Loren Coleman has recently posted a few interesting articles on Cryptomundo about mermaid reports. This got me looking into my research folder where I found some interesting reports.
Many people think that mermaids are just manatees which have been mis-identified, however in history there have been many sightings of these creatures; some of which have been captured and their corpses examined.
As has been recently seen with the Montauk Monster corpses, it is sometimes easy to misidentify something which has been dead for some time and been in the ocean for a good portion of that time.
So what could these corpses or mermaids really be?
Here is a list of some of the most popular sightings reported over the ages:
•First Century AD, Pliny the Elder writes about Nereids – women with rough scaly bodies like fish, a mythological precursor to mermaids.
•Fifth Century AD, Physiologus in his Bestiary describes the real mermaid with the upper body of a woman and the lower of a fish, split at about the navel. The book is a study of animals and their natures and remains influential until the 18th century.
•13th Century, Bartholomew Angelicus in his book De Propietatibus Rerum described the mermaid as a femme fatale stealing sailors from their ships. Click here for more on the medieval mermaid.
•1493, January 4, Christopher Columbus reports seeing three mermaids playing about and jumping out of the water. He says, “They were not as beautiful as they are painted, although to some extent they have a human appearance in the face….”
•1560, Bosquez, aide to the Viceroy of Goa, performed autopsies on 7 mermaids caught by fishermen in Ceylon.
•1599, in the book Historia Monstrorum a mermaid and her mate are reported embracing near the Nile River delta.
•1608, June 15, Henry Hudson, explorer and discoverer of the Hudson River, records seeing a mermaid near Russia. He wrote in his log: Two crew members – Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner – sighted a mermaid at 75° 7′ N, and shouted at the rest of the crew to come and look. Hudson further recorded it as having a “tail of a porpoise and speckled like a mackerel.” She was “looking earnestly on the men” who gathered on the side to see her. The description Hudson wrote says she had very white skin, “speckled like a macrell” (mackerel), long black hair, white skin and a woman’s breasts – with the tail of a porpoise.
•1614, John Smith sees a mermaid off the coast of Massachusetts
•1718, a “sea wife” is caught off the island of Borneo and put in a large vat, where it died after a few days. It was heard to utter cries like a mouse.
•1739, sailors of the ship Halifax caught and ate several mermaids in the East Indies. Said they tasted like veal.
•1797, a Caithness schoolmaster, William Munro, saw a mermaid sitting on a rock proudly combing her shoulder-length hair. The forehead was round, “the face plump, the cheeks ruddy, the eyes blue, the mouth and lips of a natural form.” In 1811, a farmer named M’lsaac saw a mermaid,”with very hollow eyes,” near a cliff in Kintyre. The creature stroked and washed its breast and dexterously combed back its wind-blown hair, its fan-shaped tail, meanwhile, was “in tremulous motion.”
•1811, a farmer near Kintyre reported spotting a real mermaid washing herself and combing her hair.
•1830, a farm woman in the Outer Hebrides spotted a mermaid frolicking in the water. They were unable to capture her alive but did manage to kill her with a rock. The corpse was seen and described in detail by Alexander Carmichael, a well-known scholar.
•1842, Phineas T. Barnum displays the famous Feejee Mermaid at his American Museum on Broadway in New York City.
•1857, June 4, a reliable report of a real mermaid with “full breast, dark complexion and comely face” seen off the coast of Britain.
•1947, Island of Muck, 80-year-old man reports seeing a real mermaid sitting on a lobster trap and combing her hair.
•2004, wild internet reports of a mermaid corpse seen in Chennai, India, after the famous Christmas tsunami. Photographs were included, but research shows that the pictures had been circulating for some time before the tsunami.