Of Mermaids and Movie Men (Animal Planet’s Mermaid Movie)

Tonight Animal Planet is featuring a program for their Monster Week extravaganza called “Mermaids: The Body Found”.  At first I thought – Great! Are they real???

Found an article online that explains this is a movie filmed to look like a documentary. Memories of the “The Blair Witch Project” spring to mind, right? This mermaid film was created and written by Charlie Foley. It begins with some actual facts:

  1. Scientists have long suspected that the Navy’s use of sonar systems is contributing to the beaching of whales.
  2. The program notes that in 1997 a strange underwater sound was recorded, known as the Bloop. (I’ll have to look into this for another post! I never heard of it.)

From there, it’s all fiction. But it got me thinking, is there any research into the existence of mermaids and mermen? Well, here’s what I found …

What Researchers Think

Some researchers do believe that mermaids exist, or at least existed in the course of human history.  They make the following points which sound plausible, but see what you think.

  1. Sailors were the ones who most often saw mermaids. They are experts in recognizing everything in their environment, so how could they confuse a mermaid with a manatee (sea cow) or dugong?
  2. Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and John Smith all recorded sightings of mermaids on their travels. These were not drunken, fanciful, or foolish men. Quite the opposite. So why would they record reports about mermaids if they weren’t actually seeing mermaids?
  3. There is a 3000 year old statue of a mermaid complete with tail. They’ve been a part of our human consciousness for a very long time.
  4. Manatees need warm water to survive yet mermaids have been seen in the coldest waters of Europe throughout history.
  5. One pair of researchers suggests that the reason sailors believe they are seeing women as mermaids is because they are in fact, seeing naked women.

Historic Facts

Yes, it seems there have been women around the world who worked as divers, in the nude. In Korea they are known as Haenyo and they dived while holding their breath to fetch all the edible marine life they could grab. In Japan, they are known as the Ama.

These divers picked crabs, octopus, clams, etc. from the waters around their villages to help feed the townspeople and their own families.

Because of their existence, researchers postulated that breath-holding women around the world were responsible for all the sightings of mermaids. They even theorized that these women made fins to help propel them more quickly through the water, and that’s how the legend of a mermaid’s fish tail came into existence.

It is fact that ancient Polynesians made fins from palm leaves to help them swim. Even Ben Franklin fashioned some swimming fins – out of wood. But they didn’t catch on. It’s even been said that Leonardo Di Vinci invented some. So the idea of propelling oneself quickly through water has been with humanity for a very long time.

The Naked Ape

There is a theory out there that early humans, instead of evolving on the savannahs of Africa, actually migrated to the seashore and got busy gathering food from the sea. The idea is that our brains are bigger because we ate more seafood which is rich in brain building properties. Also that explains why we are hairless and the proportion of our limbs is different than other apes.

While some of these points are intriguing, the rest of it is mostly torture to get through. They pull ideas out of a hat to fit their own agenda, so I’m not giving them much credibility here. In fact, that theory is so long and torturous that I’d need a book to explain my thoughts on it all, never mind in a blog posting!

So back to mermaids – real or not?

Verdict, Please!

I acknowledge that women have been diving, possibly through history, for food to feed their communities. Maybe native Americans were doing it too, and that’s who Christopher Columbus saw. Maybe women around the world were diving for food and were seen by other explorers.

In order to live in the ocean, much of our human biology would have to change, and not for the better. As much as men love how we women look, they would be devastated to see the changes biology would require for us to live deep in the briny. They certainly wouldn’t be fantasizing about that look! LOL!

So I don’t think mermaids/men really exist. I think people have mistaken other people, or animals, or formations underwater – whatever, as the elusive mermaid of Disney fantasy.

But I’m still excited to see tonight’s show – it should be a fun movie, so enjoy! And please let us know what you think!

Til the next time!

One comment

Leave a Reply