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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Monday, August 06, 2018


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.

AVAAZ: Save the Tapanuli OrangUtan


 Image result for tapanuli orangutan                                   
Dear friends, 

They're fighting for their lives...

Right now bulldozers are clearing a tiny speck of rainforest where Earth's last 800 Tapanuli Orangutans cling to survival.

It's all to build a hydropower dam that could push them to extinction.

But Indonesia's President can still cancel the dam, and he wants to be seen as the people's president. So if we build a massive campaign and get huge media coverage -- he could do it! Wildlife experts are meeting him in days and will deliver our call -- so add your name to the petition below with one click before the diggers destroy their home!

Save the Last Tapanuli Orangutans -- Sign Now!

To the Indonesian government and President, Joko Widodo:
"As citizens from across the world, we urge you to save the last 800 Tapanuli Orangutans from extinction by cancelling the Batang Toru hydropower dam. The fate of this entire species rests in your hands."

Save the Last Tapanuli Orangutans -- Sign Now!

The Tapanuli Orangutans were only discovered months ago, and with fewer than 800 left, they instantly became the world's most endangered great ape species. Their only home is one shrinking patch of rainforest in Indonesia -- and this hydropower dam would be built right in the middle of where they live! No wonder major development banks won't touch it.

Orangutans are basically family -- we share 97% of our DNA. They laugh at jokes, cry when they’re sad, and can clearly tell what it means when the chainsaws arrive. We can't leave them to face that alone and be wiped out forever. So we have to stop this -- together!

Let's build a giant campaign to make them famous, help journalists expose the destruction, and take out media ads to push Indonesia's President to scrap the dam and save these desperate orangutans. Sign now and tell everyone!   

Save the Last Tapanuli Orangutans -- Sign Now!
Scientists say we're living through the sixth mass extinction, and it's mostly caused by humans. But at the same time, we've never been more able to respond to the crisis, and there's no other global movement on earth that can do it quick enough, loud enough. So let's save them!

With hope and determination,

Mike, Bert, Lisa, Sarah, Spyro, Elana, Samir and the whole team at Avaaz

More information:

World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam (The Guardian)

Scientists urge Indonesian president to nix dam in orangutan habitat (Mongabay)
Chinese companies backing megadam threaten survival of new orangutan species (Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation)

Sighting of Tapanuli orangutan twins raises hope for saving species (Jakarta Morning Post)


The Gonzo Daily: Sunday
I know how Schrödinger's cat must have felt. My whole household (except for Mama who is blissfully unaware of it all) is in a state of indeterminacy, waiting to hear from the hospital or GP. The two case conferences were on Tuesday and Friday last week, and so I am expecting to hear this week either by letter or telephone call. But as Shoshannah (who will be here later today) points out sagely, this is an assumption rather than a presumption.
Corinna is in mild discomfort but not in pain and is dealing with this all magnificently. But I always knew that I married a magnificent woman.
But let's change the subject.
If there was such a thing as popular music ‘royalty’, the Womack Dynasty would certainly be there right at the top! Songwriting giant Bobby Womack, who died in 2014 at the age of 70, had a stellar career as a solo artist, and – back in the 60s – as a member of The Valentinos, provided the Rolling Stones with their first great signature song, ‘It’s All Over Now’ in June 1964. Then there was Cecil Womack; a few years younger than Bobby, he not only made some wonderful solo records, but formed a magical duo, ‘Womack & Womack’ with his wife, Linda, who – being Sam Cooke’s daughter – is soul music royalty in her own right. They had made international hits before travelling to Nigeria and embracing their ancestral African heritage. Sadly, he died in Johannesburg in 2013.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in the case of the Womack family, this is certainly true. Because, there is a new apple on the Womack tree; his name is Binky! A few years back, he released a magical album called ‘Womack Style’ and now he is back. The album is called, ‘Next of Kin’, which is entirely appropriate, considering that this album is 100% true Womack, through and through. The bluesy guitar riffing reminds one of the Valentinos, whereas the gorgeous, sultry, sexy sound of the vocals could not have been produced by a musician from any other family. This record is pure, Womack, bliss!
I’m in love with it already, and it’s not even out yet!
AVAAZ: Save the Tapanuli OrangUtan
THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY:  Shostakovich - Piano ...
For those of you who are interested in such things, the Gonzo Privacy Policy is here:
And the CFZ Privacy Policy is here:
And, yes,
Our webTV show:
And if you fancy supporting it on Patreon:
And by the way chaps and chappesses, a trip to the Jon Downes megastore may seem to be in order:
Gonzo Weekly #297
In this strange and rather poignant issue, Richard Stellar discovers the incomparable Shir Ordo, Jon talks about Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson, Corinna has been in hospital, Alan revisits the The Grunwick dispute and strike action and associated street art, Phil goes to see Roger Waters, John goes to see Canned Heat, Graham looks at what we know about the forthcoming Hawkwind album, and Jon writes about Evelyn Waugh. REDEFINING ECLECTIC eh?
#Hail Eris!
And there are radio shows from Strange Fruit, Mack Maloney, AND Friday Night Progressive, AND there are columns from all sorts of folk including Kev Rowlands, Neil Nixon, C J Stone, but the irrepressible Corinna, Mr Biffo and Roy Weard are on hiatus.  There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and red kangaroos who've lost their shoes (OK, nothing to do with the largest extant macropods who are in a quandry with regards their footwear, 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:
Roger Daltrey, Nick Cave, Wilko Johnson, Shir Ordo, paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Morrissey, Yoko Ono, David Bowie, Billy Gibbons, Z Z Top, Patrick Williams, Lucy Ferry, June Jacobs, Elbert Howard, Rick Wakeman, Michael Bruce, Natural Gas, Roger Waters, Canned Heat, UPF, Universe Infinity, Unruly Child, Vantomime, Vespero, Zero for Conduct, Abjection Ritual, Aborted Fetus, C J Stone, Hawkwind, Evelyn Waugh, The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms.
And the last few issues are:
Issue 295-6 (Robert Berry)
Issue 294 (Bow Wow Wow)
Issue 293 (Stonehenge)
Issue 292 (Rolling Stones)
Issue 291 (Alien Weaponry)
Issue 290 (Frank Zappa)
Issue 289 (Misty in Roots)
Issue 288 (Paula Frazer)
Issue 287 (Boss Goodman)
Issue 286 (Monty Python)
Issue 285 (ELP)
Issue 284 (Straqngelove)
Issue 283 (Record Store Day)
Issue 282 (Neil Finn and Fleetwood Mac)
Issue 281 (Carl Palmer)
Issue 280 (Steve Andrews)
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?

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: A thylacine in Scotland?

I came across this story recently in a book titled `Highland Folk Tales` by Bob Pegg (The History Press 2012) pages 85 - 86. Now I am not utterly convinced it was a thylacine, but what else could a dog with tiger stripes realistically be? Unless it was a wild cat? But no serious rustic person well familiar with his or her environment is going to get confused between a wild cat and a feral dog. Or maybe it was another now  long gone quadruped? Sadly there is no source for the story but it has the feel of the Nineteenth Century to it.Could thylacines have escaped into Scotland once?

Anyway without further a-do, here are the salient elements of the whole story:


" There`s a place in Achiltibuie called Polbain. Many a time I called there, many a time I hawked it (sic). And there was a man there. Aonghas Donn they called him in Gaelic, and that is the equivalent of Brown-haired Angus. And I came to his door one time, and I said, `I`m looking for Aonghas Donn.` And the daughter came out, and she said,`Aonghas Donn.Oh yes.`

Then he shouted from inside, `Ah well boy, I was Aonghas Donn at one time, but now I`m Grey-haired Angus. Come in!` The account goes on to say that his grand-father was once telling the narrator of this story`s grandfather how the former had to fetch some horses from the vicinity of Loch Lurgainn, when what was at first thought to be "a stray dog" approached. "...but as it was coming nearer I could tell that he never had anything to do with humans."

So the thylacine,or whatever it was, grabbed hold  of the witness`s arm and started "chewing it" (!) and fortunately the human victim had a small pen-knife on him which he stuck deep into the beast`s neck. After a struggle the man got back to his home in Polbain and a doctor saw him and got "most of the poison" from the bite out. "But the dog," he said, `I can never get over. It was his colour. He was tiger-striped. I never saw a dog tiger-striped in my life. But I done away with him." And he said to my grandfather, "Do you know this, there`s hills up there - go up to Cul Beag, Cul Mor, even over Quinag - and you`d be very surprised at what you would see or meet in that hills yet."

So that is the end of that story. And I didn`t know the man it happened to, but  I did know his grandson. (1)

Loch Lurgainn is on the far north-west coast of Scotland, opposite the Isle  of  Lewis in the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles. Polbain is right on the coast near the Loch. 

1. B.Pegg Highland Folk Tales (2012) pp 85 - 86.  


ON THIS DAY IN -   1806 - The Holy Roman Empire went out of existence as Emperor Francis II abdicated. 
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  • 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)