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, September 22, 2015

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES Living mammoth and a giant crane

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I found the following two stories recently, one on a possible mammoth and the other on a giant crane and no this wasn`t a mechanical crane (please see the Journal of Fortean Mechanics-1.)  but the stork-like bird.  

Firstly, the crane. Please note,the usual maximum height of the tallest crane is supposed to be 5ft 11 inches high (the sarus crane) and according to Wikipedia that is an inhabitant of N. Australia, S.E. Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is non-migratory so the chances are slim it ever reached N.America. I think this crane that turned up in Virginia in 1817 was really a pterosaur or something similar.
From the Richmond Compiler (Virginia) of Sept 9 1817: “ To the Editor- Observing from the newspapers, that considerable interest has been excited in the public mind by the Serpent that is said to have made its appearance in and about Gloucester  harbour, Massachusetts; I am induced to believe that it may not be out of the way to give you a description of a mammoth CRANE, which was observed feeding out of the Brook Stream, in this county, a few days past.

At the time I discovered this huge animal of the feathered race, I was in pursuit of a flock of wild Turkies. He was standing apparently five yards from the margin of the water, upon a slight eminence or hill from which he from time to time reached out his monstrous long neck for the purpose of making depredations on the Finney tribe. When I first observed him, the distance couldn`t have been much short of eighty yards. But I determined instantly to fire at him, lest he should discover me and take wing. Accordingly I levelled and discharged my rifle at him; which had no other apparent effect than that of attracting his attention, by turning his enormous long bill in the direction from which the sound proceeded. At the same time he raised himself up and extended his neck to an elevation of more than fifteen feet, which I afterwards ascertained from the boughs of a poplar under which he was standing.

Not at all disheartened by the failure of my first fire, I put in a second charge, and veering a little to the right of of my first position, effectually concealed myself by advancing  in a range with a large white Oak, until I approached within about forty paces…As he rose above the tops of the trees, I observed that his wings on either side brushed the leaves of two poplars that grew within a few paces of each other. And on placing myself in a line with the boughs of the one, and stepping off the distance to a like range with the other established to myself that his wings must have measured at least seven and a half feet each, besides allowing three feet for the space of the body! I assure you Sir, when I came to reflect what an acquisition this bird would have been to your new Museum; which I am happy to hear is in a rapid state of progression; I could not but regret most sincerely, the unfortunate circumstance of my noy having made prize of him.” (2)

And now the living mammoth,or whatever it was: From the Bangor Weekly Register (Maine) of Nov 12th 1818: Living Mammoth? Bangor Weekly Register (Maine) Nov 12th 1818:" Huge Animal - A correspondent in Constable`s Edinburgh Mag signing himself "Thomas Pollock,Blantire by Hamilton" ,avers that being a sergeant in the Hudson`s Bay Company in 1803,and travelling with the late Mr. Louis ,into the interior of North America,he suddenly came upon an animal of immense size. It appeared about 20 feet in height and had a very unwieldy appearance. The largeness of its belly was enormous, and nearly touching the ground.Its colour was a dirty black. Mr Louis saw its footsteps and dung: the latter indicated that its food was vegetables,and the former gave a print nearly two feet square. The hoof was not divided but from the impression,seemed as if hollow in the middle." (3)

Richard Muirhead.

  1. Joke!
  2. Richmond Compiler Sept 9 1817
  3. Bangor Weekly Register  Nov 12 1818

Images are from Wikipedia Commons. Sarus crane. Woolly Mammoth. 


After we got Squeaky-Biscuit earlier in the year, I said that we would not be getting any more kittens this is partly because Felis sylvestris catus is not, naturally a  sociable species and therefore should not be kept in large numbers, and partly because I am doing my best not to fall into any hippy stereotypes about mad couples in late middle age with enormous numbers of cats. I didn’t get where I am today by falling into any hippy stereotypes about mad couples in late middle age with enormous numbers of cats.

However, we have acquired another cat. It is the half sister to Squeaky, and is also a rescue. As well as it needing a home we got it in a vain hope that if squeaky has another young cat to play with she might be less viscous. The cats protection league have now been brought in to neuter the remaining feral cats from the Hartland farm from whence our two most recent kittens and those of our house keeper Helen all came, so – hopefully – this will mean that there will be no more kittens from this source, for a while at least.
However, one thing that is particularly interesting is how Prudence has ‘adopted’ the new kitten (whom Corinna christened Dotty- Perry winkle because my naming her predecessor inadvertently after a member on the Manson Family didn’t work out to well) just as she did Squeaky. Prudence was spayed very aggressively 5 years (half her lifetime) ago. She had, however, been rescued from a puppy farm where she had given birth to God knows how many litters of puppies, and it seems that her maternal instincts are still strong she has been known to wash her ‘puppies’ and even lie on her side for them to suckle.

It is just me who finds this extraordinarily touching?

RICHARD MUIRHEAD: 1924 paper on horned lizards in Haiti

Download the PDF from here

CFZ PEOPLE: Ms Evelyn Smithson on the occasion of her first Birthday

Obviously a cryptozoologist in the making, she is already working on her thesis about the turtle of Hoan Kiem lake


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.

  • ARTICLE: Leopard numbers rise but this cat is in d...
  • ARTICLE: Tiger trainer keeps big cats in line
  • NEWSLINK: Firefighters battle to protect treasured...

  • NEWSLINK: 'Lifeguard' tiger cub rescues his brothe..

    The Gonzo Daily - Tuesday
    What a long strange trip it was! Finally, my body has got used to the Gila Monster venom which regular readers will know I have been prescribed to try and make my kidneys work overtime in order to treat, if not cure, my diabetes. Truly, you couldn’t make this crap up. Even I couldn’t! It’s taken about three days for my body to get use to it and for me to stop hallucinating. I suspect that it is all the fault of the abuse that I gave my poor beleaguered central nervous system back in the day, that even a very heavy cold can send me on a minor psychedelic experience. Believe me, this is no where near as much fun as it sounds! However, I’m back to what passes for normal now. Before we leave the subject of my inadvertent attempts to use lizard saliva to open the doors of perception (and don’t you just wonder who the heck came up with the idea of using it to treat diabetes?) the other night when the nurse informed me that I was now being given this medicine as my current regime, I asked the nurse whether this meant that at the full moon I would get covered in scales, and become a giant man-lizard, and roam the streets of Bideford fighting crime. She looked at me completely dispassionately. “No”, she said I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
    BY THE WAY DUDES AND DUDETTES: if you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, or indeed your inner cryptozoological scribe, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at jon@eclipse.co.uk The more the merrier really.
    THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem
    THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: The Raz Band - $1.50 F..
    Jon Anderson: the 10 records that changed my life
    Guild Guitars Celebrates The Byrds’ 50th Anniversa...
    Gonzo Weekly #148
    Wally Hope, Kansas, King Crimson, Mike Oldfield, Tony Palmer, Pink Military, Al Stewart, Beatles, harper Lee, Roy Weard, Dogwatch, That Legendary Wooden Lion, Hawkwind, Jon Anderson, and Yes fans had better look out!
    The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#148) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/. It has Wally Hope on the front cover together with an interview with Paolo, the Director of the new Wally Hope biopic inside, Doug looks at Kansas, Jon muses about Jeremy Corbyn. Mike Oldfield and Tony Palmer, Doug writing about Kansas, Lee about Pink Military and Max's account of going to see King Crimson. We review the controversial new book by Harper Lee which isn't a new book at all, Neil unearths a hidden gem by The Beatles. Thom waxes all poetical like, whilst the legendary Roy Weard continues his regular column. And there is a radio show from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and the third of four Strange Harvest radio specials from the folk wot bring you Strange Fruit. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons wanting a snooze (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who stayed up too late last night, 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!!!
    This issue features:
    Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Palmer, Al Stewart, Morrissey, New Order, Glen Campbell, Sister Sledge, Keith Richards, Brian May, Elephant's Memory, Badfinger, Joey Molland, Sleaford Mods, Steve Ignorant's Slice of Life, Strange Harvest, Friday Night Progressive, Martin "Kiddie" Kearns, Gary Dean Richrath, Bryn Merrick, Hugh Hopper, The Pirates, Ducks Deluxe, The Pirates, Wilko Johnson, Dr. John, Johnny Winter & Uncle John Turner,  Billy Cobham, Brand x, Pete Sears, Frank Zappa, Wally Hope, Paolo Sedazzari, Kansas, Max Blake, King Crimson, Lee Walker,Pink Military, Jayne Casey, Roy Weard, Hawkwind, Lemmy, Steve Hillage, Elvis Presley, Flaming Lips, Cher, John Lennon, Elton John, Wham!, Neil Nixon, The Beatles, Bucovina
    Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
    Issue 147 (Thom the World Poet cover)
    Issue 146 (Bee and Flower cover)
    Issue 145 (Dave Brock cover)
    Issue 144 (Percy Jones cover)
    Issue 143 (Billy Sherwood cover)
    Issue 142 (Daevid Allen and Spirits Burning cover)
    Issue 141 (Rick Wakeman cover)
    Issue 140 (Jaki Windmill cover)
    Issue 139 (Raz cover)
    Issue 138 (Galahad cover)
    Issue 137 (Chris Squire cover)
    Issue 136 (Neil Nixon cover)
    Issue 135 (FNP cover)
    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:
    SPECIAL NOTICE: If you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at jon@eclipse.co.uk The more the merrier really.
    * 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 56 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and a small kitten totally coincidentally named after one of the Manson Family, purely because she squeaks, 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, and the adventurous kitten?


    There are only two things wrong with They Saw a Thylacine: the title and the poster. Both of them threaten to undersell a ​​jewel-like work, small but ...

    After winning awards at recent Melbourne, New Zealand and Adelaide fringes, the independent production They Saw a Thylacine was welcomed to ...


    Daily 2 Cents: Bigfoot With Baby Reported to Virginia Sheriff
    Bigfoot With Baby Reported to Virginia Sheriff Bedford Co., VA - He's a legend. Most say a myth. People hunt for him on reality television.

    Carolina Bigfoot Group Captures Some Creepy Audio
    Hearing this in the woods at night would be enough to make your skin crawl. During the recording you can hear the team members say "That's not ...

    This Was Recorded In The Same Area Les Stroud Said He Experienced Bigfoot Telepathy
    Les Stroud admitted to Coast to Coast AM he had an experience where he believed a bigfoot had used telepathy to communicate a message to him.

    What's your favorite bigfoot story/encounter/episode?
    What keeps me interested? The likelihood that such a beast exists in our midst. I find it absolutely fascinating. I came across tracks in the late '90s.

    New Sighting Report: Loggers Bigfoot Sighting in Deadwood (Video)
    Here's our friend Kelly Shaw with a brand new sighting report out of Deadwood. This is the same location where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in.

    A Virginia Dispatch Gets Bigfoot Call. Bedford Co., VA (WSET) - He's a legend. Most say a myth. People hunt for him on reality television.

    Creepy Breakdown Footage Of Mysterious Woodland Creature
    So what is there to breakdown? This is obviously a fantastic piece of bigfoot footage, right? Let's see what Phil has to say before we just start jumping ...

    Australian Captures Images of 'Bigfoot'
    AUSTRALIA — A man in Queensland released a series of photographs Sunday containing what he calls a Bigfoot creature. 1407531713u0184.


    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.


    ON THIS DAY IN 1792 - The French Republic was proclaimed. 
    And now some more recent news from the CFZ Newsdesk

  • Iguana: The Popular Animal Most People Should Neve...
  • Africa braced for snakebite crisis - via Herp Dige...
  • Bees behaving badly: bumblebees steal pollen from ...
  • Tiny 'Jellyfish' Team Up for Multi-Jetpack Swimmin...

  • 'Universal urination duration' wins Ig Nobel prize...

  • 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)