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, 3 February 2015

DO ENGLISHMEN HAVE TAILS?

Strange as it may seem, this belief was once common in Europe.  John Bale, writing in the 16th Century, thus fulminates:

     An Englishman cannot now travel in another land....
     but it is contumeliously thrown in his teeth that all
     Englishmen have tails.

How did this curious belief arise?  Well, it seems to have its origin in the fact that certain groups of Englishmen used to say it about inhabitants of other parts of their country.  The people of Devon certainly said it about those of Cornwall.  The Cornish, by the way, are not English in origin but Celtic and for a long time had their own language.  This will have perhaps emphasized the difference between them and their Devonian neighbors.  The writer Polydore Vergil asserted that it was true of some of the inhabitants of Kent.  He says that when Saint Thomas Becket (sometimes mistakenly called à Becket) fell out with King Henry II, some of the people of Rochester in Kent cut off the tail of his horse, as a result of which their descendants were born with tails.

John Bale
Stories like this gave rise to the idea of tailed Englishmen.  When I first went to England, I did not notice anyone with this peculiar feature.  However, next time I'm over there, I shall check to see if I notice any pairs of suspiciously bulging trousers.

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