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, December 28, 2009


I tried for at least ten minutes to take the iconic picture of James Dean in Giant with the rifle across his shoulders, and photoshop Graham's face onto him, but failed dismally.


Because Graham, the great white hunter of the CFZ, captured his most fearsome and difficult prey yet. Yes, Maureen the rabbit is back in her hutch after seven days out on the lam!

Graham utilised the most hi-tech modern technnology in the CFZ arsenal, and after days of R+D finally managed to fashion a trap carefully tailored to the needs of the situation.

It is the technical knowledge like this that has always put us at the forefront of the hunt for mystery animals across the world.

Carefully, he put the hi-tech `capture device` into place, and waited with baited breath for nearly half an hour before the reclusive Maureen ambled into view.

I am glad that he had the presence of mind to video the capture process, because we are only too aware of what usually happens when the CFZ announce an event of this magnitude.

The canaille of "teh internnetz" refuse to believe that we could possibly have achieved what we claim, and spend the next few months rubbishing us online. No doubt the same thing will happen this time.

They will claim that Graham doesn't really exist (that he is really Max wearing some kind of Trout Mask Replica), and that we spent the last three months faking up this footage frame by frame on Adobe Photoshop.
But no.

We not only have the photographs and the film but we have the rabbit too. Proof that the CFZ always tell the truth about their creature-hunting exploits.

Now for the next move. Graham is trying to work out how he can utilise this technology in hunting the sasquatch....

Watch this space

NB: Graham has also (we sincerely hope) done enough first aid to the hutch in order to make it escape-proof.

I would prattle on about wild animal containment facilities, and capture holding areas but I really cannot be bothered.


The CFZ have often followed the courageous endeavours of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group, and in particular the ship named after the legendary Australian conservationist and crocodile expert Steve Irwin.

In December 2009 the Steve Irwin was ten days at sea after departing Fremantle, Australia, and has had a Japanese ship trailing them for days. The Shonan Maru No. 2 security ship is reporting the Steve Irwin’s location, preventing them from closing in on the whaling fleet.

Sea Shepherd entered French Antarctic territorial waters after receiving permission from the French Base at Dumont D’Urville in an attempt to lose the tail ship. The Shonan Maru No. 2 followed in pursuit into French waters without permission. The French base confirms that the Japanese ship neither requested nor received permission to enter French waters.

The Steve Irwin sent a helicopter back to film the Shonan Maru No. 2 in its illegal pursuit. In response, it is believed that the crew of the Japanese ship activated their Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) at the Sea Shepherd helicopter. LRAD is a military class weapon.

“This was an extremely irresponsible thing to do,” said helicopter pilot Chris Aultman. “That device can cause nausea and disorientation and the use of it against an aircraft is both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”

The helicopter returned to the Steve Irwin for safety from the LRAD, at which point the Shonan Maru No. 2 increased speed and aimed their water cannons in an apparent attempt to destroy the helicopter on the landing pad. This occurred while the crew was attempting to secure the helicopter. This could have easily caused the helicopter to crash causing the deaths of those inside it or around it.

Captain Watson responded by deploying a 150-metre line aft of the vessel to force the Shonan Maru No. 2 to maintain a safe distance. The Sea Shepherd ship is undamaged and the crew safe.
Sea Shepherd has reported the incident to the French authorities. The pursuit continues.

“The situation is now very dangerous,” said Captain Paul Watson. “We have deliberately led the Japanese ship into thick ice in order to lose them in the ice. The icebergs could easily damage either vessel.”

The CFZ applaud the crew of the Steve Irwin and are disgusted at the continued, cowardly activities of the Japanese whalers.

LINDSAY SELBY : Lone hunters of the last living dinosaur

Most people have read or heard of Roy Mackal's book on the hunt for Mokele-Mbembe, the so-called living dinosaur in the Congo, or seen articles about Bill Gibbons and John Kirk's expeditions.

But there have been others who have ventured alone to the area to seek out Lac(lake) Tele and look for the creature. Rory Nugent went in 1986 (book Drums Along the Congo 1993 ed. Houghton Mufflin Co) and Redmond O'Hanlon ( book Congo Journey 1996 Penguin books).

Rory Nugent's book is the more upbeat of the two as O'Hanlon's has a more negative view of the indigenous people of the area.

Both are amusing in parts, especially about meetings with witch doctors.

Nugent took a photo of something but as you will see from the text he was unable to get close enough to investigate.

He ends his journey to Lac Tele by asking this: (p.379)

"So Doubla". I asked softly" Why did Marcellin swear he saw the dinosaur?" "Don't you know?" said Doubla, giving me his first real smile. "It's to bring idiots like you here. And make a lot of money"

So is it just a con? The races of the Congo refer to Mokele-Mbembe as the spirit of the forest and say it takes several forms. Some indigenous people, when questioned, point to pictures of a Rhinoceros as the dinosaur and it is claimed that it is a race memory from when the jungle was once plains and the rhino roamed there. More than one investigator has pointed out that the lake is quite shallow and it would have to be a small dinosaur to hide there. The water levels may rise in the rainy season, of course. It is said that if there is any place that a dinosaur could still exist it would be in the Congo jungles but the jungles weren't always there and it would have been grassland plains thousands of years ago. There are still patches of this in the jungle: clearings where the animals gather (See the Channel 4 programme Congo, which is still sometimes transmitted) so sadly it seems there may not be a living dinosaur unless it is some sort of evolved creature from the era of the dinosaurs. It would be unlikely to look like something from Jurassic Park, though; probably much smaller and a changed appearance in order to adapt to the changing world around it.

COLIN HIGGINS: The Edghill Ghost Horse

Hi Jon,

About fifteen years ago the BBC ran a Christmas Eve radio programme, Ghosts from the Archives, a collection of recordings from the 1930s to 1960s.

There were some fascinating period accounts if you ignored the cheesy Radio 2 segues and I recorded the programme on tape. Here's one concerning a horse. You'll have to imagine the soft West Midlands vowels of the gent talking, before Metropolitan boroughs annexed the speech patterns of this island. The stories weren't dated but I'd estimate this recording to be pre-war and the incident some time earlier.

"I was travelling home from a country round in the village of [indistinct - Tystow?] in Warwickshire through these fields where the battle of Edgehill took place in an old type of two-wheeled cart with a strong mare, property of Mr Harrison of North End.

"We had passed through gated fields and arrived at the last gate but one to Radway village, about a mile from Radway. On arriving at the last gate before the main road I had to get down and open the gate for the horse to go through, which I did, and just as I was going to close the gate I saw coming in the distance what appeared like a grey horse which wished to go through the gate and I hesitated for a few moments and in that moment of hesitation instead of closing the gate it seemed to pass through round the gate post and gallop towards the Edgehills across the field.

"I let the gate go and walked to the cart expecting to mount it. In the meantime I'd heard my mare snorting and began to trot away. I found it had gone, hence I had to walk to the last gate about half a mile. When I arrived in Radway village I found a villager holding the mare and Mr Harrison still sat with the reins. I began to give him a lecture. I said, "What's this? I've walked a good part of three-quarters of a mile, what's the reason?" He said, " Well don't you know? It's that plagued ghost horse frightened the mare." It then dawned on me I'd let the ghost horse through the gate."

For more Edgehill strangeness, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/coventry/content/articles/2006/05/24/weird_edgehill_ghosts_feature.shtml

Happy New Year,

Colin Higgins

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Mastodon and Mammoth survival

Goody goody gumdrops,

Muirhead`s Mysteries is back, up to and including December 30th, then a gap of a few days until January 3rd, then onwards and upwards! Today`s blog is based upon an e-mail from Andrew Ste Marie, an American cryptozoologist, dated September 23rd 2009, concerning living mammoth and mastodon sightings and hoaxes. I am quoting from as much of his e-mail that is relevant and that I have the mental energy for. I also include website links that are relevant.

'You asked for information on mammoth survival and it is my pleasure to send you this list of material I have gathered. Wooly Mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) are generally believed to have gone extinct c. 11,000 years ago in North America,10,000 years ago in Siberia, and 4,000 years ago on Wrangel Island. American Mastodons (Mammut americanum) are supposed to have gone extinct c. 10,000 years ago. Here are some of my references from my paper on the recent survival of mammoths and mastodons. Many of the references were to miscellaneous facts about mammoths or the Siberian climate, so I omitted those in this list...Most of these sources are available on-line.' (1)

Living Mammoth sightings & hoaxes

  • Silverberg, Robert, 1970. Mammoths Mastodons and Man, McGraw Hill Book Company (this is the best one I`ve come across so far for sightings of living mammoths. It is something of a children`s book but it has serious information, seriously written. Unfortunately, it spends a great deal of time mocking those who believe the Bible. I think he got his information from Heuvelmans's On The Track of Unknown Animals. Includes information on the Henry Tukeman living mammoth hoax.
  • Lister, Adrian and Paul Bahn, 1994. Mammoths, Macmillan Publishing Company (I would rate this one as second-best to Silverberg`s for cryptozoological information)
  • Krystek, Lee 1996. Of Mastodons,Mammoths and Other Giants of the Pleistocene, www.unmuseum.mus.pa.us/mastodon.htm(Accessed June 29,2009)(and this one would be third-best,but it also mentions a sighting of a possible living glyptodont
  • Anonymous,September 1993 “Are mammoths still alive ?”, http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i4/mammoths.asp (Accessed May 26,2009) (discusses the mammoths of Wrangel Island and a very seldom-reported mammoth sighting – this is the only place I`ve found anything about this particular encounter. Highly recommended article.)
  • Anonymous,1893. “Mastodons Still Living,” Winnipeg Daily Free Press, March 28,1893. www.cryptomundo.com/crypto-news/mastodons-alive/ (Accessed June 19,2009) (really interesting mastodon sighting)
  • Anonymous,1897. “Do Mastodons Exist? – Good evidence that at least one specimen still lives,” Decatur Daily Republican, March 29 1897, http://www.cryptomundo.com/crypto-news/mastodon-surv/(Accessed June 19,2009)….

Also, I have heard that there was a Soviet Air Force sighting of a living mammoth in the 1940s, but I have found no reputable source of information on this sighting. Perhaps Heuvelmans`s book discusses it….

Recent Artefacts Showing Mammoths

1. E-mail from Andrew Ste Marie to Richard Muirhead (1)
2. Ibid.

Buggles-Video Killed The Radio Star

I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two
Lying awake intently tuning in on you
If I was young it didn`t stop you coming through


They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine and new technology,
And now I understand the problems you can see


OLL LEWIS:Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1895 the Lumière brothers first showed one of their films to a paying audience, effectively creating cinema.

Safari Park Seeks New Homes For Hippos

Obese skunk diets after getting fat on bacon sandwiches
Snake Handler Often Bitten, Never Shy
Reptile breeders say python ban will hurt business
Reindeer poo jewellery raises £13,000 for zoo

That's a bit of a pooey present.