants to get the very latest news, witness reports and data on the orang-pendek. We are treated to an entertaining picture of life for the expedition teams, and we are presented with a massive body of testimony secured by Richard and his comrades as they track down witnesses, are introduced to key players in the saga, and gain the trust of the locals in their quest for the truth.

And that’s how an expedition should be: on-site, leaving no stone unturned, and uncovering just about all there is to uncover – a living or dead specimen of orang-pendek aside, of course. Or, at least, so far…

Although, as many people will be aware, I tend to take the view that a significant number of the cryptids of our world have origins far stranger than mere flesh and blood, in the case of the orang-pendek, I really do believe this to be an unknown animal of definitive physical proportions, and one with zero paranormal or Fortean aspects attached to it. And, based on Richard’s revelations and information, I truly don’t think it will be at all long before we have that undeniable evidence in our hands.

Richard’s book also gives us a detailed look at some of the other “Littlefoot”-type creatures in our midst. They range from Britain to South and Central America, from North America to Asia, and from Africa to Australasia. Again, the detail here is wide, varied and massively extensive.

And, of course, the question is asked in the final chapter: What is the orang-pendek? It’s here that we get to the very heart of the puzzle, as Richard carefully takes us on a fascinating ride while detailing the theories and candidates for what the orang-pendek may really be.

But, we’re still not quite finished. The book also contains four appendices that are required and vital reading, too. For me, the most intriguing one was Evidence of new species of primate in Sumatra: Organic evidence that confirms existence of orang-pendek, written by Dr. Hans Brunner, Andrew Sanderson and Adam Davies.

Finally, there are the photographs. Any book on a subject-matter like this deserves to be extensively illustrated – and, fortunately, it is! As well as providing us with fine and captivating pictures and artwork from times long gone, Richard also presents us with a huge body of photos taken on his four trips to Sumatra, all of which provide great insight into the search for the orang-pendek, the people of Sumatra, the land itself, the nature of the expeditions, and a great deal more.

If the orang-pendek is a creature that fascinates, intrigues or interests you, then you should definitely get hold of a copy of Richard Freemans: ORANG-PENDEK: Sumatra’s Forgotten Ape.

DAVE BRAUND-PHILLIPS: Beth and the baby fox

This little fox was found this Sunday morning by Beth from Hartland Wildlife Rescue. It was a little worse for wear, but is now in good hands.

GLEN VAUDREY: An unsettling revelation

Late last year I started to paint The Book of Revelations as a way to pass those cold winter evenings but it wasn’t long before I had to put the paint brushes down as I started to write my next book Sea Serpent Carcasses Vol.1 Scotland ( due out this summer in case your interested).

Back to the paintings, it was about a month ago when I happened to find the concept painting for the Revelations series and on taking a photo of it for my records I was rather surprised with the picture, actually I was somewhat shocked by the photo, it looked like the painting had come alive which considering the subject matter was a little unnerving.

Taking further photos of it I eventually managed to get a picture that actually looked like the painting in front of me.

But the question has to be is the painting haunted or is it just some very bad camera work?


Hi Jon,

A friend of mine named Sue Kruglinska lives next to Central Park, in New York City, and her hobby is watching and photographing the birds.

I thought it might be appropriate for the CFZ blog because she sees some surprising birds active in the center of Manhattan. Here is one line, plus pictures; if you think it would fit with the bloggo let me know and I'll give her your e-mail.

PS She took these beautiful heron pictures today..

-SEEN TODAY IN CENTRAL PARK: Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Green Heron, Great Egret, Baltimore Oriole, Blue Jay, Mallard Ducks, Mourning Dove, grackles, starlings, robins, various sparrows, turtles, French people, Germans, bride and groom, waffles.

DALE DRINNON: A look at the Creationist-Cryptozoologist's cases for surviving Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs, plus stuff from Tyler and Benny

New at Frontiers of Zoology, a look at the Creationist-Cryptozoologist's cases for surviving Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs (Commentary to follow separately):

Tyler Stone has made the general overarching statement about Freshwater Monkeys:

Benny has a blog up on the movie Sitting Pretty (1933 starring Jack Haley and Jack Oakie)

HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Mirror 11.9.67.


Wednesday at the Gonzo Blog:

We have a particularly exciting week ahead of us, with a whole slew of exclusive interviews starting with part one of a chat I had yesterday with the irrepressable Martin Stephenson:

By the way, I found this online, and it amused me. A teenaged Eminem wearing a pink T Shirt and carrying a birthday cake:

We have an exclusive chunk from the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe DVD:

And here is a review of a peculiar little book by Norman Rockwell's grand-daughter. It is one of the strangest things I have read all year, and that is saying something:

Mimi Page has been out and about, so we pinched this photo story from her Facebook page:

And finally, Martin Stephenson made an offhand remark to me in an email on monday. Prudence and I rose to the occasion:

We will be back tomorrow. Enjoy!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1671 Thomas Blood attempted to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London.

And now the news:

The ‘Horrible Histories’ take on blood’s raid and it’s aftermath:


LINK: Richland WA Bigfoot Conference


During his presentation at Pacific Northwest Conference on Primal People (PNWPP), Thom sings to the choir. His quote above got the loudest and longest set of applause.

We have three video highlights for you from Thom's presentation. The first highlight contains his philosophy towards understanding Bigfoot. He wants them protected but not at the expense of industry. Using the spotted owl controversy as an example, he mentions how entire towns were devastated when the spotted owl became a protected species and forced timber companies to leave at least 40% of the old-growth forests intact within a 1.3 mile radius of any spotted owl nest or activity site.

Read on...


The other evening Corinna and I had been watching television when I saw something small and brown scurrying along the skirting board. It was a tiny mouse.

A few minutes later I felt it climbing up my neck, but as soon as I tried to catch him, my reactions dulled as they are by diabetes were too slow and he scuttled away.

We then heard it causing havoc in the woodpile, and eventually Corinna caught it as it climbed and fell into her knitting bag.

Rather than release such a naive little fellow into the wilds of the garden to be eaten by owls or cats, we provided him with a big plastic storage box, some oats, and a pile of hay, and christened her 'Ms Murgatroyd' after an obscure character in an Agatha Christie novel that I cannot remember the name of.

She has made himself at home, but one query remains. What is she? We think harvest mouse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_harvest_mouse

But what do you think?

PS. You may wonder why we are so shure she is a she. It is simple, when Matthew and Emma were here yesterday we showed her to them, and she had given birth to two tiny babies that we (me actually) have named Hinchcliffe and Harrington. (Don't ask)

Further news as we get it..


We are sad to report that Quasimodo the CFZ Snapping Turtle who has lived with us since early 1998 dies earlier today.

He was a rescue, donated to us from the previous owners of Tropiquaria Animal Park in Somerset. He had lived with them for ten years and was fully grown when they got him, so we estimate he was at least 35 years old, which is not a bad age for a common snapping turtle, especially considering that he had a chronic spinal deformity.

We don't know yet whether we will be replacing him, but as I have had snapping turtles ever since 1985, I think that it is quite likely...