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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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Monday, December 29, 2014

A walk on Dartmoor: face-to-face with a homemade grim reaper

One of the black dogs of Dartmoor …
One of the black dogs of Dartmoor … Photograph: Adam Burton/Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery
When I enter the excellent occult gift shop Paper Moon in Totnes, I can’t see its proprietor, Ralph, but there is a pile of large, dry white leaves behind the counter, and they’re moving slightly. “Never have incense burning when you’re eating cheese,” the leaves announce. “It’s a disaster.” Being used to Totnes by now – a town where, just half an hour ago, I saw a white van with the words “Unicorn Ambulance” stencilled on it – I’m not too freaked out by the idea of talking foliage, but I am a bit spooked that the leaves seem clairvoyantly aware of my plans for the weekend. It’s a relief when a man I’d not noticed behind a stand of cards on the other side of the shop replies, “I know. I should stop doing that. Camembert is the worst. It really absorbs the vapours.”
“Oh, hello,” says Ralph, popping his head up from behind the leaves. “What have you got there?” I ask him. He tells me the leaves are white sage, which, according to Native American belief, has strong cleansing properties. “People often use it to fix negative houses,” he says. Until recently, I did own an extremely negative shed, but my house feels pretty positive on the whole, so I decide to refrain from a purchase. There is plenty of interesting stuff to buy in Paper Moon – I’m zoning in on a book about Britain’s lost green lanes, a twig pentagram and a linocut of an owl right now – but today I’m here to quiz Ralph about Dartmoor.


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 Gonzo Daily - 27th December
T'was the fifth day of Christmas, I'm sad to tell you,
that my intern Tamara's still shaking off 'flu,
it's nearly gone now, but don't think her pathetic
she's not coming in because I'm diabetic
yes, sad to admit I am one of those freaks
if I get an infection I keep it for weeks
so though she's got nothing but a deep chesty cough
darling Tamara's taking the day off
And on Gonzo today for you to ponder on
I'm reposting two virtual presents from Thom?
and why do I post them? Is it 'cos I don't care?
No my dears it's 'cos it's groovy to share
And what of today? What have I got ahead
Just my annual report for the CFZ
That I write every week at the end of the year
and this one's a hard one and the deadline is near
And apart from that there is lots more indeed
with letters to write and books I can read
in my armchair where I sit and cuddle the dogs
so I had better get on with it, and write these damn blogs
THOM THE WORLD POET (christmas) PRESENTS: BOXING DAY GIFT from 1974 - enjoy young Jon and a HAPPY NEW (poetry) EAR!
THOM THE WORLD POET (christmas) PRESENTS: THANKS FOR GONZO 2014-long live Future Gonzo!
VOL. 1-MEMORIES (Hugh Hopper)
The Gonzo Weekly #109/10
Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Minstrel's Ghost, Jack the Ripper, Corky Laing, Merrell Fankhauser, Sendelica, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Yes, Hawkwind, and Daevid Allen fans had better look out!
The latest issue (The Christmas DOUBLE issue - there won't be one next week) of Gonzo Weekly (#109/10) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/. It has Yusuf and Stevie Wonder on the front cover,  and features gig reviews of both artists and Fleetwood Mac, my totally subjective top ten albums of the year, excerpts from books by Corky Laing, Merrell Fankhauser and Neil Nixon, interviews with Minstrel's Ghost about their new meisterwork based on the life of Jack the Ripper, and Sendelica, we send Tim Rundall to a desert island, and there are shows from the multi-talented Neil Nixon at Strange Fruit and from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and the titular submarine dwellers are back with another episode of Sub Reality Sandwich (except its not). There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and anteaters wishing to snooze (OK, nothing to do with dozy edentates, 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!!!
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:

All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:

* 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/…/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit
* 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 55 who - together with an infantile orange cat 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 infantile orange cat?


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.

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    From CFZ-USA:


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    ON THIS DAY IN 1170 - St. Thomas à Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II's orders. 

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  • AND TO WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK... (Music that may have some relevance to items also on this page, or may just reflect my mood on the day)