The Fishman of Liérganes

In the small town of Liérganes, in Cantabria, northern Spain, a legend has been around since the late 17th century about a young man who drowned at sea only to return a few years later as a fish-human hybrid. He was reported to have gills and fins, but unlike mermaids, he retained his legs and barely spoke. The fact that the legend was reported in some detail by Benito Jerónimo Feijoo, a monk who had a reputation of encouraging scientific and rational thinking and who regularly debunked myths and superstitions, has given the story of the fishman some credence. But if Feijoo was not lying, then what actually was the fishman?

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A statue of fish-man in Liérganes, Spain. Photo: Alex J. Judkins/Twitter


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