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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


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...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: The case of the washed ashore giant lizards. Or,what tales could be heard if dead lizards told tales?

I found this story (with a black and white photo) in the `The East Hampton Star`, a New York newspaper of April 23rd 1959, front page. The headline, in the top left hand corner of the page was `Police Baffled by Case of Dead Lizards.` The caption under the photo was `The Lizards are examined by Paul Rickenbach, Star reptile editor and house musician.`
" The Case of the Monster Lizards,opened by the discovery of  two dead giant reptiles on the beach at Two Mile Hollow Sunday morning, remains unsolved on the books of the East Hampton Village Police.It is a mystery which will thrill readers of Fu Manchu and bring morbid chuckles to Charles Addams fans. (Charles Addams was a dark-humoured cartoonist from whence the famous or should that be infamous Addams Family T.V series got its name.)
Dominick Grace of East Hampton made the grim discovery while strolling on the beach at about 9.30 Sunday morning. A wooden crate, with a mesh grille on one side, rested on the sands .Mr Grace peered into the combination coffin-raft; saw the two bodies; and hurried off to tell the police.
The police came ,and opened the crate, spilling the two corpses to the sand. One was about 6 1/2 feet long, the other about 7. Both were spotted with a thin pattern of green and yellow spots on a brownish background;had long,thin tails; and were sticking long forked tongues out at the investigators. Two metal feeding trays were inside the cage, which was marked " Made in Japan.." "Singa..."  and had other scribblings in oriental script. The curious gathered, and speculated. What tales could be heard if dead lizards told tales? 

Amateur naturalists consulted the encyclopedias and concluded that the beasts fit the description of the monitor lizard family of southern Asia . "They are all rapacious and some reach a length of ten feet", commented the dictionary.

Most observers agreed that they had been tossed overboard from some passing freighter. But why? Had they sickened, and died? Or had some sailor tired of their rapacity and given them the deep six 

A nautical expression indicating a water depth of 6 fathoms (36 feet, 10.97 metres) as measured by a sounding line; "deep six" acquired its idiomatic definition because something thrown overboard at or greater than this depth would be difficult, if not impossible, to recover. Marks on a sounding line were traditionally placed at 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 17, and 20 fathoms. The "leadsman" called out the depth as he read it off the line. If the depth was at a mark he would call "by the mark" followed by the number; if the depth was between two marks, he would call "by the deep" followed by the estimated number. Six fathoms would therefore be reported as "by the deep six". Wikipedia.)

...No inquest was held, and the police allowed benevolent citizens to remove the bodies for decent burials.The case remains open. (The lizards could have been Mangrove Monitors which have lived in Japan since the 1940s or the Malayan Monitor which is found in Singapore.) 

No comments: