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Jonathan Downes was born in Portsmouth 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 seventeen books. He is also a musician and songwriter who has made a number of crtically acclaimed but commercially unsuccesful albums.

In 1992 he founded The Centre for Fortean Zoology, with the aim of coordinating research into mystery animals, bizarre and aberrant animal behaviour and his own particular love of zooform phenomena (paranormal entities which only appear to be animals!)

He has searched for Lake Monsters at Loch Ness, pursued sea serpents and birdmen in Cornwall, chased big cats across westcountry moorland, and in 1998 went to Latin America in search of the grotesque vampiric Chupacabra.

He lists his other hobbies as Tequila, radical politics, the music of Scott Walker, books and more books. He is Leo with Scorpio Rising and believes that Harpo Marx is the funniest man to have ever lived. He is divorced and lives in Exeter with three cats, a dog with asymmetrical ears, and a monitor lizard called Roger.