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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Sunday, April 26, 2009


These pictures are just in. There will be more news on them tomorrow..

RICHARD FREEMAN: Giant snakes and goblins in Ecuador

Whilst waiting for the train from Exeter to Barnstaple yesterday I happened to sit down next to an exceptionally beautiful girl. I struck up a conversation with her, and it turned out that she was from Ecuador. Her name was Sandenily and she was in England for ten months. Back home she taught English and she had come over here to brush up. The first month she had spent in Brighton. For the next nine months she was going to be working in the restaurant of the Stag Hunters Inn http://www.staghunters.com/

She asked if I had ever been to South America and I told her of my hunt for the giant anaconda in Guyana. Sandenily told me hat she had not seen much wildlife outside of zoos, having never ventured into the deep jungle. However she said that two years ago a man had escaped from a jungle prison and gone on the run. He had apparently been killed and eaten by an anaconda. His carcass was found after the animal had vomited him back up!

She told me of other strange creatures she had heard of. One was a creature that looked like bigfoot but was much smaller. These ape like beasts were said to kidnap members of the opposite sex. Stories like these are widespread in South America. Indeed wherever there are sightings of relic hominids or mystery apes there are usually tales of them kidnapping and/or breeding with humans.

Another being she mentioned was he duende. Once again stories of these creatures are found in many neo-tropical countries. The duende is supposed to be a goblin, usually depicted in a pointed hat. Sandenily, who was once a journalist had to interview a girl in hospital who claimed to have been raped by a duende. The girl said I had red eyes and wore a tall, pointed hat. It’s hands and skin felt hard. She could no bring herself to describe the face. Sandenily thought she was telling the truth, as she had no reason to lie and seemed traumatized.

Sandenily said her cousin claimed to have been visited by such a creature for a number of nights. It had large dark eyes and a pointed hat. The girl had dark hair, body hair and pale skin, all things that the duende finds attractive. The duende smelled of human excrement. Her mother though the girl was possessed and took her to a shaman. The shaman told her that the only way to stop he duende coming was to eat her own excrement. That nigh the girl did as she was advised and he goblin never returned.

Finally Sandenily’s brother claimed to have seen a duende whilst at military school. He described I as short, with a tall hat and feet pointing backwards. That final detail is repeated right over Latin America and, oddly, is also attributed to he Islamic djinn.

The descriptions of the duende recall not only European goblins but also the Argentinean ‘gnome’ allegedly filmed a while ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81OwP7RJ3BI



Jon will be on the Ian Collins show on TalkSport radio tonight at sometime after ten. He is talking about the mongolian death worm as well as other CFZ projects past and present. I believe that it is a phone in so you can get your chance to be rude to the old bugger.

FLEUR FULCHER: Cider with Fleurie

Over, once again to the divine Ms F. After a gap of a few weeks during which she has been about her studies, she is back and as charming as usual....

One of the things I definitely need in the garden of my dream home is an apple tree (or a few apple trees..) I’ve always been rather obsessed with apple trees to tell the truth, the cottage we lived in when I was younger had some large Bramley apple trees and an ancient half rotten sometimes wasp infested Rattler apple tree, this last was the one I claimed ownership of.

But whilst I may wish for orchards galore of traditional varieties, some people are not so keen it seems.

English heritage say that we have lost 60% of our orchards since the 1950s, this is a shame not only because it means we are making less delicious cider but also because traditional orchards are an excellent habitat for many types of wildlife.

Traditional fruit orchards are one of the places where bee numbers are not declining rapidly, the immense amount of blossoms on a fruit tree are heavenly to bees and other insect pollinators.

There is also the fact that many of the fruit varieties being lost may be unique, apple and plum varieties are often local only to one county or even town, at Killerton in Devon there are fruit trees that are found only on one historical estate. So who knows how many types have already gone forever? (whether or not they made decent cider, this is sad)

The rather pretty and odd looking Noble Chafer beetle is one of the creatures that is declining due to its liking of orchard habitat. Beetles especially like well established orchards as the trees are allowed to become old and gnarled and therefore make good homes for them. There are also often stacks of rotting wood in these habitats, ideal for even more creepy crawlies. Another rather nice looking beetle that likes orchards is the Longhorn beetle.

Birds also revel in the orchardy joy, possibly due to the edibleness of the aforementioned crawlies.

The lovely Lesser spotted woodpecker is one who particularly likes fruit trees as they provide ideal homes. Bullfinches, house sparrows and spotted flycatchers are also fans.

The areas around the trees are also important, traditionally grazed by sheep they have rarely seen pesticides or weedkillers and therefore are likely to provide a haven for plants that have become scarce elsewhere.

So if we wish to keep up the biodiversity in England, we should try our best to hang on to our remaining orchards, and therefore all the creatures that make their home there.


A few days ago this photograph was splashed across the internet and people who really should have known better were touting it as being an artefact of major cryptozoological importance. We made some facile joke about toy goblins and Adobe Photoshop and ignored it.

Oh how I love the CFZ readership. They are jolly good at hunting out answers to conundra like this.

Mark North, our one-time artist, and long time friend of us all wrote to Richard Freeman with the solution.

I may have found your answer, it is indeed a cheap stretchy rubber toy that can be found in many shops including Hawkins Bizarre where I last saw one, and thought it was the worst depiction of a werewolf I had seen since watching 'Werewolves of the Blood Moon'. Check it out http://www.stocking-fillers.co.uk/find/product-is-07917?img=_d

So the moral of this story is that, in cryptozoological terms as in everything else in life, it is wise to look before you leap.

The thing that particularly amazes me about this whole sorry episode is that there were so few people prepared to stand up and say that this image was obviously nonsense right from the start.
If we are to succeed in making cryptozoology a discipline that is taken seriously by the scientific world at large, drivel like this, and the recent water blackfella saga should be expunged across the board.

Stuff like this only serves to bring cryptozoology and allied disciplines further into disrepute, and it is about time that we as a community realised this and stopped making fools of ourselves.

OLL LEWIS:Yesterday’s News Today


It’s Sunday so time for film of the week along with the latest cryptozoology news from the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog. This week’s film is the Shawshank Redemption because it is simply the best movie ever made, even better than the Big Lebowski (only just, mind you), If you’ve been living under a rock since 1994 and still haven’t seen it here’s a link to the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec4dGY46_1E. And now the news:

Wandering 'gator winds up on doorstep
Bull caught on CCTV in supermarket
Albino buffalo spotted by Kenyan rangers
Pigs escape when lorry crashes yards from slaughterhouse
Sparrow's cigarette blamed for £250,000 blaze
Endangered whooping crane follows aircraft in unique migration
Huff Puff: Britain's biggest hedgehog?
Carp is the 'one that got away' after being caught and released repeatedly over 30 years

I’d be ‘carp’ing on about it for ages if I caught that fellow.