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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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today I am continuing my look through Ash and Lake`s Bizarre Books to see what they have included. My last blog ended with New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers. Today, the first entry is:

Ants and Some Other Insects: an Enquiry into the Psychic Power of These Animals (1904) by Auguste Henri Forel (trans. William Morton Wheeler) (1)

Fish who Answer the Telephone (1937) by Yuri Petrovich Frolov (So that was the strange noise on the phone the other day, Graham!)

“A technological breakthrough that was never fully expoited….” (2)

Did a Hen or an Egg Exist First? Or, My Talks with a Sceptic (1892) by Jacob Horner (3) This book is available on abebooks.co.uk for £8.45 not including postage

Favourite Flies and Their Histories (1955) by Mary Orvis Marbury.(4)

Ho, ho, how very droll! I presume this refers to fishermens flies? This is also available on abebooks.co.uk for £17.25 but a 1988 reprint

Carrots Love Tomatoes (1981) by Louise Riotte (5) £1.34 abebooks

The Longevity of Starved Cockroaches (1982) by Edwin R Willis and Norma Lewis (6)

Here ends Richard`s list of bizarre books on beasts. The book these three blogs has been based upon has been superseded by Fish Who Answer The Telephone and Other Bizarre Books by the same authors (2006)

1.R. Ash and B.Lake Bizarre Books (1987) p.71
2. Ibid p.72
3. Ibid. p.73
4. ibid. p.73
5. Ibid p.74
6.Ibid p.76

And in honour of Jon`s return...


Big a little a bouncing b
The system might have got you but it won`t get me

1 2 3 4

External control are you going to let them get you?
Do you wanna be a prisoner in the boundaries they set you?
You say you want to be yourself By…do you think they`ll let you?...

RICHARD FREEMAN: Tajikstan expedition

Our old friend Dr Chris Clark is planning an expedition into a very remote part of Tajikistan in early July of this year in search of the almasty, the central Asian wildman.

He plans to travel by helicopter to the area in question. This, however, will cost around $6000! He is looking for people interested in joining him on the expedition, in order to share the cost of the helicopter. If anyone is interested in joining Chris, please contact him on this e-mail:



I am very pleased to announce that Strangely Strange but Oddly Normal, the long awaited anthology of writings by one of my favourite Fortean writers, Andy Roberts, is finally available.

It contains a wide cross-section of his writings on subjects as diverse as UFOs, cover-ups, politics, rock music, and my own personal favourite, hidden archaeology, not to mention the terrifying Am Fear Liath Mor: the big grey man of Ben McDhui.

It is a bloody good book and I am very proud that we are publishing it.


We have been back for nearly 48 hours now, and it really doesn't seem like it. Somehow the events of the last few weeks seem almost dream-like, and we are back in England; land of rain, mist and New Labour. However, despite the raft of shite that was awaiting us upon our return, it is good to be home.

I am back doing the blogs again each day, and I would like to thank Graham, Lizwiz and everyone else who has filled in so stalwartly while we were away. However, my body and psyche are still hopping the time zones, so I will be leaving the posting each morning to Graham, and will not be taking up full reins until next week, and even then I shall be joined by Max Blake, the young tyro who even the detractors of the CFZ seem to admire.


I subscribe to a Usenet newsgroup called `Old Hongkong` which once in a blue moon distributes pictures of the erstwhile Crown Colony between the wars. I am collecting these for a project that Richard Muirhead and I have been working on since about 1992.

Whilst on the subject, if you have any old (pre-1970) pictures of Hong Kong, especially of the Mount Austen area, the gardens at the top of Victoria Peak, Peak Mansions (the large white apartment block with the green domes on the roof next to the old Peak Tram upper terminus) or Pokfulam Road, please can you get in touch? with me.

It was the peculiar fauna of Hong Kong which first got both Richard and me interested in things cryptozoological as children (remember, we have known each other about 40 years) and we have been working on a book about the cryptozoological aspects of the area, mixed with a memoir of our shared childhoods, for nearly half that time.

But back to the story.

Usually, however, the afore-mentioned newsgroup sends out nothing but soft porn with amusingly illiterate captions, and adverts for foreign currency exchange. However, occasionally it sends out something massively peculiar - like this.

I have seen photographs of people in cages swimming with sharks before but never of anyone swimming with crocodiles. I reprint them for no other reason than that they are peculiar.

The caption, by the way, reads:

Swimming With Crocodiles - South Africa

Kerry who is also a South African media executive said, "I was a little nervous but very excited to get into the water," "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a chance I didn't want to miss out on", admitting that she checked the cage door was locked before going into the pool. So, who's next?? "

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1920 Patrick Troughton was born. Troughton was best known for his role as the second incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who. When deciding how to play the role, one of suggestions was that he could play the Doctor as a piratical sea captain in blackface wearing a turban. Because that would have been truly cringe-worthy to watch, and rather offensive if the shows were to be repeated in the modern day, we are very lucky that the idea of playing the role as a ‘cosmic hobo’ was suggested instead, which made Troughton’s Doctor one of the most memorable incarnations.

And now, the news:

Tyrannosaurus Rex takes a power shower
Dinosaur Buried Alive 185 Million Years Ago Uncovered in Utah
Beetle 'world's strongest insect'
New Bird Species Picked Out by its Eyes
Mystery Monkey Takes a Dip in Florida
Cro Magnon skull shows that our brains have shrunk

At first glance that’s nothing to ‘cro’ about but I think it provides good evidence that humans have evolved more efficient brains that can work better for the things we need them for and take up less demand on resources.

LIZ CLANCY: Support your local beekeeper! (if you have one)

The National Beekeepers Association are running an 'Adopt a beehive' scheme in order to help combat the severe problems British keepers are having with their populations. The money raised will go towards research into the health of honey bees, as well as educational work for beekeepers. It's an important cause because, according to the website, as much as a third of the mouthfuls of food we eat depends on honey bees because of their vital role in pollination, so even if you don't eat honey, you eat because of our little black and yellow pals.

To adopt one hive costs £29.50 a year, which (as the Daily Express points out) is cheaper than adopting a leopard, and you can find out more about this terribly important cause by visiting