A Real Mermaid Sighting in Israel
- What happened and when: In 2009 a huge hub-bub in Israel swept the nation; one could call it the “mermaid craze.” What happened? Well, apparently, on a small beach in Kiryat Yam, a real mermaid sighting took place, leaving the city and the entire country enthralled. For a period of several months, locals and tourists supposedly witnessed and were thrilled to see a real mermaid appear and then disappear into the ocean.
- The sighting: The woman, or mermaid, had the tail of a fish and the upper body of a lady, was beautiful. She was at first mistaken to be a sunbathing tourist by a few local men. Then, as they drew closer to the woman on the beach, they noticed she had a tail. She then dove into the water and into the sunset, without resurfacing for air even once. They knew then that they had experienced a real mermaid sighting.
- The craze: This is what began the mermaid craze in Israel. After that first real mermaid sighting, more individuals claimed to have seen this real mermaid. She only appeared at sunset and seemed to play tricks on eyewitnesses, never allowing them to get too close to her before splashing into the sea never to be seen again.
- The aftermath: The town of Kiryat Yam saw a major increase in tourism after this mermaid craze. They even offered an award of one million dollars to the person who could catch the mermaid on film. Of course, no one ever did get that real mermaid sighting evidence that the town so longed for. But we can still hope.
More Real Mermaid Sightings
- Mermaid songs. Fellow author Lilleyth told me a story of how her father would actually hear mermaids singing from within the depths of the ocean. He and his mates were in submarines (or ships, I can’t remember which) and would hear the seductive song of mermaids emanating from the ocean waves. Some men would even jump off the vessel while in a trance from the mermaids’ songs.
- Antartica mermaids. There have been real mermaid sightings, or what the Japanese have called “ningen” sightings, in the waters off the coast of Antartica. These sea creatures appear to be very human-like, but are completely white and obviously live under the water just as other mermaids of legend.
- Mermaids from the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages in the twelfth century, a merman was caught from the waters off the coast of Orfold Castle in Suffolk. The owners of the castle held the merman for about six months, but then escaped and returned to his home in the ocean. The stories say that this merman was quiet—he apparently never said a single word to his captors, and would only eat fish when provided with meals.
- 19th century Mermaids in Dyfed. In Dyfed, twelve people watched a beautiful mermaid bathing in the water. She had the body of a beautiful human woman, but a black tail splashed from behind her. This real mermaid sighting occurred in July of 1826 and was talked about for years after the occurrence.
- Mermaids in Zimbabwe. Mermaids were seen and heard in Zimbabwe in 2002 from men who were working on a reservoir. They were driven away by mermaids, and wouldn’t return to work again. A mermaid report was published in the papers and backed by the Minister Nkomo. Apparently, all of the workers were terrified to go back to work and so the resolution was to brew traditional beer and offer it to appease the mermaids. After they did this, they were able to return to work on the reservoir.
- Canadian mermaids. In British Columbia, Canada, a real mermaid sighting occurred in 1967 when people saw a woman with the tail of a dolphin. She had beautiful blonde hair and was spotted eating salmon. Some tourists on the ferry actually saw this mermaid in Active Pass near Victoria. The town went nuts for the mermaid, but she has not been seen since.
- Mermaid and mer-child sightings from the British. Mermaids have been seen by the British for hundreds of years. One particularly intriguing story, written and published in the British Press in 1810, tells of a pair of mer-children found on the Isle of Man. Apparently, a couple fisherman thought they heard a dying bird or animal of some sort and went towards the noise. There, they found one dead mer-child and another that had been injured in a recent storm. They took the injured mer-child home and nursed it back to health. The mer-children were apparently under two feet in length, had the torso of a normal child and the tail of a fish (just as the mermaids/men of tales have always told). Also, their hair was like that of seaweed, and it was even green in color. The mer-child would eat mussels provided by the man and sometimes drink from a quill of water or milk.
Mermaid Myths & Stories
So where did the idea of a mermaid come from? Did Disney make it up for their classic movie “The Little Mermaid?” Actually, mermaid tales have existed for much much longer than the Disney movie has. In fact, the mermaid tales are thousands of years old, and they most likely did not originate in Israel.
“Merrows” in Ireland and Scotland
In Ireland, and some places in Scotland, mermaids are called “merrows” and the stories of these elusive creatures date back to the 9th century AD. Many stories of these creatures gave warnings to the locals about the dangers of the merrows or merfolk. Many sailors of past centuries believed that a real mermaid sighting meant impending doom of some sort, either pf terrible storms, a shipwreck, or both. Sometimes, the merfolk were thought to even cause the storms that would wreck the ships, and they were so evil that they would eat the drowning sailors. These mermaid legends are a far cry from the Little Mermaid’s story that our children know in modern times. Often, children in Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland were warned from going too close to lochs, rivers, and even wells else they be taken by the merrows.
When people had real mermaid sightings in Ireland and Scotland, the female merrows were usually very beautiful and the male merrows were usually the opposite. This is why many believed that female merrows would leave their oceanic home behind to marry and live with humans. The mermaids had long green hair, white webbed hands, and were usually seen combing their hair, sitting on rocks or the shoreline (as depicted in much of the mermaid artwork we see today).
Greek Mermaids, or Sirens
The sirens are Greek mermaids of incredible talent and power. They were said to have once been goddesses that were punished by the Greek goddess Demeter for not finding and rescuing Demeter’s daughter Persephone. They lived on an island in the Mediterranean Sea and would lure sailors by playing enchanting music. The music was so beautiful and captivating that the sailors would lose control of the ship and crash on the rocks. In some stories, the sirens weren’t mermaids at all, but women with the wings of birds. However, most stories and pictures today show the Greek sirens in mermaid form. You can read more about the Greek Sirens online.
Selkies from Orkney Legends, or Shapeshifting Mermaids
The selkies of Orkney legends were actually shapeshifting mermaids of sorts. When they were in the water, they possessed the bodies of seals, but when they came onto the shore they could change into the form of a human being. Many legends tell of selkie females who would become human men’s wives, only to leave them later on when they had a calling for their home in the ocean. Legend has it that if a man can hide or destroy the selkie’s seal-skin coat, that she will be his forever. However, if she finds her seal-coat, she will be able to shift and return to the sea forever, leaving him heartbroken. For a woman to meet a selkie male, she must cry seven tears into the ocean and he will come.
Updates on Real Mermaid Sightings
Mermaid and mermen legends have been around for centuries, and I don’t foresee this disappearing in the centuries to come. Do mermaids and mermen indeed exist or did they exist at some point in history? Usually, legends come from some form of truth—be it little or thorough. I prefer to believe in mermaids, but I don’t plan on following one into the ocean’s depths any time soon.
I read an article that made headline news on Yahoo News recently. Apparently, scientists are coming out with statements to say that there is no “proof” that mermaids have ever existed. Well, the proof is in the pudding. Why is it that scientists always seem to want to disprove legends and folklore, rather than actually search for the evidence to prove it?
While mermaids are shrouded in mystery and have been for hundreds of years, again, there is usually a reason why a legend exists. Some sort of truth is out there. If the world of science chooses to not believe in miraculous things including mermaids, then that is their prerogative. However, I choose to believe in them because it makes me happy. How about you? Do you believe in mermaids?