At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Nick Redfern
Nick Redfern has posted a comment,saying my difficulties in believing in werebeasts would cease if I regarded them as Paranormal entities and he goes on to ask what one means by Paranormal.

The good Nicholas has attracted some criticism for his views that all cryptids cannot be analysed within the limits of modern zoology and that one has to have recourse to the paranormal to assess them accurately.

This has arisen from the fact that there is a school of thought, very prevalent in some quarters, that nothing can be beyond science.  Here we find the area where people become jumbled in their terminology.

I would define paranormal as

that which is at present beyond the powers of our scientific knowledge to explain and which may always remain so.

This would keep it within the scientific spectrum.  Others, however, might say

the paranormal will always be unscientific because its absurdity is self-evident.

If you define paranormal in this way, you can, of course, reject it in the search for a solution for cryptozoological questions.  However, some people are far too quick to dismiss something as a self-evident absurdity.  I will give you an example:

Arthur C. Clarke, the well-known science fiction writer, was told by his mother that there were sheep in a field nearby with four horns apiece.  He immediately scoffed at this story, thinking it was absolutely evident that such animals could not exist - until he saw them.

He had a threshold of the absurd.  They were beyond it.  That did not mean they didn't exist.

Another example comes from my teaching career.  I was teaching a class of youngsters when the question of sympathetic pregnancy arose (I can't remember how).  I told them it was indeed possible for a man whose significant other was pregnant to develop the symptoms and many physical characteristics of pregnancy in sympathy.  They were shocked, because such a development had been, until I enlightened them, beyond their threshold of the absurd.

The trouble is that certain materialists have a threshold of the absurdity that excludes a great deal - extraterrestrials, fairies, ghosts and other such things and therefore they dismiss them as paranormal and refuse to consider their existence - not simply because that existence isn't falsifiable, but because it is beyond their absurdity threshold.

Therefore, I would say the bold Nicholas, when he considers the paranormal in his investigations, is not to be censured - the consideration of the paranormal is perfectly valid.

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