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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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Sunday, August 05, 2018

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Some strange aquatic creature stories from Dorset and beyond.

I almost called this blog "Some strange mermaid stories from Dorset" but some of these accounts may be of dugong or manatees though what a manatee may be doing on the coast of Dorset is probably unanswerable.

All these stories can be found in Dorset Customs ,Curiosities and Countryside by Mary Brown (1990)

" A  mermaid captured in Greece in 1775 was said to be very beautiful with blue eyes and white teeth with fish-like gills for ears. She had a beautiful "membrane" running from her temples like a headdress instead of the usual long golden hair. She had female breasts  but no nipples, and no nails on her fingers. From the waist down she was like a cod-fish with three sets of fins. She was only three feet long including her tail, and was said to have an enchanting voice. It is not surprising to learn that this example too,was believed to be a fraud.(1)

Cornwall ,as one would expect, is rich in mermaid stories. The most famous one concerns the `Mermaid of Zennor` who, disguised as a beautiful woman used to regularly attend services in the church . All the congregation were agog at her marvellous singing voice. Finally she tempted away the best tenor in the choir, who was never seen again. A representation of her was carved on an ancient bench end, now made into a chair, in Zennor church. Dorset`s most famous mermaid does not compare to her in beauty. Hutchins described her with what Treves calls `scientific solemnity`. She was thrown ashore at Burton Bradstock in June 1757,and Hutchins says...

"...This romantic individual, being no less than 13 feet in height or length, was evidently a giant of the species. Her upper or better half had a human form, while her extremity was that of a fish. The head of this unhappy creature was partly like that of a man and partly like that of a hog. Her fins resembled hands. She had a masculine jaw-bone and 48 teeth in both the upper and the lower jaw." (2)

1. Dorset Customs,Curiosities and Country-Lore Mary Brown (1990) p.65
2. Ibid p.65

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