Centre for Fortean Zoology

Centre for Fortean Zoology

Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) is an organisation dedicated to cryptozoology, and allied disciplines. It is a non-profit organisation registered with the British Government, and its Hon. Life President is the British explorer John Blashford-Snell. [About the CFZ http://www.cfz.org.uk/admin/index.htm] [ History of the CFZ http://www.cfz.org.uk/admin/history/]

thumb|left|200px|The CFZ headquarters in Woolfardisworthy, North Devon

The Centre was founded in 1992 by Jonathan Downes. In 2005, Downes inherited his family home in rural North Devon, and the organisation relocated there; they are in the process of building a visitor's centre complete with a museum, laboratory and library. [CFZ website http://www.cfz.org.uk] [ Jon Downes' blog http://forteanzoology.blogspot.com/]

The publishing arm of the CFZ is a company called CFZ Press, which claims to be the largest publisher of books on cryptozoology in the world. Since 2000, the CFZ has promoted an annual conference called The Weird Weekend. [ [http://www.darkdorset.co.uk/Diary/index.php Dark Dorset diary - 10 years of Dark Dorset - Folklore Exhibition - Folklore] ] In 2006, after six years in Exeter, the conference was moved to rural North Devon as well. In 2006 the CFZ announced plans for a web-based TV station called CFZtv [CfzTV http://www.cfztv.org ] .

Fortean Zoology

The primary focus of the CFZ involves unknown animals, or cryptozoology, but the CFZ also examines unusual and aberrant animal behavior, animal mutilations (on which subject they have worked closely with several British police forces), animal colour variants, teratology, animal folklore, and such classic Fortean staples as creature falls (fafrotskies), and vampire/werewolf reports. This is why the organisation refers to itself as the "Centre for Fortean Zoology", rather than any moniker including the word "Cryptozoology". [Downes, J. The Owlman and Others (CFZ Press, Exeter, 1997)] [Downes, J. The smaller mystery carnivores of the Westcountry (CFZ Press, Exeter, 1996)]

Mystery Animals

The CFZ studies the various aspects of cryptozoology and allied disciplines, and have introduced a new three tier concept to aid classification and analysis of unknown animals.


Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals belonging to species wholly or partly unknown to science, often collectively called 'cryptids'.


Many researchers are interested in a related category of mystery animals often dubbed pseudo-cryptids, which are not strictly part of cryptozoology. This is one reason why Downes formulated the portmanteau discipline of Fortean zoology.

These creatures are animals which are out of place, i.e., known species which by accident and/or artificial introduction living where would not normally expect to find them—one good example being alien big cats said to live in British moorlands.

However, not all out-of-place animals occur because of human intervention. Some are the result of accidental migration due to inclement weather or unusual marine currents. They are often known animal species that seem to be dramatically increasing their geographical range.

Other `pseudo-cryptids` include outsized or oddly coloured individual or groups of animals of a known species. A good example of a pseudo-cryptid would be the golden frogs of the United Kingdom which are the subject of a current CFZ research project.

Zooform phenomena

The third cryptozoological category consists of zooform phenomena. These are not animals at all, but entities or apparitions which adopt or seem to have (quasi)animal form. This is where we (at least to some extent) enter science fiction territory. In many ways, these elusive and contentious entities have plagued cryptozoology since its inception, and tend to be dismissed by mainstream science as thoroughly unworthy of consideration. Zooform phenomena seem to be a strange blend of paranormal manifestation and mythology.

However, Jonathan Downes, who first coined the term in 1990, maintains that many zooform phenomena result from complex psychosocial and sociological phenomena, and suggests that to classify all such phenomena as "paranormal" in origin is counterproductive. A good example of a zooform phenomenon would be the Owlman of Mawnan.

Foreign Expeditions

CFZ members have carried out expeditions to:
*Sumatra (2003 and 2004) [Citation
last = Walsh
first = Dave
title = The Centre for Fortean Zoology: Jon Downes Interview - Cryptozoology, The Owlman and Other Monsters...
publisher = blather.net
year = 2003
date = December 13 2003
url = http://www.blather.net/blather/2003/12/the_centre_for_fortean_zoology.html
] [ http://www.cryptozoologicalrealms.com/sabretoothtiger/english.html]
*Mongolia (2005) [cite web
title = Operation Death Worm - Mongolia 2005
publisher = foolishpeople.com
date = May 20 2005
url = http://www.foolishpeople.com/foolishpeople/2005/05/operation_death.html
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Puerto Rico (1998 and 2004) [cite web
last = Redfern
first = Nick
authorlink = Nick Redfern
title = Coming Soon: The Deadly Chupacabras
work = Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods..."
date = April 30 2007
url = http://monsterusa.blogspot.com/2007/04/coming-soon-deadly-chupacabras.html
format = blog entry
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Mexico (1998)
*Thailand (2000) [Citation
title = Interview with the Gothic Cryptozoologist
newspaper = Bite Me Magazine, Issue 13
url = http://www.bitememagazine.com/article-richard-freeman.html
*Florida (1998)
*Nevada (1999 and 2003)
*Texas (2003 and 2004)cite web
first = "Oscar"
title = 4.4.7 : Jonathan Downes
work = Forum post
publisher = The United States of Esoterica
date = April 2 2007
url = http://www.theusofe.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6046&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&sid=e09dc970214f6a03cfec6af3e57b2c33
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Illinois (2004)
*The Gambia (2006) [Citation
last = Rice
first = Xan
title = 'Killer dragon' eludes Fortean team
newspaper = The Guardian
pages = 17, International News Section
year = 2006
date = 24 July 2006
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/jul/24/conservationandendangeredspecies.internationalnews
*Guyana (2007) [cite web
first = Capcom
authorlink = http://uk.gamespot.com/pages/company/index.php?company=2324
title = Capcom Join Forces with the Centre for Fortean Zoology on a Real Life Monster Hunt to South America
publisher = Gamespot UK
date = September 11 2007
url = http://uk.gamespot.com/psp/rpg/monsterhunterportable2nd/news.html?sid=6178545
accessdate = 14 August 2008
] [cite web
title = Capcom join forces with The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) on a real life Monster Hunt to South America
publisher = "VideoGamesUniverse Blog, Blogspot.com"
date = September 11 2007
url = http://videogamesuniverse.blogspot.com/2007/09/capcom-join-forces-with-centre-for.html
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Russia (2008)

UK Based Investigations

*Martin Mere (2002)
*Cannock (2003) [cite web
last = Baker
first = Dave
title = Latest News and Features: The Cusworth Big Cat Story
publisher = Donny Online
url = http://www.donny.co.uk/Doncaster/news/index.php3?ID=512
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Bolam Lake (2004) [cite web
last = Trainor
first = Joseph
work = UFO ROUNDUP Volume 8 Number 5
publisher = www.ufoinfo.com
date = January 29 2003
url = http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup/v08/rnd0805.shtml
accessdate = 14 August 2008
] [cite web
last = Lloyd
first = Andy
title = "I've seen the Beast of Bolam, says hunt man"
publisher = icNewcastle.co.uk
date = January 23 2003
url = http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100local/page.cfm?objectid=12562655&method=full&siteid=50081
accessdate = 14 August 2008
*Loch Morar (2005)
*Lake District (2006) [cite web
first = Thoth
authorlink = http://www.thothweb.com/
title = Monster Hunter: An Interview with Jon Downes
date = January 20 2006
url = http://www.thothweb.com/article2221.html
accessdate = 14 August 2008
] [cite episode
title = Waking up from a Dream
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007mtkb
series = John Ronson on...
airdate = 5 June 2007
season = 3
number = 2
*Llangorse Lake (2006) [cite web
last = Salusbury
first = Matt
title = Welsh Lake Monsters - Giant pike
date = 23 August 2007
url = http://mattsalusbury.blogspot.com/2007/08/welsh-lake-monsters-giant-pike.html
accessdate = 14 August 2008


Publications include nine issues of the annual CFZ Yearbook and the journal "Animals & Men".


External links

* [http://www.cfz.org.uk CFZ website]
* [http://www.cfztv.org CFZtv website]

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