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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Monday, August 10, 2009



Apologies for bothering you with an unsolicited e-mail, but I'm familiar with your work from Fortean Times and the Unconvention so thought you might be able to help me identify the object in the attached photo. It appears to be an animal dropping of some kind, though a very large and unusual one (it has a glossy texture, with strange band-like markings). It might be something other than a turd, but I can't think what!

The shoe in the picture is UK size 8 ½ -- about 28.5 cm from heel to toe, making the mystery object at least 20 cm long. The photograph was taken (with a camera phone) on Thursday, 6th August in part of the Winfrith Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest in Dorset. The area is teeming with wildlife, including rabbits, foxes, stoats and/or weasels (I can't tell them apart), snakes (adders, grass snakes and slow worms), lizards, toads and newts. This is the first thing I've seen that I haven't got a clue what it is!

Let me know if you have any ideas what it might be, or feel free to post the photo on your blog if you think anyone else might be able to help. I have another photo (a closer shot without scale reference) if it would help.

Andrew May

SIX-GILLED SHARK MYSTERY: This is really impressive

View footage captured by the Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS) camera system revealing how it was knocked over and dragged 20 metres.

On the morning of July 21, 2009, the EITS was deployed with a bait box and some fish carcasses bound to its frame. Within minutes of its deployment, a large school of Cuban dogfish sharks surrounded it and began tearing at the bait and swimming in and out of the EITS frame.

Yet only five hours later, the EITS was found capsized and dragged from were it was originally deployed. Nearby, a six-gill shark was spotted innocently swimming around. And next to the capsized EITS, a mysterious tangled mess of fishing line, with a rusty hook and a glowing illuminating lure still attached. Video courtesy of Bioluminescence Team 2009, NOAA-OER.

Please visit source:


OLL LEWIS: In Memory of Eelton John

Over the last few days our unwell eel, Eelton John, looked to be getting better. All signs of whitespot had disappeared and without the bullying from the other eels, the damaged tail he had had since before he came to us had actually started to look a lot better. He was eating well and livelier too; yesterday he seemed to enjoy swimming around the net I was using to clean the waste from his tank, almost as if he was making a little game out of it.

I had in fact prepared a blog for cryptozoologist Jon to post up on the blog this morning confidently predicting a full recovery, along with many more puns based on eels and Elton John songs and, for reasons that will now never be known by bloggo readership, Lieutenant Gruber from ‘Allo ‘Allo. Over the past few days I had grown quite fond of Eelton John and it is a great shame that he didn’t pull through after it had looked so much like he would. Whereever you are now, Eelton, other than the ‘sad patch’ at the end of the CFZ’s southern lawns I mean, good luck to you my little eely buddy.

The Sunset Poem – Dylan Thomas (as Eli Jenkins)

Every morning when I wake,
Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,
O please to keep Thy lovely eye
On all poor creatures born to die

And every evening at sun-down
I ask a blessing on the town,
For whether we last the night or no
I'm sure is always touch-and-go.

We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.

O let us see another day!
Bless us all this night, I pray,
And to the sun we all will bow
And say, good-bye--but just for now!


Possibly the nicest thing about the CFZ bloggo is that it is a living, breathing community and new people arrive on a regular basis.

We first met dizzy Ms L. at Uncon, where she bought some books from us, briefly spoke to Richard and had a charmingly old-fashioned habit of referring to me as `Mr Downes,' when everyone else calls me `Jon` or `Hey You` (or sometimes something more scatological), until I told her not to.

She is also the unpaid bloggo sub-editor and author of a charming and very elegantly written fortean novella called The Second Level, which I strongly urge you all to buy at this link:


Sick eels seem to be rather on the agenda at the moment. Not only are the CFZ’s slippery set all out of flunther but I have (believe it or not) been idly researching the demise of eels in my locality for the past four months.

My Grandad used to talk about a “snigoyle.” Only in recent months have we established that he meant Snig Hole, an area of Helmshore, the Lancashire mill town where he was born and spent his childhood. ‘Snig’ is a colloquial word for an eel, and in old, old Lanky, ‘o’ was pronounced ‘oy’ (and I thought I sounded broad!).

Helmshore Pocket Park (also known as Snig Hole Park) now sits where the old Snig Hole mill lodge once was, beside the river Ogden. Both once swelled with fat little eels, which local boys liked to catch, stick in a jar and take home to show their mam.

Sadly this practice did not survive into the twentieth century. The industrial revolution brought with it prosperity and work but also severe pollution to local waters. Those dark satanic mills spewed out their waste and the greedy snig was doomed when he gorged on lanolin from the wool. A similar thing happened in the river Irk, where it joins the Irwell near Manchester cathedral.

More hopefully, eels were recently sighted in nearby Bury, while trout now inhabit the Ogden, much to the delight of a Helmshore heron.

I am indebted to my friend Chris Aspin; writer, historian and Helmshore resident; who gave me a lot of information.


In 1971, inspired by 'Bigfoot' stories in his favorite tabloid magazine the Weekly World News, Clayton Bailey made a ceramic skeleton of an 8-foot humanoid, and claimed that Dr. Gladstone, the eccentric scientist had discovered proof of the existence of Bigfoot. His neighbours and friends helped him discover the bigfoot skeleton, and dropping; in his backyard, which was handy, and it eliminated travel expenses. Seasonal mudslides on the nearby hillside even eliminated the need to dig. According to press releases issued by Dr. Gladstone, the skeleton represents a race of giant man-like creatures that possess nature's perfect birth control device, the Triple Jointed Penis.

Read On


Due to the recent computer cock-ups (and by the way, I was mildly irritated to receive a letter which read:

"Dear Mr Downes,

You should not claim to have had a `massive computer failure` when actually you had a malfunctioning disk drive"

I bravely resisted the temptation to recommend that he undertake an act of biologically impossible self-procreation, and ignored the pedantic fool.)

I have lost a lot of data, including the contact details for Tristan - one of the youngest bloggo contributors, but a field naturalist for whom I have a great deal of respect. I keep on hoping to lure him and his family down to the Weird Weekend. But his e-mail address is lost in the aether.

So Tristan, if you are reading this, please either ring me, or email. And if you happen to be in Devon next weekend....


The bloggo is back after a 36 hour absence. It may take a few days to get back to full strength again, but we will get there.

I would like to thank everyone who sent us messages of support, and hopefully Dan Holdsworth (God bless 'im) will be able to retrieve the lost data when he comes down on Thursday. As many people kindly pointed out to me, yes I am aware that I should have taken back-ups. Indeed some of it was backed up, but not enough. Because of events within the CFZ and in my own life over the past year or so I simply do not have enough time to do everything that I should do, and I have had to cut corners. On this occasion it backfired badly.

I need more help, more manpower and more assistance. And I need the people who pledge to do stuff for the CFZ to actually follow through with their promises. Don't get me wrong, people like Lizzy and Gavin do bloody wonders. People like Naomi go the extra 9 yards for us, and we have a lot of regular contributors. But there are also people who come swaggering in full of big promises and singularly fail to deliver. I and the CFZ need these people like we need a hole in the head, or rather, like we need a busted hard drive...

But enough of the bellyaching, on with the show....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today (and the day before that's)


Being a Monday, it is customary round these parts for me to offer up my Monday Movie recommendation. This week's film is a pretty mainstream one and one that if you haven’t watched it yet I urge you so to do, ‘No Country For Old Men’.

And now, the news:

Grilled Stoat Cheats Car Death For 30 Miles
Pesky Camels Will Be Shot From Helicopters
Dogs as intelligent as two-year-old children
Mouse builds nest of $20 bills inside ATM

I guess they’ll be sending the mouse the bill for that then…

Due to the current computer problems Jon was not able to post Yesterday’s News Today on the blog yesterday, but fan’s of cryptozoology news 3D images and truly stale puns needn’t worry because here is yesterday’s Yesterday’s News Today in full (making this a sort of two for the price of one blog today):

Yesterday’s Yesterday’s News Today

It’s Stereoscopic Sunday and you remember I promised you something a bit different after not having been able to make a stereoscopic photograph in time for last week?
Well here it is, may I present to you exclusive footage of Jurassic Park 4 in 3D!

And now, the news (a bumper crop today as I missed a few of the stories Gavin posted yesterday due to me going to bed early):

European Bison Nears Extinction
Zoo finally gets a giraffe
Family of beavers who were reintroduced to Scotland after 400-year absence
Not so terrible
African village dogs are more genetically diverse than teacup dogs!
Dwarf miniature horse is Australia's smallest pony
Kangaroo ends romp through French countryside
'Wall' of fish surrounds divers
Parrot beats investors in South Korean stock market contest
Crows' feats of intelligence have animal experts ravin'

They’ll be ‘crow’ing about that for days you know….