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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Book to Review

Received in the mail today… a review copy of Michael Mayes' brand-new book Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America from Anomalist Books. Looks very interesting! I will have a review up soon.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Next Generation Initiative is Live!



The first post on the CFZ's Next Generation Initiative is up!

We now have things rolling. The Facebook page should be up very soon, too.

Check out the blog here.

Crypto-Kid - Michael Mayes Tonight

Colin Schneider's show is back tonight at 8.

Here's info on tonight's episode:

"Tonight on the Crypto-Kid, I will be joined by the Texas Cryptid Hunter Michael Mayes to talk about the various cryptids of Texas and his new book Shadow Cats."
Tune in live on WCJV Radio. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Centre for Fortean Zoology Next Generation Initiative

The Next Generation Initiative is a new subgroup of the CFZ for young people who are interested in getting involved with the cryptozoological field. The NGI is codirected by Colin Schneider and myself. Colin will be running the social media for the group (which should be up
Soon) and I will be running the new blog with news about our work, new discoveries, and lots of advice to people our age and younger getting into the field. Right now nothing is up but the first post will be up soon.

The NGI blog can be found here.
I will link to the social media account when it is up.

If you know any young kids or teenagers seriously interested in cryptozoology, please share!!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Small Town Monsters 2018 Kickstarter



From a press release on Dread Central:

"In 2018 three legendary monsters get the documentary treatment when award-winning production company, Small Town Monsters, unleashes The Flatwoods Monster, The Bray Road Beast, and On the Trail of… Champ. Turning to Cryptid enthusiasts and lovers of the strange and spooky alike, the studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the three projects which will be released beginning with 'Flatwoods Monster' in April, 'Champ' in June, and 'Bray Road Beast' next Fall. Small Town Monsters has successfully funded all their films through Kickstarter, with last years' 'The Mothman of Point Pleasant' breaking records when it secured its initial funding goal in under two hours.
"The Flatwoods Monster is a short-form documentary which takes a look at a bizarre encounter between residents of the town of Flatwoods, West Virginia and a mechanical, fire-breathing 'thing' on a wooded hill in September of 1952. Years alter, the saga is considered one of the most important UFO events in history. The sighting was eventually investigated, and subsequently covered up, by the United States Air Force. Viewers will learn about a true event, which has since been relegated to the pages of myth.
"'Flatwoods' director, Seth Breedlove says about the film, 'It's a retro-styled throwback to the classic monster movies we all grew up loving… only the monster in this story isn't simply a fictional character!'
"Meanwhile, On the Trail of… Champ, shot last summer in Vermont on Lake Champlain, takes you deeper into the lore of lake monsters than you've ever gone. Join investigators, Scott Mardis, Katy Elizabeth and William Dranginis as they dive into the murky waters of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, in search of an undiscovered species considered impossible by science. Filmmaker, Aleksandar Petakov was present for the largest, single quest to search for evidence of the creature in history and what they discovered might just change your mind about real monsters...
"Finally, the fabled beast who lives on Bray Road near Elkhorn, Wisconsin is at the center of The Bray Road Beast, which promises to take viewers on a wild ride down one of the scariest stretches of blacktop in middle America. The Bray Road Beast is a terrifying, werewolf-like creature that has stalked the midwest for the better part of a century. Rising to prominence in the 1990's thanks to a best-selling, non-fiction book by author, Linda Godfrey, the beast became the focus of numerous television shows and fictional films.
"The Kickstarter campaign is now live at… Flatwoods Monster, Bray Road Beast & Champ Documentaries  and rewards for backers include everything from posters to DVD copies of the film, to executive and associate producer credits. The campaign also has an exclusive Bray Road Beasts statue by renowned sculptor Jean St Jean of CreatuReplica.
"Learn more about Small Town Monsters at smalltownmonsters.com." 
 
I got this up a little later than usual, but there are still 16 days to support the Kickstarter for this year's films!
 

 
 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Old/Rare Book Collection

Since 2010, I've amassed a collection of over 200 books on cryptozoology and the unexplained. While I now mostly get new releases to review, I have quite a few very old and/or very rare books as well. In this post I thought I'd share some of them.

The Mystery of the Loch Ness Monster
By Jeanne Bendick
This was the first book I read on any cryptozoological subject and the reason I became interested. It is also the first book that started my collection back in December 2010. Published 1976.

Champ: Beyond the Legend
By Joseph W. Zarzynski
This 1984 book was my 4th book in my collection, and also happens to be a first edition hardcover, with a nice dust jacket, and signed by the author!


Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us
By John Green
A book I have a few copies of… this is a first edition 1978 hardcover.

The Mothman Prophecies
By John Keel
A first edition hardcover of John Keel's classic, still with a dust jacket.

Champ Quest 1999 & 2000
By Dennis Jay Hall
Two extremely rare books by Dennis Jay Hall. It took me years to find copies of these, and then I ended up getting both of them within the span of probably 2-3 months! Something really cool to have in my collection.

The Abominable Snowman
By Ralph Izzard
A book about the Yeti from the 1950s.

The Sherpa and the Snowman
By Charles Stonor
Another book on the Yeti from the 1950s.

The Magic Zoo
By Peter Costello
Costello is also the author of the cryptozoological classic In Search of Lake Monsters. In this book, he takes a look at mythical creatures throughout the world and looks for explanations in real animals and how they inspired the stories.

Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia
By Tony Healy and Paul Cropper
This is probably one of the rarest cryptozoology books out there. I happened to find one in excellent condition in a used books store that was signed by both of the authors! It is an excellent examination of Australian cryptids and one of the best crypto books I've read.


Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?
By Roger Patterson
Whether you believe his Bigfoot film is real or not, this book is almost like a 'holy grail' of Bigfoot books to have in a collection. It was published by Patterson in 1966, one year before the film was taken.

The Ghost of North America
By Bruce S. Wright
An old book examining Eastern panther sightings. Hardcover, still has dust jacket, too.



New Mailing List

To TCZ readers and those interested,

I've created a new mailing list you can sign up for to get updates about the blog. The link can be found at the top of the right sidebar on this page when viewed on a computer (if on a mobile device, check 'view web version'). I'll be sending out updates about the blog and rundowns of posts for each week once I get it going.

Sign up and tell others too!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Beasts of the Bush - Arrived

Got a copy of Patrick Gallagher's new book Beasts of the Bush today. It is a collection of old newspaper accounts concerning yowies, bunyips, and other Australian cryptids.

Look for a review within the next few weeks!


Sunday, February 4, 2018

David George Gordon Talks Sasquatch - Can Citizen Science Really Prove Anything?

A new article is up on Key Peninsular News on a recent talk David George Gordon, author of The Sasquatch Seeker's Field Manual, gave on the existence of Bigfoot. It reads:

"A standing-room-only crowd spilled out of the Brones Room and into the lobby of the Key Center Library on Jan. 20 for a presentation on Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, given by author David George Gordon. The talk was part of the Humanities Washington's Speakers Bureau program.
"Gordon is the author of 'Sasquatch Seeker's Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America's Most Elusive Creature,' as well as nearly two dozen more books about the outdoors and its denizens.
"The word 'Sasquatch' comes from the Salishan, a native language of the Pacific Northwest, and first appeared in print in a Canadian magazine in 1929, Gordon said. The article described Native American stories from the Fraser River Valley of a race of huge, hairy man-monsters who inhabited remote forests at high altitude.
"'There are lots of different ideas about what the Sasquatch looks like,' Gordon said. 'It also turns out it's not just Northwest tribes; you get stories from the Seminole Indians in Florida about these kinds of creatures. And, it's not just North America. There are similar stories from indigenous cultures in Africa, Australia and Asia.'
"'But the actual amount of evidence gathered has not been that impressive,' Gordon said. 'What I'm really here to talk about is citizen science. It means getting people like you trained to collect accurate information about nature and the environment. With more eyes and ears out there to gather clues, we'd probably be getting somewhere.'
"Gordon described the technology brought to bear on finding Sasquatch in recent decades and its shortcomings. 'They've used everything from infrared scopes, aerial surveillance, satellite imagery, game cameras hidden in trees. They've captured amazing images, but so far we're not getting much information on Sasquatch,' he said.
"But all that technology isn't necessary, Gordon said. The average smartphone has a camera and can record audio and provide GPS coordinates.
"One audieece member then played an audio recording he had made near Randle, Washington. 'It was the middle of the night, 1 or 2 in the morning, so we went out of our tents and I just got my phone and pressed record,' he said. The recording included voices of the campers and the sound of them moving through the brush, interrupted by unusual, somewhat distant animal-like screams spaced a few seconds apart and coming from different directions.
"'I reported it to BFRO and they said there'd been another sighting near Yellowjacket Creek,' he said. The Bigfoot Field Research Organization collects and analyzes data on possible Sasquatch encounters across North America.
"Evidence can also be as simple as photographs of footprints.
"'It's not necessary to make plaster casts of footprints anymore,' Gordon said. 'If you take photographs from lots of different directions, you can make a composite and, if you have enough data, you can print them on a 3-D printer.' Just as important, he said, is to record the series of steps, 'so we can tell how fast it was moving, how large it might have been.'
"There's also the importance of collecting physical evidence and maintaining a chain of custody to protect its integrity.
"'A lot of times I talk to people who say they've found Sasquatch hair,' Gordon said. 'And then they say they sent it to a lab and that they never heard from the lab and they've squandered their entire sample.'
"Members of the audience countered that there is a large financial incentive to not allowing such evidence to be made public. 'Follow the money,' said one man. 'Billions of dollars could be lost if this thing is real. It would lock up all kinds of land.'
"Gordon said he had heard similar sentiments before. 'I talked to loggers in Clarkson in Idaho who said on lots of occasions, they'd encounter Sasquatch beings but they didn't say anything because they didn't want to get work halted,' he said.
"Other audience members described their own experiences, from calls and 'wood knocks' in the night, to one man's recent experience tracking three Sasquatch near Lake Cushman. 'People say they're dangerous, they're not,' he said.
"'People ask me all the time, 'Do you believe in the Sasquatch?' and I have to say I'm kind of a fence-sitter,' Gordon said. 'Part of the reason I wrote my book was for people to get a sense of whether this was a real thing, but mostly it's about how to gather evidence. If you go out with the right focus and training and equipment, you're going to get more out of your trip to the great outdoors and maybe shed some light on this centuries-old mystery.'"

Would Gordon's "evidence gathering" techniques really work though?  I think not, and have a couple reasons why.

But, before we get to that, Gordon said the word "sasquatch" is a Native American word, when really it is nothing of the sort. It was coined by J.W. Burns in the 1920s, as an anglicized version of several native names combined. For more on that, check out this article.

First of all, Gordon says that we should not have to make plaster casts of possible Bigfoot footprints anymore because photos from your iPhone should be enough. I don't really feel like that would work, especially since most footprints can easily be faked, and 'dermal ridges' on the footprints can be caused by the drying plaster.

Secondly, he says that if you have what you think could be Bigfoot hair, to keep hold of it and not send it for examination, because labs have "squandered the sample." Labs probably examined it and found it to be bear hair if they did get it, and there isn't really that much you can get from hair anyway. It is hard to get DNA from hair except where it attaches to the skin. And, DNA testing can cost thousands of dollars, so it isn't always easy to do.

Gordon also says that game cameras, infrared imagery, satellites and other technology aren't necessary because people have iPhones! If our most advanced satellites, night vision technology, etc. can't find anything, what makes him think someones smartphone can?

Lastly, Gordon thinks 'citizen science' is going to be the way Sasquatch is found. He thinks people going out there with their phones trying to collect 'evidence' to prove Sasquatch is real will find it. Does he not realize that is what people have been trying to do since the '50s, and they still haven't found anything? Also, they should not go out looking for Sasquatch; if you go out expecting to find one or trying to prove that they are real, you are more likely to think a twig snap or anything else is sign of a Bigfoot. Examine the evidence (which there is not a lot of) and see if it points to Sasquatch or something else.

Overall, the things that Gordon says to keep doing (and which people have been doing for years) won't help find a possible unknown creature.


Bigfoot: West Coast Wild Men

Bigfoot: West Coast Wild Men is a new book by Timothy Renner. It is a collection of old newspaper reports of "wild men" in California, Oregon, and Washington state.

Below is the book description from Amazon:

"Whether presented comedically in popular culture or explored as a serious scientific curiosity, giant, hairy, manlike creatures have become well known entities in these modern times. These bipedal monsters have been called by many names - most commonly 'Bigfoot' and 'Sasquatch' - but these terms have only been in our popular vocabulary since the 1950s. Long before that time people were seeing and documenting the creatures. Many old newspaper accounts tell of encounters with 'wild men,' 'gorillas,' 'ape-men', and 'hairy giants,' issuing unearthly howls and leaving mysterious footprints in their wake. No matter the names given to the creatures, from the descriptions of their appearance and behavior, consistent from the earliest newspaper articles to modern reports, people have been seeing Bigfoot for as long as we have been keeping records. This volume collects newspaper articles from California, Oregon, and Washington dating from the 1850s through the 1920s. Herein are tales of huge gorillas roaming wild in the California hills, hairy giants haunting Oregon, and wild men attacking women in Washington. Read about a gorilla-like creature killed by hunters who described its appearance in great detail; a wild man who visited the campus of a major university on several occasions; and a strange dreamlike tale of a young man abducted by a hairy biped and taken to its underground lair."

Saturday, February 3, 2018

"Impossibly Large Bird" Spotted in Alaska

Has a thunderbird been seen in Alaska? Yesterday, Juneau Empire reported on a sighting that occurred in Mendenhall Valley last month…

The article reads:

"According to several eyewitness reports, a bird with a wingspan nearly the width of Mendenhall Loop Road has been spotted in the Mendenhall Valley.
"The cryptozoological curiosity stems from a post in the popular Facebook page 'Juneau Community Collective,' brought to the attention of the Empire by several readers. The Empire couldn't track down a clear explanation of what the bird was, but we did talk to some bird experts and did a little digging on similar sightings around Alaska.
"Here's the original post, from eyewitness Tabitha Bauer:
"'Attn; I was just driving by the movie theater in the Valley and there was a huge black bird flying above the road. The wingspan had to be at-least 20 feet, it was almost as wide as the read. I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything like that, it freaked me out. It was not a raven or an eagle. This isn't a joke. This thing was HUJE, almost the size of a small airplane. Did anyone else see it?'
"The sighting was backed up by several others in a  long comment thread on the post. Some were poking fun at the idea of a thunderbird or pterodactyl in the valley, but others weren't so skeptical.
"Bauer, recounting the sighting to the Empire a few days after spotting the bird, said it was 'like an eagle, but five times as big.' She couldn't think of any other way to describe the odd encounter.
"She spotted it around 4 p.m. on Jan. 16, what would have been dusk. Bauer was driving to the bank, alone in her car.
"'Right before the movie theater, I looked ahead of me and it was towards Superbear direction,' Bauer said, referencing the grocery store in the Mendenhall Mall and Gross Alaska theatre's Glacier Cinema.
"There was rain on her windshield, so she turned on her wipers to clear the view.
"That was when she saw a massive, jet-black bird with a short tail flying level with the treetops over Mendenhall Loop Road toward her. Bauer said the bird flapped its wings, soared a little higher, and flew at a fast clip over her car about 50 feet in the air.
"'I looked up and right at that point, there was a gigantic, huge black bird flying right above my truck. it was basically following the roadway along the treetops.
"'I slowed down to try to get  a better look at it. It was heading toward the glacier, the wingspan was almost as wide as the road,' Bauer said, adding, 'It was the biggest thing I've ever seen in my life. It was very concerning. I've never seen anything like that.'
"Bauer said that it definitely had feathers, but she couldn't make out a beak.
"'The body of it itself had to have been six to eight feet,' Bauer said. 'I know it sounds nuts - I've been getting a lot of crap on Facebook about it like I am crazy - but I wanted to post it in case anyone else had seen it.'
"Another woman, who asked that the Empire use only her first name, Diane, said she saw something very similar - this time perched, or attempting to perch, in a tree near her house late at night a few years ago.
"Diane went outside to smoke a cigarette at her Lemon Creek home and noticed that all the birds in the area were excited.
"'All you heard was the whooshing sound in my tree. I went inside and grabbed a flashlight. It was so large, I couldn't even get an outline of what type of bird it was,' Diane said.
"Diane noticed downed branches littered her yard in the morning. 
"'That sounds crazy, but it was huge,' she said. 'I don't even go camping anymore.'
"Similar sightings
"Both of these accounts sound similar to a national headline-making event in 2002, when a very large bird was spotted in Southcentral Alaska.
"A heavy equipment operator from Togiak spotted the bird then.
"'At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes,' the Alaskan Dispatch News (now the Anchorage Daily News) quoted Moses Coupchiak, 43, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, as saying. 'Instead of continuing toward me, it backed to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane.' 
 "So what could this be? It's debatable what the biggest bird in Alaska is, but one candidate is the black-footed albatross, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raptor biologist Steve Lewis said. They can have a wingspan of  6-8 feet.
"But it's highly unlikely an albatross would venture into the valley. Strong winds can sometimes blow an albatross inland, but they're generally ocean-going birds that stick to the coast, Lewis said.
Albatross

"'Over the water there's a potential to see something that may have wings like an albatross, but wouldn't be jet back and wouldn't be over the valley at all,' Lewis said.
"The Stellar's eagle is another candidate. Like the black-footed albatross, those can have a wingspan of 6-8 feet. They generally don't venture as far north as Juneau, but as recently as the 1990s they were consistently spotted only a few miles from Juneau on the Taku River, near Canada.
"A third, more likely explanation is that the bird was an immature female bald eagle. Those are the largest birds that are frequently in the area, Lewis said. Young bald eagles have bigger feathers than older eagles, he explained, which aid them as they learn to fly and can make them look larger than they are.
"Female bald eagles are generally larger than their male counterparts, Lewis added. Their job in a mating pair is to defend the nest, so it helps to be big and imposing to scare off potential nest robbers.
"Bauer and Diane were both adamant about the size of the bird, so neither the albatross, Stellar's eagle or immature female bald eagle squares with their account. They're both too small and the wrong colors.
"The Federal Aviation Administration didn't return calls to this story, but since both eyewitnesses described seeing this thing flap its wings, it's unlikely it was a glider or a large drone, by their accounts."
What did these people see? I would say there is no possible way it could have been a pterosaur, as some said, and they could have misidentified known birds, perhaps and eagle. Or is there really a giant bird in the area?

If any more sightings of giant birds are reported from the Mendenhall Valley area, I will share the stories here on TCZ.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

"Bigfoot as Big Myth"

I recently saw this article on Bigfoot up on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's website by Joe Nickell that is worth a read...

Check it out here.


Capcom Offering $70,000 for Proof of Famous Monsters

Capcom, a video game developer, has partnered with Jon Downes of the CFZ to offer £50,000 (approximately US $71,000) to anyone who can bring in conclusive evidence proving the existence of various famous cryptids.
Jon Downes
(Express)

The UK Express recently published an article on the offer, which reads:

"THE Loch Ness Monster, Yeti and Bigfoot are creations of legend and myth but a real-life monster hunter has partnered with Capcom to uncover concrete evidence of their existence.
"Hopeful monster hunters all across the globe have until June 30th, 2018, to collect a staggering £50,000 bounty for genuine evidence of the world's most talked about beasts.
"The bounty was put up by veteran games developer Capcom to celebrate the release of its latest title Monster Hunter: World.
"The Japanese company behind Mega Man, Street Fighter and Resident Evil is certain that renewed interest in real-world monsters could lead to exciting new discoveries.
"This is why Capcom partnered with Jon Downes, director of the world's leading research centre and authority on cryptozoology - The Centre for Fortean Zoology in North Devon.
"The renowned cryptozoologist will be at the forefront of the competition, analyzing every piece of evidence that emerges in the coming months.
"Mr Downes said: 'There are stories of monster from around the world, and while some may be flights of fancy, not every one of these monsters can be made up.
"'It is one of life's great mysteries and similar to Monster Hunter: World, I've spent the majority of my life traveling across the globe to hunt for evidence of these creatures.
"'Although I have had some successes, I have yet to find that elusive proof and it is time for me to offer my help as I throw down the gauntlet to the next generation.'
"The recently launched Monster Hunter: World pits players against otherworldly and fearsome beasts in a fantasy setting, but there are those who believe we share a home with these creatures.
"Mr Downes outlined his 10 picks for the competition, hoping to once and for all  bag evidence of their existence.
"These monsters include Bigfoot, mermaids, the Earth Hound, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, the Mongolian Death Worm, Chupacabras, the Cornish Owlman, the Flying Snake of Nambia  and the Yowie. 
"Anyone who can provide evidence of any of these 10 monsters without a shadow of a doubt, between January 30 and June 30 2018, will be awarded the full bounty.
"Laura Skelly, senior PR Manager for Capcom said: 'When planning the upcoming launch of Monster Hunter: World we couldn't help but keep coming back to the real-life monsters we've all heard stories about since we were kids.
"'Speaking to the world's leading real-life monster hunter, Jon Downes, we were inspired to re-open investigations into a select list of top 10 beasts, setting a huge bounty to really encourage people to get back out hunting for evidence.
"'Much like in the new Monster Hunter: World game, we through it was only right that the scale of the reward fit the task at hand.'
"The wining entry for the competition will be revealed to the public in late July." 

It will be interesting if anyone brings forth any "evidence" of any of these creatures.

Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America



Yet another new cryptozoology book! This one is by Michael Mayes who runs the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog and is on sightings of "black panthers." It's title is Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America. It was published within the last week by Anomalist Books, which almost guarantees it will be very good.

Below is the book description from Amazon:

"For generations residents from coast to coast have reported encounters with large, black, long-tailed cats. These black panthers have left a trail of dead livestock and confused witnesses in their wake. These are animals that are not supposed to exist; animals that are not recognized by science. Despite the reluctance of wildlife officials to accept the reality of these cryptid cats, anomalous tracks continue to appear, pets and farm animals continue to disappear, and sightings continue to be reported.
"In this full color book, author Michael Mayes examines historical sightings, interviews contemporary witnesses and big cat experts, sorts through a host of intriguing photographs, and takes a close look at the potential suspects in one of America's most enduring unsolved mysteries. What are the shadow cats that haunt the woods, bottomlands, and waterways of our country? What are the black panthers of North America?
"'Mayes brings a refreshingly scientific and analytical perspective to the gathering of extensive data and the assessment of large black cat sightings… this book will be of interest to academic zoologists as well as their cousins in cryptozoology.' - Angelo Capparella, Ph.D., Illinois State University.
"MICHAEL MAYES has investigated, for the past 15 years, sightings of both out-of-place known animals and those that may, or may not, exist. He has appeared on numerous pdocasts and radio programs, and on The Lowe Files on the A&E network. Michael blogs at the Texas Cryptid Hunter and is author of the illustrated children's book, Patty: A Sasquatch Story."