Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spain: Demon or Spanish "Jenny Haniver"?

Source: Criptozoología en España
Date: 24 May 2011

Spain: Demon or a Spanish “Jenny Haniver”?
By Javier Resines

The IB3 television channel kicked off a new documentary show a few weeks ago in prime time under the name Illes de llegenda (Isles of Legend) in order to make its audience aware of the best-known legends of the Balearic Islands.

Each installment presents two legends seen from three perspectives: the narrative, the witnesses and expert opinion. In each episode, Miquel Salamanca, the show’s host, plays the role of a renowned journalist who is writing a book on the mysterious and legendary features of the Balearic Islands. The parallel between the past and the future, the trajectory of the investigations and the surprising outcomes will make the suspense endure until the end of each narrative.

In the first episode, bearing the title Sor Isabel Sabater / Es dimonió, two interesting adaptations of popular island legends are presented: Sor Isabel Sabater i L’ombra del dimoni and Es dimonió.

The story of Sister Isabel’s life leads Miquel Salamanca to the municipality of La Pobla, specifically to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, where a unique item can be found: a small, desiccated creature that was found in the lakes of La Albufera, according to legend. A demon, a merman or a fraud? Between myth and legend, Salamanca tours the town to learn if the creature was real or a piece crated by the taxidermist Juan Goetia.

As seen in the photograph, the creature displays a bizarre fish body with a humanoid head, in the likeness of the alleged mermaids that toured circuses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, presenting the magnificent work of skilled craftsmen as “prodigies of nature”.

This strange being belonged to Don Joan Serra, later known as Don Juan Goet, who inherited it from his father, Doctor Ramón, a scion of the semi-aristocratic elite of the “senyors buferers”, who hunted the wetlands with their retainers and hounds. In all likelihood, the dimonió hails from s’Albufera.

S’Albufera and es buferers constitute a world of mystery that always had infernal connotations. Before being turned into a state park, S’Abufera was plagued by terrifying stories of strange animals ensnared by fishermen on nights of full moon. Perhaps es dimonió is one of those strange beings that emerged from nowhere. The answer, of course, will be found on Illes de Llegenda.

(Translation (c) 2011 S. Corrales, IHU)