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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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NEIL ARNOLD: Hey, hey, we’re the (mini) monkeys!

I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a mod 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...

Flick through a majority of UFO and folklore-related books and you will come across tales of mini-people, fairies, imps and tiny demons. But have you heard the one about the miniature monkeys ?

It took place on the 18th June 1980 at Lumut, a village in Malaysia, and it remains a case which has intrigued me for many years. This wasn’t one of those cases of hazy description or where one witness was present. On this occasion many pupils at the local school and two members of staff were present. The first stirrings emerged at around 10:30 am when two twelve-year old girls were on rubbish duty and depositing some trash outside. They were confronted by two figures. Both were suited, one in white the other in black and they carried packs and held rod-like objects. The beings resembled monkeys, stood only a few inches in height and seemed to be hovering above the ground. The girls fled and told staff, who also heard that a couple of hours previous another girl, whilst visiting the toilet, encountered a large ape-like beast which suddenly shrank to no more than two-inches tall! The girl fainted and when she awoke there was no sign.

Some of the young boys at the school went out into the grounds to search for the humanoids and came across three of them. From hereon the story remains vague, as some witnesses claimed they lost sight of the creatures, and a few other boys stated an alien craft picked them up. Many cases involving such mini-people have been often connected to UFOs, but this maybe the only way to explain such critters for those who have no other explanation, as surely such beings do not live in the woods ? We have blamed many mysteries on the aliens, from crop circles, to cattle mutilations and the Men in Black. There is of course no evidence to suggest that mini-monkey monsters are roaming our gardens, schools or deep space, but why should such things appear ?

Are these creatures something akin to boggarts, bogeys, sprites, brownies, goblins, imps and the many other folkloric entities ? I’m sure we’ll never know.

THE CATS OF UPPER MINSTER: Part Ten - General Norman

The other week, as an amusing one-off Tim Matthews, wrote a silly short story spoofing some of the more ridiculous exploits of various self-styled big cat researchers over the years.

It was so popular that he wrote another one, and now - by public demand - it has become a serial. Every other day will see an episode of Timmo's new Fortean soap opera The Cats of Upper Minster. And having read the first few episodes I can confirm that it is bloody smashing and highly amusing. "I'll carry on until it stops being funny" says Tim, and you can't say fairer than that!

The General was thinking about the cat too. He was also thinking about fame and fortune, getting one up on his imagined competitors, especially those clever clogs from the FRS with all their damned credibility and scientific know how. It had even got to the point where, instead of Paranormalists, people who attended David Icke lectures and Ufologists getting involved, they had started to produce a magazine about Natural History! I mean what next, the General thought to himself.

He’d been into UFOs once, and now what he called Alien Big Cats. To him it almost didn’t matter what subject he was dealing with as long as he was Top Dog and he’d do anything to stay there. Big fish, small pond. That was as near to the twin toed amphiuma of the FRS he was going to get, he told himself. Often, within the promotion of the Paranormal, people with little or no education or training got involved precisely because little intelligence was required to “make it” onto the speaker’s table at a conference. Blind belief, an occasional show of loyalty and the well placed stab in the back were the required elements to be a success and the General had gutfuls of talent in these directions.

And often, as he knew, the more shocking rubbish you put out there on the internet the most people took you seriously. David Icke had proved that. The General’s main talent was for making a splash. His ex wife Dawn has always said that if he’d jumped into a swimming pool the water would jump out in horror but, despite what he considered a messy divorce when she burned all his Hulk Hogan magazines and posters, the General believed, like Hitler, that he was mightiest alone.

Sitting in his C+C (Command and Control) vehicle, a burger van cum gathering point for other members of the ABC Team, the General surveyed his empire; a couple of walkie talkies with the squelch buttons turned up for lifelike “police hiss”, a faded yet current Ordnance Survey map of Dorset featuring the villages of Upper, Lower and Little Minster, a half drunk cup of coffee in a mug with stuff growing in it that would fascinate scientists for years to come and a packet of Tesco value range digestives, “for energy” as he would tell his shock (ing) troops when they arrived.

Just then, a knock on the door. “Helllooo, anyone in theeere”? said a female voice.

“Errrrmmm, come in,” said The General, semi panicking that someone not under his control might be wanting to speak with him. Struggling to get out of his seat – well he was 18 stone – he opened the door to discover a moody yet confident looking teenager with long dark hair and red streaks staring back at him.

“Alright then?” said the girl. “My name’s Ellie, Ellie Macpherson. I’m looking for the ABC man.”

“Errrmm yes love I am he,” said the General, always able to muster pomposity on demand. “What can I do for you love?” Ellie thought he sounded and looked like the sleazy salesman from KirbyVax who’d dumped powder all over her mother’s bungalow floor a few years ago and insisted that £2500 for the Ultimate Cleaning System (“it can even be used on the dog,” said the man) was a “lifetime bargain and cheap at twice the price.”

What, she wondered to herself, had her best friend Frieda Fox got her into this time...?

“Big cats? I’ve seen a few locally and I think I can lead you right to them,” said Ellie. She was a sharp girl in many ways but was attempting not only to remember her script but also to seem as natural as possible - not to mention a bit thicker than usual. She’d been told to ‘dumb down’ for the General. It had also been suggested that his own massive ego would mean that he’d believe that she saw him as the all-important Hunter of the Mystery Beast. The General, meanwhile, was thanking his dear old mum for this bit of luck. More cannon fodder against the FCS. More media fodder for Channel X TV!

“Tell me more,” said the General, sounding ever like an enthusiastic child. “What can you tell me about the creature.”

“Well,” replied Ellie, trying really hard not to laugh, “I’ve seen it change, right. In front of my very eyes. One minute a big cat, black, long, and the next minute just like a demon flying through the air.”

“Perfect,” cried the General, forgetting himself.

“Well, it is good, isn’t it?” teased Ellie. “Look, in the morning why don’t I take you and your friends down to where I saw it and we can scope things out a bit? Thing is,” she added, naughtily, Scully style, “you’ve been looking in the wrong place. You need to look on the other side of the village. This thing isn’t gonna hide in woods and run around open fields. You need to be looking by the river. After all, most Paranormal activity takes place near water I’ve heard, but you’d know more about that and that’s why I came to see you. You’re the expert, not me. I’m just one of the little people the system ignores. People don’t take me seriously, right? Think I’m mad. And those sightings in the graveyard made me seriously start to wonder what was going on here. About my own sanity, really. Sitting drinking a few cans, with my mates, nothing serious like, and then these figures just rode acrosssss the skkkkyy.”

As she spoke she looked rather gormlessly into the distance and started to make slow, sweeping movements with her hands as if to indicate what she had seen. Not even one of the Most Haunted crew could have pulled off a better blag than this.

The General was, like Ellie, over the moon with her performance. He clapped his hands and started rubbing them together like a used car salesman who’s just sold a £150 wreck for £1500. Reaching for an “ABC Report Form” (in brown and white, camo colours...) he glanced at Ellie who was staring rather vacuously into space and looking bored with her hands in her pockets. He could hear the hum of her MP3 player in her jacket pocket – a camo jacket no less – and he was rather taken with her Avril Lavigne look and pink leggings. Her hair was black and flame red and the fringe partly obscured her face so it was a bit hard to tell what she was thinking. She’d look good on TV or video, he thought.

“Your place is with us,” he declared. “Kid like you, difficult background, no aim in life, bit of a rebel as I can tell, realises there’s stuff going on locally. All these boring old farts with their quaintness, tea sets, family portraits and just-so lives haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on out there. But they’re gonna find out and you, my girl, can help us unlock the mystery for good...”


People at the last Weird Weekend will have noticed a bric-a-brac stall incongrously situated between a bookstall and a specialisr publisher.

Behind the stall you would have seen a pretty young lady called Beth, and on the sunday she was joined by two newborn kittens which were - I think - a bigger draw to Weird Weekenders of all ages than anyone except possibly Ronan.

Her name is Beth Tyler-King and for years she has been involved in Wildlife Rescue, first in Bristol, and now in Hartland. She has become a good friend of the CFZ, and like all our friends she has been persuaded to write for the bloggo...

She writes regularly to us giving us information about the animals she has, and we help when we can. With her permission I am excerpting a few slices fropm recent letters to give you a brief insight into her extraordinary, but rewarding, life..

Had a mad day yesterday! Picked up four animals, two at two vets each. A duck, a hedgehog, a baby crow and a jackdaw. The baby crow has rickets, but its so sweet and funny! He has a tantrum when you tried to feed him and spits the food everywhere and then hangs upside down off your fingers!!!! Anyway he is doing well and tolerating meal times much better!

The baby hogs are doing well, I have a baby housemartin snuggled up with them, its so sweet and also picked up another jackdaw today too with a bad eye but it doesnt need treatment.

My barn owl that will go to Kaye's is going from strength to strength. The feathers are looking glossy and now and its putting on weight. Another couple of weeks and it should be ready to be released.

The next day she wrote:

I am afraid I lost the little crow. He went downhill vomiting everything up. When I asked my friend Rose who runs animal sanctuary at Holsworthy she said that as he had probably been the last to get any good food from the mum (that explains the rickets) then his body wasnt used to good food, so to go back to basics and put him on a liquid diet, which I did and he was able to swallow liquid better. He was under a heat lamp by this time but next morning I found him dead. such a shame. In this business you are damned if you do and damned if you dont, all you can is your best.

I am at Broad Parkham farm today (Open farm day in devon) and doing a little talk between 12-1pm. taking baby hogs and baby sparrow with me that is very vocal!!!! Also got a little questionnaire for kids that will win a prize for best one, that ll make sure they might listen to me then!!!


The day before yesterday we reached a milestone in the bloggo. We have now had over a quarter of a million vsitors - most of them since January. I am overwhelmed, because I never thought in a milliuon years that it would become this succesful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has helped over the last five months. Let's make the next five even better!

On another positive note, Weird Weekend tickets are beginning to sell at last, and whilst we are not selling as well as last yesr (there is a recession on after all) I am confident that this is going to be the best event yet, and I look forward to seeing you all there!


On sunday I would have gone to a charity livebearer auction in the Midlands. For a number of reasons it didn't happen. I was very disappointed, because it was something that Rossi and I had been looking forward to greatly since Christmas, but things do not always work out the way that one wants them. Sadly, it seems that this might have been the last of them. Tim Addis, one of the organisers, wrote:

We donated £591.60 into the charity funds which is almost £100 up on last Decembers do. It would have been a lot more but quite a few of those attending did not pay a £2 entrance fee which all goes into the charity pot. It's hard to control entrance with the back doors open to set the event up so we rely on peoples honesty.

I think that this is apalling. I find it hard to imagine the mindset of people who are prepared to spend money on pet fish, but not to pay two quid on the door as an entrance fee in ordfer to do so. This is a sad indictment of the society in which we live. Tim goes on to say:

This may be the last one ! Alan is pulling out of organising due to health problems over the past year & I fully understand his reasons. The girls who have helped us out with handling the money & booking forms right from the first auction have also decided to retire from the auctions. We would not have been able to even hold the first auction without their help & Alan & I really thank you for all your hard work over the years.

Now this leaves just me to organise the whole thing which is getting hard now as the event is really growing. I would like to keep it going as it is now something many people have come to appreciate in December & June & I don't want to let you all down by completely pulling the plug on it.

He is hoping to organise a committee to help run the auction in future. Good luck Tim. I know from bitter experience that it is very hard to get help to do anything like that. However, I hope that it will all work out in the end, because it was a fantastic event, and one that will be sorely missed.

If you can help, email Tim on timaddis@killifish.force9.co.uk

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Preserved Yokai of Japan

Guest Blogger time for Richard Freeman again. It almost seems silly introducing Richard to you all once again when he makes an appearance as guest blogger several times a week. However our viewing audience/readers (whatever you like to call yourselves) is growing so fast that it is certain that some of you missed the last time I introduced him.

Some of you may know that I have recently finished writing a book on Japanese monsters or Yokai as they are collectively known.

In a number of Japanese temples keep alleged specimens of yokai in a mummified state akin to the cats that are sometimes found in old buildings in the UK.

There are a number of different types of mummified yokai, mermaids being the most common. In Japan the mermaid is not the beautiful creature of popular western imagination. It looks more like the ancient Greek triton. It has a fish’s body, humanoid arms and a head that looks like a cross between a monkey and a carp. It is covered with shining golden scales.

A Ningyo’s voice is said to sound like a flute and if it ever sheds tears it will be transformed into a human. Fishermen would usually throw he creature back if they caught one as they generally papered before a storm. Dead ones washing up on beaches was thought to be a bad omen. The flesh of the Ningyo is said to greatly extend human lifespan if ingested.

A fisherman from Wakasa (now Obama town in Fukui prefecture) once caught a Ningyo and not knowing what it was served it up at a meal for his friends. The men refused to eat the flesh after they saw the strange appearance of the ‘fish’ their colleague had netted. But one man, drunk on sake accidentally took some of the meat home.

The man’s sixteen year old daughter ate the Ningyo flesh and stopped ageing. She married many times and had many children. Time and again she had to suffer seeing her family grow old and die as she stayed unchanged. Finally she could stand it no longer and became a reclusive Buddhist nun and lived alone in a cave. She finally died at the age of eight hundred. She is called the Happyaku Bikuni or Yao Bikuni, the "Eight Hundred Nun".

A number of mummified mermaids are held in temples. One is at Zuiryuji Temple in Osaka, which was bestowed to the temple as an offering from a Sakai-area trader in 1682. It is a withered creature with an outsized head. Another mummified mermaid is preserved at Myouchi Temple in the city of Kashiwazaki in Niigata prefecture. This mermaid is about a foot long. It has a mouthful of sharp teeth and is holding it’s hands up by its face as if in alarm. Yet another mermaid mummy is preserved at Karukayado Temple outside the city of Hashimoto in Wakayama prefecture. The it is nearly one and a half feet long and has fangs that protrude from its wide open mouth. Both of its hands are raised to its cheeks. Its lower body is covered in scales, and there appear to be the vestiges of fins on its chest, as a pair of nipples.

A fourth mummy is owned by a Shinto sect in the city of Fujinomiya near the base of Mt. Fuji. At nearly 5 feet cm tall and 1,400 years old, it is the largest and oldest known mermaid mummy in Japan. The mermaid has an unusually large head that is bald, except for some hair growth that extends from its forehead to its nose. Its eyes and mouth are open. It has webbed hands with sharp claws. The lower body has a bone structure similar to that of a fish, but it is unclear whether or not the upper body has a bone structure. The entire body shows signs of having been ravaged by moths.

The mummy has a legend attached to it. The mermaid appeared to Prince Shotoku Taishi as he was passing along the shores of Lake Biwa 1,400 years ago. The creature told the prince about how it had been transformed into a mermaid as punishment for making a living as a fisherman within the boundaries of an animal sanctuary. The mermaid claimed that over many years it had come to a clear understanding of the horrors of destroying life, and that it was prepared to move on to the next world. As a final wish before dying, though, it asked the prince to establish a temple using the mermaid’s body as a centerpiece, where it could be used to educate people about the sanctity of life. The mermaid then died. The prince took the mermaid’s body and set up a temple as requested. But after a number of strange occurrences, the mummy was passed on to another temple. The mummy changed hands several times before ending up at its current location at the base of Mt. Fuji.

Another mermaid mummy is claimed to be the cadaver of the creature met by Prince Shotoku Taishi is held at the Kannon Shoji Temple in Shiga prefecture, which is nicknamed the “mermaid temple.” This temple professes to be the one established by Prince Shotoku at the request of the mermaid. The temple mummy is much smaller than the one owned by the Shinto sect and is a little above a foot long.

In Victorian times it was not uncommon for explorers to bring back stiffed ‘mermaids’ from the Far East. These bore little resemblance to the beautiful creatures of European myth because hey were meant to represent the ape-like Ningyo. Most were skilful composites were the top half of a monkey is stitched onto the bottom half of a large fish. This is done with such skill that the stitching can only be seen via an x-ray. In Europe they were dubbed nondescripts.

The most famous was created in 1810 by a Japanese fisherman. It was bought by Dutch merchants who then, in 1822, resold it to an American sea captain, Samuel Barrett Eades, for $6000 (at the time, a huge amount of money). Eades had to sell his ship in order to afford the mermaid, but he hoped to make a fortune by exhibiting it in London. Unfortunately he didn’t own the ship and spent the rest of his life in debt!

His son sold the mermaid to PT Barnum who exhibited it in the UK and the USA. It was destroyed in a fire.

This was one of several mermaid mummies to make it to the west. The one held in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden was brought by Jan Cock Blomhoff while serving as director of Dejima, the Dutch trading colony at Nagasaki sometime between 1817 and 1824.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology owns an excellent specimen skillfully created by the special effects wizard Alan Fizwell. Thankfully he did no use a real fish or monkey!

The Raijū or thunder beast is an animal said to fall to the earth in a blot of lighting. It can take the form of a tanuki, a weasel, a monkey, a cat or a wolf. It is wreathed in lightning. It can also fly around in the form of a ball of lightning.

The Raijū is said to be the companion of Raijin the Shinto god of lightning. Were lighting strikes the Raijū has clawed the ground. Raiju leaves claw marks in trees. People did not hide under trees during storms in case the thunder beast leapt upon them.

A school teacher from Kanayama Town, Gifu Prefecture was scratched on the face by a Raijū during a thunderstorm. It left a scar.

Raijū were rumored to live atop Kaga Province's Mt. Hakusan and Shinano Province's Mt. Asama. One was captured and put on show in either Osaka or Kyoto. It resembled a fox and was kept in an iron net. It refused to eat or drink but it’s hair stood on end before the evening rain.

Another was captured in Lord Nagai's fiefdom of Iwatsuki, whilst running through a vegetable patch after a storm. It refused to eat and drink and thus died. It was then stuffed. It looked like a puppy with bear’s claws. Its feet had many knuckles and folds. The pelt was thin except beneath the legs were it thickened.

The bodhisattva Kokūzō captured one of these beasts after it came down in a thunderbolt at Satoshō Town, Asakuchi District, Okayama Prefecture. From then on no more thunderbolts fell. The great full locals held a festival on the 13 th day of the first old month each year in calibration.

For some unfathomable reason the Raijū hates camels. If images of camels are erected then the thunder will not come.

The Raijū also has the odd habit of sleeping in people’s navels. When Raijin wants to awaken the beast he fires arrows into the unfortunate mortal’s belly button. This the Superstitious sleep on their bellies during storms.

A bird called Kaminari-no-tori is the favorite food of the thunder beast.

In Volume 2 of Kasshi Yawa (“Tales of the Night of the Rat”), a collection of essays depicting ordinary life in Edo (now Tokyo), Matsuura Seizan writes that a cat-like creatures would sometimes fall from the sky during thunderstorms. The book includes the story of a family who boiled and ate one such creature after it fell onto their roof.

In the Saishōji Temple in Niigata prefecture a supposed Raijū mummy is held in the hall of treasures. It seems to be no more than a mummified cat like those sometimes found in the walls of very old buildings in Britain.

The same can be said of the Raijū preserved at Yūzanji temple in Iwate prefecture. This was presented to the temple by a parishioner in the 1960s. Were the parishioner found it is not recorded

The kappa is one of the most famous of all yokai and along with the Tatsu (Japanese dragon), Tengu (the bird men) and the Oni (Japanese daemon) the most well known outside of Japan. Kappa has the shell of a turtle and frog’s arms and legs. It has a human like face but with a beak instead of a mouth. It has a fringe hair like that of a western monk about its head. The hair is known as okappa-atama.

The top of a kappa’s skull is concave and holds a magick liquid that gives the water goblin its phenomenal strength. Despite being only the size of a small child a kappa is strong enough to overpower a horse or cow.

Kappa will often challenge an unsuspecting human to a sumo match and easily overpower them with it’s magickal brawn. The defeated victim would have his bowels devoured after they were ripped from his anus.

Animals would be killed by kappas in this way as well. Kappa was particularly fond of the shirikodama, a fabled ball said to be found near the anus.

A kappa victim will usually have a distended anus and is known as a Gappadoko. Some victims, oddly, seemed to be smiling after their fatal, anal violation!

Kappa would often lurk in toilets and fondle women’s thighs and buttocks. Indeed Kappa were said to rape women if they got a chance. In Matsuzaki village, Iwate Prefecture, women bore hybrid children from Kappas for two generations. The creatures were so grotesque that they were hacked to pieces upon birth and buried in wine casks.

National Museum of Ethnology, at Leiden in the Netherlands has a mummified kappa, seemingly made of parts of a monkey and a stingray.

Zuiryūji temple in Osaka holds a preserved kappa with a very human like ribcage and a fish like head. It may be a fish head on a monkey body. The arms and legs look simian. It is 70 cm long and dates to 1682.

In a shrine in Kumamoto prefecture there is an alleged mummified kappa hand. It looks like it may have come from a Japanese otter, now feared to be extinct.

In the Matsuura Brewery in Imari, Saga Prefecture, a whole mummified kappa is on show. It was discovered in a box during plant renovations over fifty years ago. It is known as kahaku. It has a cat like body with no shell but a long neck and odd looking skull with eyes set far apart. Its nose recalls a softshelled turtle.

One of the best known yokai, the Oni feature in many Japanese legends. Oni are savage daemons in bodying the worst of human nature. They can have ox like, bird like, or humanoid heads. The generally have horns and wild mane of hair. They have three claws on each and three toes on each foot. Some have three eyes. They may be red, green, blue, white or grey in colour. They go naked except for a loin cloth. They are usually huge in size and their favored weapon is an iron spiked club.

Oni have their ancestry, like so many other yokai, in China. Here the ruler of Jigoku the Buddhist hell is called Emma-Daiō. He has two Oni henchmen, one green and one red known as ao-oni and aka-oni respectively.

Oni in Japan have a roll akin to that of trolls, giants and ogres in western lore. They walk the earth spreading terror in their wake until stopped by some hero. But like daemons they also torture souls in hell. Despite this their unpleasant image was often carved into tiles at the end of Japanese roofs. The onigawara tiles were used to keep evil spirits away from the building.

In the festival of setsubun, that marks the start of the new year and spring in the old lunar calendar, people don Oni masks to ward off evil and bad luck for the coming year. The Oni themselves are said to be driven off by the smell of burning sardines (and who can blame them?) and soya beans, which they cannot abide. Folk throw these and yell Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Out with demons! In with happiness!").

Zengyōji temple in Kanazawa ,Ishikawa prefecture holds the head of a three faced oni. Its origins are unknown and it was supposedly found by priest in a temple storage chamber in the early 18th century. It has two faces (but only 3 eyes) at the front of the head and one at the back. It is put on show at the spring equinox.

Another preserved oni can be found at Daijōin temple in Usa, Oita prefecture. It is a thin creature with a long face and neck. Its hands and feet bear three claws. The mummy heirloom of a noble family. But after they were forced to get rid of it after some kind of misfortune.
The oni changed hands a number of times before ending up with a Daijōin temple parishioner in 1925. After the parishioner fell extremely ill, the mummy was suspected of being cursed.
The parishioner quickly recovered from his illness after the mummy was placed in the care of the temple. It has remained there ever since. Today the enshrined oni mummy of Daijōin temple is revered as a sacred object.

Rakanji Temple at Yabakei ,Oita prefecture, once had a mummified baby oni . The creature bore horns on its head. It was destroyed in a fire in 1943.

One of the best known off all yokai, the tengu is a man / bird hybrid. It has two basic forms, the first being a creature with the head of a bird (usually a raven or a bird of prey), a humanoid body, birds talons and birds wings. It is known as the Karasu Tengu. The second is more human like with a man’s face. A greatly elongated nose is seen in lue of a beak. This form is the Yamabushi Tengu On occasion tengu are portrayed as red skinned men with long noses but no avian features. This may spring from a confusion with the Shinto god Sarutahiko who shares these features. If defeated they are said to transform into birds. Tengu seem invariably male.

Their nature seems contradictory they can spread chaos and fear but are also not averse to humble humans joining in with their merrymaking. They punish the vain and the rich and can affect the human mind leaving the victim wandering the forests or mountains in a state of madness known as tengu-kakushi. This sounds very like the effect certain fairies had on humans in western legend. In the South West of England this was known as being pixy led. The same monster would equally be called on to help lost children find their way home. This may be because in some stories the evil tengu were converted to Buddhism and become enlightened creatures.

Tengu hatch from huge eggs. How these are laid is unclear as the race seems to have no females. When Dutch travelers brought an ostrich egg to Japan locals thought it to be the egg of a tengu. Some say that the daemon Ama-no-zako begat the Tengu. They generally make their homes in Cryptomeria trees. They generally wear small black caps and sashes with pom-poms. These can be traced to a sect of warrior monks known as yamabushi or shugenja. These mountain dwelling ascetics sought enlightenment in the harsh environment of the wilderness. They held the bird yokai’s image as sacred. Tengu were supposed to be great martial artists and were said to have schooled many ninja and samurai.

The Hachinohe Museum in Aomori prefecture in holds a tengu mummy, which is said to have once belonged to Nambu Nobuyori, a Nambu clan leader who ruled the Hachinohe domain in the mid-18th century. It has a simian head with a bird’s body and legs, with long toes. There are also many feathers, in poor condition. The feet and feathers suggest a pheasant or similar bird. The mummy originated in Nobeoka ,Miyazaki prefecture. The Hachinone tengu bears an uncanny resemblance to Owlman!

The Japanese dragon known as the Tatsu or Ryū looks very like it’s Chinese counterparts. It has a head with piercing eyes and jaws furnished with formidable teeth. It has branching antlers on its head and barbles like those of a catfish on the snout. Its vast body is elongate, scaled and serpentine. Japanese dragons usually lack the massive bat like wings of their western relations but some sport small fin like wings, or wing like fins just behind the front legs. The dragon’s four legs are small in comparison to its immensely long body. Unlike the Chinese dragon that has four (or five if it is the Imperial Dragon) claws on each foot the Japanese dragon has only three.

Japanese dragons are less aerial than other Asian dragons but like those on mainland Asia they are intimately associated with water and the sea in particular. Most Japanese dragons are benevolent towards mankind but if treated with disrespect they can wield god like power. An angry dragon could cause earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, floods or droughts. The length of the largest dragons are measured in miles. Asian dragons rarely breathe fire but their breath condenses and forms rain.

Japanese dragons hatch from eggs that resemble gems. They take 3000 years to hatch. Unlike the Chinese dragon with its long, staged development in several forms, Japanese dragons generally grew to a great size almost as soon as they hatched. In some stories snakes grow into dragons.

Japanese dragons hatch from eggs that resemble gems. They take 3000 years to hatch. Unlike the Chinese dragon with its long, staged development in several forms, Japanese dragons generally grew to a great size almost as soon as they hatched. In some stories snakes grow into dragons.

Some legends contradict this and have Japanese dragons evolving through stages like their Chinese cousins. A standard dragon changes into a Kakuryu, a horned dragon after 500 years. A Kakuryu changes into an Ouryu, a yellow, winged dragon after 1000 years. The Ouryu is defined as the highest form of a dragon.

Black dragons guarded the north, red ones the south, white the west and blue the east. The yellow dragon ruled the center. Four great dragon kings governed various aspects of the world. They were the Celestial Dragon, the Hidden Treasure Dragon, the Earth Dragon and the Spiritual Dragon.

The Zuiryuji Temple in Osaka houses a small stuffed dragon several hundred years old. It seems to be a composite of eel, lizard and bird.

Despite the many dragon legends and their spiritual significance in Japan, dragon mummies are rare. This is perhaps because of the large size of the creatures made them difficult for early taxidermists to fake short of getting their hands on a dead crocodile

DALE DRINNON: Additional Unknown Animals

Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, archaeology, psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore,and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on Archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo..

Following my amended checklist of cryptozoological creatures published in two parts some days ago:

Part One
Part Two

These are further possible Cryptids under discussion at my Cryptozoology discussion group on yahoo, the Frontiers of Zoology.

Catsized South American Tarantulas
African Giant Spiders=spidery, tunnel-hiding landcrabs?
Landcrabs lk displaced Coconut crabs
"Hammerheaded Salamanders"
Titicaca Axolotls
Black Backed, outsized Arctic Albatrosses as Thunderbird-variants
Black and White sea crows
Garuda and Tengu as giant fishing eagles
Japanese Dragon Birds as giant hornbills
Giant hornbills of New Guinea
Muhuru=Mbelieu-mbelieu-mbelieu, a crocodile with an exaggerated back-crest.
Large shortsnouted crocs of Central Africa as possibly the same as Crocdylus robustus
Unknown large Melanesian Sea-going-monitor
(evidently NOT the "Tree"Crocodile Monitor but a "True" Crocodile Lizard)
Unknown sand-colored African monitor lizard
Unknown large African Spiny lizards (in the Sahel)
Unknown giant frogs of New Guinea, South Asia/Indonesia and South America
Unknown hairy frogs in the same areas
A large black monkey-killing eagle of Central African forests
Giant Vampire bats with 5 to 7 foot wingspan (Flying fox sized)
Unknown large longsnouted fruitbats in Latin America (prob similar-sized)
South American "Ahool" giant bats (Twice that size, or 10 to 14 foot wingspan)
Great Auks and Greater Auks ("Arctic Penguins", up to humansized, and Boobries)
Aztec Rain Worm=Mexican Amphiuma
"Flying Iguanas" of Latin America as cf. Flying geckoes
Unknown flying frogs of South America and New Guinea
Large and small forms of Australopiths of Africa
A possible Lyrebird of New Guinea, called a "Peacock" in old Natural History books.
Hucho (large landlocked salmoniformes) of Alaska
Draco lizard types of New Guinea, northern Australia and Japan
More freshwater octopi, including some of large size in Native American folklore.
Sea Apes=Sea Wolves=Water Panthers=Master-Otters, probably relic Megalenhydris
(Freshwater Hammerheads and sawfish--as noncontroversial)


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

In one of those strange coincidences,as I was planning today`s blog,Jon drew my attention to Mike Hallowell`s contribution of June 5th which mentioned The Great Herring Catch of September 1807 in his part of the world.

The coincidence lies in the fact that a few weeks ago whilst in one of my favourites haunts (other than the local karaoke bar!) the Newspaper Library in north London I came across a story which was indexed as being about `The Herring Hog`. This was in the `Dumfries and Galloway Saturday Standard` of October 30th 1909 (see accompanying illustration).

It was doubly rewarding, I thought,”herring hog,what`s this a new type of cryptid?” and also, my ancestors were Scottish. But alas, on doing a Google search on `herring hog` I found out that this is in reality the common porpoise of the Atlantic and Pacific(1) So, it`s always best to check when coming across a possible new cryptid.


1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/herring+hog

I have two items for sale which may also be available for viewing or sale on the Internet, I haven`t checked. First come first served!

a) Amphipacifica Vol 1 Suppl. 1 An account of Cadborosaurus willsi,a new genus,new species,a large aquatic reptile from the Pacific coast of North America. £3 I will pay postage

b) Porcupine! Newsletter of the Department of Ecology and Biodiversity,Hong Kong University. No.15 Dec.1996. £3. I will pay postage.

Wanted. Fortean Studies. Offers please. And that issue of Fortean Times (1980s?) which featured a female alien in a hollow vessel on the front cover.


Best wishes,

Richard Muirhead

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

If you’ve come here looking for the latest cryptozoology and animal related news then you are indeed wise beyond your years because here it is:

Pine Marten Kits at Wildwood
Lion escapes and swims to school
Horny rhino Jango falls in love with a car dumped in enclosure as sculpture exhibit
Colour changing frog worshipped as god in India
Marsupial lion found in Aboriginal rock art
Monkey business hard to sustain in slump, Goodall says
Eggscruciating! Efel the hen lays massive 7oz egg
I think I’ll spare you the list of ‘egg’tremely bad egg puns this time!



This Sachamama stuff is more than a decade old in Peru and Karl Shuker had an article in FATE about it while that magazine was still in its old, large-size format. Shuker wrote about the Sachamama in 1999-2000 (The FATE article being "Close Encounters of the Cryptozoological Kind" in 2000, following a few in the Fortean Times) and he was connecting it to the Minhocao then but what was being described was a giant snake similar to the current reports. The stories began hitting the news suddenly in the 1990s and were an odd mixture of Sucuriju Gigante and Minhocao features, but identified as another different and local cryptid, the "Snail Demon" or "Snake-with- a-shell", Sachamama. It is evidently depicted on Chimu artwork. Karl Shuker did identify it with the Minhocao and he did think it was a gigantic caecilian. It has an entry in Eberhart's Mysterious Creatures.

I have a theory myself that the damage being done by the Minhocao is mostly being done by an unknown crocodile (reportedly up to 80 feet long on its own!) when it is not natural damage attributed to it supernaturally (more likely) The tunnels and channels are being made by this creature, American Alligators are capable of shifting river courses and toppling trees with their burrowing. The Minhocao is supposed to have banded armor like an armadillo, horned "ears' and a piglike snout, which together sounds like a sort of alligator or caiman. It is also not necessarily the same creature that is reported in both the Peruvian Amazon and the Chaco, although they might both do equivalent damage by their burrowing. A crocodylian six feet broad is on a par with a saltie Indopacific croc, and there are reports of evidently more than one type of croc (Crocodylus) in the Amazon. The one doing the damage in Peru might not necessarily be the same creature as reported in the Chaco, but as you say that is a separate matter.

It seems that in this current case the main bulk of the evidence is actually coming from the newspapers and actually represents what is alleged locally. That does not mean that it corresponds closely to reality






Greg Warner and I are still in dialogue about the possibility of him releasing the photographs he says were taken by the expedition to Peru, and which he says show a snake that may be 130ft long. Greg was interested in what our old mucker Dr Chris Clark had to say the other day and asks:

"Chris, I am interested in your comment about focal point and hight of plane. I have this data, how can we work out size from this? Our scale reference was coming from known sizes of trees in the area."

Over to you Chris...





ALAN FRISWELL'S HOAX PICS #1 - The Surgeon's Photo

Hi Jon.

Here's the first of my hoax pix. We'll start off easily, with one that we're all familiar with; the famous surgeon's photo. I though that I would recreate it, primarily to see how difficult a job it would be, but also to test the CFZ blogger's powers of observation.
Can anyone guess how it's done, or where it was filmed? I will say that there is no digital imaging involved, and that the image is a true 35mm photo, but that's all you're getting. Over to you....