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.

Saturday 26 April 2014


The east coast of New England and Canada was at one time famous for harboring a land which, as far as can be judged, never existed.  This was the land of Norumbega.  Today it is almost forgotten, but is remembered in a number of placenames.

In a map of 1529 it appears as the name of a river.  Pierre Crignon, a Frenchman, however, thought it was a territory and it appears as a country or region in a globe of 1542.  In the Cartier expedition of 1541-2, the chronicler, Alfonce, identified Cape Cod as the Cape of Norumbega and the River of Norumbega as the Narraganssett.  He furthermore mentioned a city of Norumbega by which he seems to have meant a place of considerable size.

Mercator, in his map of 1569, made it a city of protected by towers, conferring on it a status far above anything in the area of which archaeology is aware.

Champlain, however, failed to find Norumbega and eventually identified merely as the Penobscot River.  The thriving city with its towers seems to have been wholly chimerical.

In the 19th Century one Eben N. Horsford tried to show that Norumbega had indeed existed and had been a Norse colony in Massachussetts.  At Weston he erected a structure called the Norumbega Tower which he believed to have been the site of the original Norse fort.  Horsford's speculations do not find favor with modern scholars.

Bangor (Maine) seems to have had some pretensions to being the site of Norumbega.  This has resulted in there being a Norumbega Mall and a Norumbega Hall in the modern city.

A place called Norumbega Castle has been erected at Camden (Maine).

The mysterious land seems in origin to have been a Native American name for some river, perhaps misheard by a European.  It just shows you how a story can grow. 

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