Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, May 31, 2010


...or in this case her friend Becky. It is an American moon moth btw.


Robert Schneck is a jolly good chap, and always sends us stuff of interest. He writes:

Hi Jon, This is very unimportant, but I thought the CFZ would enjoy seeing the menu from Bigfoot's Steakhouse in Seaside, Oregon.


CCTV Picture..

The other day I posted this video, which I was sent by an American TV researcher. I was not aware that it had been so widely distributed and am quite surprised that I have not seen it before. I always look for zoological explanations if I can, and Robert Schneck wrote:

Hi Jon,

Assuming it's not a CGI hoax, it might be a wading bird, an egret perhaps, walking directly towards the camera. Why it's walking around at night I couldn't guess, though something might have disturbed it.



On the other hand, my lovely wife Corinna suggested that it could be a snake rearing up.


We would like to thank Petra Maas for her kind donation of $10. It has been put into a figurative pot in which we are collecting funds to repair the join where roof of the conservatory/fish room meets the rest of the house, which was fairly badly damaged last winter during the gales.

Thank you, my dear....

LINDSAY SELBY: The Nyaminyami

The Nyaminyami is a river creature who lived in the Zambezi River and controlled the life in and on the river. It is worshiped by the Tonga people and said to be a dragon-like creature with a snake's torso and the head of a fish. The Tonga claim sightings of this creature in the Kariba lake. The lake is known for the tigerfish that dwell in its waters but there are over 40 fish species that live in the lake including nkupe, chessa, bottlenose, vundu, barbell and several types of bream. So the waters are very fertile and probably enough to feed a dragon!

In 1950 the Kariba Dam project was started. The Tonga people were told they would have to be relocated and they asked the Nyaminyami to protect them. In 1957, when the dam was almost completed, Nyaminyami struck. The worst floods ever known on the Zambezi washed away the partly-built dam and the heavy equipment, killing many of the workers. The next rainy season the Nyaminyami struck again and brought more floods even worse than the previous year. However, the dam builders refused to give in and 1960 the dam was officially opened. The Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam and is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 420 ft(140 metres) high and 1,900 ft (633metres) long. A lake was formed that measured 280 kilometres up stream through the Kariba Gorge and up to 40 kilometres wide.

As the dam closed the water level rose. Swarms of crickets, rodents and snakes emerged from the undergrowth and tried to escape the rising water. The skies above the lake were filled with flocks of birds feasting on the insects. Many animals retreated inland or made for higher ground only to become trapped on temporary islands created by the rising water. A rescue called Operational Noah run by volunteers and game wardens rescued as much of the wildlife as possible.

The Tonga still live on the shores of Lake Kariba, and still believe that one day Nyaminyami will destroy the dam and they will be able to return to their homes on the banks of the river. They believe that Nyaminyami and his wife were separated by the wall across the river, and the frequent earth tremors felt in the area since the wall was built are caused by the creature trying to reach his wife. Kariba is subjected to unexpected earth tremors. Some have registered over 5 on the Ritchter Scale. The lake also experiences violent and expected storms and squalls that can quickly turn the surface into a dangerous place.

The resettlement of the Tonga people is said to be the worst dam-resettlement disaster in African history. Anthropologist Thayer Scudder, who has studied the people of the area since the late 1950s, described them 'development refugees.' Many live in areas, some of which have been so seriously degraded within the last generation that they resemble lands on the edge of the Sahara Desert. So no wonder they hope for the dam to be destroyed.

The locals and tourists of Kariba look forward to September each year as the Nyaminyami Festivals are held to venerate the river god.

So the question is what could the Nyaminyami be if it was a living creature? Could it be a giant eel? A snake’s torso and the head of a fish maybe fit the description but what about a giant catfish? They have large fish heads and often taper to a narrow end to the body. It is quite possible that some large fish or eel did live in the river many years ago, which gave rise to the legends and the fact there are claims (none I could find documented) that it is still seen in the lake, could point to a large fish. The lake is well stocked with fish of all kinds so a predator large fish or eel would have lots of food. It is a great story and I just wish it had a happier ending for the Tonga people.

Some links of interest:



CORINNA DOWNES: Yesterday's News Today

Lion drags girl, 4, into cage in Russian zoo attack
Chinese Pandas To Go To Survival School
Bigfoot alive in Minnesota?
On Sasquatch's trail in Virginia's Spotsylvania County
Megafauna cave painting could be 40,000 years old
Bigfoot Appeared after Experiments to Cross Apes with Humans
Kitten survives wash and spin in a washing machine

You spin me right round, baby
right round like a record, baby
Right round round round
You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round
(Dead or Alive)

Oops I forgot – yesterday’s was The Sound of Music’s “So Long Farewell”

NAOMI WEST: Jumping spider eating a wasp (on my porch)

Naomi sent this picture to me, and two other of her friends who are the "three people I know will appreciate it". I am posting it here on the CFZ bloggo for the 1,500 people I also know will appreciate it....