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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Friday, August 16, 2013

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From Nick Redfern's World of Whatever:
  • MIB & ABC — All about Men in Black and Alien Big Cats...

SHERI THE CFZ INTERN: Day 7 – Wednesday

The weather today made it necessary to find out my waterproof. There were many overhanging branches and vines, which could easily whip someone in the eye. My task was to destroy them. The extra weight caused by the wet weather hung the branches even lower. This made it easier to determine where to cut but also caused water to flick me in the eye several times.

Afterwards I went about collecting up any shed leaves that couldn’t just be kicked into a hedge. This material was then put into the boundary. I then returned any stray garden tools etc. to their home. Whatever rubbish that was about was stuffed into a bin bag (or appropriate recycling receptacle).

I was eventually free to be inside, in the dry although I retained my wet socks and shoes for some time in case I may be required to return to the outside world. I accomplished very little whilst waiting for the Weird Weekend meeting to commence. Once it was over I was able to shower (when I actually managed to deduce how it worked). Much of evening was then spent playing eye spy. Thrilling. I never noticed how many things in the lounge begin with the letter ‘B.' 

NICK REDFERN: Bigfoot and Electronic Interference

In the latter part of 2002 and early 2003 British monster-hunter Jon Downes recalls that with respect to both him and the staff of his Centre for Fortean Zoology “…there occurred a huge ‘flap’ of Big Hairy Men (BHM) sightings throughout the British Isles that we could not afford to ignore and that required our immediate attention. Indeed, such was the scale of this extraordinary wave of encounters that even as we made firm plans for an expedition in March, a handful of new sightings of large man-beasts from the Bolam Lake area of Northumberland, England, arrived in our e-mail inbox in January that prompted us to undertake an immediate study of the evidence.”
On a cold, wintry morning shortly afterwards, Jon and his team from the CFZ hit the road, headed north, and the adventure duly began. When the creature craze was at its absolute height, and while he was personally onsite, Jon prepared careful and copious reports, written in an in-depth style that expertly detailed the significant role played by the Centre for Fortean Zoology in the bizarre affair of the Beast of Bolam.
In Jon’s very own words: “We liaised very closely with Geoff Lincoln, an absolutely invaluable researcher based in the area. We gave him our planned arrival time, and asked if any of the eye-witnesses would be prepared to speak to us. Much to our ever-lasting delight, five out of the six were.”
Geoff also showed Jon no less than three locations where sightings of the beast-man had occurred: “We carried out a thorough series of photographic mapping exercises, and did our best to fend off the incessant inquiries from the press. Just after lunchtime, a TV crew from a local television company arrived and filmed interviews with our investigation team. It was only after they had gone that we realized something very strange was happening.”
Jon was not wrong. After arriving on-site, a veritable wave of Fortean chaos erupted in the direct vicinity of Bolam Lake, as Jon graphically recalls: “Although we had tested all of our electronic equipment the night before, had charged up batteries where necessary, and had even put new batteries in all of our equipment that needed them, practically without exception all of our new equipment failed.
Audio wave
“The laptop, for example, has a battery, which usually lasts between 20 and 35 minutes. It lasted just three minutes before failing. Admittedly, we received an enormous number of telephone calls during our stay at the lake, but not anywhere near enough to justify the fact that we had to change handsets four times in as many hours. The batteries in both Geoff’s and our tape-recorders also failed. It seems certain that there was some strange electromagnetic phenomenon at work here.”
It was on that next day that undeniable high-strangeness affected the CFZ crew yet again, as Jon’s notes clearly and carefully serve to demonstrate: “We had a wake-up call at 5.30 a.m. the next morning, followed by a taxi-ride to a rest area five-hundred yards along the road from the Bolam Lake car-park, where we did a two-and-a-half minute interview for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. One thing of great importance happened during the half-hour or so spent shivering by the side of the road waiting to speak to the BBC.


A tongue-tied CNN anchor was left red-faced after claiming humans had hunted the dildo to extinction. Jonathan Mann got hot under the collar while proclaiming the death of the lesser-spotted sex toy during a chat about climate change.

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: New carnivore, black indri, Cedar & Willow and Benny's Blogs

New at the Frontiers of Zoology:


Last night was a jolly nice one. It was one of the best Weird Weekend cocktail parties ever. Much 'pop' was consumed, no-one fell over, and Davey Curtis sang bawdy songs at two in the morning. There were a few minor mishaps, none of which were alcohol-related, and none of which were serious. We have various people staying with us, but not the enormous hordes of people that have been here in previous years. The three kids have been magnificent; the house and grounds were pretty well pristine by well before noon. This is completely unprecedented. The place usually looks like the aftermath of Battle of the Somme by this stage on Friday.
Another visit to our old friend Thom the World Poet.
Yes Guitarist Steve Howe Discusses His Upcoming Music Camp

*  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 two very small kittens (one of whom is also orange), 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 cat?

LIZ BITAKARAMIRE: Day One at Weird Weekend 2013

My last Weird Weekend was also my first and I've wanted to come to another ever since but fate always seemed to be against me. 2010 I broke my leg, 2011 I couldn't afford a 10p mix let alone a trip to the other end of the country and in 2012 all our spare money went on getting married. 

As you can imagine, then, it was with rather a lot of anticipation that hubby and I set out at stupid o'clock from Heywood to miss the traffic. The first hundred miles were interesting. I'm someone who loves to look at new scenery even if it's shopping centres at the side of the motorway that I'll probably never go to. The last 188 miles took their toll. The sat-nav was in my lap the whole way but the route was so unbelievably straightforward there was no real need for it. Plus, at the part when we did need it, to find the B&B in Woolsery's narrow streets, the silly thing packed up anyway so we had to rely on signs. 

When I say the route was straightforward I really mean that. Every junction we came to the direction was 'straight on.' Every roundabout. Every seeming turn. Straight on. It made me think of Peter Kay when he tells the story in his gig at the O2 arena of how as a teetotaller he always ends up driving all his drunken pals and family home after nights out and the last one is always so paralytic that she doesn't remember where she lives.  Peter: "where'd u live Sandra, love?" Sandra: (slurred) "Straight on" 

Peter: "We're in Birmingham now Sandra, love."
Sandra:  "STRAIGHT ON!!"

Eventually frustrated I texted my friend Kelly that I was on the most boring route in the UK. 

We arrived in Woolfardisworthy around dinnertime, knackered. Unfortunately there was a bit of a wait to be able to go lie down because we arrived much earlier than the lady who owns the B&B expected so she had to dash up and prepare. Our room is beautiful. It's a double in lovely bright colours and the window seat looks out onto the gorgeous green countryside. Once ensconced we nodded off and didn't wake up till the evening. We quickly readied ourselves for the cocktail party ahead, I remembering heady days in 2009 of far too much champagne and drunken early hours conversations with a palaeontologist who thought I looked like a chick off the Terminator series: one of the best nights of my life. 

Today was somewhat different. We failed miserably to find somewhere to park for quite some time and then, hungry at last, grabbed some food at the chippy before heading to Myrtle Cottage. We had some good conversations and I was pleased to see old friends but the goodness knows how many hours of 'straight on' during our second-only motorway trip in our new little car, and the long sitting-down stints having played havoc with my dodgy leg meant we had to make our apologies inside an hour and go back to the B&B and bed. 

Still, it's now day two and we've both had quite a good amount of kip so I for one am looking forward to what the day might bring. 

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1934 Diana Wynne Jones, the author of Howl's Moving Castle was born.
And now the news:

  • Lobster Shell Disease Creeping Northward To Maine
  • Angry ram attacks trail bike rider
  • New Cavefish Found in Sinkhole, Named for Fever
  • Massive Tiger Shark Caught On Texas Beach
  • The monstrous serpent was real!
  • Study dials up western pond turtles – Herp Digest
  • Crocodiles may need their fruity five-a-day – via ..

  • The quite haunting theme of Howl's Moving Castle: