What Is This Mystery Fish?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 24th, 2011

One of the oldest unsolved “image” mysteries I have had to deal with at Cryptomundo, starting in 2005, is what is shown on this postcard.

Can you identify this Mystery Fish found on this old postcard?

Mystery Fish

(Click on image to see full size version)

Is there a reader out there that can help?

The men in the picture look like military servicemen. They have been tentatively identified (from their belt buckets and hats) as US Marines in pre-1920s uniforms. Are they pre-World War I?

The surroundings appear as if this photograph was taken on a beach or island. The location has been tentatively identified as the Pacific, maybe the Philippines.

The fish seems to be over six feet long (notice the standard military stretcher lying under the cryptid). How long is a WWI-era stretcher?

Where are the fins on this cryptid, if it is a fish? If it is a giant salamander, then is this Japan or China? If it is a constructed fake, doesn’t it look rather too unbelievable to be taken seriously? What is it?

Send in a comment if you can enhance the knowledge of the surroundings, help solve the mystery, or know what this cryptid might be.

The postcard has been tentatively dated. It should be noted that the “Place Stamp Here” box is formed by the letters AZO, which allegedly date this card. All the AZO triangles are pointing upward, thus indicating a date for this postcard of 1904-18.

Mystery Fish Postcard

(Click on image to see full size version)

What is shown on the card?

Mystery Fish Enhanced

(Click on image to see full size version, enhanced by shockbeton)

Mystery Fish Closeup

(Click image for full-size version)

Mystery Fish Enhancement

(Click image for full-size version, provided by Todd DiLaMuca)

Mystery Fish Enhancement

The photo has been changed to delete the mouth, to see what it looks like that way. However, the original does show a mouth or line on the image.

(Click image for full-size version, provided by Todd DiLaMuca)

The postcard photo has become such an enduring, enigmatic icon that it became part of the publisher’s design on the front of my new Simon and Schuster edition of Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures.

Loren Coleman Mysterious America 2007

The International Cryptozoology Museum has an enlarged version of the postcard displayed in the museum to elicit more information on what it may be. If you can contribute to the museum’s survival through the non-tourist season, this would be most appreciated. Please click on the “Donate” button below (remember, the upper righthand “Cryptomundo” button is for the admin of the blog and that money does not reach the museum or Loren Coleman). Thanks everyone!

You may directly send a check or money order if in the USA, or, if outside the USA, an international postal money order written to

International Cryptozoology Museum
Loren Coleman, Director
661 Congress St.
Portland, ME 04101

Open Wed-Sat, 11 am – 4:30 pm, Sundays Noon – 3:30 pm, Closed Mon-Tues; $5.00 admission, cash or check, all ages.

Thank you.

This postcard was contributed by reader Ms. Phyllis Mancz of Ohio to Loren Coleman.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

11 Responses to “What Is This Mystery Fish?”

  1. THE REAL CMAC responds:

    I still say it is a Wels Catfish 🙂

  2. rkn responds:

    Looks like a tiger shark with its fins and jaws cut off.

  3. Richard888 responds:

    I like the parallel logic that the cryptid could be a salamander. People were usually asked to identify it by being asked the biased question “what kind of fish is it?” 🙂

  4. scaryeyes responds:

    It’s pretty clear the fins have been cut off, you can see the wound where this has happened. The mouth also looks mutilated. My strong suspicion is that most of the characteristics that make this fish look unusual are due to post-mortem mutilation, and that it would be a lot more recognisable otherwise.

  5. glendoor42 responds:

    ” Looks like a tiger shark with its fins and jaws cut off.” well those are the parts that you make shark fin soup with or some people do anyway. I really looked close at the enhanced picture and it seems to me that the “mouth” looks cut or carved on.

  6. glendoor42 responds:

    Also let me say that I believe the mystery fish is the best recurring pic on this site I always love it’s appearances

  7. Darkhawk responds:

    Said it before, I’ll say it again, this IS Parris Island, SC. Odds are this is a Tiger Shark.

  8. Kingswood responds:

    Even more strange, am I the only one to notice the Sasquatch shadow that appears on the shack right above the back end of the fish (which is most definitely a mutilated Tiger Shark)?

  9. monsterhunter316 responds:

    This again. Shark.

  10. ksullivan responds:

    I don’t think it’s a fish. It’s a reptile, some sort of sea turtle carcass. Badly mutilated by sharks or similar, all the fins and other soft parts have been chewed off. The size is right and the head is pretty distinctive. Here’s a few similar pics I found on the web:

  11. dawgdoc responds:

    I am intrigued by the suggestion that this could Parris Island, SC. In the background, there looks like there could be a tidal river immediately behind the shed and miles of marsh in the distance. This environment does have a distinctive appearance.

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