Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 17th, 2008
Did a posting of an old “Mermaid” account at Cryptomundo in 2007, stimulate the involvement of a certain location in an upcoming documentary film?
According to the Ashley Park Press, this notice was referenced:
“In 1869, two Toms River fishermen reportedly caught a monster resembling a mermaid. A copy of the report is available [here]”
Reporter Matthew McGrath says in his article, “Mermaids or manatees? ~ Filmmaker: Sea goddesses may have been sea cows,” that Toms River, New Jersey was visited by a documentary filmmaker:
Ancient legends, Renaissance fairy tales and modern comic books all tell stories of mermaids, the beautiful half-human, half-fish goddesses of the sea.
Now, documentary filmmaker Nicole Cattell is planning to track the evolution of their legends across the world, with a stop possibly in Toms River.
The Jersey Shore locale is where two fishermen reportedly caught and released one of the mythical creatures about 150 years ago.
Cattell was scheduled to shoot part of her film in Toms River, mainly because Caryn Self-Sullivan, a manatee expert and the founder of Sirenian International, was giving guest lectures at Rutgers University and Georgian Court University [in February 2008] and will be at the Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor.
She was speaking about her research regarding wildlife preserves as a means of protecting the endangered sea mammals.
“I wanted to speak with (Self-Sullivan) because manatees may have been confused for mermaids,” Cattell said during a phone interview.
It is possible that manatees were confused for mermaids because they share some human characteristics, Self-Sullivan said.
The sea cows have teats under their forelimbs, and they nurse their young under those limbs just as a human mother would hold her baby, Self-Sullivan said following her lecture at Georgian Court.
Manatees, which are very gentle and scare easily, are mainly found in warm tropic waters, but some of the sea cows are known to migrate to more northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Cattell said she canceled the interview with Self-Sullivan today in Toms River because she did not want to shoot outside along the shore during the winter.
After completing more research about the shore sighting, Cattell plans to return to Toms River, she said.
Intriguingly, a month later, I was encountering manatees along the St. Johns River in Florida. I couldn’t see the resemblance to Merbeings, although I could understand how some folks might think they looked like River Monsters.