Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

El Garadiavolo (or Devil Alien Fish)

xchupacabra1It’s not a very nice image, and the strange creature has such a horrible face that it was called “Garadiávolo” — the devil’s face.

The story associated with it is no less bizarre. Alfredo Garcia Garamendi was exploring the Laguna Negra on Puerto Rico when he was attacked by it. In spite of its small size — less  than three feet — it had a supernatural strength.

I shot at it“, Garamendi told later, “but even being hit the animal quickly started attacking me again on the neck, and I felt that it was starting to choke me with its tail. Then I managed to reach my knife, and kept stabbing the animal until I felt it was motionless around my neck, because it was dead.”

The horrifying fight in 1974 wasn’t actually the first. Garamendi had already managed to capture one animal from this bizarre species four years before, but that time things did not end very well. Not so much for his physical integrity, but for his scientific interestes.

He had sent it for analysis in the Central University of San Juan. Afterwards, when he got his creature back, he was visited by men from the CIA, who demanded to take it away. He never saw it again.

More careful this time, Alfredo Garamendi decided to preserve and study the specimen in his own house. He wrote a book about it, drawing the creatures along with flying saucers, though he didn’t believe they “came from another planet“, but rather from “another dimension“. What for? “Maybe for the same reasons we have for sending monkeys and other animals to other worlds, to see if they survive on an alien environment“.

The strange events didn’t stop there. Garamendi’s wife didn’t like the mere creature’s presence, even if it was dead, in her own house. Not only because her husband spent many hours studying it, or even because of the many visits by journalists and curious people alike, but because of a series of unfortunate events that happened on her family since they hosted the Garadiávolo.

Eventually, there was an explosion on their house and the second preserved specimen was also lost, this time reduced to ashes.

So, what the hell are the Garadiávolos?

They could be just crude plastic or rubber models, along with unbelievable and very bad stories — including CIA agents and ever-vanishing evidence. But the case is more interesting than that because the animals are real.

It’s only that they are not actually “Garadiávolos”, aliens or dimensional beings, or freaks of the nature.

Mexican researcher Luis Ruiz Noguez points out that Garadiávolos are just common flat fishes, like skates, rays, batfishes, etc., which are cut and dried to end up with this bizarre humanoid appearance.

The thing is that the lower part of those fishes do look like a face, but what we think are the evil eyes are actually the nostrils. The real eyes are on the other side.

A common Ray. The nostrils look like eyes, and this one has a sympathetic face.

They can be huge, funny thing that I never saw any giant Garadiávolo. Lucky for the fishes those hoaxers do not feel like creating such a huge monster.


Cut some parts of the fish to create arms and legs, add some chemicals to preserve it, and you have a nice Garadiávolo.
From the display “Skates, Rays and Jenny Hanivers” (link)

This cottage industry was not created by Alfredo Garamendi. In fact, it’s probable he didn’t create the ones he showed: many fishers create these Garadiávolos to sell them to tourists.

They are periodically promoted as unexplained alien beings, as people soon forget the last timie they were promoted and then explained. The Pravda recently promoted it again as something extraterrestrial, along with a video.

Too bad the internet also has a video of a skate:

There is an ancient name for creatures like the “Garadiávolo”. It’s not known exactly where it came from, thogh it may be related to the French name for Antwerp — Anvers — where these chimera were sold centuries ago. Known as Jenny Hanivers, dragons and basilisks were very popular items on the 16th and 17th centuries, created on Eastern countries just like the Garadiávolos are created today: from flat fishes.

Around 1580, French Ambroise Paré wrote on Des Monstres about a flying fish or sea eagle, considered today as a Jenny Haniver, curiously very similar to Garamendi’s Garadiávolo.

Jenny Haniver drawn by Ambroise Paré on the 16th century (link)

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Posted in Criptozoology,Fortean | 23 comments

23 Comments so far

  1. Suzanna Nicholson August 22nd, 2007 6:32 pm

    I have 3 of these El Garadiavolo’s We aquired them from a friend several years ago. She bought them from a Mexican fisherman who told her he caught them off the Yucatan in 1967. She put them on display at the Peanut Festival in Dothan Al. in Nov 1969 as rare and unusual creatures. No one at the time knew what they were. They are still in fair shape. …..Suzanna

  2. […] have nostrils and mouths that look like a face. In fact, they look so “human” that they are often mistaken or sold as devils or extraterrestrials — and Japanese fishers know that for […]

  3. ema April 13th, 2008 3:02 pm

    well i have to said that you found many pictures but the real garadiavolo is the firth one it was found in puertorico y the decades of the 60 but the govermet hide them in a lagune for no body can saw them most of them were forund in aguadilla the old people said that they jump from the trees to the wather well there a book abuot them is not very easy to find I just know 1 person that have it but search for LOS GARADIAVOLOS EXTRATERESTRES….QHABITAN ENTRE NOSOTROS
    this person was the firt one that find them and givethem hes name (garadiavolos)the autor is Garamendi. ^_^ try to find that book is everything in there ^_^

  4. Mori April 13th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Yes, Emanuel, in the note above I mentioned Garamendi. He makes a lot of wild claims in his book, but essentially he just shows a common ray/skate.


  5. lenny dee May 5th, 2008 10:49 pm

    My mother purchased a devil face fish in puerto rico, are they man made or a true specimen. I took to school and showed it to teacher.

  6. cryptids November 12th, 2008 7:11 pm

    […] instance, have nostrils and mouths that look like a face. In fact, they look so “human” that they are often mistaken or sold as devils or extraterrestrials — and Japanese fishers know that for […]

  7. Ricky Vilella February 15th, 2009 10:46 pm

    En mis años de juventud,Freddie Garamendi fue uno de mis mejores amigos en Villa Nevárez. Quisiera saber de él.Estoy viviendo en West Palm Beach, FL.con mi hermosa familia y quisiera saber de él.Dios los bendiga.

    Ricky Vilella= DOB=11-13-1952
    561-329-3390(cell phone)
    561-791-1089 (home)

  8. Giant Stingray | forgetomori February 28th, 2009 6:41 pm

    […] seeing these colossal stingrays, I couldn’t help but remember the infamous Garadiavolos, made from stingrays exploiting the fact their underside nostrils look like eyes, which along with […]

  9. […] pattern of similar stories related to the discovery of such imaginary creatures. It can be seen in the Garadiávolos tales, for instance. Just sea rays cut to look like humanoid creatures, the rest is pure, bad, […]

  10. Carol Goodwin August 11th, 2009 7:26 pm

    I have been searching for such creatures since I saw my first one in 1957. A fisherman in San Antonio had brought in a dead one. The creature I am speaking of was considered harmless at the time and resembled a type of seaweed at first glance but it was a deep reddish brown; had two ‘arms’, ‘legs’, and a tail. It had a very similar face as the El Garadiavolo but not quite so demonic and was called ‘devil fish’ by the Mexican natives. I never saw any of these again until about 10 or 15 years later when I visited the Hall Of Fins in San Antonio which was then located in the old Lone Star brewery. This exhibit has since been moved to a place in downtown San Antonio but I have yet to get back there to see if the creatures are still there. I have had the feeling that the government would like to keep this under wraps rather than explain a species resembling humans that exists under the oceans; sort of like it is some alien life form. I tried getting information several years ago from oceanographers, at universities and even tried to see if the Cousteau group had anything on this but I received only negative feedback. Except from one guy who said he had seen the creatures at the Hall of Fins in San Antonio as well.
    My boys remember seeing these with me, too.
    I wanted to apply for a grant to study this strange life form.
    Does anyone else know about them?

  11. cassie March 30th, 2010 11:38 am

    Hi everyone… I am looking to buy a garadiavolo but do not know were to look for one..so if anyone can tell me or sell me one that would be great.. Plz call 773-679-1941 thanks

  12. Estien Quijano June 29th, 2010 5:35 am


    I’ve just sawa specimen of this Devil Fish, laminated and preserved, made me do this search to know more about the creature. the specimen is labeled 1960 by a J. Lednicky – Mexican Devil Fish – for more information message me here.

  13. Fisherman September 26th, 2010 10:52 pm

    A garadiavolo was caught in the fraser river in B.C I have photo evidence.

  14. Carol September 27th, 2010 9:54 pm

    None of the pictures here look like what I saw in the Hall of Fins nor the item I saw when I was a teenager. It did not look so fake or construed. It was definitely not a ‘Ray’ of any kind.
    Neither a man-ta-ray or stingray. I really must get to San Antonio one day to see if there is any information available on what I saw. They were not yellowish as the photos above show, but a dark red. If anyone has ever seen what I saw, it is not something you forget.

  15. eric November 13th, 2010 3:15 pm

    i just have bought this kind of strange creature from a thrift shop i was amazed but scared too… it was also laminated and preserved also labeled “mexican devil fish 1960 J. Lednicky”… i just wonder how many specimens were made and distributed… i need information about this…

  16. Carol November 15th, 2010 10:38 pm

    Eric! Can you post a picture of the creature you purchased at the thrift shop? It sounds to me as if what you have is more like what I have experienced seeing. Post it on face book! Of course then I would have to look for “Mexican Devil Fish”
    I simply must visit the Hall of Fins in San Antonio to try to obtain a photo of them …..if they are still on display.
    Neither time in the past did I have a camera with me. Too often I’ve heard, ‘if you see something you’ve never seen before, take a picture of it!’
    I will make a point of taking my camera with me when I go back there.

  17. eric November 24th, 2010 5:24 am

    ok il just post it on facebook…

  18. Carol November 24th, 2010 11:08 am

    How is the photo listed on ‘facebook’?

  19. eric November 24th, 2010 12:27 pm

    just type ericmexican devilfish… wish you’ll gonna like it…

  20. Carol November 24th, 2010 2:20 pm

    Well, it is a little closer to what I saw but it is not very definitive from the angle you posted.
    The critters I’ve seen were all a dark red and were more ‘sea-weedey’ if you get an idea of what I mean.
    I really must get to the Hall of Fins to satiate my curiosity.

  21. eric November 24th, 2010 8:21 pm

    ok il just add more photos…

  22. […] pattern of similar stories related to the discovery of such imaginary creatures. It can be seen in the Garadiávolos tales, for instance. Just sea rays cut to look like humanoid creatures, the rest is pure, bad, fiction. […]

  23. Jesse February 22nd, 2011 3:32 pm

    Does anyone know where it is I can find the book Garamendi wrote pertaining to this case? I would be really grateful, I have been searching for a while now. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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