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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Friday, January 22, 2021

BUY: Jon ‘s book about Hong Kong

JON WRITES: Anybody who has been a CFZ watcher at any time this last thirty years, will know that I have been promising to write a book about my childhood in Hong Kong, and my early introductions to the arcane world of Fortean zoology. 

Well, half a century after I first thought of the idea, and over forty years since I actually started writing the bloody thing, the first edition is finally out.

For those of you who are interested in the more Fortean aspects of the stories, let me assure you it includes a bunch of musings on the subject of the final Hong Kong tiger, what happened to Hong Kong’s foxes, accounts of mysterious apes in the heavily forested areas on the south of the island, the complicated story of St. John’s macaque, rumours of giant earthworms, and all sorts of other things besides. 

I stress that it is the first edition, because there are still a few minor typographical errors needing to be sorted out. Louis and I are working on them on as we speak, and so the first edition – especially one signed by me – is likely to become a collector’s item in very short order. And you can purchase one of these rare objects by clicking on the link below...

ABOUT THE BOOK: Jonathan Downes is the director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and he is undeniably one of the best known cryptozoologists in the English-speaking world. Jon has dedicated his life to searching the world for mystery animals and trying to make sense of the mysteries of Mother Nature. These preoccupations started over half a century ago, in a place which - for all intents and purposes - no longer exists and which contemporary readers may struggle to comprehend.

Between 1961 and 1971 the Downes family lived in Hong Kong, which is where, surrounded by exotic animals and oriental folklore, he first fell in love with the natural world and the mysteries therein.

This is not only the story of his early life, but also the story of one of the last generations of children brought up in the aegis of the British Empire, when it was still a global entity upon which the sun had not set. The author takes an unprejudiced look at the last decades of British rule in the Orient, through the eyes of the child of a senior member of HM Overseas Civil Service. 

This book has taken a lifetime to write and it examines his Colonial world at face value, neither exaggerating or shying away from the truth. It is a book about love, hate, mental illness, prejudice, duty and compassion. As such it can be frightening, touching and confusing. It will make you angry, happy and sad, but above all it is about a whole pantheon of wonderful animals. Six decades later the author has not lost his childlike wonder at these creatures and at the magnificence of the world around him.

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