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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Thursday, October 31, 2013

SAMHAIN: Corinna's Hallowe'en Story

Ely Cathedral, proud and strong, stands atop her island surveying all below her.  In the bright sunshine she can be seen from miles away but when the mist rolls in and wraps its vaporous fingers around the fenlands, she is like a galleon in full sail riding atop the mist; she becomes the ‘Ship of the Fens.' 

The fenlands were once a place full of foreboding, and the boundaries – where the land gave way to the water-logged marshes – became the stamping ground of many a thief who lay in wait for unwary pilgrims on their way to the Isle of Ely to give thanks to God in the great cathedral, or for travellers who were hoping to sell their wares, make deals or just rest awhile before continuing on their journey.  The threat of eternal damnation in the fires of hell that many victims warned of whilst their meagre purses were emptied affected these robbers not. Travellers and merchants were easy prey, and the clergy were as much to be despised as the conquering Norman invaders. Such things caused these robbers no concern, for in their eyes the Lord had long since banished them from his charity.  They were already damned; the raging fires had already scorched the soles of their feet.  And when offered salvation they would merely crack a disdainful smile and laugh in the face of those who presented such weak and panic-stricken last deals. 

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.



The Gonzo Daily - Thursday
I always believed that I have something
important to say and I said it.
                              Lou Reed
Today is Samhain, the day when the worlds of the living and the worlds of the dead are closest together. Or the feast day of All Hallows, which roughly means the same thing. When I lived in Exeter with Gothboy, we used to buy lots of cheap sweets and Richard used to dole them out to visiting youngsters from a real human skull that we happen to have kicking around the place. He also wore black robes and muttered something about Great Chthulu, which I think added a certain frisson to proceedings. However, as we are the weirdos who live at the end of a largely unlit lane at the corner of the village we don't seem to get Trick or Treaters any more, but we shall buy sweets just in case.
*  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 54 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?


I don't like having a go at The North Devon Journal because on the whole I have had a pretty good relationship with them over the years. But this article cannot be let go without a comment. At the moment, especially in Devon and Somerset, Bovine Tuberculosis is one of those buzz words sure to cause a reaction, being the main rationale between this current government's ethnic cleansing of the badger population. So the immediate reaction many people will get from this headline is 'Poor curly-haired farmer driven into insolvency by those nasty disease-ridden mustelids.'

But that isn't what the story says at all.

Mr Pile's farm tested positive for bTB in March but 'even though the farm has gone clear after recent tests Jim has decided to wind down the cattle enterprise and concentrate on his prize-winning Border Leicester sheep'. He states that he doesn't know whether it has anything to do with badgers because he isn't a scientist and admits that he was already thinking about reducing the number of cattle he was keeping so he could concentrate on sheep.

Good luck to him.

But the way the story is presented gives a totally wrong impression.

Check out the original story



1. The Universe next Door by Judge Smith (2)
2. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (3)
3=. Dragons: More than a Myth by Richard Freeman (-)
3=. Monster! by Neil Arnold (-)
5=. Dark Dorset: Calendar Customs by Robert Newland (-)
5=. Haunted Skies Volume Five by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway (-)
5=. A Daintree Diary by Carl Portman (-)
5=. The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: London by Neil Arnold (-)

5=. The Inhumanoids by Bart Nunnelly (-)

5=. Sea Serpent Carcasses: Scotland by Glen Vaudrey (7)


1. Orang Pendek: Sumatra's Forgotten Ape by Richard Freeman (-)
2. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (3)
3=. The Journal of Cryptozoology Volume One edited by Karl Shuker (7)
3=. Big Bird by Ken Gerhard (5)
5. Monsters of Texas by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern (2)
6. Those Amazing Newfoundland Dogs by Jan Bondeson (-)
7. Tetrapod Zoology Book One by Darren Naish (-)
8=. A Daintree Diary by Carl Portman (-)
8=. Wildman by Nick Redfern (-)
8=. Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Karl Shuker (5)

Last month's positions in this pinky colour, which I think is called cerise. Sales in the US were about normal, but in the UK they were terrible - possibly the worst October ever. Hopefully they will improve as we approach what is euphemistically known as the "Festive Season"....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

Happy Halloween. Have a good one.
And now the news:
  • Exotic pet market cancelled in UK but animal group...
  • Chinese Bats Likely Source of SARS Virus
  • Rat Island cleared of rats after 230 year infestat...
  • Here come the cavalry – Protecting Chad’s elephant...
  • Entomologist Finds Possible New Tick Species... Up...
  • Green Flame Moths: Scientists Discover Two New Lim...
  • Scientists Shine Light On World's Least-Studied Ba...

  • Scorpion-Eating Mice Feel No Sting

  • My recommendation for a horror movie to watch tonight is The Woman in Black; it's properly scary unlike most modern horror films that just shove a load of cheep actors in a house with really poor quality cameras and a vague plot outline then claims to be the scariest film of the year. Anyway The Woman in Black is a good film; watch it on lovefilm or something tonight: