The mermaid is a legendary character that has been involved in sea-going cultures worldwide for centuries. From the British Isles to the China sea, sailors have spotted mermaids in the water and they have supposedly led many a sailor to their death. With these sightings being all over the world, I wonder if there could be any truth to the legends.
The typical version of the mermaid is a being with the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a ‘fish.’ Usually in legend and in art or on film, the woman is beautiful and is the reason they were able to lure sailors to their deaths and possibly an eternity in Davy Jones Locker. In some depictions the mermaid changes at the last minute into the visage of a monster. Robert Ripley even brought out the supposed Java Mermaid, which turned out to be a monkey sewn onto a fish. Personally, I like my mermaids attractive and not blood thirsty like in Pirate of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
History & Legend
As usual I am going to focus on the British legends of merfolk. In British stories form the sea, the mermaid was a bad omen. The sighting of a mermaid in the water was an omen of disaster or the mermaid could be the one causing the disaster. The typical story is that the sailors, having been at sea for days, weeks, months would start to see things, they might even dive over the side of the ship at the sight of a mermaid in the water. At times and in some stories, the mermaid would come to the surface to warn the ship of the impending danger, of the possibilities that the ship might not reach land again.
The Little Mermaid – One of the most memorable and endearing version of the mermaid in literature is the story of the Little Mermaid, told by Hans Christian Andersen. This of course is the story that was immortalized in the Disney film by the same name.
Splash – Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah work together in a great flick with a mermaid twist. Hannah, as the mermaid, has come to find the boy she saved as a child now that he is all grown up. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
Peter Pan & Hook – Love both of these movies (its a pirate thing, I always root for the pirates). The mermaids of course are in love with Peter Pan in the movie by the same name and they don’t like Wendy. In Hook they save Peter’s life with a kiss underwater. Great scene and beautiful live mermaids underwater.
Mer-Palooza – This is a festival celebrating all things mermaid and sea related. This is the first ever all-mermaid event and trade show. Pageants, vendors, fins, swims and so much more this August in Orlando Florida.
I hope that I have helped spread the love of the mermaid. They have kept the pirate and sailor company on ship for centuries, they apparently have covered the globe and the sightings have been frequent enough that we have to wonder if the mermaid might be real. Do some looking on facebook and you are bound to find some ‘real-life’ mermaids. Look around on the web and you will find even more. Let your imagination run and let’s take the step to believe in mermaids.