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Pictures: Mermaid Body Found After Tsunami

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Analysis

THE TEXT is false and the images fake. The latter were already circulating well before the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, and in fact all three photos were previously alleged to have been taken in the Philippines (and elsewhere).

In any case, mermaids are creatures of myth and legend, not the natural world. While there does exist an ancient tradition (primarily in Japan) of fabricating "mermaid carcasses" out of fish skins and animal bones for exhibition, there are no documented examples of the real thing having been discovered.

By far, the most famous specimen "mermaid" specimen in history was P.T. Barnum's Feejee Mermaid, purchased secondhand by the great showman in the mid-1800s and exhibited throughout the United States as a sideshow attraction.

The glaring irony in all this mermaid fakery, with respect to the ancient tales on which it's based, is that the mummified specimens one typically finds on display are, without exception, hideous in appearance — "the incarnation of ugliness," as one American critic described Barnum's faux creature — while the classic mermaid of folklore and pop culture is invariably represented as beautiful and alluring. It's a discrepancy no one ever bothers to explain.

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Sources and further reading:

Preserved Yokai of Japan
Cryptozoology Online, 29 June 2009

The Feejee Mermaid
Museum of Hoaxes

The Feejee Mermaid Archive
The Lost Museum

The Merman's Home Page
RoadsideAmerica.com


Last updated 09/24/12

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