Most of us are familiar with what a mermaid is, but do we really know some detailed information about them? In this article, we are going to talk about one of the fascinating and familiar creatures that have captured our imagination for centuries and this creature is called the mermaid. This article aims to provide useful information to explore the facts and the fictional aspect of a legendary sea creature that inhabits the vast oceans all over the globe.
Like the many other supernatural beings that are believed to be existing or have existed, the mermaid lives in most cultures of the world. They may be defined in different ways, but one thing’s for certain and this is the idea that creature is half-human and half-fish. A typical description of a mermaid is that of a beautiful bare-naked woman with long hair and a lower body of a fish. Sometimes it is depicted to be basking on the sea shore or sitting beside a rock and combing her long hair. Mermaid tales and legends come in many versions, but the most common of which is the one that tells these creatures are a sign of bad luck and they lure the sailors to the bottom of the ocean and drown them to their death.
Facts About The Merfolk Creatures:
Here are some common and not-so common information about the legendary mermaid:
1. Although the mermaid is thought to be a female being, it was believed that the first mermaid was actually a man and his name was Oannes. The merman Oannes lived in the ancient kingdom of Babylon and he was considered to be a god by Babylonian people. His appearance though is not that of the archetypal mermaid as Oannes was described to be having a fish’s head and tail with a body of a man while other depictions of him tells of Oannes as a creature with a body of a fish and head of a man.
2. Mermaid are said to have existence in all regions of the world. They are interpreted in various ways and here are some of them:
– Sirena (mermaid)/ Siokoy (merman) of the Philippines. The Sirena is portrayed as a friendly being with powers of manipulating water in any form. They can also grant wishes to mortals who have been kind to them. On the other hand, the Siokoy is portrayed as the bad guy. They often kidnap children and they lure beautiful young women to the seas and rape them.
– Kaijin (Sea-man) of Japan – this creature is said to have existed during the Edo period. The Kaijin was said to resemble very close to that of a man because he has some human-like features though his body was mostly covered with scales, shells, and some marine plants. The Kaijin can only stay for a few days above the water then he has to submerge again to for many day. It was said that the Kaijin was naughty as loves to steal food and eat it.
– The Rusalka of Russia – although the word Rusalka is translated as mermaid in English, these creatures don’t show any fish like qualities like a fish tail. They are considered more as ghost of women who have been killed violently, committed a suicide, raped, or drowned in the water. In other words, Rusalkas are restless spirits who seek redemption from their current state. They are often seen on nearby bodies of water as beautiful women enticing men to drown and kill them.
– The Greek Siren – also equated to a mermaid even if they do not show any fish-like qualities. They are described instead to be bird-like creatures that lure Greek ships into their island by enchanting the sailors with their singing then drown the men into their doom.
– The Chinese Mermaid – a sea creature covered with fined hairs of many colors, they are said to be friendly to humans and even give them gifts of marine treasures as their tears would turn into pearls. Some old stories said that a creature even married a man and lived with him until the man got old. When her husband died, she went back to the sea and was never seen again.
– The European Mermaid – the conventional and most popular version of all the mermaids. They are said to appear at ships stranded in the middle of the sea and are considered to be precursors of violent sea storms. That’s why most Europeans thought of seeing a mermaid as a bad omen. In addition to, they are also believed to cause shipwrecks and then drag the men to drown at the bottom of the ocean.
In other words, Asian Mermaids are friendlier to humans and those sea creatures from the Western seas are the ones we should avoid.
3. The merpeople are the only human-like cryptids that dwell in the sea. Other cryptids that are enlisted to be half-human, half-animal are mostly land dwellers like the Minotaur, Satyr, and Centaur from the Greek mythology; the “Tikbalang” (Horse headed man) from the Philippines, and the Werewolf in the Americas.
4. Mermaids are so beautiful that many men are so mesmerized by them. Some are even willing to elope with them into the ocean, but eventually the man will die because he cannot breathe underwater.
5. Mermaids are said to hate men. That’s why they lure them into the sea to drown them, sometimes using the power enchantment and ordinary objects like their shell combs.
Mermaids Explained Using Scientific Knowledge:
Science cannot accept the possibility of the merfolk’s existence as they lack of tangible evidence and rational proof. According to scientist, here are some acceptable explanations as why people believe in these creatures:
1. Sea mammals – scientist suggest that the mermaids seen lying ashore of on the rocky islands could be seals as sailors who went to sail in search for the “new world” could have misinterpreted their appearance to be that like of humans. These animals can stay underwater for long periods of time and then resurface again on rocky islands. This theory can also be applied to the sea cows or dugong as they appear to be like mermaids swimming underwater when viewed above the deck of the ship.
2. Mind tricks – most of the mermaid account were usually seen by sailors while travelling in the vast oceans. A sailor’s life can be difficult especially when you are stranded or lost at sea. The food supply will eventually run out and starvation could affect the way think and perceive things. It could be possible that the sailors who allegedly saw a mermaid could have been a figment of their imagination as they were already hallucinating and seeing familiar images in the open seas.
3. Real mermaids – the Ama is a group of fisher folks in the country of Japan. They have been existing for almost 2000 years now and have been romanticized as mermaids as the Ama women catches fish by skinny dipping in the ocean and then stay underwater more than a normal person could.
Whether it’s true or not, the fact remains that the mermaid is on magnificent creature in every way. They are a symbol of fear and of interest and they are the representation of a human longing to understand the world beneath the oceans of the earth.