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 21, 2013

CRYPTOLINK: What kind of ape was Tarzan raised by? (Via Richard Freeman)

File:Tarzan of the Apes in color.jpg
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.
Dear Straight Dope:
Who or what type of critter was Tarzan raised by? I recall from the books that he disliked gorillas and from the descriptions, chimps are too small. Did old Edgar just make up a whole class of apes?
First answer: yes, it's fiction, and Edgar Rice Burroughs made up the whole thing. He wasn't a naturalist, zoologist or anthropologist, and his jungle animals behaved as he wanted them to, to tell a good story. Reality definitely took a second place. Hell, about a 102nd place. Burroughs did distinguish his great apes from gorillas, but did not identify them further than that.

Now, second answer: The identification of the tribe of apes who raised Tarzan is a matter of serious debate (yes, serious debate) among Tarzan aficionados, much as discussions of the location of Watson's wound are among Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts. The game is the same: Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote accounts of a real person, Tarzan, just as John Watson wrote accounts about a real detective, Sherlock Holmes. The problem is that Burroughs (like Watson, or like his editor Arthur Conan Doyle) tried to conceal the true identities of many of the people and incidents; hence, the accounts are full of distortions and seeming inconsistencies. True aficionados try to pry behind the camouflage, to determine the true events, dates, people, places, etc., and to reconcile the inconsistencies.



Toads feature widley in Japanese folklore, Gamma was a giant toad that lived under old houses. It ate people and also drained energy from them by extending it’s long tounge into the house to lap up life essence.

Gama was also the name of a sennin, a Taoist mystic who had a three legged, white toad as a companion.


The best known toad story in Japan concerns a magician who transformed himself into a giant toad. His name was Yashagoro and he had once been the follower of a man name Jiraiya, or `Young Thunder', who was the scion of a powerful clan from Kyushu. When the family fell on hard times Jiraiya  went to Niigata Prefecture, became a freebooter and rose to the position of chief of a chivalrous band of robbers. He was initiated into toad magic by an immortal who resided on Mount Fuji .

Jiraiya fell in love and married Tsunade, a beautiful young woman who was skilled in snail magic.Yashagoro was overcome by the spell of a serpent and became skilled in serpent magic. He transformed into the monster snake Orochimaru and attacked Jiraiya. Together with his wife, Jiraiya did battle with this magick serpent in the form of a giant toad and a giant snail but they were infected with the serpent's venom and fell unconscious. Fortunately another of Jiraiya's followers, whose life he had once saved, came to their rescue. The 1921 film above is based on the story.
Another  famous story of a spectral toad comes from a tale retold by Laficadido Hearn in his book ‘Kotto:Being Japanmese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs. In the story Chkgoro, a hansome young soldier is enticed into a nocturnal affair with a mysterious but beutifull woman. Each night she would take him to her palice beneath a lake. Despite being underwater the palice was warm and dry.
But his nights of love weakened him so his fellow soldiers summoned A doctor from China. The doctor determined that the woman was a giant shapshifting frog who had been drinking Chkgoro’s blood whilst he was under her spell. It was too late to save the victim who had most of his blood replaced with rancid lake water.

Gama was also the name of a sennin, a Taoist mystic who had a three legged, white toad as a companion.
Apart from the 1921 film, phantom or magikal toads have turned up again in Japanese cinema.

1966 saw the release of a film based loosly on an old Japanese legend. KairyĆ« Daikessen (released as The Magic Serpent) took it’s basic story from The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya werein Jairaiya of the title is initiated into toad magic by a wizard and battles Yashagoro an evil magician who transforms himself into a giant snake. The film deviates from the origional legend somewhat.
The former student of a kindly old wizard (who specialized in toad magic) returns to his former mentor. Now the student is an evil snake magitian  takes over his peaceful village. At the same time, a young woman is terrorized by this evil socerer who is later revealed to be her father. All this leads to a climatic battle between the old wizard's new student and the evil student in the guises of a giant frog and giant dragon, respectively.
In Kyoufu Gakuen (Yamaguchi Makoto 2001), the English translation being ‘Frightfull School Horror’. It is a trilogy of short films. The first features a rather standered ghostly little girl. The second, and weirdest of the three, has biological specimens returning to life and the ghost of a toad dissecting some schoolgirls! The final story conserns a girl becoming possessed by the ghost of a dead crow!

INNAPPROPRIATE CORNER: Ski Town's Most Exciting Incident in Years: High-Speed Giraffe Chase

This next story was once again sent in by Richard Freeman. Where does he find this stuff? No, on reflection, I think that I would rather not know the answer to that one.

Amid reports of a vandalized hot tub cover and a stolen snowboard, one item on the sleepy police blotter for the ski resort town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, stood out for being the most exciting incident to occur within city limits in some time:
10:05 p.m. Police received a call from a woman who said her juvenile granddaughter was at the ski area last week and ran into a person who was selling bags of what she thought were portobello mushrooms dipped in chocolate for $30. Police said the granddaughter further informed her grandmother that giraffes were chasing her down the hill after she ate the mushrooms.
Read on...


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 took the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.

DALE DRINNON: Frontiers of Anthropology, Benny's Blogs

New at the Frontiers of Anthropology:
New at Benny's Blog for Thelma Todd:
Best Wishes, Dale D.


I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the readership of the various blogs to my mention of Mick Farren the other day. A whole slew of Forteans of a certain age came out of the woodwork with reminiscences of Farren's editorship of International Times back in the day. Even Dave B-P who is only just 21 remembers me playing him 'Let's Loot the Supermarket' when he was a schoolboy. You will all be pleased to find out therefore, that Dave B-P and I are driving down to Brighton on Sunday to film the Deviants gig, and interview Senor Farren and the other revolutionary luminaries who may or may not be there. I am very much looking forward to it.
I finished the Dan brown book which was massively entertaining if implausible, and nowhere near as irritating as its predecessor. However, as I said..implausible. I know various scientific types who bemoan the fact that we are approaching a Malthusian crisis, and - theoretically at least - talk about eugenics. Whether or not they would actually pull the trigger if they were given the opportunity I actually doubt, and I am certain that even if they did, they would not wrap the whole thing up in a bunch of pseudo-mystic, art-historian claptrap. However, it was eight quid well spent at Asda on Saturday evening, and now Mother is reading it...
The Gonzo Track of the Day is by the massively under-rated Cris Roversi
Coming very soon to Gonzo Web Radio (once I can figure out the coding)
*  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) and a not very small orange kitten (who isn't) puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. 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 cats?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1927 Charles Lindburg became the first man to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic... And, on this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first Woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
And now the news:
  • Backlash over plans to shoot goats of Inversnaid
  • Invasive 'Crazy Ants' Are Displacing Fire Ants in ...
  • $1 million dollar plus fine and 42 months in jail ...
  • Could Humans Be Cloned?
  • Fin whale research poses more questions than answe...
  • Climate Change May Have Little Impact On Tropical ...
  • Whole village to be moved from elephant corridor i...
  • Whole population of Chalky Island skink lives on j...

  • Well I think this calls for an Al Stewart song: