A woman is visiting a settlement inhabited by one of China’s ethnic minorities, the Miao people, in Yunnan Province capital of Kunming. It’s a popular tourist spot and the woman has her smartphone out, filming on the edge of a pond. Suddenly, a strangely unsettling vision appears, something truly weird. If she hadn’t caught it on film, the phenomenon would be totally unbelievable.
The tourist posts a short clip of what she saw on the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo. She shot the film near the city of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in early November, 2019. And once online on social media, her footage quickly attracted lots of attention.
The reason the clip caught people’s imagination was the nature of the fish which features so prominently in it. It’s a carp, but no ordinary one. This carp has the distinctive face of a man superimposed on the front of its head. We see the fish swim towards the camera displaying what looks for all the world like a human face with its eyes peering out of the water.
The Daily Mail newspaper reports that in the film, we can hear the tourist exclaiming, “The fish has turned into a fairy.” Commenters on Weibo waded in with their views. “This is scary,” one wrote. “Who dares to eat it?” another asks. In fact, it’s not unknown for carp to have markings resembling a human face. But to see footage of such a striking example is rare indeed.
Other human-faced carp have previously been photographed, but as far as is known, this tourist’s footage is the first film of one. An Englishman called Brendan O’Sullivan from Dagenham, Essex came across one in 2010. That fish was said to be worth about $50,000 because of its rarity. What happened to the latest human-faced carp to emerge in China remains unreported.