Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

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Thursday, 22 October 2009


Following the query in my previous blog about what the enigmatic Canzanella mystery beasts painting, which looks very like a photo-negative with black background and ghostly white-furred animals, might look like if it were converted to a photo-positive version by colour-inverting it to yield a white background and colour-furred animals, I have duly done this. So here is the original version (top pic). And here's the very thought-provoking colour-inverted version (bottom pic). What do you think? Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice may well have said!


  1. Assuming it's not a fantasy animal, it might be a particularly hairy therapsid.

  2. I have seen this painting before, many years ago. As I recall, it depicts the title creatures from Whitley Strieber's 1978 novel "Wolfen".

    Hopefully someone familiar with the artwork surrounding that novel can shed more light.

  3. Interesting comments! The possible wolfen link is very intriguing. However, the painting appears to date back to at around 1974 (see my previous blog on it), so pre-dates the Strieber novel by around four years. I have a copy of the UK edition of this book, which is among my favourite cryptozoology-related novels, and it has a snarling wolfman-type face on the cover. I do not know what was on the US edition's cover. However, it's certainly worth checking out, just in case, even though the painting apparently preceded the novel (and hence was not specifically commissioned for it), it was used by the publishers on the cover. All the best, Karl

  4. Ratel/Honey Badger?

  5. Perhaps Griffins? half eagle half lion? just thought I'd throw that out there

  6. ”Assuming it’s not a fantasy animal” ... is everyone here nuts?

    Why on earth is this painting even interesting? Someone painted a fantasy animal – why is that worth any discussion?

  7. Even if it isn't the "Wolfen" I wouldn't rule it out as being a representation of some type of lycanthrope. Maybe it's an artist's impression of Beast of Gevaudan?
    Overall is has a somewhat canid/hyenid look to it. but with small ears, a enlarged cranium, and a reduced tail. in the head painted in profile I might be seeing things but it looks slightly primate-like as well. so maybe it is the artists idea of a "transformed" werewolf...wolflike but with some other traits (shortened tail, head structure) that show the human/primate influence on its anatomy? which might explain it being used in association with the novel "Wolfen" as well.

  8. When I first saw this painting, I too thought immediately that it looked somewhat lycanthropic, but then I re-assessed it from a wholly zoological viewpoint and noted its badger-like overtones. It may indeed be a painting of fantasy beasts, but the whole point about this painting is that we don't know anything about it - not even its artist can be traced. Consequently, all speculation as to what the beasts may be that it portrays is of interest and potential worth. Incidentally, as it was apparently in existence in around 1974 (according to the person who owned it prior to placing it for sale on eBay in 1992, he had owned it until then for around 28 years), it looks as if the suggested Omni link can be eliminated, because Omni did not begin publication until 1978 (unless its owner was mistaken as to how long he had owned it?). And I've had no luck tracing any Wolfen cover with it on either. So, back to the drawing board!

  9. Whoops! I meant 2002, not 1992, as the year in which its owner placed this painting on eBay.

  10. As an artist myself I am highly amused by the reaction to this and I'm sure the originator would be extraordinarily chuffed to know their work was provoking debate decades after it was painted.
    My opinion is that it is a fantasy animal, a Wolf-Dolphin perhaps? 'Lot of acid around in the 70's.

  11. DOES definitely look Lycanthropic, Karl.