A mermaid is a mythical creature that is half woman and half fish. The name comes from ‘mer’ meaning sea. The male version is called a merman.
Although some mermaids are described as monstrous and ugly, they are more usually very beautiful. Above the waist they appear as a lovely young woman, whilst from the waist down, they are like a fish with fins and a spreading tail.
Several hundred years ago, people actually collected mermaids. But these rare creatures aren’t exactly what you’re expecting. In fact, when you see them, they’ll probably give you nightmares!
But the real ones, such as they are, aren’t so nice. In Victorian times, this ugly creature was reported to be a real-life mermaid. It was just one of many that surfaced at the time. People flocked to see them, and paid vast sums to own one.
But the truth behind these eerie creatures is much darker than any mythical tale…and not one you’ll want to share with the kids.
This Ugly Creature Was Reported To Be A Real-Life Mermaid
At the time, it was a common practice in Japan to sew together monkeys and fish and market them as “mermen” to eager and bewildered European tourists.
The Victorians were huge fan of strange, exotic creatures and these monstrosities really fit the bill.
When they were first created, these figures still had hair on their torsos.
But visitors would pluck the hair and take it away as a souvenir, leaving it in the state you see now.
Similar creatures live in lakes and rivers. In Slavic mythology there are the Rusalki, the spirits of young women who have met their fate through drowning. They appear in the form of beautiful fish-women or mermaids. They have lovely hair, fine features but sad fathomless eyes which tell their tragic tale. They entrance young men, taking them to the river floor to live with them.