Monday, April 2, 2007

About the CFZ

Jonathan Downes was born in Portsmouth, England in 1959 and spent much of his childhood in Hong Kong, where, surrounded by age-old Chinese superstitions and a dazzlingly diverse range of exotic wildlife, he soon became infected with the twin passions for exotic zoology and the paranormal which were to define his adult life.

He spent some years as a nurse for the mentally handicapped; but began writing professionally in the late 1980s. He has now written over twenty books. He is also a musician and songwriter, who has made a number of critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums.

In 1992, he founded the Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), with the aim of coordinating research into mystery animals, bizarre animal behavior, and his own particular love of zooform phenomena - those paranormal entities which only appear to be animals.

He has searched for lake monsters at Loch Ness, pursued sea serpents, the grotesque Cornish Owlman - which inspired his most famous book, The Owlman and Others - chased big-cats across Britain's West Country, and in 1998 and 2004 traveled to Puerto Rico (the latter expedition with Nick Redfern) in search of the diabolical and vampire-like Chupacabras.

Downes is also an activist for Mental Health issues, having suffered from Bipolar Disorder for many years. In 2005, after having lived in the English city of Exeter for 20 years, he moved to his old family home in Woolsery, North Devon - a picturesque and old English village that looks like something straight out of the Hound of the Baskervilles!

Following his father's death in 2006, Jon has inherited the family home and is in the process of creating the definitive cryptozoological museum and research facility on the considerable grounds of his Woolsery home.

And while the CFZ has countless members, helpers, assistants, and representatives around the world, the organization would not be what it is without the tireless work of the group's Zoological Director, Richard Freeman (author of the acclaimed book, Dragons: More Than A Myth?); Deputy Director, Graham Inglis; and Art Director, Mark North.

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