The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, our Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ Canada to the CFZ global family.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Searching for Sasquatch

Alberta Sasquatch researcher Aaron Arcand wants to be a reality star.  On February 15th, 2014, he  pitched his idea for a reality show to “Dragon’s Den”, a reality show itself, that gives enterpreneurs a chance to get awarded funding for their projects.   Episodes of Dragons' Den air on CBC, and  you can watch full episodes online or download Dragons' Den from iTunes.  Judges are Canadian business moguls who have the cash and the know-how to make the projects happen.  Dragons' Den originated in Japan and versions are now airing in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, The Netherlands, Finland, in the Middle East and of course in Canada.

Two big questions immediately come to mine.  First, do we need another Sasquatch reality show?  Arcand proposes one location, and one researcher who spends six months there searching for Sasquatch.  The one location idea is unique—most reality TV takes crews to various locations with few good results.  Those of us who have been in the field know all too well that brief visits, even to locations known to have multiple sightings, can yield very little.  There might be some merit to spending an extended amount of time in one place.  Certainly it would give good opportunity to collect large amounts of data.  He proposes that he takes this on alone, which is problematic in that he would need someone to help with cameras and audio.  His proposed budget is $100,000 which seems excessive for a one man camping experience.  The audition in February was effective;  he has been invited to Toronto on April 1 to convince the judges his idea is worth airing on the TV show.

The other question is, who is Aaron Arcand?  Mr. Arcand is an  owner and operator of a fire and safety services company in Edmonton, Alberta.  His LinkedIn profile says he works for A-Tech Fire and Safety Services, but a quick look at the Yellow Pages doesn’t show any such place in Alberta.  He does pop up on other internet sites, including an entertaining one called bigfootblogger.com.  Here Arcand is quoted by blogger Robert Lindsay on January 17 responding to rather comical accusations posted online by anonymous surfers:

 Anonymous comment:  Saw a hot looking Bigfoot babe near the dump at the Small Boys Camp in Alberta. He named her Bo after Bo Derek. Apparently she was a real cutie.
 Arcand Response: Yes, while changing a flat tire on the road near the Small Boys Dump I saw a young female Sasquatch. If there is such a thing as a hot Sasquatch, she was it. I tell ya, shave her down, and you would be looking at the body of a sexy 18 year old. Firm titties and all. They did not even bounce as she ran off into the woods. So yes, I named her Bo after Bo Derek.

It looks like the proposed new show is in the same quality as those already available.

Arcand can be found on Facebook if you’d like to be friends.  https://www.facebook.com/aaron.arcand.50
               

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Monster Under the Bed

When is a monster not a monster?  When it’s a cryptid.
Realistically, cryptids, although often thought of as monsters, are really fairly harmless.  Even the feared Mothman has never actually harmed anyone.  Bigfoot doesn’t eat you.  And the Mongolian Death Worm?  Is that even real?

Merriam Webster’s full definition of monster is:
1
a :  an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure
b :  one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character
2
:  a threatening force
3
a :  an animal of strange or terrifying shape
b :  one unusually large for its kind
4
:  something monstrous; especially :  a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty
5
:  one that is highly successful
So ok, maybe cryptids can be defined as “abnormal” in that they don’t yet have a defined existence.   They don’t typically deviate from normal or acceptable behavior, they aren’t overtly threatening, and most aren’t even all that ugly.  So why do we call them monsters?
Wikipedia says a monster is any creature, usually found in legends or horror fiction, that is often hideous and may produce fear or physical harm by its appearance and/or its actions.   The origins of the word itself is from the latin monstrum, which is something weird that is thought to be out of the natural order of things.  Monsters are generally though of as psychologically harmful, or ugly, or in some way morally objectionable.  The root of the latin word, however, is monere, which means to warn or instruct and is also the root of the word demonstrate.  St. Augustine chose this interpretation and did not see “monsters” as inherently evil.  In fact, even persons with severe birth defects were thought of as monsters, and if those defects were seen at birth it was a warning that problems were ahead for the individual and its caregivers.
Classic monsters like Frankenstein, wolf-man and zombies, or others that spawn from legends and fictional stories, are examples of physical abnormality.  Indeed, cryptids would fit this definition. Somewhere along the way, likely through storytelling, the idea of a monster developed into something that should be feared---something that has an evil intent.
Ancient Greco-Roman, Celtic, Semitic, Norse, Chinese and Sumerian folklore all had a wealth of monsters.  Folklore created a fantastic population of cruel and evil entities as explanations of abnormalities that occurred in nature.  Likely it was the idea of somehow wronging a deity, therefore causing the abnormality, that initially associated “monsters” with wrongdoing and therefore evil or punishment.  Certainly in the case of the Jersey Devil this is apparent.  Mrs. Leeds swore a curse on her child who was then born with severe abnormalities.  Whether or not those abnormalities also included extraordinary abilities has yet to be proven.  Considering that the “cruelty” and “danger” from this cryptid is in the form of fear more so than injury, it can only be the legends and cursed background that qualifies this as a “monster”.  Otherwise, how can simply seeing this thing be fearful?
In many role-playing games, "monster" is a catch-all term for hostile, non-human characters. Sentient characters are generally not referred to as “monsters”.  This is an indication that culturally, monsters have  decidedly become thought of as hurtful.  This is unfortunate for cryptids;  if every abnormal and unappealing being is thought of as a monster, the natural reaction would be to run, or to kill the “creature.”  Indeed in many “civilized” countries it has become normal to treat that which is ugly or unusual as a threat.  Sadly, we shun perfectly lovely people with scarring and birth defects.  We avoid those with artificial limbs.  We have been acclimated to treat those who are not just like us as “bad”.
Prejudice is recognized when it involves race, religion, or even sexuality. As we attempt to educate the bigots that those who are different are not “bad”, so we should educate that cryptids aren’t “monsters” either.  They are simply different.  If they weren’t different, they wouldn’t be interesting.
-------
"Monster." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monster>.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Waltzing Matilda

The internet never ceases to amaze (and disappoint) me.

"Breaking News" across my desktop today included this tidbit:

Bigfoot SHOCKING PHOTO – Sasquatch Proven? New Image and Matilda Documentary Shakes Scientific Community


In case you are, like me, completely unaware of who Matilda is, have a peek:


According to the article, this is the wedding "photo" of bigfoot and his lovely bride, Matilda.
World renowned scientist, Igor Nelson of Canada, noted that “this image is legit. I’m in shock. Matilda and Bigfoot are in it to win it.”
Now, not only have I never heard of this "world renowned scientist", he also can't be found online anywhere but in this article.   In further ridiculousness, there's this:
Although blurry, it has been thoroughly examined and proven legit to the satisfaction of 99% of the scientific community
Now, I don't know if the website in question is intended to be a spoof site like The Onion.  If so, it does it very poorly--nearly as poorly as it reports "news".  But we are in luck?!  There is a documentary!

It might be mildly amusing if it weren't so completely ridiculous and poorly done.  No, there's no link to purchase the movie.  Thank Goodness.  What's next, the abduction of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?  Ok that's a bad example; we might actually benefit from that.

The same site offers the obituaries of many "dead" celebrities, including quotes attributed to them after death.  Faithful (and obviously gullible) readers can also peruse 146 articles on UFOs.  Not bad for a boxing site.

Is it any wonder legitimate researchers and aficionados are ridiculed?  Thanks, internet.








Monday, 7 October 2013

5 Cryptids Cooler than We Have in Canada

It strikes when residents are seeking relief from the brutal summer heat by bedding down on their roofs between midnight and 4 a.m. In May 2001, New Delhi, India became paralyzed with fear when an unidentified black monkey was reportedly terrorizing the population, causing a pregnant women to fall down a staircase and forcing two panicked men to jump off of balconies. All three died, and dozens reported scratches and bites.

The Monkey Man of India is described as about four feet tall, covered in thick black hair, with a metal helmet, metal claws, glowing red eyes and three buttons on its chest.  His local name is Kala Bandar.




The Sea Monk was an evil fish monster that looked a little like a monk. It was found off the coast of Denmark, most notably in 1546.  Historian William M Johnson noted that the sea monk bears a striking resemblance to St Francis of Assisi.


In John Stow's 'Annales', he describes the capture of one: 


"A.D. 1187. Neere unto Orforde in Suffolke, certaine Fishers of the sea tooke in their nettes a Fish having the shape of a man in all pointes, which Fish was kept by Barlemew de Glanville, Custos of the castle of Orforde, in the same castle, by the space of six monthes, and more, for a wonder: He spake not a word. All manner of meates he gladly did eate, but more greedilie raw fishe, after he had crushed out all the moisture. Oftentimes he was brought to the Church where he showed no tokens of adoration. At length, when he was not well looked to, he stale away to the sea and never after appeared."

Between 1545 and 1550, the Danish king, Christian III, sent to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V drawings of a strange animal that had been caught in the ├śresund (the strait between the island of  Zealand, Denmark and Sweden). The animal had “a human head and face, resembling in appearance the men with shorn heads, whom we call monks because of their solitary life; but the appearance of its lower parts, bearing a coating of scales.”
 
More modern researchers offer more likely explanations.   The giant squid theory was popularized by writer Richard Ellis in 'The Search for the Giant Squid'.  Cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans believed the report was based on the discovery of a walrus—no less cryptological, however, as it would have been out of place. More recently, it has been suggested that it was an angel shark Squatina squatina, which is commonly called monkfish, a grey seal, a hooded seal or a monk seal. 


The Beast of Busco is a legend from  the backwoods of Indiana in 1949.  Churubusco, Indiana, experienced a series of sightings of a large turtle, “the size of a dining room table,” The snapping turtle was 15 feet long and it killed a number of farm animals before it was allegedly caught. Fulk Lake, three miles out of town on Madden Road, site of the sightings, is on private property today.  It is surrounded by brushy overgrowth, hard to see from the road, and cut off from further exploration.  


The story is that a farmer spotted the animal, and called the police. They came to the scene, who devised a plan to drag it from the water with chains pulled from four Clydesdales. Eventually the chains shattered, and the turtle escaped.  Another version is that 
two men from Churubusco, Ora Blue and Charley Wilson, claim to have seen the Beast of Busco while fishing in Fulk Lake.  In the first few days of March, 1949, lake owner Gale Harris claimed to have seen the giant turtle again, and was persuaded by some townspeople to try and capture the beast.  He was nearly successful on the first day. A trap of stakes and chicken wire trapped the beast in about 10 feet of water;  a video, now lost (of course),  appeared to show the creature swimming just below the surface.   On March 7th, the Columbus City newspaper reported on the search for the beast.   The next day reporters from Fort Wayne showed up and managed to get the story out to  United Press International who sent the story across the wire. On March 9th newspapers across the nation ran the reports of this giant turtle. The Fort Wayne newspapers jokingly named the creature Oscar, perhaps after Oscar Folk the original owner of Folk Lake, and also coined the name  Beast of Busco.

Harris felt that his reputation was being questioned and began a personal quest to capture the turtle On March 12th more than 200 people traveled to his farm to watch the search and the following day bumper to bumper traffic crowded the town of Churubusco on the route to Harris’ farm  Airplanes buzzed overhead. By March 14th 3,000 people trampled across Harris’ property.  It was a media circus and  impossible to tell fact from fiction because  reporters began to make things up. Sometime in April  two Indianapolis men claimed to have captured the Beast of Busco but it didn’t take long to discover what they had was a sea turtle, purchased in an attempt to cash in on the Oscar frenzy. This sea turtle however gave someone an idea though, and it wasn’t long before a female sea turtle was brought to the lake in a fruitless attempt to lure the beast out of hiding.  Harris even used dynamite charges at one point to try to drive the thing out of his lake.

The most interesting non-Canadian cryptid may not be a cryptid at all. Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low-frequency and powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. The sound's source was roughly triangulated to 50°S 100°W  (a remote point in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America)
The NOAA's Dr. Christopher Fox did not believe its origin was man-made or a familiar geological event such as volcanoes or earthquakes. The  audio profile of Bloop does resemble that of a living creature, but the source was a mystery because it was different from known sounds and was several times louder than a blue whale, which is the loudest recorded animal.




One suggestion is that the sound is coming from giant squid, which live at extreme depths of up to four km.  The largest dead squid on record measured about 18 metres including the length of its tentacles, but no one knows how big the creatures might grow.    Phil Lobel, a marine biologist at Boston University, doubts that giant squid are the source of Bloop.  ``Cephalopods have no gas-filled sac, so they have no way to make that type of noise,'' he said.


It is currently assumed that the sound is generated by icequakes in large icebergs, or large icebergs scraping the ocean floor. the NOAA's found and confirmed that "the frequency and time-duration characteristics of the Bloop signal are consistent, and essentially identical, to icequake signals we have recorded off Antarctica".


BUT, the deep oceans are still mostly unexplored by humans (more than 95 percent, according to the NOAA).  Conspiracy theories are abundant.



 http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/06/13/1023864318809.htmlhttp://www.unknownexplorers.com/beastofbusco.php
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,127298,00.html#ixzz2h2m755h2
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1916160_1916151_1916134,00.html #ixzz2h2lynYIs
http://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2011/04/mysterious-sea-monk.html
http://brainz.org/15-completely-useless-cryptids/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptids
http://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2011/04/mysterious-sea-monk.html
http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/beast-of-busco2/
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-11/29/bloop-mystery-not-solved-sort-ofhttp://chatabout.com/topic/kala-bandar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sea_Monk.jpg
http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/busco2011/

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Gold, Copper, and Sasquatch

Despite some criticism, environmentalists are finally starting to take Sasquatch into consideration.  Recently in the Prince George, British Columbia area, concerns have been heard relative to the environmental impact of the proposed New Prosperity gold and copper mine.  The study is a proposal by Taseko Mines to construct an open-pit facility about 125 km south of Williams Lake.  

Taseko has a lovely video outlining the plan to preserve the surroundings, specifically Fish Lake.

In it's August 27, 2013 closing statement to the Canadian EPA, Taseko addresses specific concerns about many elements of the local are.  Protection of Grizzly Bears, salmon, and Aboriginal Rights receive specific response in this statement.  Sadly, the response given the Aboriginals is at best disrespectful.  Read the document with a great deal of patience.  It should be noted that while the newspaper report touts a discussion of Sasquatch, this document does not.  Is this because the mine company disbelieves in the possibility of Bigfoot?

Member of First Nations communities brought the topic of Sasquatch to the discussion several times. When Former Esdilagh chief Thomas Billyboy said  he noticed noticed not only grizzly bears leaving the Cariboo but that  sasquatches have been leaving, too.  Angelina Stump told the panel that her people's oral history includes a time when animals, including sasquatches,  spoke directly with people.  Other references were also made, but the general rebuttal was that these claims were either ridiculous or proposed for political purposes.


One opinion piece of the subject suggests that sasquatch is a myth.  The author further suggests that
 

 The logic is simple. With no proof that the Sasquatch doesn't exist, it is therefore possible that it might exist and we just haven't proved its existence yet. The faulty logic is easily exposed with another example - we also haven't found one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters, either.


One thing most reports and articles don't mention is that there is precedence.  In the US, the state of Washington, Sasquatch is protected. The US Fish and Wildlife Service lists Bigfoot as an endangered species.  Most North American agencies have prohibitions against killing species that are as yet undefined.  Specifically, in Lake Champlain, Champy is now protected by law on both sides of the lake.  In the early 1980s Port Henry, NY, the State of Vermont, and the New York State Assembly and Senate passed resolutions protecting the "mythological" beast. 


While one side proposes that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" a la Carl Sagan  the other side calls this false logic. They have misinterpreted the meaning to be that the 'absence of evidence might still be proof of existence" and therefore discard the whole idea.  In the case of Sasquatch et al, I would suggest that the absence of evidence might be evidence of a need for better research and open-mindedness--especially when proposed against a blatant earth scarring project.



http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/article/20130821/PRINCEGEORGE0101/308219991/-1/PRINCEGEORGE/sasquatch-cited-in-mine-hearingshttp://www.newprosperityproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Taseko-Mines-Closing-Statement-for-CEAA-New-Prosperity-Copper-Gold-Hearings-August-23-2013.pdfhttp://doubtfulnews.com/2013/08/sasquatch-keeper-of-the-forest-invoked-at-environmental-hearing/http://www.omg-facts.com/Celebs/It-Is-Illegal-To-Kill-A-Sasquatch/30312http://behindtheberezina.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/fish-and-wildlife-add-sasquatch-to-endangered-species/http://www.lakechamplainregion.com/recreation/heritage/champhttp://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

http://www.mining.com/copper-gold-project-in-bc-interior-has-795-million-capex/
http://wildernesscommittee.org/sven/new_copper_and_coal_mine_rush_british_columbia

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nothing to See Here

It has been an extraordinarily slow crypto-news year here in Canada.  We've had a couple of nibbles, but aside from the guy investigating Bigfoot in an Ontario pot field and a strange noise out of BC, it's a matter of All's Quiet on the Northern Front.

Some year's are like this.  The local fauna just doesn't come out to play with the Cryptozoologists.  Bessie keeps to her depths and Sasquatch is building a bunker to hide from the recently crowd-sourced drone project.  FoxNews called the latest Canadian bigfoot video too inconclusive--and they are the masters of making mountains out of molehills.

So instead of the molehills of Canadian Cryptozoology, I offer you today an unusual Canadian Mole.


Yes, that is an actual photo of an actual animal.  Meet our Star-nosed mole.  This ugly darling is about the size of a hamster and can be found in the wetlands of the east coast to western Ontario (and sometimes eastern Manitoba). That scary snout actually has twenty-two finger like appendages that are more flexible and more sensitive than any other animal on earth.  Like other moles, it burrows (yes, even through snow).  It is also quite an accomplished swimmer.  Both talents come in handy when hiding from hawks and owls.


These moles eat mostly worms, but enjoy other delicacies as well.  Leeches and other aquatic insects make up about 30% of its diet, with the occasion land based insect, mollusk or small fish making up the rest.  In that way, they contribute to the health of soil as grubs can become a problem if not kept in check.  Fortunately this guy is not usually found in places where humans are so there really isn't a need to control their population.  This is a good thing too, as they are resistant to just about everything but trapping.

Cultural habits of these gregarious creatures are difficult to study. Pairs have been found together, suggesting monogamy, but large colonies are also quite common, even nearby to found pairs.  Sometimes groups as large as thirty are found. They don't make many vocal sounds, but they do have large ear openings so perhaps they have a level of communication science has yet to uncover.  During mating season, the emit a odor described as "exceedingly rank and nauseous."

I think I would rather meet a Sasquatch.

Pleasant dreams!














http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star-nosed_mole
http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8i0ib52RD1r34mjeo1_500.jpg
http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~campbelk/starnose.html
http://www.guelphlabservices.com/files/PDC/005Moles.pdf
http://talesofanactivemind.blogspot.ca/2012/05/deja-vu-insanity-and-caddyshack.html
http://www.animalcontrolsolutions.com/animals/star-nosed-mole.html


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Just for Fun

First, this is not Canadian.  But it is from Olympia, Washington, which is about 110 miles from the British Columbia border.  Second, it's not by any stretch a reasonable representation of the big hair biped we all know and love.  But it is cute, and it's for a decent cause.

The videos below are to promote Washington State's Department of Natural Resources "Discover Pass".  This special permit is needed by everyone who wants to visit the state parks; and by everyone, we mean EVERYone.

Have a look, and a smile.
















http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_distance_between_Spokane_WA_and_the_border_of_Canada
http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/spincontrol/2013/aug/21/todays-fun-video-sasquatches-need-park-passes/