Are mermaids real?

3 mins read
Japanese Monkey-fish - Wellcome Collection in 1919
Specimen of Ningyo mermaid, Feejee mermaid or merman, Japan. With papier-mâché body and fish-tail, originally from Wellcome Collection© Horniman Museum and Gardens / Heini Schneebeli

Are mermaids real? For centuries, mermaids have captured the imagination of both sailors and landsmen alike. In fact, belief in half-human, half-fish sea creatures may have arisen at the very dawn of our species; magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Stone Age – 30,000 years ago.

Mermaid myths from around the world

Myths from The East

In the Middle East, the first recorded stories of Mermaids were found in Assyria in the year 1000 BC. Atargatis, a Syrian goddess who ruled the seas, was consecrated and worshiped with fish in temples filled with large ponds. In the ancient Far East, mermaids were the wives of powerful
sea-dragons, and served as messengers between their spouses and the
emperors on land. Mermaids are also found in Romanesque columns, sharing prominence with the Nereids and the Harpies.

Myths from The West

In Ireland the Merrows were a species whose females are the identical to Mermaids. In Scottish mythology the Ceasg, the “maid of waves,” was a mermaid whose lower half was a salmon. One Welsh legend describes a mermaid called Murga, which means “woman who comes from the sea”. She was taught to speak the native language but she never lost the ability of living in the water. From Spain comes a legend about the “Sirenuca” from Cantabria, a mermaid that was once human.

So, are mermaids real?

It’s no secret that the possibility of this creature existing has fascinated human beings for thousands of years. Mermaid myths weren’t just created for mankind’s entertainment, however. Myths are created as a means of explaining the unexplainable. This is why, before the dawn of modern science and technology, some cultures blamed storms and other destructive natural phenomena on mermaids.

While the existence of mermaids has never been proven, it’s important to remember that some of the strangest sea creatures that are widely known and studied today were once unknown. So who knows?

Looking for mermaids in Zimbabwe

If no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of so many Zimbabweans? That’s a question best left to madzibaba, historians, philosophers, and anthropologists. And documentary makers. Watch this documentary make on his search for mermaids.

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