Who You Calling "Fish Face"?
Date Added: Nov. 21, 2003
It has pictures, it must be real, right? You can, indeed, fool some of the people some of the time... especially with an imagination, e-mail and a couple of staged photos.
Monday March 17, 2003
HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- An 8-year-old boy fishing with his grandfather for > > the first time in a South Carolina lake made the catch of the century -- a fish with a human face!
Puzzled marine biologists say the mysterious creature, which sports a distinctly man-like nose and jagged, eerily human teeth, is like nothing they've ever seen before.
"We have not yet ascertained whether this fish belongs to a previously unidentified species that has lived in the waters of North America for centuries, is the by-product of genetic tinkering or is a random mutation caused by something in the environment," says Dr. Gregory Hickens, the famed marine biologist who specializes in unusual wildlife.
"We do know that this is one of the most spectacular finds in decades."
The strange fish was caught in Lake H.B. Robinson by a little boy from Detroit named Aaron Krendell, who was visiting his grandparents.
"I never saw a fish like that before," he says.
The boy's 71-year-old grandfather, Clayton, who asked that his last name not be used, helped the youngster reel in the 7 1/2-inch fish.
"I pulled it off the hook and held it up for Aaron so he could see the size of it, telling him, 'You're a right good fisherman, son,' " the oldster recalls.
"I'm about to toss it in the bucket when Aaron starts hollering, 'Look, look, Grandpa -- he looks like Uncle Steve.'
"At first I thought he was just being a city kid. Then I turned it to me and, holy smokes, it sure did have a man's face. I nearly dropped the damned thing.
"Then, what about gave me a heart attack was it started moving its lips like it was trying to talk. I tossed it in the bucket pretty darned quick.
"I stood there holding my chest while it flopped around in the bucket, trying to figure out what to do -- throw the ugly thing back and try to forget I ever saw it, or put it in water and find some expert to take a look at it."
Luckily for the science world, he chose to take the amazing find to a professor pal at a local college, who contacted state fish and wildlife officials.
The old man says he wants to set the facts straight about one thing.
"A rumor's been going around saying that the fish asked me to throw it back," he says. "I never told anybody that. What I said was it moved its lips like it was asking me to throw it back. Besides, it's all dried up and deader than a doornail now."
Officials have launched an investigation, bringing in Miami-based Dr. Hickens and other experts. Bigwigs refuse to discuss the case -- or even confirm the discovery of the fish -- until its origins are better understood. Efforts to find and capture another human-faced fish may be in the works.
"There's got to be more where that one came from," says a spokesman from the governor's office.
"We've asked the local press to help us keep a lid on this thing and they've been very cooperative."
Still, rumors have leaked out, creating quite a stir in the close-knit community.
One concern is that a nuclear power plant sits on the lake and that radiation in the waste water may have spawned the freak.
Plant officials insist that the facility is completely safe.
In 1999, budding filmmakers Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez built a cinematic phenomenon out of some grainy amateur camera footage, a spooky legend and a well-crafted web site. "The Blair Witch Project" was a box office shocker as people flocked to the local multiplex to watch the 86 minutes of supposedly real video of three young documentarists' final moments and decide for themselves whether it was real or a sophisticated multimedia hoax.
The pictures above are part of a similar promotion for video game for the Sega Dreamcast game system in Japan. "Seaman" is a virtual-pet type game in which you raise the smart-mouthed fish with a human face from hatching through adulthood. Sega's ad campaign featured displays of fabricated Seaman skeletons and fossils in museums and stores, a book and web sites to develop an elaborate back story for the salty man-fish.
However, the story above was not part of that campaign, nor is it the news story it appears to be. It is the fanciful creation of an anonymous hoaxter who obviously felt it would be fun to craft a story around Sega's convincing-looking photos. Just like the urban legend that sprung up to accompany a doctored photo of a giant cat in Canada, the tale above touches on the common social fear that nuclear power or other products of so-called progress may have been behind the mutation.
Early in 2005, this rumor picked up steam as a new photo of a fish with a strikingly human-looking face hit the Internet. This one, however, is real and was originally published by the Korean Bureau of the Reuters news service, which describes it thusly:
One of two 19-year-old fish with human-like facial features in Chongju, about 140 km (88 miles) south of Seoul on January 10, 2005. The hybrid species fish were born between a carp and a leather carp in the pond of a personal house in Chongju. Each of the two female fish is 80 cm (32 inches) long and 50 cm (20 inches) in circumference. The owner of the fish said on Monday that their faces have begun to look more and more human over the last couple of years.
Break this chain!
References: Strange Fish Identification Page, Yahoo! News Most Forwarded Photos