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, 15 October 2011

Newfoundland and Labrador Cryptids

The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador encompasses a total area of 405,212 square kilometres (156,453 square miles) yet has a population of only about half a million people. Its capital city of St. John’s lies on the same latitude as Seattle, Washington and Paris, France, but the temperatures can range from a balmy 20C to a frigid -18C. First inhabited about 9000 years ago, Europeans arrived about 1000AD. These Vikings didn’t stay, however, and it wasn’t until the 15th century that regular inhabitants graced this pristine environment. Until 1949, Newfoundland was a colony of England, so it is one of Canada’s newer provinces. Made up of vast coastline, thick boreal forest, dense barrens, and ancient rock formations, the area is a great place for spotting whales, seabirds, icebergs, and occasionally, something even more fantastic.

Giant Turtles

Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland is home to a giant turtle, claims Bob Crewe. He came upon this creature while looking at the ocean from a cliff. "I saw its body in the water measuring about 30 feet across, just lying there and moving slightly," said Crewe. Although his sighting took place near a local attraction called the Viking (an ancient rock formation) Crewe is certain what he saw was a giant turtle. Other giant turtles in the area are white ones . These creatures are described as being about 50 feet long. Besides their pure white skin, they have big tusks, four inches in diameter and about three feet long.

Labrador’s Nennorluk

Nennok is the Inuit name for what we call the polar bear, and the suffix “luk” indicates it is evil. This would imply that the Nennorluk is an evil polar bear, but alas

, it is “simply” a ferocious amphibious creature reported as far back as 1773. Similar creatures are said to inhabit nearby Greenland. It is said to feast on seals and have ears big enough to cover a tent. It comes from the sea, but is reported to come ashore at will. Reports from August 1786 near the town of Okak claim the thing is as tall as an iceberg. The legend is that it does not swim, but rather walks on the bottom of the ocean. It is white on its back like a polar bear but big enough to turn over large rocks with a thunderous noise. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on his way back from claiming the New Found Land for Queen Elizabeth and Britain in 1583, is said to have stared into the glaring eyes of a lion-like sea monster. The Canadian government forced the last remaining townspeople from Okak in 1956. Perhaps it is for the best.

The Real Deal

Once thought to be the subject only of myth and legend, real specimens of Architeuthidae (Giant Squid) have been well documented in the Atlantic near Newfoundland. They live in the deep and grow to about 43 feet long, just shy of the size of the Colossal Squid which grows to 46 feet. The tentacles of this monster can grow to 16 feet. In 1877, a near perfect Giant Squid washed ashore alive in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. Nightmares of the deep can come true.

Giant Eels

Crescent Lake, Newfoundland is home to a scary creature known as a giant eel. Underwater workers were repairing a dock when they discovered dozens of the eels, each over eight feet long and bigger around than a man’s thigh. Locals call the eels “Cressie” with a nod toward Loch Ness’s “Nessie”. Eels are generally migratory, but these whoppers stay put, landlocked in the lake. Inability to leave and come back is generally thought to be the reason they can grow so large.

A Newfoundland Bigfoot?

An account of a bigfoot-like cryptid from the 1930s comes from a man who sold bootleg rum. As he was recovering some buried bottles in his back garden, in the dark, he saw a very bright white light coming toward him. It was so bright he could not look at it directly. As it got closer it started to dim until he could make out that the light was coming from the eyes of something over 6 feet tall, covered in black hair about an inch long. The man hurried home and the next day he returned to the spot to again try to dig up his bottle. Again, the beast appeared and the fellow abandoned his quest. Legend is that this experience inspired him to give up bootlegging and go into legitimate business. Was this a Sasquatch or some sort of alien? Or was it a little too much of his own stock?

A more credible account comes from Labrador in the 1947. While visiting New York City in 1930, a Labrador doctor and his wife told of trappers who found barefoot tracks in the snow and nests under trees. The beings are said to be “wily” and able to climb easily over large stumps and other obstacles.


It freaked folks out when it first arrived, but eventually the blob was identified. Many of these organic masses have washed ashore along Newfoundland’s coast and are distinguished from normal beached carcases because they have no visible eyes, no defined head and no bone structure. It wins the moniker “globster” when it is unidentifiable by the general public and a controversy ensues. Generally, these globsters are the remains of sperm whales, large sharks, or giant squid.

Giant Beaver

Canadians are proud of their beavers, but in Labrador they can get REALLY big. Sightings have come in of the animal by witnesses who claim it weighs up to 700 pounds, nearly ten times the size of a normal beaver even on a good day. The sightings may have some merit though-fossil evidence from the Pleistocene era of beaver thought to be at least that big. Native Canadians in Labrador have named a river “Montagnais-Naskapi” which translates to “Giant Beaver River”.

Too often overlooked as a great place to do cryptozoological field work, Newfoundland and Labrador may just be the best place to study just about any creature you fancy.

More information

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Manitoba Monsters

The Canadian province of Manitoba is home to many different kinds of cryptids. In fact, the very term “cryptid” was coined by a Manitoban name John Wall in a letter he wrote to the International Cryptozoology Society in 1993. This province is a wonderland for cryptids; there are vast areas of woodland (264,000 km2), many lakes (110,000 of them, many deep glacial lakes) and a population that is sparse and widely scattered. There are hills and prairies, swamps and rivers, and flora and fauna of all sorts.

Fortunately for cryptozoologists, there is also a significant history of reports, thanks to a diverse aboriginal population. Ancient reports of serpentine creatures in the lakes, especially Lake Winnipeg, tell of a shriek let out by the monster that modern inhabitants liken to a train whistle. The hairy man we call Sasquatch is also quite prevalent. Natives report Last winter, I spoke with Archie Motkaluk who sighted Sasquatch in 1969 in Renwer, north of Winnipeg. It was a rare daylight sighting and left a permanent impression on Archie, who was but a young man at the time. Manitoba even has prevalent reports of Wendigo, a native entity similar to a werewolf or vampire.

In the late 1800’s a significant group of Icelanders immigrated to Manitoba. Although many continued to migrate south due to harsh winters, some remained, and their offspring are still in the area. With the Icelanders came stories of fairies, elves and trolls. They are thought to live under rocks and mushrooms, and reports come in from workers in lumber camps.

In the air, Manitoba is part of the Thunderbird migration pattern. In addition to the classic southwest are, these ancient birds traverse at roughly the boundary between the US and Canada, from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Lakes region. Many pictographs of Thunderbirds are present in Manitoba., although few modern reports exist.

One of the challenges in cryptozoology is separating the UFO reports from the Cryptozoology reports. A classic example is a report from St Laurent, MB (a largely Metis community). Two young men were badly frightened by a three foot creature with a protruding jaw full of teeth. The same night, a second sighting by an adult male came in from a nearby area. Although there were reports of red and green flashing lights, it is significant to also note that local chickens and cats have been disappearing in large numbers.

Unfortunately, Manitobans tend to be rather tight lipped about their monsters. I strongly encourage anyone with a sighting to email me at

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Can You Satiate The Pseudo Sceptics?

by guest blogger Matthew J Didier, PSICAN

I cannot lie... I was going to write a rather questionable post denying the existence of a person named Antonietta Pasqualicca, age 16... and I ended up deleting it.

I went into great lengths to describe her as obviously fiction as I had no body, no DNA, no evidence save some questionable documents and vague witness testimony, yada, yada, yada... and then reveal that she was a victim of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

It was too much... because, indeed, I used all the language and terminology by those who frequently blast the concept of cryptozoology as ridiculous... and noting how the same arguments did work on this poor girl thus "proving" she didn't exist.

I assure everyone reading, she did exist... and the tragedy she suffered in was horrible... and I apologise for even using what I have here to "illustrate" my point... because I wish I could find something better... and I'm glad I toned down my missive.

Basically, when I look into much of cryptozoology, I'm reminded of what the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said... "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Overwhelmingly I find myself, when looking into the study of strange creatures, hearing about how people are wasting their time over silly things... until something like a Okapi turns up or the discovery of the fossil of Homo floresiensis and then... what do we hear from those so-called sceptics?

Do we hear, "Hmm. Perhaps we should keep looking into these things." or even "Well, that puts things in a new light!"


What we usually hear is how THOSE instances are rare and obviously self evident... and those looking into odd sighting of strange creatures are still effectively laughable "woo-woos" to use the vernacular of the pseudo-sceptics.

The question then is... How much evidence or "proof" do these people require to remove their imposed stigma on these topics?

Long ago, I put the question to (then) chair of Skeptics Canada, Eric McMillan, and he said something rather interesting...

Any proof or evidence is enough. Any evidence to support a claim is viable proof.

...apparently, outside of witness testimony, mind you. (Granted, one must allow for the clouding of perception with testimony, but it still stands.)

Basically, the demand is for empirical evidence... and yes, that's a good thing and a worthy goal... and what most cryptozoologist, be they researchers or "in the field" investigators, are aiming for.

However, let's say someone produces a living (or corpse of a) Sasquatch and it's examined and looked over by a reliable and accredited university. What do you believe the pseudo-sceptics would do or say?

My personal belief, based on past experience, would be deafening silence... followed by a litany of "reasons" why THIS creature and this evidence couldn't POSSIBLY be what we were looking for because of {fill in this space for whatever you need... Wrong location? Wrong colour? Wrong size? Wrong diet? Odd DNA?} and that indeed, cryptozoologists are still "woo-woos"... because REAL zoologists have saved the day!

Don't believe me? I have some wonderful articles from so-called (big named) sceptical circles absolutely laughing at the hypothesis of panspermia... who did a one-eighty when NASA found evidence to support the hypothesis.

My point of all of this is simple. If you're sceptical of these things, think hard, are you a sceptic, or a non-believer? The latter will never accept anything as evidence and never concede, even in the face of hard data, that perhaps some of these mysterious sighted creatures exist.

If you're a cryptozoologist, either in the field or the library, don't waste your time, energy, or treasure on non-believers. They have a faith and you will never shake them from it.

The true (doubting) sceptics, however, might be helpful in simply answering one question...

What is required to make this field of study more than just something some people giggle at?

Like I said, the non-believers will always blurt out about "Extraordinary Claims" and "Extraordinary Evidence"... the real sceptical person will simply say any claim requires evidence, but a hypothesis can be entertained without mockery.