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, April 24, 2009


John Michell, a dear friend of us all, and one of the major figures in British Forteana over the past half century has died of cancer. He was 76. I am not going to do a proper obituary of him; I am atually too upset at the moment, but I would like to remember the kind and gentle man who looked at my manuscript for "Owlman" way before it was published and gave constructive criticism, who got mildly tiddly after the launch for Merrily Harpur's big cat book, and flirted charmingly and sweetly with Corinna (who then was still my fiancee). I want to remember the man who popularised forteana in the 1960s, who taught me ribald limericks, who introduced the hippy culture to earth mysteries, and who now is never going to appear at the Weird Weekend or buy me the pint he owes me.

Rest in Peace John.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Today is Friday so that means as well as the latest cryptozoology news from the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog, updated daily by Mr Wilson (not to be confused with the other Mr Wilson), followed by a stale old pun based upon one of the news stories, provided by yours truly, there is also the announcement of tea of the week. This week it’s been nice and sunny so I’m going to recommend Twinings green tea with jasmine, as it’s a nice refreshing brew on a hot day. And now, the news:

Eight-legged smile
'Yowie not to blame for death'
My calf's got two noses
Black cat was lucky spot for Craig
Curator on trail of sea monsters, serpents
'Missing link' fossil seal walked
The feast of Bodmin

It probably thought that it was doing it’s ‘civet’ duty by cleaning up the food that was littering the town…(Hah! Bet you expected me to just be lazy, use the story before and mutter something like “that gets my ‘seal’ of approval”, or a “but how does he smell” gag about the calf story rather than that gem, didn’t you?)


I owe an apology to dear Naomi, who posted me an updated version of her account of her and husband Ritchie's visit to Devin Macanally in search of the blue dog of Elmendorf. She sent it to me ages ago asking me to replace the version she had originally posted, and I forgot all about it. Mea culpa.

The original one has been changed, and here is a repost just in case you missed it first time...

This past week, Richie and I were granted a visit with Mr. Devin McAnally, the rancher famous for shooting a Texas Blue Dog in Elmendorf, Texas on May of 2004. The story was investigated by the CFZ and ultimately featured on the History Channel’s Monster Quest. However, the story remains far from resolved, as the identity of the creature has yet to be satisfactorily determined.

McAnally submitted a bone to several different companies for DNA testing with dubious results each time. Whitley Strieber paid for the first DNA testing at University of California Davis. According to Strieber, UCAL said that very little DNA was obtainable because the bones had been previously exposed either to extreme heat or radiation. (The closest nuclear plant is 200 miles from Elmendorf, and there are no nuclear waste disposal sites within 400 miles.) UCAL could not complete the testing, but the results they did find were unusual and matched with nothing known.

McAnally sent another bone to a man claiming to be a graduate assistant in a northern university, but the university in question had never heard of him. Mcanally called to monitor the status of the sample, but gave up when the man proved nonresponsive.

McAnally then signed a contract for DNA testing through Disney, who sent the bone to a doctor with a private laboratory in East Texas. After missing three deadlines, Disney began ignoring McAnally’s calls altogether. Mcanally learned that the doctor had had to delay the tests due to pressing DNA contracts with all open criminal investigations in the state of Texas. The Blue Dog tests were only fifty percent done, and the results appeared to be coyote at that point. Mcanally is convinced the testing was never finished, and nothing beyond mitochondrial was attempted.
In his final attempt, Mcanally submitted a bone through the History Channel to New York University, who claimed that due to “exposure to the elements and heat”, they could not obtain any nuclear DNA, and only a short sequence of mitochondrial. The results revealed that the DNA did not match any species of coyote, but was “identical to the sequences of dozens of breeds of domestic dog.”

Our mission was to bring closure to the Elmendorf mystery by obtaining a DNA sample. Considering the frustration McAnally had experienced with past offers, we were happily surprised when he consented to our request for a bone. The only condition was that we provide a definitive plan for DNA testing, that the testing include both mitochondrial and nuclear testing, and that McAnally be the first to know the results. We agreed to this, and once that plan is in place, we will have our bone.

We video-recorded an interview detailing McAnally’s 2004 shooting of the creature, as well as more recent alleged sightings by other Elmendorf residence. Video is on its way…