If you're fishing in the right place, the other end of your line might as well be in deep space for all we know about the bottom of the ocean. That's the sort of thought that tends to come rushing back to you once you're cranking a line in with something alive on the other end. Of course, what you drag up is usually in the realm of what you were expecting. Other times, it looks like a horror movie creation.
And occasionally what you pull up is so unlikely that they couldn't put it in a Disney movie for fear that 5-year-olds everywhere would spontaneously invent the word "bullshit" to describe what just happened on screen. For instance ...
#6. Tiger Shark Solves Murder Case
In 1935, Australians Albert and Charles Hobson baited a fishing line and left it off the coast of Sydney overnight. When they returned in the morning, they found out why most fisherman choose to get a good night sleep the night before they go fishing instead of while their lines are in the water: All the fish and even a small shark that had at one point been caught on their line now looked like Crystal Lake on Saturday the 14th. As they continued to haul in their line full of slashed and dismembered fish, they discovered the cause: A gigantic 14-foot tiger shark was entangled in their line and absolutely goddamn furious.
"If I'm not untangled in exactly four seconds, it's about to get all Amity Island up in this bitch."
The two men eventually wrestled the beast to shore with ropes, and when it refused to die, they took it to the nearby Coogee Aquarium. After a week in captivity, the shark, determined to maintain its newfound celebrity status, proceeded to vomit up a human arm in front of a crowd of terrified onlookers, officially making this the coolest thing anyone has ever paid to watch happen prior to the invention of TV. What's more, the arm in question still had a length of rope tied to the wrist, and an autopsy determined that the arm had been removed from its body with a knife. After putting the shark through a series of rudimentary knife-fighting tests, it was determined that somebody else had cut the arm off, and the shark had merely swallowed it and spit it at some people who looked like they weren't scared enough of sharks.
"This guy wasn't even worth digesting."
This is where the story would end if it hadn't been for a rare tattoo on the arm that allowed investigators to identify it as belonging to Jim Smith, a former boxer who found a later career committing petty crimes and insurance scams. Apparently, Smith had been a police informant and tried to blackmail the wrong guys. When he ended up in dozens of pieces in a chest at the bottom of the sea, the murderer hung onto his arm, because it had a rare tattoo and would serve as proof that he'd actually done the deed.
There's nothing worse than being identified by your bad tattoo. Except for being murdered and identified by your bad tattoo, we guess.
Once it had served its purpose, the arm was discarded into the bay anchored to something heavy by a length of rope. What seemed like covering tracks at the time looked like a too-good-to-be-true buffet to the tiger shark when it swam by. To be fair, everything looks like a too-good-to-be-true buffet to tiger sharks (in that scene in Jaws where they find license plates and a boot in a shark's stomach, it's a tiger shark they're examining). When the guilty parties were brought to justice, we hope they noted that they totally would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling fishermen and their crime-solving shark.
#5. Barry Hunter Catches His Friend's Skull
In 2007, Barry Hunter spilled thousands of wriggling fish out in front of him. Since he was a fisherman and not an aquarium custodian, this was good news. The day turned decidedly shittier when he noticed a human skull among the fish, which is pretty much a bummer no matter what line of work you're in. Unless you're a surgeon.
"This would be fine if I wasn't actually operating on his groin."
Turning over his disturbing find to police, forensic investigation uncovered that the skull was that of the missing Brian Allison. Despite what this article would lead you to believe, the chances of human remains ending up in a fisherman's net are pretty slim. But the fact that the fisherman and the skull's owner used to be drinking buddies brings the whole thing into Gypsy curse territory.
The sea is a harsh mistress, with a wicked temper when she drinks.
The commercial trawler the Jann Denise II had been found at the bottom of the dangerous North Sea three years earlier. The crew members, Brian Allison and his step-brother Robert Temple, were never found, and family, friends and fellow fishermen like Hunter all mourned the tragic loss.
Hunter's haul brought miraculous closure to family and friends and is a happy ending to a tragic story from their point of view. It's probably happy for Hunter, too, unless he had ever wronged Allison, or even swore at him during an argument about the ending of Blade Runner. If they had anything but the most casual and friendly acquaintance, Hunter is probably justifiably terrified of the bizarre turn of fate.
"The sign of the unicorn. Wow, dude, you really misinterpreted that entire film, didn't you?"
We're not going to suggest that the remainder of Mr. Allison's skeleton is still scratching its way to shore to exact terrible justice from beyond the grave, but someone should get Sam Raimi on the line about a script treatment, just in case.
"Hmm ... Bruce Campbell could use another beach house."
#4. Mexican Fisherman Renders Photoshop Obsolete
Up until now the catches have all been pretty plausible, if sailing a little too close to insanity. Then you have ... this:
Oh there you are, Insanity. We'll just dock right here then.
FAKE! is probably the only way to begin and end any conversation about the above picture when seeing it for the first time. The sport fishing enthusiast site piscesfleet.blogspot.com broke the story of a one-eyed shark captured near Baja California by a commercial fisherman in June of this year. With only two pictures put up for review, the chorus of Internet naysayers screaming, "faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake" reached a decibel level comparable to a Justin Bieber concert held at an artillery proving ground. Here's the second picture:
Someone's slapped a couple of fins on a whale penis again.
Online commentators pointed out how in the first picture the guy holding the shark was suspiciously covering the area where its eye should be. When the second picture surfaced, the conversation turned to how easy it would have been to brush out the eyes with Photoshop. Nobody took the pictures seriously, with one poster stating that, "a Cabbage Patch doll must be missing an eye somewhere," and fanaca on Buzzfeed.com got creative:
Then some more photographs surfaced, courtesy again of piscesfleet.blogspot.com:
Smile! You're dead!
In these later shots, some time has passed and the creature is noticeably a little the worse for wear in comparison to the originals. The gentleman in the pictures above is Dr. Felipe Galvan, one of Mexico's most renowned shark researchers from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar (CICIMAR), a respected marine science institute, where he has served as professor and researcher since 1982. While it was reported by Pisces Fleet that Dr. Galvan had "seen, studied and produced an initial paper on this otherworldly animal," and was awaiting review and publication, skeptics still voiced their disdain, complaining now that the shark had to be a creation of a special effects artist, and that it didn't have gill slits.
Oh wait ... there they are.
Deciding not to trust any website with an astrological sign in the URL, we tried on our real-journalist hats and contacted Galvan, who confirmed the authenticity of the pictures and provided a little insight into just what the hell is going on.
He seemed a little put off by our hat, because Batman.
Apparently when a pregnant bull shark was recently caught by a commercial fisherman in the Sea of Cortez, the albino cyclops shark was one of the unborn fetuses found inside. The fisherman declined to donate the Pixar character for study (presumably seeing the shellac guitar-playing souvenir potential), but allowed scientists to examine it temporarily, which is where Galvan enters the picture. He explained, "This is extremely rare, as far as I know less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded." A deformation resulting from pollution was discounted by Galvan: "The water in the Sea of Cortez is one of the cleanest in the world, so it is not likely that this is a factor."
"At least it was before you started screaming "I AM THE NIGHT" at manta rays and shitting yourselves."
Galvan then directed us to a YouTube video in which the finder and a CICIMAR representative are interviewed on Mexican television, with some close-up shots of the now desiccated specimen.
As for the "how the fuck?" something called holoprosencephaly is the most likely explanation. Do NOT do a Google Images search of holoprosencephaly unless you and your lunch want to meet again for a second date. The phenomenon rarely results in Pixar-ready cuteness.
Except in this case, where Sulley and Mike obviously had a baby.