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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

CARL MARSHALL: Pine marten sighting?

Hi Jon,

I am 95% sure I saw a pine marten yesterday!! Something very dark, almost black and far too large to be a melanistic grey squirrel (and too agile to be a cat) shot up a pine tree after a large grey squirrel. It appeared the squirrel escaped because after they climbed up out of sight the commotion soon stopped and I did see a grey squirrel come back down and jump from a lower position to another tree. I did not hear any squeals. I waited for a while even though it had started raining, but I did not see the apparent marten again. The sighing took place in local woods outside Alcester.

I shall be spending the whole day up there tomorrow with camera in hand.

I'll report this to the Vincent Wildlife Trust later today.



FORTEAN LINK: Conan-Doyle the whaler

Prose and drawings from the journal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, jotted down during his time as a surgeon aboard the whaling vessel Hope in 1880. His journal was published Sept. 26, 2012.

The surgeon aboard the whaling vessel Hope was often covered in the blood of seals and other animals, his clothes frozen enough that he'd have to stand next to the ship's stove to thaw before undressing. A first-time sailor, he wasn't supposed to take part in the clubbing of seals, but he did, and repeatedly fell into the frigid waters, nearly freezing to death.

A journal by the young man, written at age 20 in 1880, was published yesterday.  The  author?  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

POLITICS: An important news item


NICK Clegg has denied being sidelined by the government after becoming Minister for Paranormal Investigations.

Clegg's new role will involve travelling around the UK investigating ghosts, UFOs and `cryptoozoological animals' including owl men and talking polecats.

Clegg said: "I will continue to play a full and active role in Westminster politics, albeit from a field in Cornwall while searching for a stray panther.

"My coalition colleagues have been 110% behind me, providing me with a complete paranormal detection kit including an old Ford Transit, a video camera and an electrician's voltmeter.

"They even gave me a proton pack for capturing ghosts, which is categorically not just a vacuum cleaner with a laser pointer sellotaped to the nozzle. Luckily I will be working alone, so there is no danger of crossing the beams.

"Cynics would argue that the paranormal is completely made up. But that's exactly what they said to Fox Mulder.

"I showed Vince Cable a picture of some `orbs' and he was most impressed."

Political analyst Nikki Hollis said: "Initially I thought this was a ploy to reduce Nick Clegg's influence on British politics. Then I remembered he has no influence on British politics."

Clegg announced his new role at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, where delegates responded by staring at his very attractive wife.


New CFZ Mystery Cat Blog

I know that I really don’t write a blog post nearly as often as I should do, but that’s because I rarely have anything of significance to say! And I see that it’s almost 3 weeks since I last wrote. Of course, during that time I’ve been busy with other things – including trying to understand CSS and Style Sheets. To date I haven’t been too successful with that, but I keep trying. I’ve also been trying to stop smoking, again without much success, although I have managed to cut down a lot, LOL.

But, the main reason for writing now is to let you know, if you don’t already, that the CFZ Blog Network has set up a new blog. This one is devoted to the Mystery Cats Study Group, and can be accessed here.

It really is worth taking a look as it covers a plethora of stories from right around the world. These include both real animals and sightings of possible ABCs. If you haven’t already done so then I suggest you check it out.


MATT SALUSBURY: A history of dog-headed men

Talk by Matt Salusbury on 'A history of dog-headed men' at Verulamium Museum, St Albans, on Friday 26 October.
and for background see
Spread the word!


I am here continuing my look at a snap shot of 1907-8 along with a few items about Hong Kong Forteana that caught my eye.

A letter to the times on January 14th 1908 from H.D. Rawnsley. Luminous birds occurred in 1898, from March to October and the Autumn of 1899 at Greystokes and Skelton. They moved quickly and leapt over hedges. Described by some as “ a dazzling light as large as a table lamp”. Skelton light appeared to move in  undulating curves and soared over a fir plantation. End of September 1900 keeper at Hornby Hall was approaching his home after dark when a nightjar emitted a flash from beneath its wings.

January 22nd 1908  

Letter from Digby Pigott – model of owl painted with luminous paint was not as luminous as real one people had seen. Suggests the common barn owl is more often subject to luminosity than other birds.

Same day – L Veley suggests luminosity caused by phosphorescent plant matter in birds feathers. Another letter on 22-1-1908 says owl seen in darkened cage with phosphorescent plumage in Maidenhead. (1)

Two interesting reports from Hong Kong

The China Mail   May 4th 1948


A ball of bluish light about half the size of the moon in diameter  streaked across  a cloudless sky over Hong Kong late on  late on Sunday* night according to an observer`s report.

The object, seen from the Praya, was travelling at high speed in a westerly direction. It disappeared behind the wesyern end of the Peak in  a few seconds. The ball did not have the characteristic tail of a meteor. (2)

  • May 2nd.

The Singapore Free Press June 2nd 1955


An anonymous Briton has reported seeing a 7-foot “monster” in the sea near Hong Kong. It was a vicious, beastly horrid-looking thing – enough to put anyone off swimming for the rest of the season “ he told the newspaper China Mail.He said it had grey and black stripes.

Hong Kong experts think the local “Loch Ness monster” may be a hydrophis cyancinctus, a black and yellow striped sea snake with a fatal bite when provoked. Residents of that colony are now uncertain whether to keep a look-out for the “snake” or a tiger which is reported to have swum to Kowloon Peninsula from the Chinese mainland. (3)

  1. R.Muirhead. Personal notes
  2. The China Mail May 4th 1948
  3. The Singapore Free Press June 2nd 1955

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.

  • Flamingo flock gunned down during migration
  • Exotic birds could spread to Britain thanks to glo...
  • On the Wings of a Bird, Effort to Save a Bay
  • Jays hit by acorn crop shortage
  • Donald Trump in fresh Aberdeen wind farm attack
  • Vast copper mine in Lower Zambezi put on hold

    Matthew Osborne rang me this morning to tell me that Weird Weekend stalwart, and soon to be CFZ Press author Jan Bondeson was on the radio. Now you can hear it too...

    Listen now...

    HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 30.8.69


    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...

  • SIGHTING: Cougar in Washington
  • SIGHTING: Snow leopard in Northern India
  • SIGHTING: Mountain Lion shot in Iowa
  • NEWSLINK: Ohio mystery cat debunked
  • NEWSLINK: More on the Arizona mystery spotted cat
  • DALE DRINNON: Ancient gorilla, archaic human, Cedar and Willow

    New on Frontiers of Zoology:


    It's sunday, and once again it's true
    I have some lousy rhymes for you
    for each week for better or for worse
    I do my sunday blogs in verse

    The reason is not hard to see, 
    its just that it amuses me,
    so it only remains for me to say
    here's the rhyming postings for today...

    First off is Thom, our own world poet
    groovy as ever, wouldn't you know it
    he's dashed off an erudite note
    updating something Rimbaud wrote

    Down in the antipodes
    he's gonna tinkle the ivories
    and today we've posted more
    about Rick Wakeman's NZ Tour

    Someone who is always in vogue
    is Erik Norlander talking Moog
    synthesisers and other techie stuff
    'till everyone has had enough

    And now a special download show
    of a recent radio
    presentation of words and song
    from Daevid Allen (him from Gong)

    And now a special press release
    so cool it'll bring you to your knees
    what's it about? Well, can't you guess?
    Michael Des Barres on NCIS

    And whilst talking about the cool Marquis
    here's something else for you to see
    presented here from me to you
    it's a Michael Des Barres interview

    And here's something you might have missed
    a historical revisionist
    who says The Beatles've had their day
    and aren't still relevant today
    which isn't really in the groove
    you might have guessed we don't approve
    so we're out on an off topic limb
    as Jon and Rich take a pop at him

    And Roger Waters lends a hand
    to celebrate Levon from The Band
    in a recent video we've found
    of 'The Night they Drove old Dixie down'

    So once again for another week
    that's enough rhymes from this Gonzo freak

    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?

    CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 61

    The latest episode of our monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you news on our activities within cryptozoology and natural history as well as the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world. I can't believe that we have done this every month for five years now - 61 episodes. Golly!

    This episode brings you:

    CFZ in autumn
    The Crypto Community
    Breeding Caecilians
    Fixing the ceiling
    Mystery cat blog
    Monsters of Siberia - lake monsters
    Monsters of Siberia - yeti/almasty
    Corinna looks at out of place birds
    Joanna's nature walk
    Meeting a giant penguin
    New and Rediscovered: New monkey
    New and Rediscovered: New British Bat
    New and Rediscovered: Another new monkey
    New and Rediscovered: New gambusia

    OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

    On this day in 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died.
    And now the news:

  • World’s rarest buffalo, the Mindoro dwarf buffalo,...
  • Horse shot 58 times with BB gun, on the mend
  • Man who tried feeding body to pigs not guilty
  • Fox tried to eat hand of sleeping pensioner
  • Russian boy discovers 'woolly mammoth of the centu...
  • Dutch customs find hundreds of tarantulas

  • An atmospheric reading of “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe: