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The Goofang are fearsome critters of lumberjack folklore in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


The Goofang was a fish earliest described in Paul Bunyans Natural History (1935) based on earlier oral accounts & legends: "This curious fish always swam backward instead of forward. This was to keep the water out of its eyes. It was described as "about the size of a sunfish, only larger." It also gets a mention with the same description in Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges (1957.)

The Dictionary of Fantastic Beasts (1971) by Barber, Richard W - Makes the point that it is quite similar to the "Acipenser" a fish with backwards scales from Medieval European mythology. (not to be confused with a sturgeon)

The Anglers Bedside Bankside and Barside Yearbook (1987) lists it as one of the "Fearsome Fish" caught only on and around April 1st. It also makes note that freshwater sunfish do exist, so it's probably not as big as people may picture.

In Popular Media[]

  • The Gillygoofang is a children's book published in 1968 by George Mendoza and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
  • Along with many other fearsome critters it also appears in Scooby doo #134 'Velma's Monsters of the World: Fearsome Critters'.


Further reading[]