Mystery Fish Photo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 25th, 2009

Mystery Fish Enhanced

(Click on image to see full size version)

The International Cryptozoology Museum was visited in November 2010 by NOAA, Office of Protected Resources’ Fisheries Biologist Jason E. Kahn. He took a keen interest in our display of the “mystery fish postcard.”

Dr. Kahn suggested we reconsider that this photo might show an extraordinary specimen of snakehead fish. Known from Asia, he felt it fit within the parameters of the speculated range of the photograph (Hawaii or Philippines).  He sensed the back markings on the mystery fish mirrored what are found on some species of snakeheads.

Yes, Dr. Kahn admitted, this would be an extremely significant find, and a record large size, but he thought the snakehead might be the answer.

What do you think?

Mystery Fish

(Click on image to see full size version)

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 2006 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 front hallway of the museum to elicit more information on what it may be. If you can contribute to the museum’s survival, 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!

Or 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 for last admission (closing at 5:00 pm), Sundays Noon – 3:30 pm for last admission (closing at 4:00 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.

One Response to “Mystery Fish Photo”

  1. mrdark responds:

    THIS. I mean, it has a snake-like head. The form factor seems to be correct. I think we have a freak mutation, massively oversized and albino (or at least very oddly colored).

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