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, February 04, 2010


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 23rd trench is a real mixed bag with bigfoot, yowie and yeti cuttings from 1954 to 2009. Good stuff.



Let me introduce you to the new Animals & Men poster girl... Ms Emma Naish. According to her papa, Dr D, she is fascinated with the cover of the new issue and won't put it down...

RICHARD FREEMAN: Hanna Barbera’s teens and monsters

On the back of the runaway success of Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera commissioned a number of knock off series with basically the same concept. A bunch of kids with cute non-human sidekick solve mysteries.

Josie and the Pussycats had an all-girl band, their manager and a black and white cat called Sebastian getting involved in Scooby-esque capers. Antagonists tended to be spies or mad scientists rather than monsters per se, though one episode was based on The Island of Dr Moreau. The episode 'A Greenthumb is Not A Goldfinger' features giant man-eating plants created by an insane botanist. In 'Plateau of the Apes Plot' the group meet ape men and dinosaurs in a lost valley.

The series was reinvented after its initial run of 16 episodes (1971-1972) as Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. It crawled on for another 16 episodes before vanishing. In 2001 a live action film of the series was made (why? It was never even a popular or successful cartoon).

The Funky Phantom revolved around a revolutionary-era ghost called Jonathan Wellington 'Mudsy' Muddlemore and his ghost cat, Boo. After hiding from the British inside a clock Mudsy and Boo die and remain their until freed by a gang of teenagers and their bulldog Elmo. 17 episodes were made between 1971 and 1972. Only one had a truly cryptzoological theme: ‘ We Saw a Sea Serpent.’ Oddly, Mudsey himself was scared of ghosts despite being one. His voice was identical to the Hanna Barbera character Snagglepuss (who himself looked like an overweight Pink Panther).

From 1973 to 1975 Hanna-Barbera gave us 16 episodes of Goober and the Ghost Chasers. Once more a group of teenagers and their dog solve crimes. The titular Goober was a weird blue hound with a tapir-like nose, long legs and a woolly hat. He could become invisible at will. Unlike Scooby-Doo most of the ghosts they chase turn out to be real! Oddly, the gang included animated versions of the kids from the sitcom The Partridge Family! Just what the writers were drinking or smoking is debatable but in one episode, 'Assignment: The Ahab Apparition', they meet the ghost of Moby Dick (shades of the Bake-kujira, the zombie whale from Japanese folklore).

If you think that was odd, how about Hanna-Barbera’s Speed Buggy in which the dog or cat sidekick of the teenagers was replaced with a panting, talking car! Think Scooby-Doo meets The Love Bug. 16 episodes were made in 1973. Episodes included ‘Kingzilla’, which featured giant apes; ‘Island of the Giant Plants’, about monster man-eating plants; and ‘Captain Schemo and the Underwater City’, which featured a giant shark that turns out to be a submarine.

1978 saw Dymomutt, a sort of bionic super hero dog who fought crime with a Batman-style hero called the Blue Falcon, but as there were no teenagers involved, it falls a little outside our remit.

Things were about to get even more surreal. In 1979 The New Shmoo arrived. This teamed up teenaged reporters from Mighty Mysteries Comics with a shape-shifting creature called the Shmoo. This weird-looking beast had its debut in All Cap’s 1940s hillbilly newspaper strip Li'l Abner wherein it produced everything humans could want but for free and hence led to economic crisis. As in Scooby-Doo the characters frequently face faux monsters. In ‘The Valley Where Time Stood Still’ it is surviving dinosaurs, in ‘The Beast of Black Lake’ it’s a lake monster (though a real one turns up at the end) and in ‘The Terror of the Trolls’ its trained chimpanzees masquerading as trolls!

1980 saw the last of these kind of cartoons with the 40-episode Captain Caveman. Defrosted by three teenaged girls (sounds good!) Captain Caveman, or ‘Cavey’ to his friends, is the world’s first superhero. He looks somewhat like a hairy marrow with arms and legs and keeps pet dinosaurs and Stone Age crime fighting devices in his furs. During his stint Captain Caveman met dragons, werewolves and Bigfoot to name but a few.

These teen / sidekick/ monster cartoons seem to have died out after the 1970s with the notable exception of Scooby-Doo, the first and best. But with the current fad of remaking long forgotten cartoons as live action films how much longer can it be before we see Speed Buggy the movie?


Inspector General: Killing of Last U.S. Jaguar a Crime

Confirming our worst fears -- and supporting our lawsuit against the Arizona Game and Fish Department -- the inspector general's office last week released its long-awaited investigation into the death of Macho B, the last known American jaguar, originally requested by the Center and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). The report concluded that the state agency lacked the necessary permits to capture jaguars, that its employees and contractors appeared to have purposefully and criminally captured Macho B, and that it intimidated federal biologists who were concerned about the agency's reckless behavior. It also concluded that critical evidence was destroyed because a key U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision-maker ordered a "cosmetic necropsy" without knowing what the word necropsy means.

As a result of Game and Fish's bungling, Macho B was killed in 2009. The Center has sued the agency to prevent additional capturing and killing of jaguars.

Read more in The New York Times.

Center 48, Bush 0

A settlement won by the Center for Biological Diversity this Monday brought us to a total of 48 victories in overturning corrupt Bush-era decisions harming 55 endangered species. Our latest success put the imperiled Sacramento splittail, a silvery minnow native to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, back on track for Endangered Species Act protection after the Bush administration chose politics over conservation and decided to remove the fish's protections -- which were originally won through a Center lawsuit.

Eight of our victories have reversed decisions to deny Endangered Species Act protections to species clearly threatened with extinction, including the Gunnison sage grouse, Hermes copper butterfly, and Mexican garter snake. We've also reversed decisions denying adequate "critical habitat" protections to 39 animals and plants, protecting millions of acres for species such as the Canada lynx (25 million) and California red-legged frog (1.8 million). We're still in court pursuing justice for seven species, including the West Virginia northern flying squirrel and the Everglades' Cape Sable seaside sparrow.

Read more in the Oakland Tribune.

California Salmon to Be Protected From Water Pumping

Following a notice of intent to sue from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, California is beginning a process to regulate excessive vineyard water diversions to protect imperiled salmon in the Russian River watershed. Vineyards pump water for grapes from streams that are the spawning grounds of federally protected coho salmon, Chinook salmon, and steelhead trout. Vineyards not only draw water during warm weather -- they also pump for "frost protection" for budding grapes during the winter. When freezing temperatures hit the North Coast, vineyard pumping can actually dry up portions of the Russian River and its tributaries, stranding and killing baby salmon.

The California Water Resources Board has recommended that any diversion of water from the Russian River watershed must be monitored to ensure it doesn't dry up salmon and steelhead habitat, and a water-management plan for the basin is underway to regulate pumping. The Board declined to take the emergency action needed to protect salmon this winter -- but its move is a critical first step.

Read more in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Center Cruises to Court to Save 83 Corals

To save our country's "rainforests of the sea" from global warming and ocean acidification, last week the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the feds for failing to respond to our petition to protect 83 ailing corals in U.S. waters. Scientists warn that in just a few decades, all the world's coral reefs and their amazing biodiversity could be lost. When corals are stressed by high ocean temperatures, they're vulnerable to mass bleaching events and death -- and when water chemistry is changed by carbon-dioxide-driven ocean acidification, corals lose their ability to build the protective skeletons they need to survive. But since the Center filed a scientific petition for Endangered Species Act safeguards for the 83 most imperiled U.S. corals last October, there's been no word from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The Center won federal protection for elkhorn and staghorn corals -- the first species to be protected under the Act due to global warming -- in 2006. Now 83 other corals need our help. As Center Oceans Director Miyoko Sakashita put it, "Timing is of the essence to reverse the tragic decline of these vitally important reefs, and we can't afford any delays."

Read more in The Washington Post.

Lawsuit Launched to Fight Massive Minnesota Mine

This Monday the Center for Biological Diversity and partners sent a notice of intent to sue mining company Cliffs Erie over its fouling of waters surrounding a proposed copper mine in northeastern Minnesota. The company's own reports document myriad ongoing violations of water-quality laws caused by past mining. Plans for a newly proposed copper mine, the first of its kind in the state, are to pile its own tailings on top of those from a former taconite mine that are already polluting ground and surface waters -- waters that ultimately make their way to Lake Superior. The new mine would process more than 225 million tons of ore at the processing facility, using a tailings basin already known to be leaking.

"Before the state even considers the approval of a new wave of mining in northeastern Minnesota, it should first require the mining companies to clean up the pollution from past taconite mines," said Center Staff Attorney Marc Fink. "As we all learned as kids, you should clean up one mess before making another one."

Read more in the Duluth News Tribune.

Emergency Petitions Filed to Close Caves, Stop Bat Disease

With white-nose syndrome having killed a million bats across nine states, last week the Center for Biological Diversity filed two new petitions to slow the spread of the deadly bat disease and grant federal protection to two bats at risk of prompt extinction. Our first petition asks federal agencies to restrict visitor access into all bat caves under federal jurisdiction until (or unless) it can be proven that people don't play a part in spreading white-nose syndrome. Careful exceptions to restricted access would be made for essential activities, like ongoing research on the bat disease and activities ensuring human safety. Our second petition requests Endangered Species Act protection for the eastern small-footed bat and the northern long-eared bat, both hit hard by white-nose syndrome -- and both of which were already perilously rare before the disease struck.

Last year, the Center's work compelled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to draft a plan for managing white-nose syndrome -- but much more needs to be done, and fast.

Read more in the Boston Herald.

Protection Sought for Yellow-legged Frog

This Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list all populations of the hardy but highly imperiled mountain yellow-legged frog under the California Endangered Species Act. Because of a Center petition, the frog's Sierra Nevada population is now a "candidate" for federal protection, but only the Southern California population actually enjoys a place on the endangered species list. And all the species' populations need protection, seriously threatened as they are by introduced trout; disease; pesticides; and habitat changes from global warming, drought, and grazing.

Since the Center settled a lawsuit to defend the frog from its primary threat -- fish stocking -- in 2008, the California Fish and Game Commission has taken steps to reduce nonnative trout in the yellow-legged frog's home streams. But the amphibian is still hurt by stocked trout and desperately needs state protection in the absence of federal safeguards.

Check out our press release and learn more about the Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frog.

Murkowski Tries to Gut Clean Air Act

Last Thursday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and others introduced a resolution to block the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act -- and doom the climate as a consequence. As our readers know, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed enacting rules that would use the Clean Air Act to put costly limits on power-plant pollution, a great step toward the CO2 limits we need. But the Murkowski legislation would reverse the EPA's recent finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, pulling the rug out from under efforts to save public health and welfare from catastrophic global warming.

The Center for Biological Diversity was a party in the groundbreaking lawsuit that originally established CO2 as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and enabled its regulation under the law. Said Executive Director Kierán Suckling on Murkowski's efforts to undo our progress: "The Senate should resoundingly reject Murkowski's resolution to block the EPA from doing its job of reducing greenhouse pollution through the Clean Air Act, our strongest and most successful law for protecting the air we breathe and a safe climate."

Read more in The Washington Post.

Utah Wants in on Wolf Killing

His bloodlust piqued by the slaughter of hundreds of wolves in Idaho and Montana, Senator Allen Christensen is seeking to pass a law requiring the killing of all wolves that migrate into Utah. Backed by a posse of hunters and cattlemen, Christensen thinks wolves are out of control in Utah (that would be all two that have entered the state since 1975).

The confused Christensen says his bill is "good for wildlife" but under questioning admitted that "wolves are wildlife, too" (very good, Senator!). Apparently referring to Utah, Christensen declared: "We would like them not to immigrate into here."

Senator Christensen, please check your grammar, logic, and basic legal knowledge. While gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, and the northeast corner of Utah were prematurely removed from the endangered species list last year, they're federally protected in most of Utah -- and the Center for Biological Diversity is now in court to earn back federal protections for all northern Rockies gray wolves, including those in Utah, as we've already done for Great Lakes gray wolves. With the wolves federally protected, any state bill to exterminate them would crash into the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

UPDATE: This week, Utah's top wildlife official, Jim Karpowitz, came out against the bill, saying it would force him to go to federal prison for killing wolves or to state prison for not killing wolves.

Read more on Christensen's bill and Karpowitz's opposition.

State of the Union Addressed, State of the Climate Not

Yesterday in his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama failed -- as he has for the past 12 months -- to advocate for the greenhouse gas reductions necessary for a livable planet. The president already has the tools he needs under the Clean Air Act to set a 350 ppm atmospheric CO2 goal and save us from climate catastrophe. But even while expressing support for creating clean-energy jobs and climate legislation, Obama also called for increased fossil-fuel production and opening new areas to offshore oil and gas development.

Said Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling: "A clean-energy economy does not include continued reliance on dirty coal and further risky drilling for oil in fragile offshore areas. We cannot solve the problem with business as usual, but instead need the change Candidate Obama promised."

Read more in the Guardian.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Macho B photos courtesy Arizona Department of Fish and Game; Sacramento splittail by Tina Swanson, USFWS; coho salmon by Ken and Mary Campbell, NPS; Monipora flabellata (c) Keoki Stender; Lake Superior courtesy Wikimedia Commons/XopherSmith under the Creative Commons attribution license; Northern long-eared bat courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Jomegat under the GNU free documentation license; mountain yellow-legged frog by Adam Backlin, USGS; smokestacks by Alfred Palmer, US Farm Security Administration; gray wolf by John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS; Barack Obama courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Catherine Szalkowski under the GNU free documentation license.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us. Change your address or review your profile here.



I wonder if your members would be interested in this event in London on March 4:



David McKeegan

LINDSAY SELBY: Bigfoot in Guatemala?

The Sisemite is a Bigfoot/ Yeti type creature reported to live in the Mountains of Central America and Guatemala. The creature is also cited in the folklore of Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The name varies by region; the original name is said to be Tzitzimilt, which became in Spanish, sisimite, and is also written as Sisimito, Sisemite, cicimite, sisimique and even sometimes called Dontos (though that may be a mistake on the reports as Dantas is the local name for a Tapir, I believe). What is interesting is that some places in Guatemala and Honduras have the name 'El Sisimite.'

The creature is often said to be 6 feet (2 metres) to 8 feet( 2. 6 metres) tall, ape-like and walks with a bipedal gait of long strides. Its fur/hair is described as shaggy and long and that it sweeps the ground as the creature walks. The Sisemite’s vocalisation is reported to be very loud and piercing, and to be heard for miles around the mountains.

In Chorti folklore the sisemite is a rapist who abducts human women. (Similarities here with Bigfoot, said to abduct humans)

In Guatemala the Sisemite is described as an ape with human-like face, but so big that he could "cross the Motagua river just walking." It is also said to have glowing eyes and big backwards feet. (Some monkeys can rotate their feet so not quite as far-fetched as it sounds).

The similarities between stories of bigfoot, yeti and the Sisemite could mean a genus of large ape or a possible human /ape hybrid either still lives or once lived in remote places. Nearly all the places where these creatures are reported are wilderness or mountains and not very accessible nor habitable for humans. Maybe they retreated up there after the ice age or maybe folklore is just similar all over the world and it is just a story. But stories have to start somewhere and even if they don’t exist now, they may have done in the past and the stories of encounters have been passed on through oral history. There is often some truth in old stories I have found and if these creatures are no longer with us, someone may find a fossil or remains to verify they existed.

Story of encounter from Panama


See also the book Abominable Snowmen, by Ivan T. Sanderson,1961 chapter 8

See also this site http://kengerhard.com/

By a CFZ cryptozoologist who went to hunt for the creatures in Belize in 2004 and 2006

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1951 famous astrologer Russell Grant was born. Personally, I think astrology is bunkum but it is popular with a lot of people for some reason and can certainly be classed as ‘Fortean’.

And now, the news:

Lesbian albatrosses to raise chick
Climate change causes wolverine decline across Canada
Close encounters with Japan's 'living fossil'
New book commemorates talented rabbit
Owner killed by dogs he saved
Eat 'Sexy' Swine, Says Argentina's President
Language teacher wanted for Panda

That’s just panda-ing to the animal….


You tried to make a posting earlier, prefacing it with:

'Jon, I hope you will allow this post to be put through because I feel that I have a valid point to make.'

Is this your way of acknowledging that all your other posts have been malicious and hurtful, and without a `valid point to make`?

No Matter.

For months you have been intermittently orchestrating a smear campaign against us on various forums purely because you believe that the CFZ is a threat to your own pathetic little organisation. I don't care what point you are trying to make. I don't even care if you are writing positive reviews of all my books and sending Richard a little present. You are banned, permanently, both under the name `Highland Tiger` and the other pseudonyms behind which you hide. This ban will never be lifted. And I shall do my best to have you banned from any other forum in which you spout your vile drivel. If cryptozoology and allied disciplines are to progress then there is no place in it for vicious schoolyard bullying of the type in which you deal.