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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Saturday, October 06, 2012


I do believe I have joined  those exalted few and created a new word: “ Forteanosity” , a verb, “a situation, condition, or period of time, of extraordinary  Fortean activity.” (For example, right now I`m listening to What`s The Frequency Kenneth by R.E.M, eating a cheddar cheese and celery sandwich, dodging midges and wandering why I destroyed that friendship but this is nowhere  weird enough to be called Forteanosity, as some of the items in the following blog.)  Or in more plebeian terms,  a period of “weird s**t”. The years 1907-1908 fall into this category. At least they do if my two sides of A4 paper with hand written notes are typical of that year. I wonder if every year could be described as weird as 1907-8, thus making my new word redundant after about 15 minutes lol ?

So here we go..


Many of the following notes were taken on looking through The Times:

February  1907 : A man vanished in Winchester

May 26th 1907 : Shower of strange

July 2nd 1907. A terrific explosion in Burlington, Vermont.

August 18th 1907  . Disturbances at home in Kensington

October 1907 : Falls of soot and ashes – where?

December 2nd 1907

Airship, thought to be French one missing from Verdun, seen over Carmarthanshire and Cardingshire morning of the 1st. Last observed at 8.30a.m moving rapidly towards Cardingshire Bay. Airship passed over Killyleigh, Co. Down at 1.30pm at 1000 feet, moving North. Wind was Easterly . Ship was unlike Nulli Secundus, having no white bands.

The following extracts from letters to The Times are about the luminous owls scare of this time. A much fuller account of the phenomenon can be found in Fortean Studies volume 1 pp 50-58 – The Luminous Owls of Norfolk - by David Clarke

December 14th 1907   T. Digby Pigott believed the luminosity  was an owl, with a glow like a lamp of a motorcycle first seen at 7.45pm.

December 26th 1907  Second letter on luminous owl from T. Digby Pigott – a policeman has seen it. Cites A Wonderful History of All The Storms, Hurricanes, Eartquakes &c, London, 1704 mentions luminosity clinging to men and beasts.

December 26th 1907  “ I (a country teacher) first noticed the phenomenon in Shropshire one evening in February 1892. A pair of these birds, Strix flames, lived in the buildings at a farm about 100 yards from the school…it (the luminosity) was not as bright as Digby Pigott`s correspondent observed. One bird has been seen luminous , the other not. Luminosity occurs when bird rises in flight.

Part Two will continue with the year 1908. Just to end with, not a luminous whale, but a white whale , in Loch Striven, Scotland, see left, from The Times of July 11th 1904.    

HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Mirror 21.1.69

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: Today's Fortean bird news

In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that - whereas the study of out of place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot, or lake monsters - it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean Zoologist to be interested in. So, after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo, Corinna has taken the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.

  • Wildlife killings add weight to calls for law chan...
  • In captivity, rare birds suffer empty nests
  • Devon worst for birds of prey persecutions, says R...
  • Birdwatch News Archive
  • House Sparrow declared Delhi's state bird
  • Rare visitor provides a first for the Uists


    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 by us in some way, so we should have a go at publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. In September 2012, Emma Osborne decided that the Mystery Cat Study Group really deserved a blog of its own within the CFZ Blog Network.

    Here is the latest tranche of news...

  • NEWSLINK: Florida panther attacks
  • NEWSLINK: Leopard safari in India
  • NEWSLINLK: Big cat attacks in Bhutan
  • NEWSLINK: Ohio mystery cat
  • SIGHTING: Idaho
  • SIGHTING: Iowa mountain lion shot
  • NEWSLINK: Death of NZ big cat handler
  • DALE DRINNON: Sea serpent/Legend of Annwyn/Cedar and Willow

    New on Frontiers of Zoology, building on a recent CFZ Posting:
    New on Frontiers of Anthropology:
    And new on Cedar and Willow:


    Once again I am surprisingly compos mentis after a convivial night. I am too old to be living a bachelor lifestyle and miss Corinna very much. I will be very relieved when she arrives home on tuesday night. In the meantime Richard and I are doing a talk at Appledore Library tonight at 7:30, and we will even have Pru the dog with us. Prudence is sulking massively because Corinna is away, and I didn't think that leaving her alone was a terribly good idea. I have a whole slew of books I am reading at the moment including an anthology of Hunter Thompson at Rolling Stone, the massively lavish 50th anniversary book of the Rolling Stones, and Neil Young's increasingly chaotic autobiography.

    We start off with our daily visit to Thom the World Poet..

    How does one categorise a story about the Jefferson Starship webmaster being hit on the head by a tree, and then nursing it with a bottle of broon? Tree-mendous fun, eh readers?

    Max thinks that I will take exception to the Rolling Stone list of the greatest prog bands. I do, but not as flamboyantly as he thinks.

    On tuesday Michael Des Barres is on the world's favourite TV show (which I have to admit, I still haven't seen)

    This weekend Rick Wakeman is in New Zealand, with an amusing anecdote about the KGB

    More news on Annie Haslam's injured back

    The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...
    The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The Editor is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat - puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cat?

    OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today