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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I came across another interesting Hong Kong cryptozoology story the other day via the excellent Trove online database (based in Australia) , dated from September 22nd 1880. It was published in the Gippsland Times (Victoria state.) Interestingly, there is a story from Tai Hang village near Causeway Bay on the  north side of Hong Kong island  in the same year of a sea monster or dragon which, when it appeared, stopped the course of a plague, thus saving the villagers. The image below from  a web site  illustrates this Tai Hang story.  However, the events below took place in Aberdeen then a small fishing village on the south side.                                                                                                         


The original sea serpent, or one of his family, appears to have been caught near Hong Kong. The Press (1) reports that on  1st July  a marine monster was captured in the dock at Aberdeen and placed in the City Hall for exhibition. It is called by the Chinese the “devil fish.” and apparently well deserves its name. It weighs about three thousand pounds, and fifty coolies were required to carry it. The body is about seven feet in diameter. The total measurement from fin to fin is fifteen feet. It has ears a foot and a half long, and its mouth is two feet four inches in width. The fish attains an enormous size in the China Sea, and is sometimes seen on the surface of the water asleep. One of the Messageries (?) Maritime steamers going north from Hong Kong some time ago ran into one, and the officers of the ship thought she was aground as the vessel was brought up to nearly a dead stop; on another occasion one was captured asleep and made fast, and although the strongest hoisting gear in the ship was rigged, before the fish was lifted half out of the water – so great was the weight – the tackle broke and the attempt to secure the monster had to be abandoned. (2)

A brief search in other online old Hong Kong newspapers didn`t reveal any concrete understanding of the “devil fish”. There were stories of rays off S.America with 22 foot wide “fins” from tip to tip and giant octopi though. I believe the oar fish can be excluded.

  1. The Hong Kong Daily Press?
  2. Gippsland Times September 22nd 1880  p.3


aspire-plus-one said...

Sounds like a manta ray

aspire-plus-one said...

Sounds like a manta ray to me