Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weird Weekend 2011 - Details

This just in from Jon Downes at the Center for Fortean Zoology:

For one weekend a year the tiny North Devon village of Woolsery becomes the weirdest village in the land. The largest gathering of scholars of esoteric natural history in the English-speaking world, is set to take place in rural north Devon. The Centre for Fortean Zoology’s annual conference, the Weird Weekend, will see speakers from all over the country gathering Woolsery to discuss their work and discoveries.

The Weird Weekend,held over the weekend of the 19-21st August, now in its 12 year is the largest convention of its kind. This year’s speakers include one of the world’s leading geneticists Professor Bryan Sykes. Professor Sykes will be speaking on the yeti and samples of hair he has tested. Continuing the theme, cryptozoologist Richard Freeman will be talking about the Centre for Fortean Zoology’s latest expedition that took them into the Garo Hills of northern India on the track of the yeti.

Last year at the convention scientists announced that hairs found in local woodland were those of a leopard. These findings were later confirmed by DNA analysis. A world exclusive this year comes from Dr Darren Naish from Portsmouth University and Max Blake from Bristol University who will produce conclusive proof that over 100 years ago there were still mystery cats in Devon.

Other speakers include Fortean researcher Matt Salusbury who has been on the track of pigmy elephants in India, entomologist Nick Wadham on giant spiders, cryptozoologist Adam Davies on the orang-pendek, the mystery ape of Sumatra, and Glen Vaudrey on the waterhorse, a sea serpent from Scottish legend.

As well as monstrous creatures, other esoteric subjects are covered. Former police officer John Hanson describes UFO cases reaching back to the 1940s.

Other subjects include Ronan Coghlan on the labours of Hercules, and Henry Hartley on Fortean aspects of the modern Mayans.

As well as a series of talks there will be stalls, workshops and events.

The Weird Weekend raises funds for village charities dealing with children and for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the only full time organization in the world dedicated to the investigation of mystery animals.

The Weird Weekend takes place from 19th-21st of August.
For further details visit
Or ring 01237 431413


* The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation. It was founded in 1992 by British author Jonathan Downes (52) and is a company limited by guarantee registered with HM Government.

* Life-president of the CFZ is Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, best known for his groundbreaking youth work organising the ‘Operation Drake’ and ‘Operation Raleigh’ expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s.

* CFZ Director Jonathan Downes is the author and/or editor of over 20 books. His latest book is Island of Paradise, his first hand account of two expeditions to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in search of the grotesque vampiric chupacabra.

* The CFZ have carried out expeditions across the world including India, Russia, Sumatra, Mongolia, Guyana, Gambia, Texas, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Loch Ness, and Loch Morar.

* CFZ Press are the world’s largest publishers of books on mystery animals. They also publish Animals & Men, the world’s only cryptozoology magazine, and The Amateur Naturalist, Britain’s only dedicated magazine on the subject.

* The CFZ produce their own full-length documentaries through their media division called CFZtv. One of their films `Lair of the Red Worm` which was released in early 2007 and documents their 2005 Mongolia expedition has now been seen by nearly 90,000 people.

* The CFZ is based in Jon Downes’ old family home in rural North Devon which he shares with his wife Corinna (55). It is also home to various members of the CFZ’s permanent directorate and a collection of exotic animals.

* Jonathan Downes presents a monthly web TV show called On the Track which covers cryptozoology and work of the CFZ.

* Following their successful partnership with Capcom on the 2007 Guyana expedition, the CFZ are looking for more commercial sponsors.

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