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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Friday, August 28, 2015

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: An anomaly within an anomaly- a wallaby slashing case in 1957 from Staffordshire

I recently came across an interesting twist to the story of the Peak District wallabies whilst looking for something else, as is often the case with me. The “anomaly within an anomaly” refers to the fact that we have the well known anomaly, that there have been wallabies living in the wilds of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire Peak District for many years, yet also this wallaby-slashing case, if that`s what it was as recorded in the Macclesfield Courier for October 17th, 1957. It is interesting to find an animal mutilation case that pre-dates the time when such cases became a part of the paranormal and UFOlogy “envelope”. There`s also a strong odour of class struggle here, in the Marxist sense with the landlord taking the poacher to court. Sir Philip was once an Antarctic explorer with a small zoo from whence the wallabies,yaks,etc escaped around World War 2. See my blog here for more info:
The headline ran: ` Mutilation of wallabies at Swythamley`. `Some Found With Their Tails Cut, Others Dead`.

“During the hearing of a case at Leek County Court on Monday, mention was made of wallabies on the Swythamley Estate being found with their tails cut and others either dead or distressed through being chased. The case was one in which Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst Bart J.P. of Swythamley Park, Wincle claimed £25 damages for trespass and sought an injunction against Maurice Ephraim Salt, an 18-year-old apprentice brick-layer of Sandyford, Stoke-on-Trent, to restrain him from entering the Swythamley estate.

After Counsel for Salt had objected to a paragraph in the claim which contained allegations about wallabies, stating that Salt denied any connection with this, an amendment was made. Damages of 32 with costs were awarded and as Salt had given an undertaking on oath that he did not intend to go on the estate again, this was accepted by Judge H.A. Tucker. Mr G.L. Lichfield, for Sir Philip, told the court that on part of the estate wallabies had been found with their tails cut and others either dead or distressed through being chased. Sir Philip said that although people were allowed to go on his land on the issue of a card, on application being made, general permission was not given.

No person was permitted off the paths, or into the woods where the animals were kept. Replying to Mr W. A L. Allardice, for Salt,Sir Philip said it would take a rich man with a big staff of game-keepers to keep everyone out.

Not to poach

Salt said he first went to Hen Cloud (part of the Roasches) in December, 1955, for climbing and for a look round but not for poaching. He did not think he was trespassing as he had seen plenty of people up there. He had never been told not to go there because it was private property and that he would be trespassing if he did.” On an occasion just before Christmas, 1956, he saw a dead wallaby there. In June this year he went to Hen Cloud to take photographs not to chase wallabies or harm them.

He had  a gun with him because he intended to go to a farm and ask permission to go on the land where he knew there were plenty of rabbits. On that occasion the game keeper told him he was trespassing and was liable to a big fine. He had not realised before that he was trespassing. He had never been on the Swythamley Estate since and he did not intend to go there again.” (1)

1. Macclesfield Courier October 17th 1957 p.1

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