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 


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.

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    The Gonzo Daily: Thursday
    I am actually having rather a nice time at the moment. Carl arrived yesterday afternoon and we managed to get all the filming I wanted to do. We also retrieved the trail camera from Common Moor, where we found the deer carcass back in January. And - lo and behold - the SD card contains images of a large and healthy dog fox, strutting about as if he owned the place. The fact that the place where the carcass was found was bang in the middle of his patch, and the predation on the skull was indicative of a large fox, is not conclusive, but is pretty good supportive evidence.
    In other news, on the recommendation of John Brodie-Good I checked out the Carey Grace covers album this morning and it is - indeed - a corker. I would recommend it to anyone, but also wonder whether anyone else but me thinks that her voice sounds a bit like that of Chrissie Hynde. Again, that is no bad thing.
    Forgive me for always banging on about our webTV show, but it matters a lot to me, and I would be grateful for as many people as possible to see it, and spread the tidings of it far and wide:
    And if you fancy supporting us on Patreon:
    And by the way chaps and chappesses, a trip to the Jon Downes megastore seems to be in order: if you want to make me a happy fellow, you can:
    buy my novel:
    buy the record by the main protagonist of the novel who isn't me in an elephant mask, honest:
    buy my single:
    But for now, here is the news:
    THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY:  Iggy Pop - The Passen...
    THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem
    Gonzo Weekly #278
    In this extraordinarily groovy issue, Alan and Phil discover that The Beatles were not as squeaky clean as they were portrayed, Jeremy goes to see Eddie and the Hot Rods and Department S, Neil explores Psychedelic Australia, Graham looks at the latest Hawkwind news, Doug continues with his history of Split Enz, and Jon once again visits Mu Mu Land alongside a bloke called Andy Gell, and sulks cos he isn't allowed to let smoke grenades off in his garden.
    Hail Eris!
    And there are radio shows from Strange Fruit, AND Mack Maloney, AND Friday Night Progressive, there are columns from all sorts of folk including Neil Nixon, Kev Rowlands, Roy Weard, C J Stone, and Mr Biffo AND the irrepressible Corinna. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and southern dibblers who have gone for a snooze (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have probably got hangovers and have decided to have a little rest, 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:
    Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, Andy Gell, Brian Epstein, Roger Daltrey, Brian Eno, Neil Young, Eminem, Liam Gallagher, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progessive, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, Stephen William Hawking CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA, Sir Kenneth Arthur Dodd, OBE, Jerzy Stanislaw Milian, Gary Burden, Count Hubert James Macel Taffin de Givenchy, Craig Jamieson Mack, Nole Floyd "Nokie" Edwards, Claudia Fontaine, Matt Dike, James Whittaker "Jim Bowen", Liam O'Flynn, Tony Klinger, Billion Dollar Babies, Man, Delius, Edward Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Jeremy Smith, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Department S, Doug Harr, Split Enz, Alan Dearling, Phil Bayliss, The Beatles, Neil Arnold, Psychedelic Australia, Flake, Freshwater, Ash, Helium, Tymepiece, Glass Web, The Chocolate, The Elois, The Throb, The Thorts, Inkase, Australian Playboys, Blackfeather, Clapham Junction, The Creatures, The Vince Maloney Sect, Fraternity, The Master's Apprentices, The Vegetable Garden, Zoot, Rick Springfield, Kev Rowland, Apartment 213, Alan Reed, Almanac, Altavia, Sonata Arctica, Pocket Size, Root, Terra, Mr Biffo, Hawkwind, Jon Downes, The Wild Colonial Boy, Martin Springett, Joey Ramone, New Kids of the Block, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Geri Halliwell, Nirvana, ACDC, Ska
    And the last few issues are:
    Issue 278 (The Beatles)
    Issue 277 (Auld Man's Baccie)
    Issue 276 (Dukes of the Orient)
    Issue 275 (Martin Gordon)
    Issue 274 (Steve Took)
    Issue 273 (Live Dead 69)
    Issue 272 (George Butler)
    Issue 271 (Mark E Smith)
    Issue 270 (Eric Clapton)
    Issue 269 (Narnia)
    Issue 267-8 (Happy New Year)
    Issue 265-6 (The Who)
    Issue 264 (John McLaughlin)
    Issue 263 (The magic Band)
    Issue 262 (DikMik)
    Issue 261 (Leonard Cohen)
    Issue 260 (Amsterdam Squat Festie)
    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.co.uk
    * 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 58 who - together with a Jack Russell called Archie, an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and two half grown kittens, one 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. 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 Archie and the Cats?


    Ackley, 46, teamed up with documentary filmmaker Todd Standing, the man behind the Netflix film “Discovering Bigfoot” in drafting the original lawsuit. Standing, who had a similar lawsuit filed in British Columbia, Canada, where he resides. Standing said Tuesday that he, Ackley and a paralegal wrote ..
    Bigfoot in Ohio? program coming to BG
    Bigfoot ….. in Ohio? Join Ohio Bigfoot Researcher, Marc DeWerth for a presentation, discussion, and first hand stories about the elusive creature known as Bigfoot. DeWerth is the organizer of the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, one of the largest in the US and has spent over 25 years studying evidence, ...


    ON THIS DAY IN - 1457 - Gutenberg Bible became the first printed book. 
    And now some more recent news from the CFZ Newsdesk

    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)