2009 (ca.): A Monstrous Fish Photo

Monster Fish
[Picture source here]

The Legend:

COVERT SCIENCE - Eight beachcombers thought fame & fortune awaited them when they found a monstrous carcass washed ashore near Palermo, Italy, July 2, 1989. “It was at least 100ft long, snake-like, & had a huge head & a wide mouth full of vicious, needle-like teeth.” Excitement turned sour when “military types showed up, confiscated our cameras & made us leave.” Later, no trace of it could be found, & nothing appeared in the media. This pic is the only apparent survivor. "Passing Strange-1910-2013"

So runs the boldest of the tales I've seen attached to this photo... but is it true?

        The photo itself started to circulate on the internet in 2009 as just a photo; it was only after it had been passed around enough that varying stories and claims started to be attached to it. The story above accompanied the picture in a Pinterest post that likely dates from 2014~2015. But what, then, was the original story behind the picture? Where did it come from, and why was it circulated with no details to start with? The answers, in this case, have already been researched and provided by an expert in the field of cryptozoology, Karl Shuker... and I must say it's nice sometimes to not have to track down all the answers myself!

Expert Opinion

        I say Shuker "researched" the matter, but in this case it was actually handed to him... because one of his friends informed him they had created the photo in photoshop. Alan Friswell had created the picture as an illustration for a blog post he put up on the Centre for Fortean Zoology blog in 2009, which is why the picture started to circulate at that time. Shuker included this fact in his own blog for a post detailing the "Top Ten Cryptozoological Fakes," which has been reprinted and quoted from widely; yet, apparently, never widely enough to prevent yet another story being told about the fish photo. [Link to Shuker's article]

        What makes the matter all the more humorous for me, personally, is that the Pinterest post above, which comes from a pinboard called "Covert Science!" that is hosted by user John Barleycorn, actually links back to a copy of Shuker's article; so Barleycorn not only made up a fantastic new story for the photo, he used a webpage stating the photo was fake as his source for the image to go with his story! Even the final reference in the tale -- "Passing Strange - 1910-2013" -- which implies he got the story from some other place, is fake. Oy.

        This account proved useful in determining the veracity of a different story, that of Norma Kincaid's extremely strange death. To read that account, follow the "See Also" link below.

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