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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, September 30, 2010

ON THE TRACK

For various reasons too dull to relate, although On The Track will indeed be up sometime today, it is not ready just yet, and so details will not be posted on the bloggo until the morrow.

Anyone who wants to pick a fight over it is welcome because yesterday I was woken in an untimely fashion by the dog throwing up all over the bed and this morning at half past six the ceiling sprang another leak just above my side of the bed, so I left a bucket to catch the drips and came downstairs. Subsequently, bits of the ceiling fell down and I spent the rest of the night on the couch.

I am not in the best of moods so bring it on!

MUIRHEAD'S MYSTERIES: OUR FROG DEITY

Somewhere near the top of the Peak there is a rock claimed to personify the frog deity whose evil ambition is to get to the top when the island is devastated. Actually there are only a few who can say definitely where the big rock is, but it is supposed to resemble a giant frog. Some think that the Hog`s Back* (1) bears the resemblance while others point to the mass which can be approached from that part of Conduit Road* (2) near the Victoria Battery filter beds. Another cluster of almost upright boulders which are situated above Marble Hall, are also thought to be the “Frog Rock”.

Irrespective of the position, the story goes that it moved rapidly upwards for some years till it got perilously near the top, when the “Heavenly Virgin”, or “Kwoon Yum” smacked it`s head, with the result that it fell back a good distance. For its audacity in daring to climb up to her preserves – this kindly disposed goddess is presumed to watch over the island`s destinies from a favourable position at the Peak – she cast a charm over the Frog so that his ascending abilities were reduced to not more than the length of a grain of rice a year. So HongKongites can feel relieved. Measured on that basis it will be a matter of centuries before Froggy can get anywhere near the danger zone again.

Efforts have been made to trace the origin of this yarn but those who have faith in it can only say that they were told by somebody else. Others with a reasonable turn of mind can only attribute it to the dislike of the foreigner during the early days of the Colony`s occupation when some patriot devised the story to scare Chinese from settling here permanently. It is said that when the plague was at its worst about thirty years ago there were many who wondered if the Frog Rock had not climbed to just near the top.(3)

*1 Hog`s Back- I`m not sure where this is – presumably a ridge of hill on Hong Kong island,
*2. Conduit Rd – a road on the north-west side of Hong Kong island.
3. The China Mail February 21st 1925 p.8

Richard

THE COMMUNARDS DON`T LEAVE ME THIS WAY

Don`t leave me this way
I can`t survive
I can`t stay alive
Without your love.no,baby
Don`t leave me this way
I can`t exist, I`ll surely miss
Your tender kiss
Don`t leave me this way

MIKE HALLOWELL: The day a hare went on trial

First, I must apologise to my legions of fans (Fred and Gertie Donkins from Peckham) for the long hiatus between my last blog and this one. I have been away from Casa Hallowell on an investigation which, I think, will soon be making headlines across the globe. More of this as it happens, so watch this space.

Anyway, back to business. Geordieland is an advanced kingdom, the laws of which appertain not just to humans but also to other species. Thus, a horse can be arrested for burglary and a blackbird for GBH. The fauna of our land are expected to follow the law just as we are, and woe betide a cocker spaniel who becomes drunk and disorderly or a donkey who fiddles its benefits. The full weight of Geordie jurisprudence will be applied no less severely to them as to farmers who ogle the bosoms of milkmaids or landlords who water down their ale.

To those who are sceptical, I would like to draw your attention to an incident which illustrates the point wonderfully.

On the morning of Sunday, September 25, 1836, a hare entered the village of Burnopfield. This in itself was not a crime back then, although hares, along with other animals, were expected to behave with a reasonable degree of decorum. Bulls were not allowed to impregnate cows within half a mile of the local church, for instance, and ducks were forbidden to quack before 10am on weekends. The hare, unfortunately, decided to throw civility to the wind and engage in some pranks which precipitated a fair degree of righteous indignation amongst the populace. Without warning, it leaped through the living room window of the local constable's house and wreaked pandemonium. A jug of milk was sent flying off the table, a plate of scones went crashing to the floor and – quelle horreur – it pooped in the baby's crib.

Fortunately the constable was at home at the time, and, according to The Local Records or Historical Register of T. Fordyce, he bravely confronted the beast and, after a considerable struggle, arrested it. Now this is where the story gets really interesting, for the hare was not just charged with one offence, but two. As well as facing a charge of criminal damage, the authorities also accused the creature of “indiscretion”. Indiscretion is a serious offence in Geordieland, and carries a minimum sentence of five years in jail.

Alas, we are not told the fate of the hare, or even whether the prosecution was successful, but the story stands as a salutary warning to animals who think they can just wander over the border into our territory and make mockery of our milk, scones and constables.

I am aware that some, particularly those who live in southern places like Sussex, will find this tale incredible. I would refer such ones to a certain Mr. Steve Jones, who will, I am sure, testify that he supplied me with the ancient tome upon which this blog is based.

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Are they worth looking for?


Not every species quickens the pulse of naturalists and would-be monster hunters.

You don't, for instance, hear of too many people desperate to re-discover rare species of slug, but there are countless folk fascinated by and in hot pursuit of more glamorous - or as an article in Nature magazine puts it this week in 'Looking beyond the glamour of conservation', 'charismatic' - species such as the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus).

"People just haven't thought hard enough about where they should put their effort," says Diana Fisher, a mammal ecologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who led the study. The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society today. "There is no chance that species are still alive that have been looked for 20 times or more."

And she may have a point - should 'we' be expending time, money and other resources trying to find or resurrect extinct species when there are plenty of MIA mammals of a more recent vintage capable of being rediscovered and nurtured from the brink of extinction?

Perhaps. But it is species like the Thylacine that serve as a laser-like focus for the conservation movement - and remind us of the dire consequences of failure.

And there is a very real possibility that remnant populations of the Thylacine exist. Do we consign our most famous marsupial to certain oblivion or keep looking 'just in case'?

Regardless, the Tasmanian Tiger is something of a cryptozoological Holy Grail, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: 19-21st AUGUST 2011


Speakers confirmed so far are:

Nick Wadham: The trouble with Giant Spiders
Glen Vaudrey: The Water Horse
John Hanson: From the Haunted Skies project

Bugfest will be returning and the children's area will once again be manned very ably by Team Curtis from Seaham on Sea.

Tickets will be available from early January.

The Amateur Naturalist #9

Issue nine of The Amateur Naturalist, the first with Max Blake confirmed as editor, will be available imminent;ly, at least in digital form.

It will be available to download from the blog (see right) either today or tomorrow, and will be on sale (in limited numbers) from Max at the AES show this weekend.

The hard copy version will be out within the next two weeks.




Contents are:


3 Editorial
5 Who’s who
7 Contents
9 News: RSPCA make Jumbo Fools of Themselves
11 News
25 Club news
27 Keeping locusts as pets by Corinna Downes
30 Locusts in the UK by Richard Muirhead
32 A Jekyll and Hyde of Characins by David Marshall
39 Hawkmoths and Tigers and the Butterfly Effect by Jonathan Downes
44 Suriname Toads by Richard Freeman
47 Toxic caterpillars by Nick Wadham
50 Turning over a new leaf by Max Blake
52 An attitude out of the Ark by Richard Freeman
54 Revolting plants as a substitute for exotic pets by Mark Pajak
59 CFZ meet the Titan Arum
60 The sail-finned water dragon by Richard Freeman
63 Birth, Sex and Death in rural England by Carl Portman
67 Release the bats by Oll Lewis
71 The scales have fallen ….. or something! A field report from Denmark by Lars Thomas
73 Tell me Y by Jonathan Downes
76 Exclusive extract from The Mystery Animals of Ireland by Ronan Coghlan and GaryCunningham
83 Olive millipedes by Lucy Henson
85 Mysteries of the dog by Scottie Westfall
90 CFZ Press News
91 Lucy’s life
92 Corinna’s Endangered Species column: The Philippine eagle
94 Bookshelf
98 Aquarium review: Blue Reef, Bristol
101 About the CFZ
105 About CFZ Press

CONTRIBUTORS

Jon Downes, Corinna Downes, Scottie Westfall, Richard Muirhead, Lars Thomas, Carl Portman, Richard Freeman, Nick Wadham, Mark Pajak, David Marshall, Oll Lewis, Lucy Henson, and Max Blake

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 2007 Ronnie Hazlehurst died. Hazlehurst was best known as the composter of a number of theme tunes for BBC programs, However after his death he became known as the composer of a number of tracks by the popular bubblegum pop band S-Club 7. This was odd as he had probably never heard of them and retired years before the band began to insist that there “ain't no[sic] party like an S-Club party.” to a disco beat. What had happened was upon hearing of the death some rapscallion had added this hoax information to Hazlehurst's wikipedia entry and several journalists had more or less just copypasta-ed that for their obituary articles without checking the facts.
And now, the news:

Bird sets record as UK's oldest Arctic tern
'Oldest whimbrel' recorded on Shetland
Odds of Life on Nearby Planet '100 Percent,' Astro...
Girl vomited two-metre parasitic worm, archives re...
Australia faces worst plague of locusts in 75 year...
Study: Monkeys Show Self-Awareness

And irrepressibly too no doubt:
Great clip from Monkey

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NEW RSPB CAMPAIGN

Join the Big Climate Connection!

Dear Supporter

Join the Stop Climate Chaos ‘Big Climate Connection’ on 5 and 6 November and lobby your MP in your constituency.

As a leading member of Stop Climate Chaos, the RSPB is supporting The Big Climate Connection on 5 and 6 November – the next step in the growing movement to stop catastrophic climate changes.

This event, specific to your constituency, will see local people and groups concerned about climate change, join together and lobby their MPs.

In December 2009, over 50,000 people from across the UK marched in ‘The Wave’ ahead of the Copenhagen climate talks. Many of those people then ‘Asked the Climate Question’ to parliamentary candidates during the 2010 UK General Election. The Stop Climate Chaos movement is continuing to grow, and we need many more people from all walks of life to get involved and keep up the pressure.

With an historic new Coalition Government and over 200 new MPs in place, this is the perfect opportunity to influence your MP and tell them that climate issues matter to you.

Between 5 and 6 November we hope that RSPB members all over the UK will grab this opportunity and take part in The Big Climate Connection by meeting their MPs and it would be great if you could join them.

For more information and to find out how to get involved please visit our website.

Yours sincerely

Steven Roddy
Parliamentary Campaigns Manager


If you have a question or comment please contact campaigns@rspb.org.uk


The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing - help us keep it that way.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654

...AND I HAVE MANAGED TO OFFEND THE PEDANTS AGAIN

Just in case anyone else missed the point of what I was saying, when - in yesterday's post about my financial situation - I said that I no longer smoked 20 fags a day, I was referring to cigarettes. Until September 2008 I did indeed smoke 20 or 30 Benson and Hedges a day.


Really this is ridiculous: It is almost as if some people spend all day just seeing what holes they can pick in what I write, and what unseemly nuances they can draw.

NEIL ARNOLD: Phantom Insects and Others Part Two

The folklore of the United States is littered with tales of ghostly insects. None more terrifying than the Arkansas Snipe, said to resemble a mosquito yet be so huge that it can eat a cow! Men claimed to have been attacked in the murky river bottoms by these giant forms which are said to have razor-sharp claws to slice their prey. Sceptics argue that such forms are merely critters created for fun. Some more quirky legends from the USA speak of almost comical wraiths, such as Cockroach Man, a weird humanoid of insect traits sighted in December 2003 in Chaffee, Missouri, by a motorist who couldn’t shake off the creature despite travelling at 50 mph along a deserted road. A majority of quirky creatures said to roam the backwoods of American folklore are, however, considered nothing more than ‘fearsome critters’, a term applied to a menagerie of phantasms and forms constructed by the imaginations of lumberjacks.


In the UK Mantis Man was said to have appeared before a male witness in his London home in 2004, although such a being was believed, at the time, to have been an extraterrestrial, slightly resembling the bug-eyed ‘grays’ said to abduct humans. The hideous bedroom visitor stood five-feet in height but resembled a praying mantis, but wore a cape. Supernatural author Elliot O’ Donnell once encountered an insect-like ‘nature spirit’ in Greenwich Park, London. He recorded that on 24th July 1898 whilst perched on a bench something caught his eye ‘falling’ from a overhanging tree. Thinking it was a leaf, O’ Donnell was rather taken aback to see a peculiar form scuttling sideways into the undergrowth. He described it as, “stunted, pulpy, bloated and yellow” and being half-animal, half-human!

Not even Australia escapes the wrath of ghostly insects – a truly giant bee, the size of a man was sighted in 1992 in Queensland, when a female witness looked out of her window and saw this monstrosity loitering near a paddock. Although it would usually be difficult to tell a ghostly insect apart from a living specimen – unless it vanished into thin air – tales of truly monstrous insects often suggest some kind of demonic connection, for no garden, or jungle on Earth could hide a man-sized bee!

Spiders of a ghostly nature are common to in the supernatural realm. Massive, yellow and black monsters were said to prowl an isolated area in Ontario, Canada, in 1974, meanwhile Richard Freeman, manifested a freakish giant spider whilst he was a student in Yorkshire in the ‘90s. He called this critter Atlach Nacha, a name originally coined by fantasy author Clark Ashton Smith. Freeman, whilst studying at Leeds University in 1996 attempted to ‘raise’ a giant spider through a series of devoted, night-time rituals. Little did he realise just what freakish manifestation was about to erupt from his own imagination. Freeman spied the flat, white beast, which measured four-feet across, just before he left the premises and left it to its own devises. Freeman believed that his conjuring incited the ‘great Leeds spider plague’ which occurred shortly afterwards in the city.

In Japanese lore a creature known as the Dirt Spider is said to exist. Legend of the anomalous arachnid dates back to the eighth century. It is a shape-shifting demon which also goes by the name Tsuchigumo and may well have originated from tales of humans who were said to burrow beneath the soil and live underground. Over the centuries such tales were portrayed by imaginative artists who depicted half-human, half-insect creatures, and weird, zoologically incorrect insects with human characteristics.

Phantom, monstrous worms are widespread although these type of forms can melt into serpent and dragon lore. The Mester Stoor Worm, of Orkney, and the Lambton Worm of the north-east of England are the most popular giant worm stories. And then there is the Mongolian Deathworm, believed to be an undiscovered species of creature able to administer an electrical charge to kill its victims. The monster lives beneath the warm sands but is perceived as a cryptid – being that it is considered an unknown species rather than a spectral beast. However, due to its elusive nature the worm remains firmly embedded in folklore. The Polos is a monster worm from Russian folklore said to protect treasure. Again, this creature is seen as a bogey creature which kills any traveller should they seek out the secret location of the treasure.

One of the most hideous stories however is the tale of the Yorkshire maggot, a vampyric entity said to have emerged from a grave to prey on a village some time during the twentieth-century. The fat, greedy grub-like beast was observed by a Mr Mullins home one dark night, and he told his wife and best friend, who accompanied him the following night to track the creature. They saw the manifestation ooze towards the home of the local vicar and disappear at the door. The next day the vicar and his immediate family had fallen seriously ill, and then died mysteriously and the maggot of doom was seen again, this time heading towards the house of the local blacksmith who also eventually perished. Ten nights later the fetid creature was seen heading for the Mullins household, and they lost their ten-year old son. Sickened by the monster, Mullins and his wife sought the grave the monster had come from and found it belonged to a Mr Peters. They dug the grave, and burnt the corpse, believing that the form was a cursed creature sent by the deceased as revenge for past disagreements. The maggot was never seen again.

These ethereal insects are clearly not mere ghosts of insects swatted by newspapers, but what they do prove is that just when we think we’ve covered everything in the void of the paranormal, there’s always a sting in the tale!

YETI. WANT TIBET?

http://giganto.webs.com/


Owen from Fortean Times sent us this link to a photograph, which is claimed to be of a yeti. It was taken in Tibet....

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Govt defends raid on dingo campaigner'...


NOOSA: Dingo protection campaigner Jennifer Parkhurst will plead not guilty to more than 40 criminal charges when she fronts court on September 9.

Ms Parkhurst, a vocal lobbyist for greater protection of Fraser Island dingoes, this week broke her silence over the trial, which comes almost a year after state government officials raided her Rainbow Beach home seizing photos, computers, journals and cameras.

Noosa MP and opposition environment spokesman Glen Elmes and a group of Noosa locals continue to support her cause.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management allege the wildlife photographer and Save Fraser Island Dingoes Association member interfered with and fed dingoes on the World Heritage listed sand island over a 13-month period.

If found guilty she faces fines of up to $300,000 or two years’ imprisonment.

Ms Parkhurst told The Noosa Journal this week efforts to have her trial adjourned to allow her defence counsel time to review five folders of prosecution material had been unsuccessful.

"As it stands they’ve set the trial date for September 9, which gives us less than a couple of months to go through their case, which they’ve compiled over eight months with a team of up to five people," she said.

Ms Parkhurst said she lost a member of her counsel after Legal Aid was denied, however Noosa-based Ocean Legal this week confirmed it had joined Ms Parkhurst’s defence after reading about her case in The Noosa Journal.

Kristy Crabb, Barrister of Sunshine Coast Barrister’s Chambers Maroochydore, has also joined her defence, Ocean Legal spokeswoman Marilyn Nuske confirmed.

Ms Parkhurst’s Melbourne-based father’s attempt to re-mortgage his house to fund his daughter’s defence had been unsuccessful, but letters of support arrived daily.

"Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from people telling me to keep up the fight,’’ she said. "I’m so humbled. These are people I don’t even know, and I’m so grateful to have so much support.

"There have been times when I just burst into tears.

"Emails are still coming in from people from all spheres of life even little old ladies.’‘

A book on Ms Parkhurst’s Fraser Island dingo research has been canned due to legal concerns and she said she had lost seven years worth of work seized in the raid.

The case and her concerns about the island, first reported by The Noosa Journal last year, have made national headlines.

Ms Parkhurst has won widespread support from wildlife groups, Aboriginal elders, Noosa locals, civil libertarian lawyer Terry O’Gorman and MP Glen Elmes who previously described the raid on her home as "Gestapo tactics".

http://noosa-journal.whereilive.com.au/news/story/supporters-keep-dingo-campaigners-hopes-alive/

HMMMMMMMMMMM

This was posted on the Paranormal Buffalo email newsgroup:

I was biking along the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia on the morning of Tuesday, September 14, 2010, when I spotted what appeared to be the Loch Ness Monster sneaking a peak at the Washington Monument. Luckily, I had my cell phone handy and was able to snap a picture. -- Dave

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1955 James Dean died in a car accident. The wreck of James Dean's car is reputed to be cursed as cars which have cannibalised parts of the wreck have been involved in acidents, sometimes resulting in fatalities. Details of the supposed victims can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dean#The_.22curse.22_of_.22Little_Bastard.22
However, it should probably be noted that the majority of the accidents did occur during races and at the time of the accidents such events were not as uncommon as they are in racing today and resulted in fatalities more often. It should also be remembered that these guys were bolting and welding bits of a crashed car onto their own in their garages and garden sheds and then racing them the next day so they probably did not quite have the same safety standards as we do these days.
And now, the news:

Mystery cat photographed: Panther or bobcat? Or so...
This seal was declared extinct in 1892. So what is...
Search for the north American ape, Part 2 The grea...
'Hobbit' Was an Iodine-Deficient Human, Not Anothe...

Ok, we're had it before but it bears repeating... what EXACTLY was Spock thinking when he made this song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC73PHdQX04

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TRIGGER CAMERAS

This is an appeal particularly aimed at our American and Canadian readers. I am trying to gather together between 20-30 trail cameras. These are far more widely used in the US and Canada, especially by hunters. The CFZ being the CFZ I want them as cheaply as possible. I am wondering if you all could scour your local second hand (preowned) shops, and the adverts in your local paper. I need as many dirt cheap cameras as possible. Please email me and let me know what you find, and if we can afford it then I will paypal you the money.


They are initially to be used in Huddisford Woods, to see if we can get a picture of the pantherine fellow who has so obligingly left his hairs for various folk to find. Then, sometime next year we intend to ship them to Sumatra to see if we can make a concerted effort to photograph Orang Pendek in his/her nattural habitat.

WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?

On the AES BugClub email discussion list, Graeme Stroud posted these two extraordinary pictures, and this note:

Is anyone able to tell me what’s happening here? I found this wingless female moth with its eggs on my garden fence yesterday. I’m assuming this is a vapourer moth, although I understand there are several other wingless species. But there are two red velvet mites in the picture also. Are they eating the eggs?

Personally I have absolutely no idea. I have always been fascinated by the moths that have such severe sexual dimorphism that the females are flightless and only have tiny vestigial wings. There are actually quite a few of them in the UK, so I pinched the following list from here.

Micromoths
176 Dahlica triquetrella Only wingless females found in BI (how do they get around?). March & April.
177 Lesser Lichen Case-bearer Dahlica inconspicuella Local and indigenous to BI. March & April for adults.
179 Lichen Case-bearer Dahlica lichenella Wingless females only in March & April
181 Taleporia tubulosa : May & June. Females are like “little yellow grubs”
185 Luffia ferchaultella : Kimber has no information on flight times of males.
186 Psyche casta : Another case-bearing larva, with grub-like females. Males fly late Spring.
191 Acanthopsyche atra : heaths & moorland, mainly in N Britain. Flying in late Spring.
192 Pachythelia villosella : June & July. Rare heathland species in Dorset & Hants.
1331 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella : An amazing little creature. Males fly June to August, but wingless feamles live underwater (like the larvae) in ponds and slow-moving streams.





Macromoths:
1663 March Moth Alsophila aescularia : Common in E&W. March and April.
1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata . Adults throughout the winter. Common & Widespread. Larva important food for nesting birds (tits etc).
1925 Small Brindled Beauty Apocheima hispidaria : Common S England. February and March.
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty Apocheima pilosaria : Local in Hebrides, Ireland, N Wales & North-West England. Adults March & April.
1928 Belted Beauty Lycia zonaria : Males fly in March and April.
1929 Rannoch Brindled Beauty Lycia lapponaria. Scotland, in April.
1932 Spring Usher Agriopis leucophaearia. The adults emerge in February and March.
1933 Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantiaria Scotland & Ireland flying in October & November.
1935 Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria. The flight period is late in the year.
1960 Early Moth Theria primaria : Females in January and February
2025 Scarce Vapourer Orgyia recens : Rare, only Yorks, Lincs & Norfolk. Males day-flying June & July.
2026 The Vapourer Orgyia antiqua . Adults emerge July through to September. Common & widespread.

I don't actually think that this female is a vapourer moth, but I wouldn't like to say what the correct identification is, and I have no idea whatsoever about the mites. Over to you guys...

NEIL ARNOLD: Phantom Insects and Others Part One

The realm of the paranormal has no boundaries. Apparitions appear in all shapes and guises, and supernatural activity can centre upon a multitude of forms. It’s not unusual for there to be ghostly vehicles, and buildings, let alone people. The animal kingdom is also not excluded when it comes to phantoms. Sightings of unusual insects in places they shouldn’t be are not uncommon, but reports of phantasmal creepy crawlies are another thing entirely. One of the most intriguing and known cases concerned the Borley ‘bug’, a hideous form observed in one of Britain’s most haunted buildings, Borley Rectory which sat on the Essex/Suffolk border until it was destroyed by a fire in 1939. Artist Margaret Wilson encountered the critter on 22nd August 1938 whilst she was painting and stated:

"Looking up I saw the queerest object with impelling eyes advancing toward me at about eye level. It seemed to be coming out of a mist. It was accompanied by a wasp on its left..."

Margaret struck at the creature but when it hit the floor it disappeared. After the incident she claimed it was around three-inches long, entirely black with huge eyes and resembled no other British insect. Of course, this could simply have been an alien species making its home in the UK, or larvae she did not recognise but the Awd Goggie, a ghostly insect, echoes the Borley creature. It is said to resemble an over-sized caterpillar and haunts orchards as a ‘nursery bogie’, used to warn children away from areas where fruit is ready to fall. Most of us have an inner dread of insects and the thought that such bugs and beetles may be scurrying through our clothes, or drinking our blood as we sleep is a chilling thought. The Murony of Wallachain folklore is believed to be a sinister supernatural insect. This is a blood-drinker said to also take the form of a hag-like figure, and is perceived as a bad omen. In Samoa the ghastly Nifoloa is said to be a devious spirit said to hunt lonely travellers and kill with one nip from a single tooth which projects from its mouth. Although the Nifoloa is only small, its tooth measures around three-inches.

In Japanese lore a phantom insect resembling a tadpole is known as the Ashimagari. It is a trickster spirit in that it often appears to weary travellers as they stroll on remote lanes of a night. It is said that should a rambler step on one of these insects then their feet would become entangled in a thick, cotton-like material. However, this is not harmful but seems to take place only to way-lay those eager to get home.

During the tenth century a giant, spectral centipede was said to have terrorised the community of Lake Biwa, Japan. The multi-legged monster was slain by General Fujiwara Hidesato. For his heroics, Hidesato was bestowed a self-replenishing bag of rice which would feed many generations to come. In Japan there also exists the ‘earthquake beetle’, or Jinshin-Mushi, a bad omen if ever there was one, for should this ten-legged insect appear, then destruction is imminent. Many such foreboding insect spirits are considered omens of misfortune.

HOW DO I SUPPORT MYSELF?

The question of how I support myself and my wife has risen once again. I have answered this elsewhere (not that it is any business of anyone apart from me and those jolly nice fellows at the Inland Revenue). However, for those who have not seen my keynote speech at the Weird Weekend:


I have an occupational pension from my days as a nurse for the mentally handicapped, I have a small but adequate private income partly inherited from my father, and I am in receipt of two non-means tested disability benefits which allow me to do small amounts of paid work occasionally. I fill in my tax returns like a model citizen (actually Graham does them for me because I find the whole thing unutterably complicated) and although it would be nice to have more money than I have, we do have enough for our relatively modest (especially since I quit smoking 20+ fags a day) needs.

Re Yesterday's Moth post

Yesterday we posted this picture with a request for an ID . This was originally posted by Paul Batty to members of the increasingly excellent Entomological Livestock Group.


Thank you to everyone who correctly identified this moth as a Pink barred Sallow (Xanthia togata). I think that one of the things that is most endearing about the study of British moths is that they have such beautifully romantic names...

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Daemons of Dreamtime Part 1

PART 1: THE RAINBOW SERPENT
Pre-eminent in the pantheon of mythical beasts is the Rainbow Serpent. This is a gigantic snake with multi-hued scales. During the Dreamtime or Altjeringa, an infinite spiritual cycle that exists outside of normal time, the Rainbow Serpent created river and waterholes as it crawled across the land. The Rainbow Serpent is liked to rainfall and the control of water in the same way Asian dragons are.

The Rainbow Serpent has many names in different parts of Australia; these include Borlung, Ngalyod and Wonambi. This last name was incorporated into the scientific name of a giant Madtsoid snake Wonambi naracoortensis whose fossils have been found at Naracoorte, South Australia. This huge snake live fairly recently and would have been known to early Aborigines. It has been postulated that it may have been the inspiration for the Rainbow Serpent. It grew to around six meters long. Another candidate at ten meters was Bluff Downs giant python Liasis dubudinala although at 4.5 million years old it lived well before the time of modern humans. Early Aborigines may have unearthed its fossil bones however. Another giant Australian python was named Montypythonoides riversleighensis. This nine metre snake lived even earlier at 15 million years ago.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 2004 the asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within 4 lunar distances of the Earth, which is pretty close. If you think that's close though it is possible that next time it passes the Earth it could be just over two lunar distances away...
And now, the news:

Dark Steller's sea eagle solves 100 year debate
Dorset Wildlife Trust concerned about cuts

Tenuous link but, one of our most charming native mammals in Britain is the hedgehog which gives me a good opportunity to link to one of our news blog editor Gavin Wilson's great hedgehog videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5hJnwqgjVs
Gavin's hedgehog blog can be found here: http://snufflehog.blogspot.com/

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND THE SKINNED SERPENT

http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2010/09/christopher-columbus-and-skinned.html

Another massively intriguing bloggo from Karl Shuker....

Monday, September 27, 2010

PHENOMENA MAGAZINE

I can't remember whether we have posted anything about this issue, but even if we have it is so good that it certainly bears repetition. The September issue is full of good stuff....

In Strange Locations: Steve Mera is invited along on UPIA's 3DESP Training Session. Steve Wagner discusses Poltergeist Levitation. Scariest moments. Nick Pope talks UFOs and how the Government ordered pilots to shoot them down. Kirst D'Raven explains the Pagan Fire Festival and P. Leach tries to save a haunted windmill. Pantom Hitchhikers and UK Government release new batch of UFO documents. All this plus the latest UK crop circles and Para-News!...

Dont forget to visit the new Phenomena Magazine website for updates and much more.
http://www.phenomenamagazine.co.uk/

LIZZY THOUGHT THAT BLOGGOFOLK MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN A MANCHESTER MONSTER HUNT

Hunt for monsters in Manchester on your mobile

Find virtual monsters, win real prizes!

There are a multitude of Monsters hiding around Manchester, each one offers brave souls the chance to win a monster prize.

It's easy and free to play and we're giving away loads of prizes, from IMAX cinema tickets to invitations to a secret VIP party at The Printworks with special guests.

Click here to watch the trailer...if you dare!

The Monsters will change every week leading up to the annual event at The Printworks on Halloween weekend.

This week, 24 - 30 September, the Vampires have been let loose!



The Monsters are invisible to the naked eye so download the FREE Augmented Reality app Layar to your mobile and join the Manchester Monster Hunt .

Just go to the App Store on your iPhone or Market on your Android phone , and download the Layar app for FREE. Once Layar is installed, search for Monster Hunt. You can now slay the Vampires on your mobile.

And if you don’t have an iPhone or Android phone, you can still play our online interactive Manchester Monster Hunter game.

Good luck!


      Tiger Tiger
      Hard Rock Cafe
      Cafe Rouge
      Wagamama
      Yum Yum
      Chiquito
      Waxy O'Connor's
      Virgin Active
      Aleef News
      Norwegian Blue
      Pure
      Nando's
      Lloyd's No. 1
      Opus
      Old Orleans
      Odeon
      Henry J Bean's
      Wasabi Sushi and Noodle Bar
      Papa G?s
      Entourage
      Dockers Fish 'n' Chips
      Illusions Magic Bar

      To unsubscribe from The Printworks Newsletter please click here

      WHO CAME FIRST?



      The CFZ are reasonably well known for our animal rescue activities, but Richard has led us into strange new territories by rescuing a dalek!



      http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/Abandoned-Dalek-given-new-home/article-2684148-detail/article.html

      FROM THE ELG MAILING LIST

      PAUL BATTY: David Brierley (Rochdale, Lancs) asks if anyone can identify this little beauty. He found it in his bath recently.

      ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana part 26

      As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`. This 26th collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including the the wife of a carnival freakshow dude called `Lobsterboy` taking out a contract killer against him, an idiot putting a loaded handgun in the oven by mistake, a ghostly Bee Gee, and the meteor thieves of Buenos Aires. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.

      HERE

      OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

      http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

      On this day in 1978 pope John Paul I died in his sleep. Some people believe that the pope's death was no accident and linked to the Mafia, the KGB or Freemasons. Other than there being Mafia involvement in the Vatican church at the time (see, I think, the 13th of April's YNT on the strange death of God's banker for more on this) most of the conspiracy theories don't have a shred of evidence to back them up, but if you want to read more there is actually a Wikipedia page on this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_I_conspiracy_theories
      And now, the news:

      Rare sighting of egret near Inverness
      Snap of a shutter confirms bobcat sighting in Bost...
      Unidentified object in water: China's 'Nessie' or ...
      Narendrapur bird sighting
      Great Gray Owl
      Cameron Lake Monster Mystery Expanding

      One of the most skin-crawling things to come out of the last general election campaign (do-you-see-what-I-did-there?):
      http://www.youtube.com/camerongirls2010

      Good lord, I honestly do think I may vomit.

      Sunday, September 26, 2010

      Bibliography Herpetological Conservation and Biology -New Issue Announcement

      Bibliography Herpetological Conservation and Biology -New Issue Announcement
Volume 5, Issue 2 , September 2010

      The Editorial Staff at Herpetological Conservation and Biology is pleased to announce the release of Volume 5(2), the second issue for 2010. Volume 5 is dedicated to the late Henry S. Fitch (1909 - 2009). Topics include the ecology, life history, conservation, and management of amphibians and reptiles. Besides our regular and diverse offerings of a global perspective on herpetology, we are pleased to include the results from the Symposium of the 6th World Congress of Herpetology entitled "Reproduction in Reptiles: from Genes to Ecology." This issue is open access and freely available to anyone interested: http://www.herpconbio.org. The Editorial Staff thanks you for your continued support, and encourages your continued use and participation in the success of Herpetological Conservation and Biology.
      Sincerely,
Rob Lovich, PhD.
      Communications Editor
      Herpetological Conservation and Biology
      rlovich@herpconbio.org


      This issue is open access and freely available to anyone interested: http://www.herpconbio.org/.

      RICHARD FREEMAN: FASCINATING DINOSAUR BREAKTHROUGH

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121943.htm

      Palaeontologists believe that other contemporary ceratopsian dinosaurs habitually took the Mickey out of Kosmoceratops richardsoni on account of its stupid looking ‘basin haircut’ and silly horns that droop sideways. At one dig site several examples of Cretaceous graffiti have been unearthed. Translations read “Kosmoceratops mates with meat eaters” and “Kosmoceratops is a wazark.”

      Professor Seamus Toddy of Skinningrove University said...

      “We think that Kosmoceratops lived with its mum and dad, despite being in its early 30s. It would have collected stamps and shown a keen interest in train spotting; it was also probably a big fan of Star Trek. Even its name is stupid, only dorks are called Kosmo. Kosmoceratops died out because it never had sex due to the fact that it never met any girls. It probably stayed in its cave looking at its large collection of dinosaur nudie mags instead.”

      D. R. SHOOP: Chinese Cultural Artefact

      Jon,

      McCullough returned from 10 days in Hong Kong yesterday.

      She usually brings me a souvenir in the form of a Buddha, which is my preference. I have many little statues in a variety of odd forms from her past travels, as well as my own. This time she brought me a cheap-ass decaled knock off Mao Mug, which I was very delighted to receive.

      Apparently the old school Commy gift items have become more rare, so I was more than happy to see it. Tomorrow I will happily drink my coffee from this cheaply made mug (hoping the glaze is not lead-based) and think of Hong Kong fondly.

      What does it say?

      My best guess is, “Stupid tourist bought this piece of crap”

      OH, DIDN'T I MENTION IT?

      The music, (and, indeed the title) from yesterday's piece about the swarm of `daddy longlegses` was from the rather excellent Pete Brown, and his band Piblokto who were active in ther aerly 1970s, following the break-up of his earlier band The Battered Ornaments.

      I have always been a massive fan of Pete Brown and have seen him live a couple of times in the last twenty years and he has always been magnificent. He is best known as a poet, and lyricist for Cream back in the day, but I have always been a fan of his solo material...



      And what has this to do with cryptozoology? You may well ask...

      Steve Ignorant is currently on tour playing Crass songs 1977-1984, and I am watching what I can on YouTube. They are gloriously life-affirming and I am so tempted to put some on here, but they are still too tourettes-like for what is essentially a family magazine, and we wouldn't want to be accused of encouraging kiddies to swear would we?

      AT THE AGE OF 51 AND 53 GRAHAM AND I ARE NOW COMPANY DIRECTORS

      It gives me great pleasure to announce that one of the initiatives that I announced in my Keynote Speech at the Weird Weekend has now come to pass. As of last thursday, The Centre for Fortean Zoology, CFZ Press, and The Amateur Naturalist plus all the other things we do within the realms of both Cryptozoology and Natural History are administered by a Company Limited by Guarantee called "CFZ Natural History Ltd".


      A Company Limited by Guarantee is basically a limited company set up not to make a profit, and is the next step to being a charity. There are two Directors: Graham and myself, and as - by law - neither director can benefit financially from the activities of the company, I hope that this will put to bed, once and for all, any accusations of financial impropriety on mine, or Graham's (or indeed Corinna's, because as wife of a Director, she cannot benefit financially either) part. Accounts will be available, as with any other company, from Companies House.

      LEOPARD HAIR UPDATE

      On the 17th August I was happy to announce that Danish Zoologist Lars Thomas had examined hair samples found in Huddisford Woods near Woolsery, and pronounced them to be leopard. I offered the hairs (which were found by Lars, Jon McGowan and a team known as the Four-Teans) to any research group or academic institution who wanted to try and verify Lars's findings. The first person to contact me was Dr Ross Barnett from Durham University who has done DNA analysis on them, and has confirmed that they are Pantherine, probably leopard. He is carrying out further tests to establish the species and subspecies for certain and a full announcement will be made then.

      OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

      http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

      On this day in 1947 Meatloaf was born:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9hLcRU5wE4
      And now, the news:

      Service Seeks Information on Petition To Halt Spre...
      Mapping Road Traffic's Toll on Wildlife (Via HerpD...
      Vietnam Battles US Invaders (Via HerpDigest)
      Star Tortoise Smugglers Shifting Focus to Banglade...
      Bizarre New Dinosaur Species Found in Utah
      Mouse-eating opossums run amok in Brooklyn
      Scientists look at deodorant for New Zealand's sme...
      Yob arrested after he bought £1.99 goldfish and th...

      I'm glad someone 'sole'-d him out to the police.

      Saturday, September 25, 2010

      DAVID MARSHALL: ROCK-POOLING AND LOOKING FOR THE SHONEY?

      The morning of Sunday 12th September was absolutely beautiful as our next Twinning event took a small band of members from STAMPS and Ryedale A.S. to the pier at South Shields for a very special morning.

      On such a clear morning the view over the bay from South Shields pier to Tynemouth Priory was stunning.

      Paul Barrow had organised a rockpool trip and had gone to much trouble making sure everything was right, including health and safety aspects, for what would be a very interesting ‘creature hunt’.

      A typical rockpool at South Shields Pier

      The mounded area around the pier is dotted with rockpools and, as we would find out, many of the rocks here are well anchored into incredibly soft sand. For such a large stretch of beach things were incredibly quiet so only passing Swans and aircraft distracted from our task.

      Our photograph pictures John Douthwaite, Daniel Charters, Paul Barrow and Mark Lyons as our ‘creature hunt’ begins.

      Our task was not easy as we enthusiastically raked through watery sand and turned over rock in pursuit of whatever creatures lurked in the pools. After much searching we managed to uncover a couple of small fish, several Crabs, a living Starfish, large shells complete with occupants and brilliantly coloured red anemones. All of creatures we had found were carefully placed back into places of safety.

      Some of our ‘creature catches’

      For the second part of our morning we conducted a survey of seaweeds found both in the rockpools and upon the beach. We had hoped to record 13 species and note their preferred environment and how abundant these species were? We found several of the targeted species but Paul was disappointed, and concerned, that we were unable to record all 13.

      Seaweed on the beach.

      Finally, we conducted a survey of how many Limpets could be spotted in 60 seconds.

      The two surveys were not conducted light heartedly and the information they revealed will be forwarded to the British Museum of Natural History as part of their national survey - the results of which you can find upon their website.

      As we said our ‘see you soon’, and the STAMPS members departed for home, our day was not quiet over. STAMPS member Bede Kerrigan took Sue, Mark Lyons and myself down the coast towards Whitburn. This gave us the chance to visit the infamous Marsden Bay. As readers of The Aquarium Gazette CD magazine are aware (through the excellent article on modern day Sea Dragons submitted by Richard Freeman for Issue 15) this Bay is alive with grizzly stories and has witnessed more sightings of the Shoney (a mythological/unknown water serpent) than any other area of the Sunderland coastline. You would be extremely lucky to see the Shoney but what you do find are amazing rock formations and a pub/cafĂ© (with an amazing history) built into the cliff face. Our thanks to Bede for taking the time to show us around some beautiful coastline.

      A rock formation at Marsden Bay.

      The great thing with ‘Twinning Days’ is that they allow you to have wonderful times like today and cement friendships. Thank you to Paul and his fellow STAMPS members for the wonderful day we had.

      MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: MANCHURIAN FLYING SNAKES AND HONG KONG UNICORNS

      A day or two ago I was looking up `Old Chinese Natural History Records` on Google, or words to that effect when I came across a web site: http://www.orthodox.cn/localchurch/200406ancientcnhist_en.htm The web site is a long discourse on Chinese knowledge of Genesis and to my pleasure I found an account of a flying snake-like animal which strongly reminded me of Namibia`s flying serpent.The interesting part (for cryptozoologists I mean) is as follows:

      “Here`s an interesting story, which indicates that a few winged dinosaurs may have survived in China into relatively recent times. At the end of the 19th Century, a Russian Orthodox saint named Saint Barsanuphius was stationed in Manchuria to pastor the Russian soldiers during the Russian-Japanese War [10 Feb1904 - 5 Sept 1905-R] From there he wrote in his journal: “ I happened to hear from soldiers that stand at the posts at the Hantanza station, forty miles from Mullin, that two years ago they often saw an enormous winged dragon creep out from one of the mountain caves. It terrified them, and would again conceal itself in the depths of the cave. They have not seen it since that time, but this proves that the tales of the Chinese and Japanese about the existence of dragons are not all fantasies or fables, although the learned European naturalists, and ours along with them, deny the existence of these monsters.But after all anything can be denied, simply because it does not measure up to our understanding”.(1)

      There was a Barsanuphius who died at a monastery at Optina in central Russia in 1913-this is probably the man. Does anyone want to investigate this with me and write it up? Perhaps his journal is mentioned on the Net? I`m about to find out!

      Another story (and this is Part One) is from The China Mail February 21st 1925 is of a living Hong Kong unicorn! Supposedly. No I am not drunk on rice wine, read on-

      HONG KONG HORRORS
      SOME FEARSOME LOCAL MONSTERS
      UNICORN`S GHASTLY MEALS

      Frog deity who angered a Goddess

      Although famed abroad chiefly for its shipping and its commerce, Hong Kong is also a place of supernatural wonders. How many local residents know for instance, that the Colony posseses –chained to the City Hall itself! – a terrible monster which would spread its freedom o` nights devouring policemen and their dogs were it but given the chance – which has, indeed, already made one such ghastly meal? Likewise, how many people here know that crawling painfully up the Peak is a deified Frog Rock which once had its face smacked by a Goddess and is now doing terrible penance for its sins? Yet it is so. Verily!

      [The Frog Rock is Part Two of this blog. Frog Rock reminds me of Amah Rock, a rock above Kowloon in the shape of an amah, or female servant, holding a baby-R]

      TERRIBLE AFFAIR

      “Europeans will laugh when told that the unicorn on the Royal coat-of-arms outside the top of the City Hall (facing the Supreme Court0 can take actual animal shape and rove about at night. But it does.Oh yes. Years ago before the era of electric and gas lights in this island of Fragrant Streams, a European sergeant was patrolling with his dog when the ferocious monster came down and ate the dog and then the master, after the latter had tried to beat it back with his stick. At least this much is vouched for by a story among the Chinese. That the story is given more credence than a mere legend is evident from the fact it is not only related to naughty children by their amahs, but that even today there are many Chinese, common-sense and business sagacity despite, who placed implicit faith in it. Should arguments- backed up by explanation of what the coat-of-arms denotees – be attempted, supporters of the fable will only pour out a torrent of sarcasm concerning new-fangled ideas. “Why” they will say” just go and look at the `horse` and you will see a real iron chain round its neck secured to the wall. The lion opposite to it was borrowed from the set at the base of the fountain outside the other side of the City Hall (since replaced by another one) and with the aid of protective gods, was given the spiritual power with which to exercise a restraining influence over the recalcitrant horse.”

      People who have been in the interior of China for long will know the purport of the two awe-inspiring images outside the doors of big houses. These are the doorkeeper deities and it is commonly believed that, especially in the case of those which face East, the early morning`s sunrays have, in course of time, converted the images into actual gods which take human form at night. Armed with a deadly weapon, they are claimed to have harmed those who would dare approach with evil motives in the dead of night.

      Apparently, the same idea exists with regard to the City Hall unicorn. It is given its malevolent powers because it is shone on by both the sun and the moon. At any rate it is supposed to have become a semi-deity in that it can only climb down at night to fly back when the cock crows. Once secured with the chain, however, it cannot move and the guardian lion is now looked upon as the benevolent deity with the solitary duty of preventing further ravages.”(2)

      1, H. Damascene Ancient Chinese History in the Light of The Book of Genesis: http://www.orthodox.cn/localchurch/200406ancientcnhist_en.htm
      2. The China Mail February 21st 1925

      Richard-The Man from Del Forte

      RUBY SENT THIS - Cattle trounce black bear

      THOUSANDS ON A RAFT

      Whilst frowsting in bed and pottering about on Nature blogs yesterday (wayhay for laptops), I was on Bug-girl's blog (which usually makes me laugh) when I found this. Bug-girl herself admits that it "creeps her out a bit"..


      http://membracid.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/this-even-creeps-me-out-a-little/

      Just in case the headline was too obscure...

      Friday, September 24, 2010

      THANKS TO LARS FOR POINTING ME IN THE DIRECTION OF THIS

      The events leading up to the prospect of appearing on TV started back in August 2009 at the Weird Weekend, held annually by the CFZ (Centre for Fortean Zoology) in North Devon. The four-teans invariably attend, starting with ther cocktail party held on a Thursday night. The party is a chance to mingle and socialise with fellow guests and speakers and can be quite a boozy affair. it's also the place where Dave experienced a missing time episode in 2008. The full bottle of spirit of Louisiana he'd drunk, had of course, nothing at all to do with it........

      Read on

      A WHALE OF A TALE




      This is totally remarkble. In October, 1868, Laura Jernegan, a 6 year old girl from Edgartown, Massachusetts set out on a three year whaling voyage with her father, mother, brother and the ship's crew to the whaling grounds of the Pacific Ocean. The website, produced by the Martha's Vineyard Museum, tells the story of Laura Jernegan and the journal she kept on her voyage.

      OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

      http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

      On this day in 1580 Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world. Drake is also well known for having singed the king of Spain's beard.
      And now, the news:

      White elephant discovery 'a positive omen' for Bur...
      'Sick prank' leaves cat dyed pink in Swindon
      John Wilson lands monster 184lb blue shark in UK w...
      Bears sighted in area towns
      Neanderthals were able to 'develop their own tools...
      Fish with 'human teeth' bit angler

      The 90's were awesome and this clip will show you why, it is of mankind's greatest achievement and the pinnacle of human ingenuity. Everything led up to this one invention and I'm sure you'll agree with me that nothing we do as a species from this point will ever come close to this one point. Lady's and gentlemen I present to you the highest point in our species' history:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WC6EbRQmJ0

      RICHARD FREEMAN: Bird attacks in Malta

      Poachers in Malta have been killing migrating birds illegally and attacking bird watchers. BirdLife Malta and CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) received many reports of protected species being shot after a storm the previous night brought many migratory birds into Malta seeking shelter. A Common Kestrel, a Purple Heron - a species of Conservation Concern in Europe - a Grey Heron, a Night Heron and a little bittern have all been passed to Birdlife with pellets embedded internally.

      Since the start of the hunting season illegal shooting at protected species including Osprey, Honey-buzzard, Eleonora's Falcon, Hobby, Night Heron, Red Knot, Little Egret and Mediterranean Gull has occured. Illegal sea hunting for protected Oystercatchers and Shelduck using high powered speedboats has also been recorded by BirdLife field teams.

      "The denial of the scale of illegal killing of migratory birds by the authorities have so far worked in favour of illegal hunters who once again started blasting protected species out of sky with impunity. " said Tolga Temuge, BirdLife Malta Executive Director.

      BirdLife Malta and CABS will be joining forces in their efforts to monitor and report illegal hunting to the police this month. Last summer poachers hurled rocks at bird watchersand shot out the windscreen of a car. Now police officers on extra duties will be assigned to the conservation camps to ensure the security of the bird watchers who have faced many attacks in the past.

      APOLOGIES..

      I am sorry that I have not been as useful over the last few days as I might have been. However, it seems that at Shosh's wedding last week I caught a cold. And as you may well know, colds and diabetes are not a particularly pleasant mix. I have been in bed for the past two days and have achieved practically nothing.

      I occasionally get out of bed to read my emails, but then (together with my faithful furry companion Biggles) I retreat back to my pit and go back to sleep.

      So, if you have written to me over the past few days and are expecting a reply, please be patient. This bloody disease cannot last forever....

      OLL LEWIS: Crypto cons - The Eccentric Naturalist Part Two

      Returning to England from his South American adventures in 1821 Watson's ship docked in Liverpool where it was inspected by a customs officer to determine whether there were any items aboard liable for import tax. The customs officer took a look at the numerous crates of biological specimens that Waterton had and decided to he should pay a hefty tax on them as surely these were not for a personal collection and Waterton must have intend to sell them. The customs man did not believe Waterton's protests and he had to pay a huge amount of money to bring his scientific specimens into the country. Waterton was not best pleased by these events and vowed he would get his own back upon the jumped up little customs man.

      When Waterton visited Guyana for the fourth and final time while out in the wilds he claims to have met up with a hairy red-faced primate. Those of you familiar with the some of the tales the native Guyanese told Freeman et al during their expedition to Guyana will probably be thinking things like “hang about...” or “A-ha, I wonder if there might be a connection.” in relation to the red-faced pygmies, according to Richard they are not descriptions of the same animal/people because the pygmies were said not to be hairy or fur-covered. Personally, I wonder if Waterton had heard similar tales from the natives and took that as his inspiration for what was to follow, most strange animals or tribes do not appear over night after all.

      Waterton detailed the animal as follows in the fourth journey in his book Wanderings in South America as follows:

      'I mentioned, in a former adventure, that I had hit upon an entirely new plan of making the skins of quadrupeds retain their exact form and feature. Intense application to the subject has since that period enabled me to shorten the process and hit the character of an animal to a very great
      nicety, even to the preservation of the pouting lip, dimples, warts and wrinkles on the face. I got a fine specimen of the howling monkey, and took some pains with it in order to show the immense difference that exists betwixt the features of this monkey and those of man.

      'I also procured an animal which has caused not a little speculation and astonishment. In my opinion, his thick coat of hair and great length of tail put his species out of all question, but then his face and head cause the inspector to pause for a moment before he ventures to pronounce his
      opinion of the classification. He was a large animal, and as I was pressed for daylight, and moreover, felt no inclination to have the whole weight of his body upon my back, I contented myself with his head and shoulders, which I cut off, and have brought them with me to Europe. [Footnote: My young friend Mr. J. H. Foljambe, eldest son of Thomas Foljambe, Esq., of Wakefield, has made a drawing of the head and shoulders of this animal, and it is certainly a most correct and striking likeness of the original.] I have since found that I acted quite right in doing so, having had enough to answer for the head alone, without saying anything of his hands and feet, and of his tail, which is an appendage, Lord Kames asserts, belongs to us.

      'The features of this animal are quite of the Grecian cast, and he has a placidity of countenance which shows that things went well with him when in life. Some gentlemen of great skill and talent, on inspecting his head, were convinced that the whole series of its features has been changed. Others again have hesitated, and betrayed doubts, not being able to make up their minds whether it be possible that the brute features of the monkey can be changed into the noble countenance of man: "Scinditur vulgus." One might argue at considerable length on this novel subject; and perhaps,
      after all, produce little more than prolix pedantry: "Vox et praeterea nihil."

      'Let us suppose for an instant that it is a new species. Well; "Una golondrina no hace verano": One swallow does not make summer, as Sancho Panza says. Still, for all that, it would be well worth while going out to search for it; and these times of Pasco-Peruvian enterprise are favourable
      to the undertaking. Perhaps, gentle reader, you would wish me to go in quest of another. I would beg leave respectfully to answer that the way is dubious, long and dreary; and though, unfortunately, I cannot allege the excuse of "me pia conjux detinet," still I would fain crave a little
      repose. I have already been a long while errant:

      “Longa mihi exilia, et vastum maris aequor aravi,
      “Ne mandate mihi, nam ego sum defessus agendo.

      “Should anybody be induced to go, great and innumerable are the discoveries yet to be made in those remote wilds; and should he succeed in bringing home even a head alone, with features as perfect as those of that which I have brought, far from being envious of him, I should consider him a modern Alcides, fully entitled to register a thirteenth labour.'

      The head and shoulders that Waterton brought back, called 'Waterton's Nondescript' were never taken terribly seriously by the scientific establishment and with most concluding that far from being a head and shoulders they were from a howler monkey's rear end by the skilled taxidermist. The Nondescript is on display to this day in the Waterton collection of Wakefield Museum, though, should anyone wish to peruse this unusual artefact up close.

      As to exactly why Waterton made the Nondescript nobody can say for sure, but according to some the Nondescript's facial features bear a striking resemblance to a certain customs man from Liverpool....