Mermaids have caught the fancy of mankind for many centuries now. Be it an anecdote or a narrative, mermaids have generated curiosity amongst children and grown-ups alike.
What is a mermaid?
From the legends, it is widely believed that mermaids are an aquatic creature which has an upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish as the lower body. In other words, the feet of the woman are replaced with the fish’s tail and hence found in its known habitat.
Other than this physical attribute, which for some reason is unanimously accepted, nothing much is known about them. Interestingly and despite the mystery, mermaids have been talked about in folklore across different parts of the world. Yet another interesting factor is that mermaids have been concurrently depicted in contrasting representations. While most tales and narratives depict mermaids as extremely beautiful, fairy like and even falling in love with men, there are some other accounts which show mermaids in the negative light associating them with water-storms, drowning and ship-wrecks.
Over a period of time, mermaids have been depicted in various forms of human expressions such as books, paintings, opera and even movies. Such representations and the endless debate as to their existence, has only amplified the curiosity, that too worldwide.
Reported sightings of mermaids:
There have been reports of mermaid sightings in different parts of the world at different times. Sailors naturally have been the primary witness to such reported sightings with Christopher Columbus reported having seen not one but three of them in the year 1493 while he was exploring the Caribbean. In Columbus’ words, the creatures “came quite high out of the water” but he adds that they were “not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow the face looked more like a man’s”. Sightings as late as in the 20th and 21st centuries have been reported from countries that do not even share the same continent.
However, no physical evidence or scientific backing has ever come to light to validate the existence of mermaids. The non-believers in the theory of mermaids’ existence substantiate their point by claiming that with the technology currently available to us (submarines, underwater tests, sonar imaging, etc.), it is impossible for mermaids to exist and not be found.
In a very recent public statement made in specific response to public inquiries following airing of a documentary on mermaids, the National Ocean Service (US Govt.) says that “no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found”.
There also exists a third perception that mermaids have become extinct due to the pollution of our oceans.