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, April 01, 2014


The long awaited weekly newsletter from the
Centre for Fortean Zoology
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#2 - March 31st 2014
Since 1999 we have been collecting addresses for our mailing list, and occasionally sending out newsletters. We always meant to do them regularly but life, as it has a habit of doing, got in the way. Finally we are doing what we should have done a long time ago. You are receiving this because at one point or other you opted in to our NotifyList account. If you do not wish to receive them for any reason you can unsubscribe at the bottom of this page...
So welcome to issue #2 of our newsletter.  It seems like only yesterday that issue #1 left North Devon to wing itself north, south, east and west via the wonders of the internet.

It has been a busy week here with visitors every day bar one, and Graham has gone off to spend a few days with his mother and sister in Hertfordshire.  As I took him into Barnstaple on Friday to pick up his hire car, I took the opportunity to have a few hours to myself by pottering in the town before returning home.  Bliss.
And yesterday, whilst taking Richard back to Barnstaple station, he, my mother and I stopped off at Fremington Quay and had a good old Devon cream tea as a treat.  That and the fact that my daughters wrote to me to say that I am an awesome and wonderful mum made my Mother's Day complete. 
The CFZ Newsletter is edited by Corinna Downes, administratrix supreme, and the wife of the ringmaster of the CFZ Circus.
Of course it was a fake. It was always going to be a fake.

I don't think anyone worth his or her salt doubted that for a moment. But sadly, antics like his do a lot to bring cryptozoology into disrepute.

It is stories like 'Hank' the bigfoot, and the so-called Montauk Monster, which was nothing more than a dead racoon, that make the newspaper headlines, and when they are disproved (as they always are) many commentators tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater and dismiss the whole of cryptozoology as being equally fallacious. The fact that Dyer had been involved in another high profile bigfoot fake a few years ago, didn't deter the "I Want to Believe" brigade from swallowing his claims hook, line and sinker.

Unfortunately, some websites and media pundits who should have known better, gave this idiotic joker more coverage than he deserved and the story garnered an amazing amount of interest online.

If the cryptozoological community does not do more to police itself, it will lose all credibility, and that would be a crying shame.

Probably the best overview of the whole sad affair is given by Sharon Hill over at Doubtful News; a lady for whom I have the utmost respect.

The recent alleged ‘Loch Ness Monster’ carcass displayed on the ‘Mulder’s World’ Facebook page is nothing of the sort. It is in fact, as anyone with a basic knowledge of anatomy could tell, a decaying basking shark carcass. It’s not Scottish either; it’s from Spain.


To top it all off it’s not even new. It washed ashore in Andalusia on August 15th last year.

It’s well known that after death, the gill rakers and lower jaw drop away leaving the skull and what appears to be a long neck.

The illusion is given of a long-necked, small-headed animal. What looks like two small horns on the head are in fact the pectoral girdle. The animal also appears to have claspers, modified fins used by male sharks in mating.

Many supposed sea monster carcasses are just dead sharks. You can find out more in the following books.
Tickets for this year's Weird Weekend are now on sale. So far confirmed for this year's event are:

Nigel Mortimer: Opening Portals
Ronan Coghlan: Bogus Bibles
Lee Walker: Urban Legends of Liverpool
Lars Thomas: Tales from the CFZ Laboratory
Jon and Richard: Introduction to Cryptozoology
Nick Wadham: Alien Abductions
Tony Whitehead (RSPB): O.O.P birds
Carl Marshall: Out of Place animals at Stratford Butterfly Park
Judge Smith: Survival after death
John Higgs: Chaos, Magick, and the band who burned a million quid
Richard Freeman: Tasmania 2013 Expedition Report
Matt Salusbury: Baron Walter Rothschild's Deinotherium caper
C.J. Stone: a MODERN King Arthur
Results of nature walk (Lars/Nick)
Ronan Coghlan: The Amphibians from Outer Space
Jon Downes: Keynote Speech

Miss Crystal Grenade
The CFZ Awards
Silas Hawkins
Kids Nature walk with Lars and Nick
Kids Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Speaker's Dinner at the Community Centre

and of course:
The Tunnel of Goats
The event takes place from 15-17th August this year in North Devon. Find out more HERE. Tickets are available at a special discount price of £20/head for the whole weekend as long as you buy them in advance. Buy online HERE.
The tickets for this year's event are selling, slowly but surely. However, it would be much better for my blood pressure if they sold a little faster. So, ladies and gentlemen; do your bit to save my arteries....
Over the last week we have been doing quite a lot.
  • Andrea Rider, who has recently started working in the office, has been working extremely hard on Volume Two of George Eberhart's monumental Mysterious Creatures.
  • Saskia (one of our two lovely interns) (ably assisted by her brother Riley and a young lady called Charlotte - who is nearly 12) has been working with Richard and Graham on refurbishing the conservatory. She is doing all the designs and masterminding the work as part of her college course on Animal Management.
  • Richard Freeman was here for a few days, and on Saturday worked with the kids on the conservatory project as well as working on several new book projects for CFZ Press
  • Graham Inglis, together with Saskia, dismantled and collected a shed from Kilkhampton, and brought it back to Woolsery where they painstakingly put it back together again to hold some of the extraneous impedimenta that had built up in the conservatory
  • Alexandra Cook has taken a hatchet to the first edition of Richard's book of Japanese themed horror stories, and is working hard on a 2nd edition.
In another piece of governmental idiocy it has now become illegal to import apple snails. This is apparently because they have been found as an invasive species in Northern Spain, about 1,100 miles south of the UK.

They are still legal to own but people being the profiteering capitalistic scum that they are, are beginning to charge stupid prices for them. I want some more for a project I am doing with some of the local kids. So if you have surplus of any species, especially Canas snails, please email me.
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Our mailing address is:
The Centre for Fortean Zoology,
Myrtle Cottage,
Bideford, North Devon
EX39 5QR

Telephone 01237 431413
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eMail corinna@cfz.org.uk

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The Gonzo Daily - Tuesday
Today I want to send a message of love and support to our old friend Dr Karl Shuker. It is a year since his Mother - a lady who meant the world to him - died. Having lost both my parents in the last 12 years I know what you are going through old friend. The pain does get better - I promise you. But anniversaries and birthdays are always the worst which is why I always mark them for my own parents on the blog. God bless you my friend.

After hours of messing about which nearly resulted in me reprogramming the computer with a hatchet, the new issue of Gonzo Weekly, in its swish new format, will be out imminently features interviews with Andy Colquhoun and Cyrille Verdeaux, a new video from Auburn, news from Acid Mothers Temple and the Dalai Lama. There are also features on Rocket Scientists, Clepsydra's private show, what happens when The Psychedelic Warlords collaborate with Michael Moorcock and a look at music written by Jews who died in the death camps. and more news, reviews, views, interviews and and London Zoos (OK, no metropolitan menageries, 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!!! We are also relaunching with a brand new layout and format for our 70th issue. We hope that you like it.
The entire contents is: This issue features Damon Albarn
Can, Billy Corgan, Johnny Cash, Miley Cyrus, Paul Whitrow
Badfinger, Missee Jubilee. Galahad. Auburn, Psychedelic Warlords, Pink Fairies, Clepsydra, Rocket Scientists, Erik Norlander, Cyrille Verdeaux, Clearlight, Firefly Faery Fayre and Ball, Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, Dalai Lama, Neil Nixon, Jill Sinclair
Yes, Trevor Horn, Spirits Burning, Mick Abrahams, Andy Colquhoun, Percy Jones, Rick Wakeman, Daisy Rockwell, Hawkwind, Jon Anderson, James Dean, Beatles, One Direction, James Conlon, Richard Stellar, Michael Sobygge, The Providence, Persona Grata, Revolution Road, Logan's Run, Corvus Corax
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
PPS: WARNING: If you are If you are a subscriber using Outlook, Hotmail or Outlook Express, some notifications and previous issues of the magazine may come out with formatting errors.
*  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 an orange kitten named after a song by Frank Zappa 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 kitten?


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. 

CFZ PEOPLE: Mary Shuker

Karl, old friend, our thoughts and prayers are with you on this poignant day.

CFZ PEOPLE: Andrea Rider

Happy Birthday, hun.

KARL SHUKER: Remembering My Mother

It was exactly one year ago today that Karl's dear mother, Mary Doreen Shuker, passed away. So today is for him a poignant day of remembrance and reflection over the past 12 months.

Read on...


For tomorrow morning only, could you possibly feature the
website http://www.dhmo.org on your site?

This advertises the horrendous dangers that DiHydrogen MonOxide
(empirical formula H2O) poses to the general public; it is for instance
a major driver of climate change, and has been detected in all samples
of acid rain thus analysed.

It has also been implicated as causing huge agricultural losses, most
recently in Somerset, and the sea water around Britain's coastline very
often fails EU environmental monitors which test for the percentage of
DHMO in the sea water.

Please could you feature this site and spread the word?

Dan "mad chemist" Holdsworth

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1957 the BBC broadcast the Spaghetti Tree Harvest Panorama Hoax, which is widely regarded to be the best April Fools hoax ever pulled off. My personal favourite however was the article I wrote on this blog a few years ago about how Jon was actually a character actor named Mimsy Baraclough and that the entire work of the CFZ had been a surreal art project Graham had organized that had got out of hand, and the year we put wings on Helios 7 to get genuine footage of a winged cat was pretty fun too. Old friends of the CFZ may be interested to know that Helios is still going strong and living with my intended in Plymouth where she has adopted our two other cats as her surrogate children.

And now the news:

The spaghetti harvest hoax: