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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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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

THE NEBRASKA "CHUPACABRAS"

I have written elsewhere of how the term “chupacabras” has changed. It was once purely used to describe a partially bipedal creature that is reported to have spines down its back, and is allegedly vampiric.
I have visited Puerto Rico on two occasions, each time meeting up with the deputy head of Canovenas Civil Defense, Ismael Aguyo, who was one of the few men who coined the term “chupacabras” (literally Spanish for ‘goat sucker’) back in the mid 1990s, when there was a spate of attacks on domestic livestock that left the victims – usually fowl or tiny goats – drained, at least partially, of blood. Unfortunately, since 2004, the term has also been used to describe a variety of canids, reported across the southern states of the USA, usually blue or grey in colour, without any hair, and often with strange pads of flesh on their haunches; exactly where the dog’s buttocks would be, if a dog had buttocks (which it doesn’t).
The latest advantage of the mutation of this particular Spanish neologism concerns a creature that was allegedly found in a national park in Nebraska last week. The Sportsman Channel originally said the animal was found in Ponca State Park, however, The Lincoln Journal-Star reports a woman named Angie Ketelsen says she found it near her home in Martinsburg, which is 11 miles southwest of the park.
Ketelsen says her dog “dragged the carcass to her home,” and she believes it’s just a raccoon that is unrecognizable because its hair is “matted and sun bleached.”
Although our researches have been hampered by the ridiculous constraints placed upon viewing various websites by the EU’s GDPR legislation, I circulated this information to a hand-picked group of experts. Like Caesar, I have assembled my Xth Legion (devotees of Rudyard Kipling will probably get the reference). My physiology skills are not what they once were, and so I have started to circulate pictures of mysterious carcasses and bones to a group consisting of Melanie and Ric (two bone collectors I know from Twitter), Lars and Max (professional zoologists who work closely with the CFZ), Carl (a zoology student, field naturalist and close colleague of ours), my elder stepdaughter, Shoshannah, who is a vet (an animal doctor, not that she fought in Vietnam) and my lovely wife, Corinna, who is possessed of a bloody great dollop of common sense.
When we first got hold of this photograph, we had not been informed that only the front half of the animal had been recovered.
Ric wrote:
Well the teeth could be a bit doggy but I can't work out what's happening with the front leg and foot; they look to be at a very odd angle. I don't think I can speculate much about this really. But give us a skull and bones and we could draw allsorts of fascinating conclusions!”
Corinna said:
“A kind of golden retriever with a short nose.”
Shoshannah wrote:
“I don't know, something about it just doesn't look real. I think it's a combination of the teeth, fur and nose,” and “Why such a poor photo cutting out most of the body?”
Lars tended to agree, writing:
“Looks fake to me too - especially the fur makes me think of stuffed toys.”

However, several days later we got hold of the rest of the photographs. There were three, rather than two, and it’s obvious that the animal is much smaller than we had first supposed, about twice the size of a shoe.
The woman who found it believes that it is a dead and mutilated racoon, with fur that had become bleached in the sun. However, I believe that - although the teeth are superficially similar - the absence of colouration, the pointed nose, and the apparently long fur, would argue against this hypothesis.
Corinna commented:
“The picture of the woman holding it up - is that its pelvis hanging down? Why would back end be like that with front end still having all that fur? She looks jolly happy at the smell Is that a man's, woman's or child's shoe that it is being scaled against?”
The more I look at it, the more I am inclined towards Lars’s hypothesis that it is the front half of a toy lion. However, now we have the second and third pictures, I will circulate them again to my Xth Legion, and see what they have to say.


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