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, January 30, 2014

MUIRHEAD'S MYSTERIES - round-up of strange animal stories from Hong Kong

Hi good people,

It`s been a while since I presented a round-up of progress on  the CFZ`s research into mystery animals in  Hong Kong. These are stories for the  Mystery Animals of Hong Kong book Jon and I are preparing. Here is a short selection of old newspaper stories and other gleanings from the Net that I hope will whet your appetite. I could launch into dozens of stories and I believe I have hardly scratched the surface of websites in languages other than English. Especially Chinese of course. [I use Google Translate-R]

I stumbled across a web site consisting of an e-mail from the national library of Japan to myself in 2011. I think it was listing all the bibliographical research they had done  (and there were very many titles)  to find Japanese references to the Hong Kong Stanley Prison Camp tiger of 1942 and I was pretty incredulous to find none at all. But that`s life, as someone once said. I had only previously had a Japanese-language version of this e-mail. More on Japan below.

But in chronological order, here we go:


The first of these stories comes from The Roanore Times, an American paper of June 6th 1893, as follows:


Something strange lately affected the fish in Hong Kong waters. For many days they were in a state of stupor, and allowed themselves to be caught by hand, making no effort to escape.

 The second is almost the exact opposite; hyper-active fish,as reported on the Hong Kong Horror Network website [ http://horrorhk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/blog-post.html ] on July 9th 2013:

'Wan fish accounted appear tomorrow in Hong Kong after a good strange visions lead to panic.' This told the story of fish jumping frantically out of the water in various parts of Hong Kong, including Aberdeen and Lamma Island. Apparently fire fighters had to shovel the fish into bins there were so many of them. This lead to rumours of  an impending disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami. On May 17th 1999 at Sok Kwu Wan something similar happened. One speculation was lack of oxygen in the sea. [Or seismic activity- R]


Hong Kong Telegraph   March 14th  1902:

Parrots are not generally supposed to range so far north as Hong Kong, but we learn that a couple have recently been shot in the Colony, one on the Island and the other in the New Territory [sic]. The shooting of a single specimen could of course be put down to an escape, but it is hardly possible that two escaped birds of the same species should be met with in one season and at a considerable distance from the town.

[Now this is interesting because I thought parrots were supposed to have escaped from somewhere during Japan`s occupation of Hong Kong; 1941-45. So what have we here? – R]

3.  BLACK PANTHER  1960s or 1970s

Gwulo.com reported in 2013 that in the 1960s or `70s a black panther was reported in Hong Kong. Confusingly, the militant black American civil rights group the Black Panthers had some connection with Hong Kong at this time! Confusingly, when using Google Images and you`re looking for a cryptid black cat, I mean.


This photo is taken from the Romer archives at the Zoological Society of London, showing a specked-coloured cobra in Hong Kong, c.1970s.

ROBERT SCHNECK: Tortoise cosys

tortoise cozy
Nothing makes you feel good quite like a snazzy outfit. Katie Bradley's four tortoises are the best dressed in town, thanks to a wide assortment of crocheted cozies. 

CRYPTOLINK: Watch: Hiker Encounters Bigfoot Family in South Carolina [Real Bigfoot Encounters]

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 (sometimes for the wrong reasons), usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me. 

Read on...


What has Corinna's column of fortean bird news got to do with Cryptozoology?

Well, everything actually!

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. 


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 are publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. 

The worldwide mystery cat phenomenon (or group of phenomena, if we are to be more accurate) is not JUST about cryptozoology. At its most basic level it is about the relationship between our species and various species of larger cat. That is why sometimes you will read stories here that appear to have nothing to do with cryptozoology but have everything to do with human/big cat interaction. As committed Forteans, we believe that until we understand the nature of these interactions, we have no hope of understanding the truth that we are seeking. 

News from Lindsay....

A couple of weeks ago, a person known to me who wishes to remain anonymous, sent me this photo of a large paw print .The person was walking a dog on the Lochinch area  when he came across some footprints and took a snap with a phone. It could be a badger or could it be the Galloway puma?

What do you think?

NB. Lochinch is a private estate owned by the Earl of Stairs. At present there are shooting parties on the estate so if anyone wishes to investigate please contact the estate office so you don’t risk getting shot in mistake for game.

Has the Galloway Puma Left a Paw print?

There  have been big cat  sightings reported since 1950s in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland. The cat was dubbed the Galloway Puma by the press after Canadian tourists claimed to have seen an animal which resembled a cougar near Kirroughtree, south-east of Newton Stewart in the late 1990s. They  saw the animal whilst returning from a  walk in the Galloway Forest. It was also  seen  by locals in Newton Stewart .It was  described by most as black, about the  size of a Labrador dog, with a long tail and yellow eyes. Some have described it as sandy coloured, so is there more than one big cat roaming the countryside in this area?

Many people, such as local farmers and Forestry workers, reported seeing  a big black cat throughout the region. In June 2001, a young woman who was walking her dog near Newton Stewart golf course, was shaken by what she described as a "large black cat, bigger than an Alsatian", springing  out at her on the path .The animal ran away after her dog began barking and growling at it.

There were reports of attacks on livestock:

In one of the 21 attacks in Dumfries and Galloway, a report of injured livestock read: “One sheep was examined by an inspector from the SSPCA who found the injuries to be unusual and not consistent with an attack from a dog. An attack from wild boar or a large cat could be possibilities.”

Source: http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2012/04/11/scots-police-deal-with-dozens-of-big-cat-sightings/

Warnings were issued:


By Frank Ryan

POLICE have issued a "steer clear" warning after a series of big cat sightings in south Scotland. There have been four recent reports of an animal described as a lynx, puma or panther in Dumfriesshire. It was seen by two women in Auldgirth, golfers at nearby Thornhill, a man walking his dogs beside the River Nith in the village, and by another man in Sanquhar.
Bob McGoran, deputy head at St Joseph's College, Dumfries, earlier reported seeing an animal like a North American lynx at John-stonebridge, near the M74.

Source: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/BEWARE+BIG+CATS+SAY+SCOTS+POLICE.-a0106200549

The police took the threat seriously.

More recently  in  2013:
Another big cat sighting Published on the 14 August 2013
Holidaymakers staying at Kirroughtee Hotel outside Newton Stewart had a close encounter with one of Galloway’s best kept secrets last Saturday morning - an elusive big cat.

Les Gill and his partner Linda were looking out of their bedroom window when they both clearly saw the animal in the hotel grounds. Les said: ”We were standing at the window looking out when we saw it. I lived in Africa so I know what a big cat looks like. It was about four foot long from nose to tail and the tail was long and curled upwards. It was about three foot high and was sandy coloured. It was 60 yards away from us and it was visible for about 25 to 30 seconds.“This was about eight o’ clock in the morning as we were both stunned. My i-phone was in the car or a could have taken a photograph. I just felt I should contact the paper to tell you what we saw as there could be children playing nearby.”In the past four years 20 big cat sightings have been reported to The Galloway Gazette.

Source: http://www.gallowaygazette.co.uk/news/local-headlines/another-big-cat-sighting-1-3045376

In November 2013:

A couple walking in woods near Carronbridge say they came face to face with a mysterious big cat.Craig Johnstone, 27, and his girlfriend Gillian Kennedy, 26, were staying at Trigony House Hotel near Thornhill last weekend.They took their dog for a walk on Sunday morning when they came across a “large, black cat” lying down staring at them.Stunned Craig said: “It was around 50 metres away from us and its head measured approximately one and a half feet from the ground.“It just stared at us for 30 seconds.“Gillian panicked and moved away. I went with her but went back after a few seconds to see if I could get a better picture but it was away.”Craig described the strange creature as being “very stalky, jet black with small rounded ears”.

It continues :Craig and Gillian aren’t the only people to have spotted big cats in the region.Last July, 22-year-old Samantha Garden was on her way to work in Lockerbie when she noticed a strange looking creature standing in the middle of the road near Hoddom Bridge.In January, 2012 Aaron Halliday and Nathan Crosbie spotted a big cat similar to a panther in a field near Dalbeattie.

And in 2011, three mysterious cat sightings were reported in the space of a month. Dan Alexander, of Dumfries, claimed to have seen a creature on the A75 near Newton Stewart.Before that, Dumbarton lorry driver John Spence said he saw two big cats dart in front of his vehicle on the same road near Creetown.And on the same day, Janet Davies spotted an animal near the quarry at Tynron which she called a panther.

According to police, big cat sightings are not uncommon in the area but no creature has ever been traced to verify the claims.

Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/couple-spot-mysterious-big-cat-2864426


The Gonzo Daily - Thursday
Graham's still covering the blog work while Jon's on his travels.
I see that the UK news is reporting that we've had the wettest January for 100 years. That's probably the least-surprising news story that I've read in a very long time, as our lawn currently is a quagmire with pools of standing water and the Army has been called in to help in parts of our neighbouring county, Somerset. From what I've seen of the photos, it should have been the Navy instead!
Today's blogs haven't been washed away, though:
Joey Molland / Return To Memphis review (German, translated)
Sax Legend Gary Windo (w/Soft Machine, Pink Floyd Members) Gets Reissued

*  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: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html

* 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?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1995 the author and conservation and zoo pioneer Gerald Durrell died.

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  • Durrell, kias and a frog mishap: