February 2, 2012

San Diego Diablo?

What is it?

Okay, it is Groundhog Day, and it does seem like we have been here before. Set the clock for 6:00 am again, and let’s go….

Rocco Castoro of the Vice has published photographs he received of a strange creature that allegedly washed ashore in San Diego. He termed the beast The San Diego Demonoid.

Frankly, I’m a fan, instead, of the name “San Diego Diablo” to celebrate the Spanish cultural elements of the area. Above and below are the two images shared by Rocco Castoro, used with his permission.

Here is the backstory, briefly: An individual named Dylan Dessureault emailed Rocco Castoro the photos, labeling them of a “Chupacabra/Montauk Monster-looking creature” in the subject line. Dessureault said that a friend of his, Josh Menard, a 19-year-old snowboarder from Lake Tahoe, took the photos of the 2-ft-long thing on Pacific Beach in San Diego last week.

While the carcass smelled and flies were on it, nevertheless, rightfully so, Castoro has expressed a good deal of skepticism about this being anything too unusual, even though “Chupacabras” has immediately come into the conversation. Indeed, Rocco Castoro’s first reaction was this: “Most people I’ve shown it to, including myself, think it’s bullshit.”

Castoro has cause for concern.


Ever since the Montauk Monster showed up (and I named it on June 29, 2008), we all should be careful about any beached “cryptids” and “monsters.” The massive media wave afterward (see here) was incredible, and even though I posted the first suggested solution of a raccoon on June 30th, it took weeks for that to sink in. By then, the “Montauk Monster” phenomena had been born.

On the one hand, a normal animal that had decayed but was misidentified could be the source of this San Diego Diablo, or on the other hand, it could be a planted fake. (Sharon Hill points out that Darren Naish solved this last night; he feels it is an opossum. But let me go on with the cautionary note I wish to make.)

Opossum skull

For some years now, I have been discovering that a specific artist, one Juan Cabana, has been behind or his creature creations have been the sources of supposed “mystery cryptids” being found along various shorelines. (This is not to say that Cabana was hoaxing anyone, but his art appears to have been employed, over and over again, because it is so good at fooling people.)

Beached Mermaid

Take for example, on September 25, 2006, I received emails telling me that strange and mysterious “Mermaid photos” supposedly snapped in Mexico, Dominican Republic, or Malaysia were circulating on the Internet. These emails were asking for me to either identify the “Mermaid” or post the photographs on Cryptomundo. But as I posted at the time, I had already previously published several of the photos (see flashback posting here), when Red Sox player David Ortiz had earlier discussed them. The images were of a taxidermy fake.

The Ortiz-media-madness objects pictured were all from one piece of art by Juan Cabana of Miami, who is well-known for his fake Feejee Mermaids. The International Cryptozoology Museum has one of his smaller Feejee Mermaids, created in 1999 (see below). The 2006 beached “Mermaid” probably was photographed from various angles in Cabana’s home state of Florida.

Fiji Mermaid

Interestingly, as the beached object melodrama was beginning to unfold in San Diego, I began to get a few mystery-objects-found emails during the last week. I’ll share two of them.

First, I received the following from CH, who had a “friend” who “trapped” this dead “Chupacabra” in “LA.” But it was not from Los Angeles, but Louisiana.

It was obviously another sad example of a dead candid with a highly contagious infestation of Sarcoptes scabiei canis, that is, mange. End of mystery.

Also I got a note from someone who said they had found a weird animal, which was mostly a head, on a beach.

Trouble is that this is definitely a Juan Cabana creation, seen by many of us before:

So my question is, could the San Diego Diablo be an alert that another Juan Cabana event is around the corner? It does seem funny that one of his creations was floated during this same time frame, doesn’t it? All of this seems intriguingly in line with the kinds of emails I’ve been getting lately.


Oh and yes, I did ask Rocco Castoro where the body of the San Diego Diablo might be. After all, an examination of it would clear up a lot of the mystery. If it was artificial, we could tell that rather quickly. His reply: “It vanished, according to the kids who took the photos….They sent a buddy who lives in the area back to the beach to pick it up, but it was gone.”

Stay tuned. Castoro is going to publish more details from the photographer. Also, there’s Darren Naish’s insights too.

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.

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