Every visitor to Thailand at some point marvels at a photo – almost mandatory decoration for Bangkok’s bars and restaurants – showing a line of grinning soldiers with an immense fish cradled in their arms.
They may be even more surprised to discover from the caption or the barstaff that this is, in fact, not a fish but a ‘naga‘ – a mythological creature in the form of a giant snake that features in Buddhist belief.
According to Thai urban legend, the photo shows one of these deities found by US soldiers in Laos during the Vietnam War.
In reality, their catch is 23-foot-long deepsea oarfish, a massive sea creature that may well also be behind the Loch Ness monster.
The oarfish was found on a beach by Navy Seals in San Diego in California in 1996 – and the blogger Trevor Ranges is doubly sure of this as one of the soldiers in the photo lives in Bangkok, where he keeps his identity a secret.