Centre for Fortean Zoology

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The Permanent Directorate of the Centre for Fortean Zoology
The CFZ headquarters in Woolfardisworthy, North Devon
Hon. Life President:

Colonel John Blashford-Snell

Director: Jonathan Downes
Deputy Director: Graham Inglis
Zoological Director:

Richard Freeman

Administrative Director:

Corinna Newton Downes

Ecologist: Oll Lewis
Expedition Co-ordinator: Adam Davies
Charity advisor: Matthew Osborne
Technician: David Phillips

Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) is an organisation dedicated to cryptozoology, and allied disciplines. It is a non-profit organisation. Its Hon. Life President is the British explorer John Blashford-Snell.[1][2]

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, and library.[3][4]

The publishing arm of the CFZ is a company called CFZ Press, which has now published over fifty titles, which may make them the largest publisher of books on cryptozoology in the world.[citation needed] Since 2000, the CFZ has promoted an annual conference called The Weird Weekend.[5] 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.[6]

Fortean zoology[edit]

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".[7][8]

Mystery animals[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

CFZ members have carried out expeditions to:

UK based investigations[edit]


CFZ Press logo

The Centre publishes a journal entitled Animals & Men, which was founded in 1994. Animals & Men covers a wide range of phenomena that fall into the broad category of Cryptozoology.

Additionally, the Centre annually publishes the CFZ Yearbook; there have been nine issues thus far.

Appearances in media[edit]

Penn and Teller: Bullshit! - Season 4 Episode 1: Cryptozoology[24]


  1. ^ About the CFZ http://www.cfz.org.uk/admin/index.htm
  2. ^ History of the CFZ http://www.cfz.org.uk/admin/history/
  3. ^ CFZ website http://www.cfz.org.uk
  4. ^ Jon Downes' blog http://forteanzoology.blogspot.com/
  5. ^ Dark Dorset diary - 10 years of Dark Dorset - Folklore Exhibition - Folklore
  6. ^ CfzTV http://www.cfztv.org
  7. ^ Downes, J. The Owlman and Others (CFZ Press, Exeter, 1997)
  8. ^ Downes, J. The smaller mystery carnivores of the Westcountry (CFZ Press, Exeter, 1996)
  9. ^ Walsh, Dave (December 13, 2003). "The Centre for Fortean Zoology: Jon Downes Interview - Cryptozoology, The Owlman and Other Monsters...". blather.net. 
  10. ^ http://www.cryptozoologicalrealms.com/sabretoothtiger/english.html
  11. ^ "Operation Death Worm - Mongolia 2005". foolishpeople.com. May 20, 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  12. ^ Redfern, Nick (April 30, 2007). "Coming Soon: The Deadly Chupacabras" (blog entry). Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...". Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  13. ^ "Interview with the Gothic Cryptozoologist". Bite Me Magazine, Issue 13. 
  14. ^ a b "4.4.7 : Jonathan Downes". Forum post. The United States of Esoterica. April 2, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  15. ^ Rice, Xan (24 July 2006). "'Killer dragon' eludes Fortean team". The Guardian. pp. 17, International News Section. 
  16. ^ "Capcom Join Forces with the Centre for Fortean Zoology on a Real Life Monster Hunt to South America". Gamespot UK. September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  17. ^ "Capcom join forces with The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) on a real life Monster Hunt to South America". "VideoGamesUniverse Blog, Blogspot.com". September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  18. ^ Baker, Dave. "Latest News and Features: The Cusworth Big Cat Story". Donny Online. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  19. ^ Trainor, Joseph (January 29, 2003). "BIGFOOT SPOTTED IN NORTHUMBERLAND, UK". UFO ROUNDUP Volume 8 Number 5. www.ufoinfo.com. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  20. ^ Lloyd, Andy (January 23, 2003). "I've seen the Beast of Bolam, says hunt man". icNewcastle.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  21. ^ "Monster Hunter: An Interview with Jon Downes". January 20, 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  22. ^ "Waking up from a Dream". John Ronson on.... Season 3. Episode 2. 5 June 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007mtkb.
  23. ^ Salusbury, Matt (23 August 2007). "Welsh Lake Monsters - Giant pike". Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  24. ^ "Showtime: Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Season 4 Episode 1". Retrieved 23 May 2011. 

External links[edit]