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, April 22, 2009


They have discharged her into Matthew's capable care. I have just spoken to both of them in my capacity as Uncle Jon, and she seems shaken but reasonably together....


Emma Biddle, Matt Osborne's girlfriend and new CFZ recruit has been rushed to hospital. I don't have any more details, but will keep you posted. She was struck low with a severe allergic reaction to something she ate on sunday (which is one of the reasons we were so late back), but seemed to have recovered when I spoke to her this afternoon. Please keep her and Matty in your prayers, and watch this space for further news updates.


Biggles may still be a puppy (and will be for another eighteen months or so yet) but he is quite a large hound now, and has found that the easiest way to get around the CFZ grounds is to jump over things.

Unfortunately, he has also found that chickens make satisfyingly stupid noises if he rushes at the coop and barks, and so new defences have to be but up in order to ensure that he stays in the main part of the garden, and doesn't venture up towards the animal enclosures and museum.

Here, he watches Graham as the new anti-doggie defences are erected...

NEIL ARNOLD: Strange stories

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

I had to leave a lot of information out of my new book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT, otherwise it would have been a ridiculously bloated bible of Kent animal weirdness. Among some of the strange and quirky stories I left out include, the gardener named Cyril who, whilst strimming an overgrown patch at Joyce Green Hospital, was confronted by a great beast. The creature, a three-feet long Bosc monitor lizard sprang from the undergrowth and terrified the witness.

And let us not forget recent rumours that a porcupine was on the loose down towards the Romney Marsh area of Kent. The animal was discovered by a mooching dog but disappeared down a fox hole of all places! And then there was the ‘monster’ of Greenwich, which found its way to the Eagle Heights Birds of Prey Centre in rural Kent, after it was pulled from the depths of the Greenwich Park Pond, London. The American Snapping Turtle, more at home in the swampy river bottoms, was destroying the eco-system of the pond by devouring ducklings, frogs, newts and fish, before it was captured. At the time a London-based RSPCA Inspector claimed that more than 400 exotics were picked up each year as unwanted pets around London alone. More than 50% of these ‘pets’ were large snakes!

One of the funniest tales pertains to an iguana which was seen running up Brixton High Street! And also the man who strolled into a London pub for a pint and came home with a ‘small lizard’, which turned out to be a caiman croc’!

In UK fishing circles the current urban legend doing the rounds concerns the possible dread that the Asian Snakehead fish, is prowling the depths of many a lake. This concern seems unfounded, but recently an angler fishing on a lower tidal stretch of the Thames, at Woolwich, came across a dead fish which he at first thought may be the all conquering Snakehead. He contacted the Environment Agency who stated it was in fact a walking catfish. A fish able to move across land with the use of its pectoral spines and a shuffling motion. This one certainly wasn’t one that got away!


None of us have all of the answers, and it would be a foolish man who claimed to know more than a tiny fraction of the secrets of the universe. I certainly never claim to know everything, and that lamentable lack of knowledge on my part caused a little fishy tragedy earlier. But luckily the ever more complex machine that is the CFZ Family came to my rescue.

I bought some Mikrogeophagus ramirezi at the fish auction the other day. I didn't buy them for the CFZ collection - I merely bought them for myself because they are the prettiest fish I know, and one of my all-time favourites.

But yesterday they started dying, and I lost four of them. It turned out to be a pH issue that had escaped us, but how did we find out? Emma, Maxy and I were stumped, but it turns out that Fleur's mother lives next door to a lady from the British Cichlid Association who managed to sort it all out for me, and the fishies seem happy.
But there is a moral in this story (and it is not that I should dop water tests more regularly). It is that the whole CFZ Family is bigger than the sum total of all its constituent parts. That we can achieve magnificent things if we all pull together as a team, and that we tend to screw up mightily when we don't.

I could continue. Indeed, I could continue at length. But I won't. Have you ever known me to labour a point?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Once again it’s time for your daily cryptozoology news update from the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog, sit back, enjoy and then shake your head in despair at the bad pun:

Nazi-bred 'Hitler cows' to come to Britain
Pig born with the face of a monkey
Rejected baby kangaroo gets life-saving milk
The life histories of the earliest land animals
'Dog killed by Yowie'
Woman mugged by eagle

That’s got to be il’eagle’.