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, February 19, 2013


This is a particularly cruddy picture, but it does prove that for the second time we have managed to breed Aequidens sp. Peru. As regular readers will remember, Max, Ross, Emma and I bought some babies of this unidentified South American cichlid at a BCS auction in Redditch several years ago.

They bred in 2011, and we were very proud, but despite my best efforts the huge alpha male killed off quite a few of the others (both male and female) and I was afraid that we would never have the pitter patter of tiny fins again.

But all that changed yesterday when young Jessica's boyfriend Matthew spotted babies in the tank. Did we say babies? These were not fry, but well grown juveniles about half an inch long. The bloody things had bred back in one of the hidden areas of the tank and we have been none the wiser.

Another peculiar thing about this brood is that on the first brood we followed all the best instructions and changed the water religiously every few days. This year we did nothing but keep the tank in a reasonable condition and leave it be, and so far we have at least three times as many youngsters as we did last time they were this size.

Weird huh?


If you have been following the epic story of the mysterious slime in Somerset, then you will know that:

FIRST: Tony Whitehead sent me a Press Release about some mysterious slime found at a Somerset nature reserve.

SECOND: I wrote back to Tony with a theory, and a North Devon vet had a similar one.

THIRD: Tony sent me a second RSPB Press release.

In the meantime, back in the early 1970s Frank Zappa released this song, and a few weeks ago Corinna posted this story on the CFZ Newsblog.

This afternoon Prudence decided to take Corinna and me for a walk to Huddisford where we wanted to check on the progress of the frogspawn that was laid there a month back. It is developing very slowly whereas ours from both samples has hatched and the tadpoles are growing nicely.

Guess what we found?

On our return, I wrote to Tony at the RSPB Press Office:

I was out this afternoon with Corinna and the dog, and we photographed some slime which certainly was frogspawn with the nuclei eaten by something/someone. There are still a very few nuclei visible. I have the greatest respect for Mr Green's theory, but I think my original one probably works as well...

Watch this space for further developments, boys and girls, and remember...don't touch that dial!"


Slime “mystery” solved 
RSPB welcomes public response to call for information on the appearance of strange “jelly-like” substance at its Ham Wall Nature reserve in Somerset
Following yesterday’s appeal for information about a strange jelly like substance that has appeared at its Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset the RSPB has received a number of theories about its origin.
Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the south west said; “We’ve been delighted by the number of people that have contacted us about the mystery slime.
Many pointed out the sighting of a strange meteor like object over the reserve last week [Note 1] captured on film by a local wildlife photographer. However, the majority of people suggested more earthly origins. Some identified it as a slime mould, but by far the commonest was that its appearance was related to amphibian activity.”
The RSPB was contacted by Peter Green a Devonshire vet who works with wildlife, who gave a particularly logical and simple explanation following his own researches.
Tony Whitehead explains: “At this time of year amphibians are spawning. The spawn is held in a substance known as glycoprotein which is stored in the female’s body.
“If the animal is attacked by a predator – herons for instance are fond of the occasional frog – it will quite naturally drop its spawn and the associated glycoprotein. This is designed to swell on contact with water, which gives the gelatinous mass we are all familiar with in frog spawn. However, if it’s unfertilized, it is just the empty glycoprotein that is dropped – which on contact with moist ground will swell and give a clear slime like substance.”
“While this is our favoured explanation for this appearance of slime, it’s also worth remembering that other things can give a similar appearance. Certain slime moulds can. So can the wonderfully named crystal brain fungus, but this only appears on wood. And as mentioned yesterday, certain algae, and blue-green algae can also appear as a clear slime”


I wrote back to Tony, the RSPB Press Officer: 

"Thank you for that, Tony. The one we had some years back was a slime mould. My money is on it being undeveloped frogspawn, or semi digested regurgitated frogspawn that something has pecked all the nuclei out of..."

He replied:

"Yes indeed, just had a vet from N Devon call me with a very credible explanation along those very lines"


Weird “slime” baffles nature boffins
RSPB investigates appearance of strange “jelly-like” substance at its Ham Wall Nature reserve in Somerset
In the shadow of Glastonbury Tor the RSPB is investigating the appearance of a strange jelly like substance on its popular Ham Wall nature reserve. As yet the mystery slime is unidentified.
Steve Hughes, RSPB Site manager at Ham Wall said; “This past week we’ve been finding piles of this translucent jelly dotted around the reserve. Always on grass banks away from the water’s edge. They are usually about 10cms in diameter. We’ve asked experts what it might be, but as yet no one is really sure. Whatever it is – it’s very weird”.
Tony Whitehead, RSPB spokesperson for the south west said; “Although we don’t know what it actually is, similar substances have described previously. In records dating back to the 14th Century it’s known variously as star jelly, astral jelly or astromyxin. In folklore it is said to be deposited in the wake of meteor showers.”
Scientific speculation as to the nature of the “jelly” is varied. One of the more favoured explanations is that it is a form of cyanobacteria called Nostoc. Some however suggest that it is the remains of the regurgitated innards of amphibians such as frogs and toads and/or their spawn. Alternatively it may be related to the intriguingly named crystal brain fungus (Exidia nucleate).
Mr Whitehead added; “It’s great that in this day and age that there are still mysteries out there. We’ve read a few articles now – and much speculation. One suggested it was neither  animal nor plant, and another that it didn’t contain DNA, although it does give the appearance of something “living”!
“Our reserve team will be looking out for the slime over the next few days, but if anyone can offer any explanations we’d be glad to hear.”
Naturally, anyone who comes across the mystery slime on the nature reserve is asked not to touch, and simply let site staff know. 

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1844 Joshua Slocum was born. Slocum was the first man to sail around the world single-handedly.
And now the news:
  • Dog Spots the Dog: Dogs Recognize the Dog Species ...
  • Albino fallow deer near Dunkeld
  • More than 2000 live snakes seized in Bangkok Airpo...
  • Notorious tiger poacher and six accomplices senten...
  • Japan's whaling industry heavily subsidized by Jap...
  • US Environmental Protection Agency bans rat poison...
  • Rare giant armadillo birth recorded
  • Dog Dies During Facelift Demanded By Chinese Breed...

  • Come sail away (great song) :

    DALE DRINNON: 2001 Nessie Carcass, Frontiers of Anthropology, Cedar and Willow, Benny's Blogs

    New at Frontiers of Anthropology:
    New at Frontiers of Zoology:
    New at Cedar and Willow:
    New at Benny's for Thelma Todd:
    New at the Ominous Octopus Omnibus:


    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.

    CFZ PEOPLE: Richie West

    Our friend and colleague Richie West is ill. God Bless you my friend, you are in our thoughts and prayers

    CRYPTOLINK: Ketchum Results Second Review?

    A word about cryptolinks: We are not responsible for the content of cryptolinks, which are merely links to outside articles that we think are interesting, usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me.

    Dr. Melba Ketchum has been receiving a lot of criticism lately. You think?
    A significant portion of that criticism on the public side is the $30 fee to download the publication of her DNA study.
    According to Dr. Ketchum’s Facebook Page
    Melba Ketchum
    To all submitters: Please do not buy the paper, we are trying to get a link to you so you will have it at no charge. PM Robin if you do not receive the link.
    I am thinking this refers to people who submitted samples to the project. Probably more importantly though, there have been questions, rumors and innuendo regarding review of the published paper, and seeking to lay those questions to rest…


    My diabetic nurse appointment was not as cheery as I would have hoped. My blood sugar is still dangerously high and I now have to stick needles into my finger to test my blood sugar at intervals. However, I am actually feeling disgustingly healthy, and surprisingly cheerful. The data recovery seems to have gone OK, and I shall be paying them later today. Once again, thank you to Steve and Terry for your kind donation. I am fiddling about with several exciting projects which will hopefully come to fruition in the near future so watch this space. One other excellent piece of news is that we have bred our Aequidens sp. Peru for the second time. Initial results from Lars Thomas suggest that it is merely a colour morph of a known species, rather than a new species, but we have still bred them twice. If anyone wants some babies please email me.
    News from Merrell Fankhauser about his latest project; revisiting Jimi Hendrix's classic 'Rainbow Bridge' movie.
    *  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 same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link:
    * We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

    *  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat (who is currently on sick leave in Staffordshire) puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cat?

    CRYPTOLINK: Bigfoot handprint, trail of footprints, "language" captured on film in Ontario

    A word about cryptolinks: We are not responsible for the content of cryptolinks, which are merely links to outside articles that we think are interesting, usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me.

    A man in Ontario believes he has captured the not only the usual footprints of Bigfoot, but handprints as well. As if that isn't enough, he's posted videos of the find that include a bonus: a Sasquatch speaking it's own language. 

    YouTube user "Sasquatch Ontario" made the find on February 2nd. The evidence consists of a string of footprints through the snow, the size and shape of which seem fit the standard for most Bigfoot sightings. More interesting though, is the discovery of what look to be Bigfoot handprints, something we don't see too much of. The handprints measure almost 7 inches in length, with an incredibly ape-like "thumb" that sits a good deal lower than a humans. 

    The video containing the tracks was uploaded to YouTube just yesterday, and includes audio of what the user believes to be actual Sasquatch language captured in the Ontario, Canada forest. The enhanced audio features a grumbling and howling reminiscent of the infamous "Sierra Samurai" recordings captured in California in the 70s. 

    Read the rest of the story at WhoForted? 

    OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

    On this day in 1859 the defence of “temporary insanity” was successfully used for the first time in a murder trial by New York congressman Daniel Sickles.

    And now the news:

  • Endangered Horses Spotted in Valentine's Nuzzle
  • Drugs Leaked Into Rivers Make Fish Antisocial
  • Genetic Study Pursues Elusive Goal: How Many Humpb...
  • Two new species of Salamander discovered in Colomb...
  • Elephants being poached in Burma
  • Reef devastation caused Crown-of-thorns outbreaks ...
  • World's reptiles at risk of extinction
  • Disabled piglet using wheelchair becomes Internet ...

  • It's just insania: