Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 21st, 2009
The notion that mermaids and mermen exist in contemporary times is difficult to comprehend. Nevertheless, some accounts continue to make their way into the literature.
Some Merbeings, through various Mermaid images, are more familiar.
In this guest contribution, Cryptomundo correspondent Xtrox collects some modern sighting examples. Concerned by the response to a report previously discussed here, Xtrox had to “disagree with the assertion that this kind of phenomena is fading. I just surfed the net and there are many recent cases, including one in Peru that happened in 2007. Here are some of them. Enjoy!”
Location. Chirundu, Zimbabwe
16-year old Cleo Rosin had gone to her mother to the Zambezi River in order to collect some drinking water. When they arrived at the river there was a canoe anchored along the bank, and Cleo climbed inside in an adventurous way. When she sat down, she noticed that there was a small round island in the middle of the river, which was especially wide at this point. And sitting on the island, near its edge, with her lower body partially in the water, was a particularly beautiful woman with long black hair. To Cleo’s surprise, the woman was naked and she was white. At this stage, Cleo’s mother was still filling the buckets with water. She called out to her mother: “Mommy, just look at that woman over there.” Her mother looked up and said, “Sh…Sh…you’d better keep quiet.” And then she added, “Look away.” But Cleo had already seen the bottom part of the woman’s body and it was like a fish and the woman was looking directly at them. But as her mother advised, Cleo looked away, and when she looked up again, the woman was gone. Her mother told her not to tell anyone about the encounter or else the “mermaid” would return and take her.
Source: Cynthia Hind, Fate November 2000
Location. Mar De La Plata Argentina
Witnesses reported seeing a half human, half fish creature that appeared in a cloud of mist over the waters during a siesta. No other information.
Source: Fabio Picasso, Strange Magazine # 20
Location: Pacific Ocean
Date: January 3, 1957
Eric de Bisschop was re-enacting an ancient voyage from Tahiti to Chile in a replica of an old Polynesian raft. In his book, “Tahiti-Nui” he claims one of his sailors saw a mermaid jump onto the deck. It stood upright on its tail and had hair like fine seaweed. The sailor tried to touch it and got punched. The creature then jumped overboard.
Location: Karoo, South Africa
There’s a local legend of a mermaid with blue eyes and pink cheeks seen at deep mountain pools all over the Karoo.
A man called Hermanus Fourie claimed that as a child, he’d been sent to collect wood for his parents in the nearby kloof and had caught sight of a woman sitting on a rock at the foot of a waterfall. He greeted her, but when she didn’t reply, he suddenly realised that she wasn’t an ordinary woman, and that instead of legs… she had a fish tail. She waved at him, and then slipped into the water and disappeared. When the young Hermanus returned home and breathlessly told his parents what he’d seen they explained to him that it must have been a mermaid.
Source: Travel Africa
Location. Mindanao Island, Philippines
Date: Summer 1978
Filipino angler Jacinto Fetalvero reported that one moonlit night he had met a beautiful mermaid, with “amiable bluish eyes, reddish cheeks, and green scales on her tail.” She helped him secure a bountiful catch. A torrent of ridicule ensued, and Fetalvero thereafter refused to discuss the subject.
Source: Jerome Clark, Unexplained!
Location. Several miles of the coast of Florida, Atlantic Ocean
Professional scuba diver Robert Froster was diving alone looking for mysterious undersea formations, when he noticed a disturbance in the water. When he turned to look, he saw a vague, shadowy figure slashing toward him. All around him the water had begun to churn wildly, and clouds of sediment were swirling. As the creature rushed toward him, it appeared to undulate, rather than glide. When the fast moving form got to within 20 yards of him, he noticed something odd about it. Appendages like arms, seemed to be reaching out toward him, and the end of each arm appeared to be sharply talon hands. He then saw the creature in full view. He saw an unmistakable pair of breasts, long flowing hair, smooth skin, and scaled tail from the waist down. It appeared to be half woman, half fish. Froster said, “That creature had one thing on its mind–to kill me because I had seen it. I’ve never seen such evil hate in the eyes of any human or animal before.” Before the creature could reach him, Froster shot up toward the surface and was able to scamper over the side of his craft to safety. He never saw the creature again.
HC addition # 2861
Source: E Randall Floyd, Great Southern Mysteries.
Comment: Curiously enough, in 1881 a mermaid was allegedly caught in Aspinwell Bay and exhibited in New Orleans. Examined at close quarters, she was reported on in a Boston newspaper, and described as perfectly resembling a woman from the waist up, with silky blond hair a few inches in length. The arms ended in eagle-like talons instead of hands and the tail bellow the waist was identical to that of a mullet. Supposedly, the Aspinwell mermaid had scientists scratching their heads. She was in a perfect state of preservation, and one scientist who examined the corpse stated that “if this can’t be a mermaid because mermaids don’t exist, then we give up”.
Source: Marc Potts, The Mythology of the Mermaid and her kin, p. 168
Location. Anapa, Black Sea, Russia
B. Borovikov was hunting sharks in the area and on that particular day had descended to a depth of eight meters. He then saw giant beings rising up from below. He described them as milky white, but with humanoid faces, and something like fish tails. The being ahead of its companions noticed Borovikov, and stopped. It had giant bulging eyes. Two others joined him. The first one waved a membrane hand at the diver, and then all of them approached him and stopped a short distance away. Then they turned around and swam away. HC addition # 3511
Source: Paul Stonehill
Location. Charmwood, Zimbabwe
Date: January 2000
Time: late evening
Marko Batau was walking from Chawarura Shopping Center and as he approached the Hunyani River, he saw what appeared to be a white woman basking in the sun and sitting on a rock, half immersed in a pool of water. The woman was naked and Marko was surprised at this. Then he noticed that what he initially thought to be her leg, drawn up on the rock, was actually a scaled fish tail. The woman did not notice him at first, until he deliberately made a noise while walking on the gravel to get closer, and in an instant she disappeared into the water. A few days later, his curiosity aroused, Marko took the same route home. To his amazement, the woman was there, basking on the rock again. But not only that: this time there was laundry laid out on some stones to dry, with some draped over the bushes nearby. Unfortunately, in his astonishment and perhaps some fear, he did not see what type of washing it was, whether clothing or merely pieces of cloth. Again Marko drew nearer to get a closer view. Suddenly, the woman became aware of him and looked at him as though admonishing him. The next thing, she had disappeared in the water. The following week, Marko deliberately took this rather isolated shortcut home. Immediately when he reached the pool on the river, he saw the same creature there. Only this time, she was holding a baby in her arms and giving it a bath. Still puzzled by what he was seeing, Marko tried to draw closer to verify what he was seeing, but the moment the woman heard his footsteps on the gravel, she and the baby disappeared into the water together.
Source: Cynthia Hind, Fate November 2000
Location: Caspian Sea
Residents of a few towns on the Caspian shores in Iran and Azerbaijan reported an “amphibious man” swimming amidst huge shoals of fish. In March 2005, an eyewitness account from the crew of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, was published by Iranian newspaper Zindagi: “That creature was swimming parallel course near the boat for a long time,” said Gafar Gasanof, a captain of the ship. “At the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange… the front part of his body was equipped with arms!” said the captain. Back in Azerbaijan, nobody took his story seriously. It sounded ridiculous to those who thought that the guy must have been drinking while on board.
All the eyewitness accounts provide a similar description of the marine humanoid. His height is 165-168 cm, he has a strong build, a protruding ctenoid stomach, his feet are pinniped and he has four webbed fingers on either of his hands. His skin is of moonlight color. The hair on his head looks black and green. His arms and legs are shorter and heavier than those of a medium-built person. Apart from his fingernails, he has nails growing on the tip of his aquiline nose that look like a dolphin’s beak. No information as to his ears. His eyes are large and orbicular. The mouth of the creature is fairly large, his upper jaw is prognathic and his lower lip flows smoothly into the neck, his chin is missing.
Iranians dubbed the creature Runan-shah or “the master of the sea and rivers.”
Location: Quistococha Lake, Iquitos, Peru
Date: September 2007
More than 20 students of the “María Parado de Bellido” school claimed that a mermaid-like entity appeared to them in the middle of Quistococha Lake, and called them with her hands. The small kids, whose ages oscillated between 7 and 8 years, said that while they bathed, a fish-tailed woman surfaced in the center of the lake and acted as if she was bathing, collecting water with her hands and throwing it into her head. When the “mermaid” realized she’d been spotted, she made a gesture inviting them to join her. However, the students were terrified with the unusual apparition and left the place, while the entity dived beneath the surface. The children said the young woman was very pretty. She had golden hair in the shape of waves and very white skin, but lacked legs. Instead, they managed to see a very thin fish-like tail. According to them, the lady seemed very nice and did not represent any danger. Local people said that a mermaid sighting at noon was very unusual, since she generally does surface at night, especially when the moon reflects its light in the middle of the lake. According to the neighbours, in those occasions she’s often heard crying, and the sound is sad, melancholic —even devastating— and increasingly intense. The creature has never harmed anybody, though, and actually is well respected as the guardian of the place.
Source: Pro&Contra Journal
Are these last two illustrations merely other, less attractive views of “Merbeings,” as drawn by Harry Trumbore, from one of my and Patrick Huyghe’s field guides? Above is from a famed sighting in the Bering Sea, and below is based on encounters from the Pacific Northwest, in the midst of Merman-Pugwis lore, for The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.