CFZ Newsletter 2nd July 2006
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July 02 2006
Life at the CFZ continues apace with as always seems to be the case lots of things happening.
THE GAMBIA EXPEDITION
The six person expedition to The Gambia leaves the UK on Tuesday morning. The team have three objectives:
· To dig up part of a beach where an amateur naturalist claims to have buried the carcass of a mysterious fifteen foot sea creature
· To get the first filmed witness testimonies of a dragon-like creature, known to the natives as `Ninki Nanka`, which has terrorized the tiny African state for generations, and has reportedly killed people as recently as the 1990s
· To get the first photographs and film of Armitages Skink (Chalcides armitagei) a tiny lizard first described in 1922 and only rediscovered in 1989.
Team members are:
· Chris Moiser: Biologist and team leader
· Dr Chris Clark: Engineer
· Lisa Dowley: First aid and security expert
· Richard Freeman: cryptozoologist
· Oll Lewis: Ecologist
· Suzi Marsh: computer expert
You can follow the progress of the expedition at:
There will be regular updates and photographs as and when we get them.
Watch this space!
As part of our ongoing programme of research into local ecology here in North Devon, and also as part of our commitment to education and youth work, we have recently purchased a moth trap. To say that we were overwhelmed by the results of our first nights trapping is an understatement! We caught something in the region of forty species and the results can be seen in the `Wild Woolsery` section of the website.
I have also written a eulogistically enthusiastic blog entry on the subject which can be seen at http://wildwoolsery.blogspot.com/2006/07/moth-trapping-ever-since-i-was-14-and.html and the first batch of photographs can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wild_woolsery/sets/72157594184586798/
However, I have not yet managed to finish the identification process, so if there are any keen entomologists out there who fancy lending a hand, have a gander at the pictures and tell me if you know what the unidentified species are.
NEW ISSUE OF `ANIMALS & MEN`
Issue 38 is now nearly finished and I sincerely hope that we shall be starting to print it this week. The contents are:
p4 Faculty of the CFZ
p20 Nick Redferns letter from America
p23 Mystery Cat Diary
p25 Big cats in the bush
p29 Aquatic monster study group
p33 Bigfoot notebook
p38 The original `Gorilla`
p43 Cyclops cat
p44 COVER STORY: The bald dog
p50 CFZ People
p59 The Sycophant
60 Cartoon by Mark North
As many of you will be aware, some idiot with too much time on his hands hacked into the CFZ web site earlier this year and destroyed our links engine. Luckily our old pal Elliot Saunders came to the rescue with a backed up version which he had on his computer somewhere. Well done Elly! I don#t know what we would have done without you.
We also have a new CafePress shop which features a wider range of merchandise than before including exclusive merchandise for the 2006 Weird Weekend, and the Gambia Expedition. Please support us by buying from this shop .
NEW ARRIVALS IN THE CFZ MENAGERIE
We have recently acquired a trio of axolotls, but the most exciting arrival of recent months is a trio of caecilians. This species Typhlonectes natans is rare in captivity in the UK, and we are very pleased to have them.
My ex-wife used to say that one of the most annoying things about being involved with me was when we went to a pet shop together. Apparently I always behaved in exactly the same manner. (Indeed, according to my present associates, I still do.) I would stride in the door as if I owned the place and then sidle sheepishly towards the darkest recesses of the back of the shop. I would then proceed to ignore the pretty things in cages and follow my own agenda.
Not for me cages full of blue budgerigars twittering away a pointless existence of sunflower seeds and cuttlefish. I eschewed tanks of neon tetras, or boxes of hamsters, scurrying around busily. No, as my quondam lady-friend so sagely pointed out, I would unerringly make my way towards a murky corner where I would find something large, slimy, dark brown, expensive and smelly, which probably delivered a nasty bite, and I would usually buy it!
When I was a small child, my godmother bought me a book called Reptiles and Amphibians of the world. In it I read about a strange and obscure group of amphibians called caecilians. Weird worm-like creatures, they are found all across the tropics, and range in size between a couple of inches, and just over a metre. Somer are terrestrial, living underground or in rotten logs, and others are aquatic.
The aquatic ones, especially typhlonectes natans - a species from northern South America, are occasionally included in shipments of tropical fish, and sold under the name of rubber eels. They aint eels, and they aint made of rubber, but as soon as I read the description of them I was immediately entranced, and was determined that one day I should posess a specimen.
It took me nearly forty years, but a few weeks ago I finally tracked down a trio - two males and a female, for £35, and we live in high hopes that we shall breed them.
Last weekend we participated in the Open Gardens scheme which happens every year in Woolsery. We were expecting, say, fifteen or twenty people, but we had 203!
We decided to open up our collections to the public for the first time, and Richard, Oll and I (but particularly Oll), spent all weekend showing the animals and the beginnings of our museumexhibits to visitors. We had a remarkable response, with only one adverse comment from someone who claimed to be picking up negative psychic emanations from our softshell turtle.
It was a great success, and we have decided that we shall run several open days a year from now on. However, as part of our commitment towards the cryptozoological community, if you want to visit us, see the animals, drink our tea, and peruse the library, just email us for an appointment, and even if we are not having an open day we shall do our best to welcome you.
Plans for the CFZ Museum are continuing apace, and our builder mate Rob (who also happens to be chairman of BUFORA) will be starting work on converting the outbuildings in the autumn. This is going to be a heck of an expensive operation, especially because the present roof is asbestos and needs to be replaced. We also have our eye on some rather expensive exhibits, so if you are feeling generous please dip into your pockets and send us a donation either by cheque drawn on a UK bank made payable to `CFZ Trust`, or via our paypal account jon@...
All donations will be particularly gratefully received, because especially at the moment we are flying by the seat of our pants financially, and I am determined that our programme of research, expeditions, and expansion will continue even if I have to beg or borrow the money.
PROBLEMS WITH EBAY
Someone hacked into our Ebay shop account recently, and although no permanent damage seems to have been done, our account is on temporary hold, pending them sorting it out. This will not effect things that are already for sale, but at least for the moment, we cannot put any more items up for sale, so forgive us if our stock is limited for a while.
However, if you wish to, you can buy direct from us. The following books are available:
Rising of the Moon (1st Edition) by Jon Downes and Nigel Wright (1999) £20
Rising of the Moon (2nd Edition) by Jon Downes and Nigel Wright (2005) £15
The Owlman and Others (30th Anniversary Edition) by Jon Downes (2006) £15
The Blackdown Mystery by Jon Downes (2000) £9.95
Only Fools and Goatsuckers by Jon Downes (2001) £9.99
Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry by Jon Downes (1996) £9.99
Monster of the Mere by Jon Downes (2002) £12.50
Monster Hunter by Jon Downes (2004) £14.99
Dragons: More than a myth? By Richard Freeman (2005) £14.99
While the Cats Away by Chris Moiser (2005) £7.99
The Beast and I by Paul Crowther (2005) £7.99
Big Cats in Britain 2006 Yearbook edited by Mark Fraser (2006) £9.99
Tickets are selling fast for this years event which will be held in Woolfardisworthy Community Centre, just a five minute walk from the CFZ. The latest confirmed speakers are:
7.00 p.m Cocktail party at the CFZ
Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon EX39 5QR
noon - 5.00 p.m Open Day at the CFZ
Doors open at 6.00
6.45 7.15 Introduction
7.15 8.00 BOB MORRELL The Beast Gods of Egypt and the Ancient World
8.30 - 9.15 JEREMY HARTE Drunken Dragons: Capturing the sozzled monster in fact and folklore
9.15 9.45 BREAK
9.45 - 10.30 MATTHEW WILLIAMS Mystery animals and Crop Circles
doors open at 10.00
10.30 11.00 RICHARD INGRAM: Scientific Conjouring Tricks
11.00 11.45 LIONEL BEER: The Search for Camelot
11.45 12.15 BREAK
12.15 1.00 PAUL CROWTHER: The Beast and I - lighter moments on the track of the Beast of Bodmin
1.00 1.30 BREAK
1.30 2.15 GORDON RUTTER: An imaginary zoo - Animal fakes and frauds
2.15 2.45 BREAK
2.45 3.00 QUIZ
3.00 4.00 TIM MATTHEWS: Dragons - A different Viewpoint
4.00 4.30 BREAK
4.30 5.30 LARS THOMAS: Scandinavian Lake Monsters
5.30 6.00 BREAK
6.00 7.00 PAUL CROPPER: The Yowie - Australia's Yeti
7.00 7.30 BREAK
7.30 8.30 NICK REDFERN: How British Security Services spied on UFO researchers
8.30 8.45 CFZ AWARDS
8.45 9.15 BREAK
9.15 10.15 RICHARD ET AL: To Gambia chasing Dragons; 2006 Expedition report
doors open 10.30
From 10.30 for an hour Paul will be conducting an informal workshop and presenting an exhibition of evidence for Bigfoot.
11.30- 12.15 PAUL VELLA: Bigfoot
12.15 12.45 BREAK
12.45 1.30 ANDREAS TROTTMANN: Lake Monster and Dragon traditions in Central Europe
1-30 2.00 BREAK
2.00 2.45 CHRIS MOISER: The Wrangaton Lion (and the Freedom of Information Act)
2.45 3.15 BREAK
3.15 4.00 RONAN COGHLAN: The Goatman Cometh
4.00 4.30 JONATHAN DOWNES: Keynote Speech and Closing Remarks.
Tools and Techniques for Mystery Cat Research (Chris Moiser, Paul Crowther, Mark Frazer)
Chasing Britains lake monsters (Oll North)
Making Monsters (Creaturama, Anthony James)
Big Cats in Britain (Mark Frazer, BCIB)
Creaturama (Anthony James)
Cryptozoological Paintings (Sam Shearon)
Exhibition of pictures of monsters by the local children
However, it looks probable that Larry Warren will be there on the main stage at some point during the weekend, and we will also be showing some cryptozoological films including the premiere of a new documentary about the CFZ, and the film Short Man of the Forest (see below.
Not bad for twenty quid is it?
You can find lots of details at http://www.cfz.org.uk/conferences/weirdweekend/ww2006/ww06a.htm
Including a list of accommodation in the area. I strongly suggest that if you are thinking of coming, that you book your tickets and accommodation quickly to avoid disappointment.
TH...TH...THATS ALL FOLKS
That just about wraps it up for this issue. As always we would like to stress that running the CFZ is an expensive business, and we need as much help as we can get. If there is anybody out there who is minded to give us gifts of time, expertise, equipment, or money then please get in touch.
If you are not a member, why not think about joining. You can do it online at our website or by post from the CFZ office. Subscriptions are £12 (UK) £15 (EEC) £22 (Rest of world). You get four issues of our journal, and the chance to join in our activities around the world .
Onwards and Upwards,
Jonathan Downes (Director, CFZ)
Centre for Fortean Zoology
Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon, EX39 5QRTelephone +(0044) 1237 431413/ Mobile 07901 935443