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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Saturday, November 14, 2009


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 11th trenche is from the early 1990s and is (like the 9th and 10th) almost entirely North American bigfoot stories. Good stuff.



Found this, *grin*

DALE DRINNON: Distant Humps

Here are some reference photos from the group Frontiers-of-Zoology. The first clearly shows that the head and neck ascribed to Heuvelmans's 'Many-humped' sea serpent is a bad drawing of a good sighting of an orca's (killer whale's) head. The Katie sighting (with umlaut not on keyboard) goes one better and shows two 7-foot-tall killer-whale backfins with 150 feet of wake -'humps' - between the two of them.

The Leda/Loch Hourn (sea loch off Scotland) sighting of 1877 should have ended all questions on the spot. This is a very well investigated case and the humps fall into either of the categories 'Super-otter' or 'Many humped' at different times: the difference is simply the amplitude of the waves in the wake. And at speed the view clearly shows that the humps as sighted actually were waves in the wake.

The problem is that almost all water-monster sightings worldwide have always been 'String-of-buoy' sightings. And they don't mean a thing; people are just looking at a regular set of waves in the water. It could be that an unknown animal is making the string-of-buoys effect but that cannot be assumed: several of the sightings definitely show known animals or boat wakes as producing the effect. And among the identifiable animals causing the effect culprits range from fish (tuna) to whales. Several different types of Heuvelmans's sea serpents are said to produce the similar humped effect. It does not matter; it really is not definitive enough to be meaningful. The humps alone do not define the creature.

In some freshwater cases, the effect is at least useful in indicating that some larger-than-ordinary creature is moving around under the water. Unfortunately that does not give the slightest clue as to what specific sort of creature that could be.

(Sea-serpent engravings are from Heuvelmans's In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents: Rupert Gould investigated the Loch Hourn case in his book on the sea serpent but the witness's sketch comes from his book on the Loch Ness Monster. It is not so widely circulated.)

LAWRIE WILLIAMS: The Bhutan Yonquis

Australia has its own mystery ape: the yowie. By all accounts he is similar to the Himalayan yeti, the North American sasquatch and the yunqui of Puerto Rico, to name just a few of the mystery animals that have become big uncouth shambling brutes in the wilderness of the human imagination. ('Yunqui' is Argentinian slang for a North American, quite possibly the origin of 'yankee')

Yowies are believed to inhabit rainforest and gumtree forest beyond the Great Dividing Range. I thought that the best way to find a yowie would be to live within their habitat. Keep a camp oven simmering with ham hocks and oxtail and other goodies. No dogs, no guns, no sharps. Perhaps a few plump women. And exude an ambiance of passive, patient gentleness.

I wanted to see how the experts searched for a yeti so I watched a documentary titled The Bhutan Yeti, which was made by the Destination Truth team from California. They flew to the remote Kingdom of Bhutan. There they filmed local colour - archery, buddhist monks, prayer-wheels, white-water rafting and so forth.

With time to spare they made the creative decision to go and search for a yeti. So they drove to remote Sakteng, a preserve where the mysterious yeti and other better documented creatures live in peace. At least until the Destination Truth team arrived.

They set up base camp with a great array of fancy equipment.
White people have long meant the indiscriminate use of murderously powerful firearms. The mere presence of Americans should have ensured that every yeti for leagues around would run away. But these people were experts so they clearly knew what they were doing.

To their credit they found a tree with scratch marks on it, and collected a tuft of long white hair that later defied DNA analysis. Apparently the lab involved had no great ape DNA for reference purposes.

It was all very high-tech. Spock on Star Trek pioneered a blue light that shone into his eyes every time he tried to read his instruments. The Bhutan yeti team took a leaf from his book and went out into the darkness harnessed up with special dangling lamps that shone directly into their own faces. This made possible the use of in-your-face night-vision cameras. This was essential as they had brought along a girl whose task was to exude fear and to squeal in panic whenever crew members made noises off camera.

The yeti hunters blundered out into the night in twos and threes, clattering over rocks, getting entangled in the shrubbery and variously shouting, talking in stage whispers and operating walkie-talkies. One has to admire their technique. Clearly the purpose was to amuse and disarm the yeti so they could see him while he was rolling on the ground laughing helplessly.

The Destination Truth team had a fascination for the gorges. They had to shout above the noise of the rapids. Unable to hear or see their quarry, they searched caves in places prone to flash floods in case they were occupied by retarded yetis. Strangely enough, nothing whatsoever lived in those places.

They did find a cage-like gondola used to cross a ravine. They sliced through the rope that was used to tow it from one side to the other, no doubt because getting stranded in the middle made good theatre for the inevitable ad-break. Good PR, guys. The girl came in useful there.

They did bring back pictures of bones from the "meti", the brown bear of the Himalayas (you try saying "yeti" with your lips half frozen). Veteran researcher Dr Matako Nabuka says it is the source of the western myth that there are hairy hominids living in the region. How dare he say that?!

At the culmination of their hunt for this shy and elusive creature the Destination Truth team spotted movement with their infrared equipment. The yeti/ tiger/ bear/ wolf/ whatever it was had conveniently found the carcass of a deer. Following it, they found a deer leg. This resulted in a lot of excitement: "Whatever this thing is it's rippin' up animals in its path...!" leader Josh Gates shouted.

The thermal images could indeed have been a yeti that had shorn off his dense insulating coat. More likely it was a stray member of the Destination Truth team.

Gates now used a wonderful technique: the Californian Shout. Yetis being shy animals, the Destination Truth leader took off after the suspect animal, shouting Words of Power in order to make the fleeing creature freeze in its tracks.

"I don't know how much more I can do to get up close to where this animal is supposed to live," he yelled as he clattered up the hill, his lamps and equipment flailing around him. "It's moving. Go go go!" he shouted into his walkie-talkie. Back at base camp they seemed confused as to where to go.

"We're trying to chase it down now...it's scrambled up a hill, I think - we're actually in pursuit of it now... I don't think it has anywhere to go; we're going to chase it down," he shouted in heroic tones of uncertain determination.

If it was a yeti then in his terror of Gates he must have scaled the Himalayas and headed for China, for he was seen no more.

Did Destination Truth go to Bhutan to find a yeti or did they go there to make a dramatic documentary about uncouth monsters running around terrifying innocent native wildlife? I ask you: what were the yunquis really doing in Bhutan?


BhutanYonquis1 how to sneak up on a yeti
BhutanYonquis2 in full cry
BhutanYonquis3 revelation
BhutanYonquis4 cutting edge documentary work
BhutanYonquis5 a yeti bad hair day
BhutanYonquis6 yunquis in deep thought


Bloody Hell, yesterday was a strange day. I made a semi-lighthearted reference to Friday 13th on the blog, but I never realised quite how disrupted it was going to be.

I woke up bright and early, determined to spend the day working diligently and catching up on some of the backlog of work that has built up over the last week due to things way beyond our control.

However, I had only been in the office for half an hour when I received a call about our old friend (and oldest CFZ member) Noela Mackenzie. She had fallen and hurt her hip and would Graham and I come and see her.

Pausing only to grab my wallet and walking stick, we drove into Bideford. She was in bed and in a fairly bad way, and we agreed with the paramedics that she should go to Barnstaple (the North Devon District Hospital) for an X-Ray.

She asked whether I would accompany her in the ambulance, and (as always) I try to be a parfait gentile knight albeit one clothed in the guise of a fat hippy dressed in very shoddy black, and wearing a leather jacket (I was wearing old and extremely crappy clothes as I had been planning a day of office work and fish-tank mucking about, and so I must have looked a terrible sight to the young nurses who watched me stagger out of the ambulance).

My legs were particularly unco-operative yesterday and I staggered about the place like a ruptured duck. However, I (in my guise of unofficial next of kin) signed her in at reception whilst Graham parked the car (he had followed us from Bideford, taking pictures as we went), and Noela was wheeled off into the intersteces of the hospital.
Then we sat down and waited for three hours. I amused myself by looking at the NHS information posters and imagining double entendres for each one. There was one particular poster of a sultry-looking young woman lying in bed (it can be found here by the way, captioned 'Imagine this was your wife', which I thought was particularly unfortunately laid-out.

Three hours later we were called to her bedside. I expected the worst but Noela looked surprisingly chipper and it turned out that she had not broken her hip after all.

So we bundled her into the car and took her home. Getting her in and out of a small Japanese 4x4 in the middle of what was shaping up to be a particularly nasty gale was an experience, but I slipped my leather jacket around her shoulders and we managed well enough.

There was a brief spurt of excitement when we thought that she had left her emergency alarm pendant at the hoispital but we found it neatly curled up by her bed, and so (after stopping at Morrisons for doughnuts) we went home to find that the telephone system had gone down, something very nasty had happened to Corinna's blog and the window frame in the office was leaking, and there was water all over the desk.

We sorted it all, but I finally ate that morning's breakfast at 10:30pm, and slid (shattered) into bed a few minutes later.

Friday 13th, huh?

The big bad wolf?

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Biological Diversity

Dear reader

Bowing to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today agreed to cease implementation of its "three strikes, you're out" policy requiring that Mexican gray wolves be shot or trapped if they kill three cows on federal land within one year.

This ill-conceived policy has cost many endangered Mexican gray wolves their lives, severely undermining the federal recovery program. While wolf populations have steadily grown in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes, where the "three strikes" rule does not apply, the southwestern wolf population has remained small and stagnant, leaving Mexican gray wolves one of the most endangered mammals in North America.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also agreed to stop deferring its crucial wildlife authority to state and federal agencies such as Arizona Game and Fish and the USDA Wildlife Service (the agency in charge of killing and shooting wolves), which have consistently acted to prevent wolf recovery.

Thanks to all of you who wrote letters, sent faxes, and made phone calls to push the Obama administration to settle this suit and put the Mexican gray wolf recovery program back on track.

With this issue off the table, the feds can now concentrate on the Center's three petitions to create a new recovery plan, formally list the southwestern wolf as a distinct endangered species, and reform the recovery program from top to bottom.

¡Viva el lobo!

KierĂ¡n Suckling
Executive Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. Check out this story from The Associated Press on the decision to pull the "three strikes" rule:

Federal Agency Settles Wolf Lawsuit
November 13, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmentalists have reached an agreement Friday that scraps a controversial rule the agency had used to kill or permanently remove any wolf that killed three heads of livestock in a year.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Tom Buckley says the rule "will no longer stand."

He says the agency has ways to deal with livestock kills "and remains committed to assisting the local livestock operators in any negative impacts they may have related to wolves."

Environmentalists complained the three-strikes rule favored the ranching industry and was a major roadblock to the effort to recover the species in the wild. Ranchers responded the policy targets wolves that grow accustomed to preying on cattle.

Several environmental groups sued in May 2008, asking the U.S. District Court in Arizona to stop the removal policy.

Mexican gray wolf photo (c) Robin Silver.

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OLL LEWIS; Yesterday’s News Today


Did you know that on this day in 1971 NASA’s Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars, becoming the first man-made object to orbit an alien planet.

And here is today’s cryptozoology news and bad pun before I forget:

It's sink or swim for autumn ducklings

Young mother fined for feeding the ducks

Meat Loaf solution to rid gardens of flying foxes

Italian hunt for Nessie moves onshore!

9ft catfish caught in Spain

What a ‘cat’-ch!