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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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


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. 

  • NEWSLINK: Illegal Lion Kill
  • USA SIGHTING: Police call off search for mountain ...
  • AUSTRALIAN SIGHTINGS: Big black cat sightings just...
  • NEWSLINK: The town that cried leopard
  • Regulators cite Harrah's act for animal abuses
  • NEWSLINK: Win tickets to a talk on the secrets of ...

  • FEATURELINK: Lions - A Species Under Threat - Big ...
  • CFZ PEOPLE: Mary Downes (1922-2002)

    On this day in 2002 my mother died.

    If I were hanged on the highest hill,

    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
    I know whose love would follow me still,

    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

    If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
    I know whose tears would come down to me,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

    If I were damned of body and soul,
    I know whose prayers would make me whole,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine! 

    ORANGE CATS IN THE NEWS: Winston Churchill's country estate gets its sixth marmalade kitten named Jock in honour of dying request

    • Seven-month-old rescue kitten Jock VI came to Chartwell in Kent this month
    • He is the latest in a line of Jocks, named after a pet given to Churchill in 1962
    • Cat enjoys eating tuna, taking afternoon naps and lounging on Persian rugs
    • PM requested that there always be a marmalade cat named Jock at Chartwell

    A new kitten has taken up residence at Sir Winston Churchill's former country home in honour of one of the wartime prime minister's dying requests. 
    Jock IV is the latest in a line of marmalade toms to live at Chartwell in Kent after the first was given to Churchill in 1962 by one of his private secretaries. 
    He enjoys eating tuna, taking afternoon naps and lounging on Persian rugs - but is not so keen on bright lights, being left alone or listening to opera. 
    Inspection: Jock VI inspects a Churchill statue in Chartwell's gardens
    Wide-eyed: His arrival honours a wish of Churchill's that there always be a marmalade cat named Jock with a white bib and four white socks resident at the estate
    A new home: Jock VI inspects a Churchill statue at Chartwell, left, and gives close-up pose, right. His arrival honours Churchill's wish that a marmalade cat with a white bib and socks should always live at the estate
    On the prowl: Jock VI investigates the gardens around Sir Winston Churchill's former country estate in Kent
    On the prowl: Jock VI investigates the gardens around Sir Winston Churchill's former country estate in Kent
    Sir John 'Jock' Colville gifted the first marmalade tom to Churchill on his 88th birthday - and the great man named him after his friend and took assiduous care of the animal.
    It was rumoured that meals would not start at Chartwell until Jock was at the table - and the cat is even reported to have been on the wartime prime minister's bed when he died at his residence in London in January 1965.
    The beloved animal passed away nine years later and is now buried in the pet cemetery at Chartwell.
    Following Churchill's instructions after his death, his family asked that there should always be a marmalade cat named Jock with a white bib and four white socks living at the estate
    Great man: Sir John 'Jock' Colville gifted the pet to Winston Churchill (pictured) on his 88th birthday in 1962
    Great man: Sir John 'Jock' Colville gifted the pet to Winston Churchill (pictured) on his 88th birthday in 1962
    Des res: Jock VI now has the whole of the Chartwell grounds to roam, after Jock V moved to Scotland
    Des res: Jock VI now has the whole of the Chartwell grounds to roam, after Jock V moved to Scotland
    The National Trust, which was left the property by the Churchill family in 1966, has always honoured the request and this month welcomed Jock VI, a seven-month-old rescue kitten.
    Jock VI, or Malley as he was previously known, was rescued by Croydon Animal Samaritans before being adopted by Chartwell’s house and collections manager, Katherine Barnett.


    The primary role of a Chartwell cat is to interact with visitors and roam the estate's extensive grounds, according to the National Trust. 
    The trust says the 'job' involves:
    • Roaming the estate and its grounds
    • Being petted by visitors on a daily basis
    • Bringing alive the spirit of Chartwell
    • Coping with humans posting pictures and cat-related anecdotes on social media
    • Acting as a good ambassador of the National Trust by exercising a 'friendly and courteous' manner to visitors
    And the role would suit cats that are:
    • Marmalade with a white bib and socks
    • Knowledgeable about Churchill
    • Currently living at a rescue centre
    • Affectionate, inquisitive, welcoming and playful in nature
    • Happy to give tours of the estate
    • Keen to be petted by children
    • Experienced at posing for photographs
    Trust officials said he takes afternoon naps, eats tuna and lounges on Persian rugs at Chartwell, which has a green cat-flap approved by an historic buildings inspector.
    However, the cute kitten shies away from bright lights - and has an unusual dislike of opera music.
    Today, Ms Barnett described Jock's arrival at Chartwell as 'a modern-day rags-to-riches story'.
    'Jock VI has had a difficult start to his life, but as the saying goes, a cat will always land on its feet. I’m delighted with Jock,' she said. 
    'He’s a very caring, loving cat and I think our visitors will get lots of enjoyment from seeing him around the property for many years to come.'
    Churchill's affection and patience for cats was clearly visible to those around him during his time at Chartwell, according to Fred Glueckstein, writing for The Churchill Centre
    Speaking at the 1987 International Churchill conference, his secretary Grace Hamblin said: 'He loved cats. He always had a cat, if not two.'
    Ms Hamblin recalled that the politician had once greeted one of the house's cats with 'Good morning' - before shooing the animal away with some papers when the cat remained silent and still.
    He later asked her to put a card in the window saying 'if Cat cares to come home, all is forgiven'.
    She added: 'Cat did come home several days later with a wire round his neck. Given cream and the best salmon and so on.' 
    Churchill adopted a number of cats during his reign - two of which were a large tabby named Mickey and a marmalade tom called Tango.
    During one amusing incident, the prime minister was reportedly speaking on the telephone to the Lord Chancellor when Mickey started playing with the telephone cord.
    Family: Churchill is pictured at the Kent-based estate with his son Randolph (left) and daughter Diana (centre)
    Family: Churchill is pictured at the Kent-based estate with his son Randolph (left) and daughter Diana (centre)
    Churchill shouted 'Get off the line, you fool!' - before realizing his mistake and turning back to the Lord Chancellor, saying: 'Not you!'
    In recent years, Jock V left Chartwell when its owner, the former house and collections manager at the property, left as well.
    A trust spokesman said: 'The pair had such a close bond, they stayed together and are both now living in the Scottish countryside.'
    Anna Nikolic, a trustee and senior fosterer with Croydon Animal Samaritans, said: 'We’re delighted to have found such a loving home for Jock and know Katherine and the team at Chartwell will provide for all his needs.
    'We hope to give all our rescue cats this happy-ever-after ending, and would encourage anyone looking for a family cat themselves to get in touch with us.'

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2578050/New-marmalade-kitten-installed-Sir-Winston-Churchills-country-estate-honour-dying-wish-wartime-prime-minister.html#ixzz2vewHrNzX
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    The Gonzo Daily - Wednesday
    The 12th March is always a weird one for me. On this day in 2002, I was woken at just gone eight in the morning by my Father telling me that my Mother had just died. It was expected; she had been very ill for weeks with an obscure and untreatable sort of cancer, but it was still a body blow, the like of which I have never experienced before, and hope never to again. So forgive me if I am a little pensive today. I have the lovely Andrea in the office with me this afternoon working on Volume Two of Eberhart's 'Mysterious Creatures', and this evening my old mate Martin (aka 'Dickie', for reasons that I have never understood) who went to school with me and with whom I played in a band back in 1975, is coming to tea and to discuss the new community record company, so things are never quiet.
    GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Captain Beefheart - Bluejeand and Moonbeams
    ‘We start work in June, I think’: Ex-Yes frontman's new band
    ‘No epics on this album’: Alan White previews Yes’ new album

    This week's issue of Gonzo Weekly is here. Hooray!!! It has lots of Rick Wakeman stuff, a Cyrille Verdeaux auto-interview and a report on The Musical Box plus Acid Mothers Temple, Dr Who, Hawkwind, Eric Burdon, Wreckless Eric, and more news, reviews, views, interviews and sheep having a snooze (OK, no sleepy sheepies) but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
    To make sure that you don't miss your copy of this and future issues make an old hippy a happy chappy and subscribe
    PS: If you are already a subscriber but think that you haven't been receiving your copies please check your spam filters. For some reason known only to the Gods of the internet, some e-mail programmes automatically count the magazine as 'spam' probably because it comes from a mass mailer. Either that or they are just jealous of our peerless content

    *  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?

    CFZ PEOPLE: Rebecca Lang

    Happy Birthday!

    CRYPTOLINK: Woolly Mammoth or Thylacine? New Guide Helps Choose Which Species to Resurrect

    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. 

    Updated Tues. March 4 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
    The idea of bringing extinct species back to life has transitioned from science fiction to near reality in recent years, with some scientists saying the passenger pigeon — a bird that once clouded North American skies but went extinct due to over-hunting in the early 1900s —could reenter the world within the next several years.
    But amidst the exciting prospects of seeing these birds take to the skies again, or perhaps one day spotting a woolly mammoth tromp through Siberia, some researchers have urged those involved in so-called de-extinction to carefully consider the ecological risks of reintroducing species to the wild — before choosing to bring back any particular species. Reintroduced species could pose risks by threatening other animals (by preying on them or spreading parasites); endangering humans with physical harm; or jeopardizing aspects of ecosystems humans rely on. [6 Extinct Animals That Could Be Brought Back to Life]
    "This is very similar to any species you would reintroduce in the world," Axel Moehrenschlager, a researcher at the Center for Conservation Research at the Calgary Zoological Society in Canada, told Live Science. "Whenever you put a species back into a place where it has disappeared, there will be an array of risks."

    Read on...

    OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

    Yesterday’s News Today

    On this day in 1968 the actor Aaron Eckhart was born. Eckhart has stared in quite a few movies, ranging from the very good, “Batman: the Dark Knight” where he played Harvey “Two Face” Dent to the absolutely dire and brain-burningly bad “I, Frankenstein”, which was so bad that that you can't even appreciate it in a bad movie way.
    And now the news:

  • Installing Buoys to Protect African Turtles - via ...
  • Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for 9 Rar...
  • Do Zoos Really Teach Visitors Anything? (Op-Ed)
  • Skull fragments reveal new ancient crocodile speci...
  • Impersonating poisonous prey: Evolution of intersp...
  • Light Pollution Changes Bat Behavior, Threatens Ra...
  • 'Great White' shark washes up on Kerry beach
  • This guy had a really bad day

  • Zimbabwe rhino poaching drops in 2013, 750 animals...

  • A great scene from The Dark Knight: