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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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Thursday, March 22, 2018

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: George Orwell, Common Toads and the Bank of England

What you may well ask is Richard ranting about now? Has he completely lost his marbles? Has his reduction of lithium mid-February down to zero mg been a ghastly mistake?

Oh no my dear friends! On March 19th I visited the People`s History Museum in Manchester and lo! as Charlie Fort would say, I came across  a book of essays by George Orwell (yes,the same George Orwell who wrote Animal Farm and 1984) and the title of the book was `Some Thoughts on The Common Toad`, which happened also to be the first essay in the book, first published in 1946. The essay is really a celebration of Spring and how Orwell hoped that in a Socialist society workers would have sufficient leisure time to enjoy the site of toads and Spring flowers. The interesting thing from a Fortean zoologists point of view is the following sentence:

" As for spring, not even the narrow and gloomy streets round the Bank of England are quite able to exclude it..." 

Earlier, in the 1920s or `30s Charles Fort writes in one of his books about snakes being seen near the British Museum, i.e Bloomsbury in London. Given the huge destruction wrought by Nazi bombs in London during World War 2 it`s surprising that any amphibians or reptiles survived at all. 

The Bank of England is in Threadneedle Street in Central London. Orwell`s essay on the toad was first published in The New Republic of May 20th 1946 

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