Mermaids

do you believe in mermaids?

  • yes

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • no

    Votes: 9 60.0%
  • undecided

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • i am decended from one!

    Votes: 1 6.7%

  • Total voters
    15
A

Anonymous

Guest
#1
currently researching mermaids, there are some claim to have seen mermaids or who purport to being of mermaid descent. any comments?
 

Justin_Anstey

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#2
True Forteans should put 'undecided' because they neither believe NOR disbelieve in anything, only accept tentatively and temporarily. ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
Please tell me more about how Forteans think and why. I don't believe in mermaids, because it seems utterly not true. Now a loch ness monster seems to make sense, as we had dinosaurs. But a mermaid? half human, half fish? I don't see it happening.
 

evilsprout

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#4
There are theories that mermaids are the "missing link" between man and ape... a theory backed by speculation that many differences between humans and apes suggest some kind of aquatic lineage.

And just cos they look half fish, doesn't mean they are half fish!

I'd go with Justin's summary of Fortean thought... but I'll leave it to someone who's read more Fort than me (sadly Ive only read one and half books so far!) to explain further.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#5
Mermaids in what context? The "evolution" of the mermaid myth is often overlooked. I would suggest that it was a confusion of legends such as that Tir Na Nog, the Irish "Land of the Young" and faerieland, which was often said to be beneath the waves of the western sea off Ireland. Later people with less imagination than the early inahabitants would leap to some conclusion that these faery folk must be 'half fish'...

The first Faeries, the Tuatha De Danaan and Doaine Sidhe of Celtic Myth were of course a kind of ancestor worship and spirits, or at least guardians of heaven.

Modern disney style mermaids? don't be so silly. Why comb your hair on a rock if you're just going to dive back in again? ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#6
Evilsprout said:
There are theories that mermaids are the "missing link" between man and ape... a theory backed by speculation that many differences between humans and apes suggest some kind of aquatic lineage.

And just cos they look half fish, doesn't mean they are half fish!
Until I read Jerome Clark's "Unexplained" I never gave mermaids much thought. But in it he lists many of the reported sightings. While he himself is doubtful it got me thinking.

I made the same co-relation (sp?) that you did Evilsprout. What makes it more convincing is that many of these reports claim that the mermaids and men had tails like dolphins thus supporting the theory that they aren't fish.

But if mermaids are real and mammalian then why do we not see them frolicking like seals on the rocks of the Orkneys? Or chasing ships like dolphins?

Then again there are many species of small whales which are so rare there aren't even photographs of them since they spend their lives far from shore.

Questions, questions, questions....

Michael.
 

Justin_Anstey

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#7
Let's get this straight. Before evolving into humans, apes came down from the trees and promptly returned to the oceans?

Mermaids might be mammalian? Perhaps it's the other way around and they are fish that look human, like sea horses.

Could early sightings of seals, dolphins and whales bobbing about have fuelled these ideas?

-Justin.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#8
Justin Anstey said:
Could early sightings of seals, dolphins and whales bobbing about have fuelled these ideas?
I've never been a big fan of this explanation (can someone be a fan of an explanation?) for the simple reason that a hardened sailor would not confuse those animals with a mermaid. It's a similar argument used to dismiss sea serpent sightings. "Well, Captain So and So, even though you've been sailing for 30 years, what you saw was sea weed and not a sea serpent."

The theory that humans had an aquatic stage is based on the differences we have from the other great apes. The lack of body hair, long legs with long feet, slight webbing between fingers and toes, our ability to swim, and others I can't think of right now. If we were aquatic it was not like the dolphins or seals, but we'd have been in a halfway stage. Unlike whales and seals we didn't continue evolving in the water but returned to the land. An intriguing theory but one that is not supported by fossil evidence, although I'm not sure what kind of fossil evidence we'd need. (There has been a discovery of an early human population living off the sea in Ethiopia. While this doesn't prove the theory it does show that humans had a long and close relationship with the sea.)

I'm not saying I believe in Mermaids, just postulating from my arm chair :D

Michael.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#9
I have studied the Aquatic Ape theory for my degree, and it is very convincing. However, even if true we were never more aquatic than we are now (and we are - I can give more details if anyone asks).

The most commonly cited mermaid theory is that they were/are Manatees, also called the sea-cow, or maybe it's cousin the Dugong. These are now very rare. Anyway, the idea is not that the sailors themselves thought they were actual mermaids, the legend began when they tried to describe the manatee to land-lubbers. "Kind of like a person, but with a fish-like tail". It is hard to describe the otherwise.

In addition, manatees and the like had a habit of sitting on rocks, in the classic mermaid pose, and often cradling their babies in their "arms"...

some photos and info? try any search engine or go to

http://web.infoweb.ne.jp/toba-aq/info/ningyo-e.html
 

evilsprout

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#10
Hmm... we all know the manatee/dugong theory... but sailors mistaking the rather hideous Sirenians for beautiful buxom women with lovely hair, who just so happened to have fishes' tails?! I know sailors were sex starved, riddled with scurvy, and usually pissed on rum, but that's stretching it a bit, surely?!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#11
I thought the same about the manatee thing 'til I went and looked at some. They're ravashingly cute.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#12
More interesting than speculating whether there are mermaids or not, is the question of where did this myth originate and how/why? Sailors? Personally I'd have to be celibate for a rather long time before finding a woman with a tail of a fish even remotely arousing. A few bottles of rum, a night alone on the deck and there you have it: In the morning the "half woman/half fish/one quarter parrot/one sixth remains of a life boat" -legend was born.. :D

Another thing, the aquatic ape theory. It indeed does sound somewhat plausible. But what troubles me is the question that was it conceived only to contradict Desmond Morris' quite patriarchal theories of the origins of ourselves and our customs? The thought certainly crossed my mind when first reading the book.

My opinion is: Desmond Morris is a better writer (at least more fun anyway) and his books have more pictures of titties. Oops, here I go again... :)

DaemonSultan
 
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#13
Related to mermaids, at least from a folkloric point of view are the Selkies or seal-folk of the northern and western parts of the British Isles. Supposedly the Selkies are seals that come ashore and cast of their sealskin to reveal their human form. The typical selkie story usually features a young female who is seen by a human male who immediately falls in love with her and steals her sealskin to force her to remain on land with him.
There are families in the outer Hebrides who claim descent from Selkies, the best known being the MacCodrums of North Uist. One explanation that has been put forward for the story is that Inuit kayakers were occaisionally washed up in the islands, and if they survived the journey, they would literally be people from the sea wearing sealskins. I believe the Marischal museum in Aberdeen has examples of kayaks found in the northern isles.
It is possible that elements of selkie stories have found their way into mermaid-lore (and vice-versa)
 

TheOriginalCujo

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#14
nwoisevil said:
Please tell me more about how Forteans think and why. I don't believe in mermaids, because it seems utterly not true. Now a loch ness monster seems to make sense, as we had dinosaurs. But a mermaid? half human, half fish? I don't see it happening.
To understand how Forteans think you should read the works of Charles Fort. I'll do my best to give a quick answer.

Forteans neither believe nor disbelieve. We investigate the annomolous and weird and if an explanation presents itself that's fine. However if there is no explanation we will not simply 'explain it away'. We have to accept that there are some mysteries which cannot yet be solved.

To demonstrate here is a little parable I just thought up.

Three people, a Fortean, a Believer and an Unbeliever, see a strange light in the sky. The Fortean says, "OOh look, a UFO." The Believer says, "Aliens! They might abduct us!". The Unbeliever says, "Nonsense! It's a hoax, someone is laughing at us. ". The Fortean turns to the other two and says "What part of 'Unidentified' do you people have a problem with?"
;)

Cujo
(all my own opinion of course)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#15
Cujo said:
Three people, a Fortean, a Believer and an Unbeliever, see a strange light in the sky. The Fortean says, "OOh look, a UFO." The Believer says, "Aliens! They might abduct us!". The Unbeliever says, "Nonsense! It's a hoax, someone is laughing at us. ". The Fortean turns to the other two and says "What part of 'Unexplained' do you people have a problem with?"
Very good parable :) And very close to the way I think as well. I would, however, say, "Look! A UFO! That could be this or this or this or this...."

I'm interested in the possibilities.

Michael.
 

ElKrafto

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#16
My understanding of the origin of the manatee/mermaid business has to do with the way manatees feed their young. Supposedly they lie on their backs to do this, and if they have seaweed hanging off their heads, it might look like a woman if seen through the fog, with only one eye, while hobbling on your pegleg obsessed with the white whale.

I don't remember where I read this, but that was how it was explained.

I'm just saying.

And never underestimate the perceptions of a horny sailor of yore.

Arrrrh!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#17
Mmm... personally I can't see the attraction of a woman with an arse like a fish. It so very limiting...

As for the poll, I replied with a whopping NO. I'm as open-minded as the next Fortean but you have to drawn the line somewhere.

Anyway, have to go. Elvis is at the door...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#18
Mermaid ref. in classical literature

I've just been thinking the theory that claims that manatees were reshaped into mermaids through a series of tall stories (which I find quite plausible) when it occurred to me that mermaids were part of Greek mythology, i.e. long before the Americas (and therefore manatees - which I believe live in Florida) were discovered.

In the Odissey, mermaids are one of the perils that Ulisses and his men encounter. Mermaids were considered a danger to sailors because they sang a song so enticing that sailors would be compelled to steer their ship towards the rocks (on which the mermaids reclined while singing), wreck it and drown. Ulisses decided he had to hear their song and had his men tye him to the mast, had them block their ears with beeswax and sail past the mermaids, thus allowing only him to listen.

Could the sailors have mistakes monk seals for mermaids?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
Birds

Yeah, these were the sirens, daughters of the river god Achelous. They were actually supposed be birds with the heads of women, able to turn themselves into mermaids at will to lure sailors to their deaths. A back-up in case their singing didn't work, I suppose.

Odysseus survived them by having his men strap him to the mast, but Jason (of Argonauts fame) took a different approach; he got Orpheus to give it some welly on his lyre and the Argonauts ended up listing to him instead of the sirens. The sirens were so pissed off they chucked themselves into the sea.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#22
Since when are mermaids scaly? Fish tail yes, but written accounts probably don't mention scales specifically. And drawings are.. well, drawings.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#23
Calum Beaton said:
Related to mermaids, at least from a folkloric point of view are the Selkies or seal-folk of the northern and western parts of the British Isles.
I would say that the Mermaid legend is a corruption of stories about the Sjo-Sami who are the people you mention. They were probably descended from the Lapps of Norway/Finland rather than Inuit. But when the story of people who lived at sea was retold and retold it is easy to see how the descriptions of these people would become exagerated until their kayaks were replaced by tails.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#24
I have a very open mind but when it comes to things such as mermaids, as someone else said i draw the line. Surley if they are real and half mammal then they would have to come to the surface quite often therefore shouldnt be to hard to find. Also why is that most sighting of mythical creatures/religious images seem to happen so long ago? Are there any recent sightings?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#25
Bisto said:
I have a very open mind but when it comes to things such as mermaids, as someone else said i draw the line. Surley if they are real and half mammal then they would have to come to the surface quite often therefore shouldnt be to hard to find. Also why is that most sighting of mythical creatures/religious images seem to happen so long ago? Are there any recent sightings?
The last of the Sjo-Sami were absorbed into land based populations around 200 years ago. Before that they were very rarely seen, only coming ashore on isolated islands. So there are no recent sightings.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#26
i dont believe in the traditional mermaids (half human half fish) but i do believe that there may be more to the story that most people think. Considering that mermaids make appearances legends from different cultures that span the globe does spell that there may be a creautre out there that is responsible for these sightings, myths and legends.
btw hast here been any good sightings of a mermaid in recent times?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#27
The last of the Sjo-Sami were absorbed into land based populations around 200 years ago. Before that they were very rarely seen, only coming ashore on isolated islands. So there are no recent sightings.
can you give some more detail on that please Synth?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#29
Originally posted by Mr. Bingo
Mmm... personally I can't see the attraction of a woman with an arse like a fish. It so very limiting...


And that, my friend, is why tartar sauce was invented!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#30
On a slightly different note, there are many reports worldwide of 'lizard men' and 'scaly swamp human hybrids' emerging from lakes and coming to shore from the oceans.
 
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