CFZ News January 2004|jon_downes||01/23/04 at 21:57:21|jon_downes|xx|0||Dear Friends.

Once again let me apologise for the delay in newsletters. We had a big forward planning meeting for the year on the 7th and 8 of January. Various members of of the permanent directorate of the CFZ converged upon a house and we thrashed out what we were planning to do this year. We were due to make an announcement about a week later, but a succession of problems - some of them large, and some of them small - came up, and we had to change our plans. Mark Martin, who is not only a valued friend, but has been an integral, and senior member of the CFZ field team for the past year has had to resign from the CFZ, YUFOS, and other Fortean research organisations to which he was a member due to personal problems. As he was integrally involved in many of the plans for the year it has caused us to have to rethink.

2004 Expeditions.

Some months ago we announced that we were planning an expedition to Mongolia in search of the Deathworm. Sadly, we cannot afford to do this project during 2004, but we hope to be in a financial situation to carry out this expedition next year. It has been announced in various quarters that we are going to Greece in February. Sadly - due to the vagaries of travel agents - this expedition too has had to be cancelled. Also cancelled is a planned trip to Switzerland in August. Our good friend and colleague Georges Massey has carried out a feasibility study on a trip in search of the tatzelwurm, but as we have not been able to find any verified sightings more recently than the early 1950s we have decided that it would be a waste of time and resources.

Together with Richard Freeman and John Fuller I shall be travelling back to Texas in June to appear at Chester Moore's cryptozoology conference. We hope to liaise with at Chester and other Texas cryptozoologists during our stay, and have several pieces of fieldwork we intend to carry out.

We do however have two other planned expeditions this year, and invite CFZ members who are interested in accompanying us to contact us by email or telephone. We shall be returning to Sumatra in the late spring or early summer. We originally planned to go for the first three weeks in May but have been informed by Debbie Martyr that this coincides with the local elections, which may not be the most apposite time to visit Indonesia. We shall, however, be going sometime between May and the beginning of August. The expedition  - again led by Dr Chris Clarke, and again including Richard Freeman and Jon Hare will be attempting to visit to the Lost Valley in Kerinci national park. A location which - allegedly at least - not been explored, by Europeans at least. It is allegedly one of the places where the Orang-Pendek is most likely to be found. The expedition will last about three weeks, and if there are any CFZ members who are interested in applying to join, will they please contact me as soon as possible.

We are also travelling to Ireland in the spring to try and solve a long standing cryptozoological mystery. In the 1890s a vast eel like creature was trapped in a culvert between Lough Crolan and Lough Derrylea in County Gallway. The creature was said to have rotted away into a foul smelling slime. F W Holiday and Roy Mackal visited the sight in 1968. Measuring the culvert they deduced the creature must have been 18 inches in diameter.

CFZ stalwart, Gary Cunningham has located the culvert and we are in the process of negotiating permission to excavate the silt so we can seive it in the hope we may find some bone fragments. We will also be interviewing contemporary horse eel witnesses and hope that we shall add significantly more information to the current data on these fascinating - and elusive - creatures. There is room on the expedition for a couple more volunteers. Please contact us if you are interested.

It goes without saying, that preference will be given to applicants who have specific skills or that the rest of  the expedition do not have. Whilst the CFZ will be able to pay for some of the expedition costs in each case, applicant so a should be prepared to pay some of the expenses themselves. We sincerely hope that as the CFZ gets bigger, we shall be able to afford to pay more of the expenses ourselves.


This year's event will be held over the weekend of the 20th - 22nd August. The third day is - coincidently - my 45th birthday, so it seemed a fairly sure bet that fun and games will ensue.

Confirmed speakers include:

Jon Downes, Nigel Wright, Sally Watts, Ronan Coughlan,                                             Gary Cunningham, Merrily Harper, Gail Nina Anderson, Patrick Harpur, Richard Freeman, as well as regular attractions like the quiz, the CFZ Awards, another open day at the CFZ, The review of the Year and (hopefully) a guided tour round the haunted grounds of a local castle.

Mark Fraser will also be presenting an exhibition of 15 years of Scottish big cat research.

More speakers and attractions will be announced soon. Beckett some are on sale - again there are 15 a head for the weekend. Please order your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. As people who were at the last event will attest there was standing room only at some of the presentations, and although we have more room this year - last year's speakers room is now the Exhibition Room, and we have been given the restaurant (which is approximately three times the size), as the main auditorium - we are expecting even more people than last year. Come on guys -  this is the best Fortean fun you can have with your clothes on!


The 2004 yearbook has been delayed for a few weeks due to the problems listed at the beginning of this newsletter. At the moment I see no reason why it will not be out by mid-February. The cost is 12.50/$US 20 including postage and packing, and it includes of the following articles:

Complete Big Cat Sightings in the UK 2003 by Mark Fraser
Big Cats in Ireland by Neil Arnold
The 2003 Willow Creek Bigfoot Conference and a trip to Bluff Creek by Paul Vella
Cryptozoological TV Programmes by Neil Arnold
The Cryptozoology of Doctor Who by Richard Freeman
Movers and Shakers at Loch Ness: Two major interviews by Mark Martin
A Review of the Year by Jonathan Downes
....and much more
There will be four issues of Animals & Men published this year. They are planned for March, June, September, and December. However - it is our 10th anniversary as a magazine - and we are hoping to put out some extra publications this year to mark the fact.
They are also several books in publication at the moment. Richard's mammoth Book "Dragons:More than a Myth?" will be out in the spring, and my long-awaited autobiography "Monster Hunter" is planned for later in the year. Big cat books by Mark Fraser and by Paul Crowther are also in preparation. For those of you who are interested in such things, I have a new record - my first full length CD of my own songs since 1995 - out in the spring. It is called "Lost Weekend" and features the following tracks:
Absolute Nightmare, Funky Fatwa, Maxinerlieder, Men are from Mars but Women are from Venus, Doing the best that I can, I wanna see you naked before I die, I don't love you anymore, I got dem ol' Roswell blues again mama, A 39 Revisited, Samanthasong, I wanna be a country boy again.
In addition the live album which was recorded at the 2002 Weird Weekend, when I managed to get my band - The Amphibians From Outer Space - out of rehab long enough for us to play our first gig for seven years, is due out sometime this year. It is decidedly lo-fi (in stark contrast to my solo album which ACTUALLY sounds quite good), but both of them are not really for those of a faint disposition. My autobiography - whilst predominantly Cryptozoological in nature, and containing large amounts of previously unpublished material - is "warts and all", and is not a recommended for those who happen to be Methodist lay preachers.

Other Plans

The website is in the process of being upgraded, and we are also hoping that we will soon be able to announce an exciting new tie-in between the CFZ and one of the UK's brightest new publishing houses.

So, folks, even though the yearbook is late, and we are behind on some of the regular website updates, we hope that you approve of the way that we have been spending our time so far this year. We hope that you continue to support us over the coming 12 months.

Slainte Mhor

Jon Downes,

Director, CFZ
15, Holne Court, Exwick, Exeter, UK EX4 2NA
Telephone +(0044) [0]1392 424811/ Mobile 07901 935443
Centre for Fortean Zoology