Are Mermaids Real?

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In 2012, the television channel Animal Planet aired a show claiming to show evidence that mermaids are real.

The program was filmed to appear to be a documentary, complete with interviews with “scientists” (paid actors) and phone-camera footage. With only the show’s very brief disclaimer in the end credits noting it was a work of fiction, many viewers thought that proof of mermaids’ existence had finally come to light.

A month after the program aired, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted a statement on its website denouncing the supposed existence of the half-human, half-fish beings. “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” the post read.

In mythology, mermaids — or mermaidlike creatures — have existed for thousands of years.

The first myths of mermaids may have originated around 1000 B.C. — stories tell the tale of a Syrian goddess who jumped into a lake to turn into a fish, but her great beauty could not be changed and only her bottom half transformed.

Since then, many other mermaid stories have appeared in folklore from various cultures around the world. For instance, the African water spirit Mami Wata is mermaid in form, as is the water spirit Lasirn, who is popular in folklore in the Caribbean Islands.

Throughout history, various explorers have reported sightings of mermaids, the most famous of which was Christopher Columbus.

Written By: Joseph Castro
continue to source article at livescience.com

29 COMMENTS

  1. Observation: Animal Planet aired an update (superflous sh*t is more like it) to their original mermaid show last night. Coincidence?

    Arg, cringe worthy. Let’s talk about why some humans (including me) feel comfortable in water. Swimming in the sea would feel like “going home, for a visit”.

    • In reply to #3 by bluebird:

      Arg, cringe worthy. Let’s talk about why some humans (including me) feel comfortable in water. Swimming in the sea would feel like “going home, for a visit”.

      I feel comfortable taking the elevator, so clearly my ancestors tried to fly at some point.

      • *In reply to #12

        I feel comfortable taking the elevator, so clearly my ancestors tried to fly at some point.

        eye roll – way to miss my point. C’est la vie.

        Water births, for example, is appealing for some mothers, but not others(?).

  2. Of course there are human fish hybrids what about billy the fish from the comic viz, oops that’s not real. As I have said here before, if the headline contains a question then the answer is no. As for the animal planets attempt at some sort of war of the worlds type shock story, too stupid for real comment.

    • In reply to #8 by Bob Springsteen:

      Fancy sex with a mermaid? Try serenading her with Salmon-chanted Evening.

      If Miranda doesn’t care for that particular song, you might try one of these:

      Eel Meet Again
      (Tell Me Why) I Don’t Like Barrimundis
      Tears of a Clownfish
      Mackerel the Knife
      (And They Call it) Guppy Love
      There Must be an Angelfish, by Annie Lenok
      Candle in the Wind (The Marlin Monroe version)
      Take Me to the Pilot Fish
      Crocodile Rock Salmon
      ‘Anchovy, when the feelin’s gone and you can’t go on…’
      Smelt Like Teen Spirit
      God Save the Bream, from the album Never Mind the Pollocks
      Albacore for Christmas
      Anything by Stickleback
      Phil Collins’ entire back catalog is utter carp…

      • In reply to #27 by eejit:

        In reply to #9 by Cairsley:

        Only mermaids?

        A wonderful poem by Matthew Arnold, “The Merman.” Don’t imagine they study it in schools these days, pity.

        Many thanks, Eejit. That was not a poem of Matthew Arnold’s I had come across before – “The Forsaken Merman” – and what a fine poem it is! In looking for it on line, I saw too that there is actually an ancient mythology of mermen, which we do not hear of now.

  3. Thanks to Hollywood’s preoccupation with fantasy and comic book characters, the youth of today have a very hard time separating fantasy from reality, when they live in a fantasy world 24×7.

  4. … a Syrian goddess who jumped into a lake to turn into a fish, but her great beauty could not be changed and only her bottom half transformed….

    Apparently, her bottom half was not part of that “great beauty” of hers and therefore suitable for “fish-ification”. This religious legend, not unlike some more recent ones, carries cultural overtones that betray the preconceived notion that a woman’s genitalia is vulgar and ought to be hidden (or can be lost, no biggie). But the top part?… now THAT’s tasteful!! We would never DARE to make fish-stick material out of THAT right?

    Ironically, Animal Planet thinks the top part is too vulgar to show as well…

    • In reply to #13 by NearlyNakedApe:

      … a Syrian goddess who jumped into a lake to turn into a fish, but her great beauty could not be changed and only her bottom half transformed….

      Apparently, her bottom half was not part of that “great beauty” of hers and therefore suitable for “fish-ification”. This religious legend, not unlike…

      I think she had a normal female upper and the rear of a beluga whale…………

    • In reply to #14 by Nunbeliever:

      What? This has to be the most pointless article I have ever read. I can’t find one single reason for why this article was ever written. Not, one single one.

      but how many reasons did you have for replying to it?? ;)

  5. There is no reason that myths cannot have some basis in oft repeated and embellished real occurrence. Consider the Irish / Celtic mythic creature, the “Silky,” (spelling varies) a seal like creature who becomes human when taken out of the water, and who could never return to the sea if his /her “seal” skin was taken away.

    This sounds to me a lot like an Eskimeaux in a seal skin kayak caught in an ocean current and winding up in Ireland or the Hebrides, dead or alive. The locals would recognize the kayak for what its manufacture was, seal bone and skin, and from there on the story fits. With repeated telling, all sorts of details can be added, story tellers being of course the TV entertainment of the period, to make the story better.

    This particular myth was turned, charmingly, into a movie, “The secret of Roan Innish,” which is still worth a look.

    Then of course we have Beowulf, who swims the frigid fiords in gold (nearly twice as heavy as lead) chain mail, battling a variety of sea monsters on the way. A male mermaid if ever there was one! But where there is smoke, there is fire, and I have no doubt, with fair haired Danish girls posing winsomely on the rocks tempting a “Hero” with enough strength to swim over, kitted out to at least some extent, that the youth on the other side of the fiord were not tempted to try. A fairly simple gene selection mechanism, if nothing else.

    The Naiads, Lorelei, and the rest of the Rhine and other aquatic maidens probably are of similar origin. And, of course they all pretty homicidal, with a definite propensity to drown their suitors. Chasing mermaids does not turn out well, hence the warnings to stay out of the water that accompany pretty much all the stories.

  6. Ok. Old myths may be fun and interesting. But when the Discovery Channel puts up this crap as a documentary the children will not know this is nonsense.
    I think it teaches them to believe in fairy tales.

    • In reply to #22 by alf1200:

      Ok. Old myths may be fun and interesting. But when the Discovery Channel puts up this crap as a documentary the children will not know this is nonsense.
      I think it teaches them to believe in fairy tales.

      I have no argument with your condemnation of the Discovery Channel for presenting the “mermaid” fantasy as anything but what it is, a fairy tale. Were they to present it as a fairy tale, with reference to it’s origins in various folklores etc, I would be far, far, less critical, but, as you say, they did not. Presenting it as fantasy would permit the obvious comparison in structure and evidenciary support to that other far more elaborate fairy tale, the bible.

      However, I am not as dismissive as are you over interest in the structure and survival of mythology in general. This website after all deals with the most pervasive and destructive of all myths, the idea of a murderous fairy who obsesses non stop about us and who lives in the sky and who must be worshiped.

      Understanding something of the origins of myths, and their power through story tellers gives better understanding as to how this particularly nasty myth can, despite its acknowledged staying power, be hauled into the bright light of reason.

      At least mermaids do not demand to be worshiped, along with all that goes with it.

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