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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Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is something that I have not seen in many years. In 1973 and 1974 I spent many happy hours watching the courtship of the brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) in a drainage stream at Venn, just outside the village where I still live. Twenty years ago, during my final unhappy weeks as a nurse for the Mentally Handicapped, I was on a patient's outing on Exmoor and saw them again, but since then.... nothing.

This footage from 2007 not only brings back fond memories, but reassures me that one of my favourite creatures still exists in its native Devon streams..


From New Zealand the most peculiar mutation any of us have ever seen in a bird..

GUEST BLOGGER GEORGINA EDWARDS: Fox = bad, badger = good?

It is always a pleasure to welcome a new guest blogger, but this is a special pleasure, because it is the first time that we have had two generations of guest bloggers in the same family. Georgina, who was pivotally involved in the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau during the glory years, is also the mother of bloggo regular Fleur Fulcher.....

Foxes are classified as vermin, they can be legally shot. They steal and eat poultry on a comparatively small scale and occasionally take a weak new born lamb. The cost of their actions to the national economy is negligible.They keep down the rabbit, rat and mouse population and by and large do not seem to upset the natural order.

Badgers are protected, they cannot be interfered with in any way without a permit. They transmit bovine tb. The estimated cost of bovine tb to the economy in the year 2003/04 was £89 million, in compensation to farmers, research etc. Not all of this cost can be laid at the door of the national badger set, but a great deal can . The last official badger population survey was in 1997, when it was estimated that badgers had increased by 77% in the previous decade. Current evidence suggests that this increase has continued. There doesn't seem to be an agreed position as to why this should be, although a farmer friend of mine thinks it is partly due to the increased planting of maize. These tall crops allow badgers to travel along new corridors and also give them an additional food supply well into the autumn.

I live in Mid-Devon, I have a large garden and live across the road from farm and woodland. I could take you out almost any night of the year apart from deepest winter and find you a badger, most nights they go through my garden. Several times a year I have to ring the council to get them to take away a dead badger from the road outside.

I suspect that a great many supposed fox predations of poultry are actually down to badgers, although Mr. Reynard is of course the main offender Until I moved here I had no idea that badgers took as many if not more chickens in some areas, than foxes. Unlike foxes, badgers will tear their way into timber chicken houses and if cornered they can be very unpleasant. My nextdoor neighbour, who incidentally happens to be a local Lib-Dem councillor cornered one in his dressing gown at 3am, (the badger of course being in the garden not in the dressing gown).

Now I come to my real gripe. I have lived in Surrey, Hampshire, Somerset, and Dorset . In all these places I have been visited in my garden by my favourite animal the hedgehog and also sadly seen many of them dead on the road. I moved to Mid- Devon nineteen years ago, during that period I have never seen a live hedgehog. I have see a couple dead on the road and saddest of all found one that had been predated by a badger in my garden .

Having done a bit of research before writing this to ensure that I had my facts correct, I am horrified to learn that badgers are not only wiping out the hedgehogs, but are endangering bumblebees and ground nesting birds.

Now I would hate to live in this country without badgers, but would someone explain to me why badgers are protected and foxes considered vermin.


These are the first pictures of the latest rescued crow that we have fostered from Beth Tyler-King at Hartland Wildlife Rescue.

She found it in a lane near Northam. It was fluttering along the ground, very thin, and clearly in distress. It was unable to fly, and Beth has suggested that it is possible that it flew into a power line and sustaine nerve damage.

I don't know about that because I am not an expert in such things, and I

will bow to Beth's superior knowledge in such matters. He is now ensconsed in Ichabod's old aviary where he (unlike Ichabod Grim who was always a fussy eater) is wolfing down large amounts of dogfood.

Richard found a dead slow-worm in the street earlier today and we gave it to him. We are planning to try him on smaller items of roadkill, which seems to be a reasonable idea, and will save the dogfood bill a bit.

CHECK THIS OUT: Nick Redfern on Welsh Wildman (and I don't mean Oll)

This is an odd story, yet an intriguing one, too. Indeed, it almost reads like a modern-day equivalent of the "wild-men-of-the-woods"-type tales that proliferated in Britain centuries ago.Its subject matter?Namely, a shaggy-haired character roaming the woods of South Wales, and apparently living on "rabbits and berries." Who he is, no-one really seems to know. But, the chase is on to find him...

MUIRHEAD'S MYSTERIES: Octopus Invasions (and more)

Richard Muirhead is an old friend of the CFZ. I have been friends with him for 40 years now, since we were kids together in Hong Kong. He is undoubtedly one of the two best researchers I have ever met; he and Nigel Wright both have what Charlie Fort would have no doubt called a wild talent; a talent for going into a library, unearthing a stack of old newspapers, and coming back with some hitherto overlooked gem of arcane knowledge. Twice a week he wanders into the Macclesfield Public Library and comes out with enough material for a blog post..

Dear folks

Sorry I`ve been away for so long, I have no excuse so I won`t attempt to make one! I am now presenting part 1 of an archive of newspaper cuttings relating to invasions of octopi along the south coast of Britain in the early 1950s. Some of the dates are illegible as are some of the names of the newspapers (but probably the forerunner to the Brighton and Hove Leader) so I have made educated guesses. I have three reports from the 1970s. Not every report is included,only those deemed to be of interest and at the same time not the whole report.

August 16th 1950: “They`re a Catching Complaint” : Instead of the usual dabs and whiting, fishermen at the end of Brighton`s Palace Pier have been pushing ashore octopuses. On Monday no fewer than were caught were caught……Piermaster Capt.Fred Weeks told a reporter,”We are used to catching one or two each season,but this has been a most unusual crop. I`ve been on this Pier since 1928 and I`ve never known so many to be caught together…..FOOTNOTE: Largest octopus “plague” was in 1899. It had such a ruinous effect on the shell fisheries that lobster fishermen were forced to seek other employment. A more minor “plague” occurred at Brighton in December 1922 ,when the beaches were littered with thousands of dead octopuses thrown up after a storm.”

August 28th 1950: “Kill The Octopus” Other unwelcome marine “monsters” not usually frequenting our shores, have been joining in the cross-Channel swim, which again seems to prove that the Channel is warming up. B.W. Downes Castle-square Brighton”

September 8th 1950: “Octopuses (?) Lobster Pots Waters Infested”. Nothing much new on this date. “ Selsey is not the only place where the octopus plague is being experienced. It is affecting fishing on the Dorset and Devonshire coasts, and some hundreds of small ones have been washed up on the beach at Brighton.”

September 14th 1950: “Octopus Menace.” Not much of interest here, a final comment stating:

”Fishermen hope,however, that nature will solve the problem in the same way that she set it. The advent of colder weather this autumn will either kill the octopuses or drive them to warmer grounds.”

September 15th 1950 [Hants Post. No headline.] …..” It is believed that the octopuses get too crowded on the French side of the Channel where they breed and come over to the coast of Southern England….”

September 16th 1950: ”Sussex Waters Plagued by Octopuses” This month hundreds of these loathsome molluscs some measuring over three feet across,have been reported near Selsey where they are causing havoc in the shell-fishing industry….[here the journalist goes on to describe giant octopi:…. "The boats of native Japanese fishermen have been upset by such huge creatures…”

October 30th 1950: Octopus activity was also present off Worthing: “Octopus Caught” A baby octopus, about 3ft 6ins long was caught by Mr W.Belton and Mr E.Edwards in their fishing nets off Worthing early today. “It was hanging on to a red mullet.” said Mr Belton.

Here concludes part 1 of the review. I will attempt to conclude with Part 2 before I go abroad on May 9th.

Now a look at a curious observation by the 17th century naturalist and antiquarian John Aubrey in MS Aubrey 1 in the Bodlean Library,Oxford.: “ I have been told heretofore, that in the ruins of Bampton Castle Oxfordshire have been found Scorpions….let it be further examined.”(c.1685) also, "In Warrens (?) are found rarely some stotes, quite white, that is they are ermines. My keeper of Vernditch Warren * hath showed two or three of them to me. Every Warrener knows this to be so but all stotes are white under the bellies". MS Aubrey 1.* Wiltshire-Dorset border?


The latest edition of a monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world. This episode brings you:

Spring at the CFZ
Weird animals of Woolsery
Possible new population of sand lizard?
Green Lizards in Dorset
Undescribed fish
"Didn't we have a lovely day the day we went to Redditch"
Behind the scenes of the new CFZ movie
Faking big cat prints
Animal Rescue: Corinna's new crow
Lots of new species of fish
New pitviper

... and lots more

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


Thursday update time, if you want to read a digest of the latest cryptozoology news from the CFZ’s cryptozoology news blog then you’ve come to the right place.

Meet The Puppy That Glows In The Dark
Aussie lizard rolls over to avoid sex
Family of ducks march through shop to reach river
Zebrafish offer hope for treatment for motor neurone disease
A Tiny Hominid With No Place on the Family Tree
7ft Grizzly bear picked to be best man
Birds build nests from man's hair trimmings
Goodness that is (wait for it) hair-raising.