Monday, September 21, 2015

FISH-TAILS, part four {and last}

Time to take one last look for our sea-darling, and judge whether she might exist or whether we're all just so dumb that we can't tell the difference between her and a manatee --- or we're just all a bunch of liars. To be in full disclosure, I tend to think that we're pretty good at telling the difference between a pretty girl-creature and a manatee if she's anywhere nearby, but I also think that the human race has a lot of non-serious lying jerks in it, so "my jury's out" until the evidence shows up. 

Above is the third-to-last set of seven claims, plus an illustration of what a Russian Mer-couple are supposed to look like. It would have been nice if case #100 had been like this, but no tails for the couple in the Chusovaya River in 1974. 

Generally this is an uninspiring set. Case #99 is rather terrible, case #101 is like an extraterrestrial undersea dweller, case# 103 is more like a science fiction monster, and the New Ireland "Ri" situation seems loaded with Dugong-ism --- despite the research work by a US scientist who took Richard Greenwell of the International Society of Cryptozoology with him. 

That leaves just #s 102 and 104. I like them both, but the "evidentiary aspects" are thin, as most of this stuff is. #102 is, however, a charmer, where the beautiful mermaid with the green scale-laden tail rises from her waters to help a friendly fisherman with his catch. #104 has better potential for bona fides, as it is a second reporting of people seeing mer-people creatures in the general area of that ancient rock carving SAN area that we mentioned last time. Supposedly some sort of interviewing was done. 

 This set, to my tastes, is the whackiest set of seven of the whole survey. I, of course, cannot illustrate such supreme odd-ness adequately, so I'll just post a picture of a pretty siren instead.

What we seem to have here is a panicked, deranged seaman seeing a face in a porthole [#106], a Russian {Rock?} musician seeing a tailless woman poking him while swimming [#108], a human being wearing yellow shorts coming out of and going back into the water while making weird noises [#109], giant monstrous bulging-eyed monsters of the depths menacing a diver [#110], another diver cracking open a large cucumber-shaped object on the seafloor and releasing blood and an angry humanoid creature [#111]. 

Not even close to mermaids in my definition. Probably not even close to reality either, even if we're strolling Out Proctor. So that leaves #s 107 and 112. #107 is a case reported by a scuba diver who says that he was pursued by a human-topped, fishtailed-bottom creature who seemed malevolent or at least bad-intentioned. #112 is the only one of these that I like. It is the report of a native man who would take a little-used walking route to his home from a village. The route would take him past an isolated spot on the Hunyani River in Zimbabwe. On several occasions during one concentrated period of time, he saw an iconic mermaid sitting partly in the water on a rock. Whenever she sensed his presence, she would turn and dive immediately beneath the water. The last time that he saw her, she had a young one with her. This case was communicated to Cynthia Hind, a well-known UFO case investigator, so maybe it has some validity. 

Last set of seven: when I finished my collected list, I was at 116, but realized that I'd forgotten Christopher Columbus' manatee [probably] report. Since that was so close to filling up the set, I scoured about and came up with something very ancient, and something renaissance-ish to make a final array --- probably a bit obsessive-compulsive but what-the-heck. The illustration is for that last case by the way. 

Well, nice to end with a list mostly containing iconic mermaid claims. Only #113, the amphibious man with the pinniped bottom is a bit off. Case # 115, where several witnesses see a "white woman with long black hair" thrashing in the water, does not itself mention a fishtail bottom, but the claim is that there is a local mermaid tradition around there. 

Case #116 --- the recent thing from Israel --- seems to be mainly debunked at this time, I believe I've heard. The fourth of the modern cases [#114] is another charmer, where a bunch of children are playing in the water in a lake near Iquitos, Peru, when a beautiful golden-haired mermaid surfaced and acted nicely toward the children. {I was in Iquitos once but she didn't show herself to me; I'm rather hurt by that.} 

Of the old cases the Columbus one [#118] is by far the most well-known and by far the least interesting, as even the great explorer himself characterized the mermaids as ugly. I'll assume that if he'd gotten closer he'd have recognized the manatees. 

#117 is nearing the status of legend rather than report, but the way it is talked about by our old Greco-Roman writers is that this aged Triton was actually seen, not just theologized about. #119 is something that I have only the briefest mention, but it comes with an illustration of the event, as above. The short note says that this ship Captain, Hailborne, saw iconic mermaids, who made beckoning gestures to him. 

In my last second scouring about, I came across this painting, which could relate to a mediaeval era mermaid sighting, but I know nothing about it, and the site was no help. Since we're working hard to present whatever we can winnow from these watery fields, I'll present it as a glimmer of some sort of claim. 

But, as to the picture as a whole: what should we make of it? 119 "case encounters" might seem like a lot, but it's not --- especially when I read phrases like "masses of evidence." I could have listed fifty or so more things, if one wanted to be bored and disgusted by PT Barnum like exhibited monsters and tales of capturing and killing merbeings, but what would be the use of that? As we've seen, the 119 in the list have quite a few losers as well. 

I'm not giving up on the concept of the real merbeing though. But I'm forced to go forward with it with great humility. 

Why go forward with it at all? This is a perfectly understandable position to take intellectually or otherwise, and I respect anyone who wants to reject the possibilities given the low yield of credible and "accurately seeable" evidence. I'll tell you why I think that these creatures probably do exist, thus ruining what little reputation that I might have. 

To begin my "reasoning", I disregard any thought that these entities are denizens of the physical world as described by biology textbooks and physical laws. In short, I believe that they are paranormal entities of whatever the sort of things the "Little People" are. 

My second step then in muddling this out, is to claim that, although I see very few impressive cases of mermaid encounters [but not zero], I've seen many such cases of Little People encounters. My own files, called for my own amusement LEPRECAT, contain several hundred encounter cases, and Dr. Beachcombing is creating an organization which is accumulating a mountain of facts on the topic. 

So, thirdly, if there is a pretty good case basis for "faery", and "faery" seems to "contain" many sorts of appearances for its entities, and that class of beings "behaves" in ways reminiscent of other traditional folkloric entities, then my thoughts go to the position that I need less of a pile of solid cases for a "like" entity claim, assuming that I have a couple of handfuls at least. 

And a couple of handfuls is what I seem to have. When I researched Loch Ness, I felt that I came up with a similar situation. Even Bigfoot seems to fit this sort of entity, rather than something biological. Sea Monsters? Maybe also. Yeti?, almost for sure unless there really is a relict neanderthal population about. 

My soft intuitive reasoning doesn't rest in any way, by the way, on the oft-cited argument that long ago in Mesopotamia Oannes climbed out of the water to found civilization. For sure it doesn't rest with the similar claim for Enki/Ea. The Annunaki are not described as anything but humanoid, and the half-fish illustration for Oannes reminds me much more of the flying man-bull illustrations of the "cherubim" of that culture. Those representations were almost certainly the pictorial way of representing a powerful king-like person who could move through the skies [the wings] and was "strong-as-a-bull." I.e., that culture illustrated god-like powers in that chimeric way --- just as the Egyptians illustrated it with the human/animal parts inverted top/bottom. 

My intuitions are based solely on the sense that the mermaid concept "fits" with other claims having, in my estimation, much greater strength. 

They are also based on my firm belief that I can tell the difference between pretty females and dugongs or even dolphins and seals, and that not every human is a jerk and a liar. 

But I'll plead guilty to being in the fog on this one.

One thing that is much less foggy is that this is essentially the last Big Study blogpost. I'm almost 500 hard-working blog entries in now, and I have a lot of other sorts of writing to do. I'm planning on posting a summary entry sometime soon, and I'll include contact information also there in case anyone wishes to come to Kalamazoo and visit/work in the archives. 



  1. Sad to see the Big Study come to an end! I have followed it closely ever since I stumbled upon it years ago. Beautiful writing on lots and lots of interesting cases. I will surely miss it.

    Other sorts of writing? Are you writing a book?

  2. Dear Professor, A random click brought me here too and I have enjoyed it very much. It's not so much about agreeing or disagreeing on points for me, but taking the information and using as a jumping off point to learn more about that topic, and I learned that I have a lot more research to do! By the way, I finally got Grassroots Ufos and am enjoying it a lot. The preface was one that was actually useful to understanding the book, unlike most others. My favorite part so far is the Balls of Light chapter, especially the Findley OH. report. The illustrations are really great and whoever chose the fonts for the chapters, my eyes thank you. I still hope you change your mind and post something once in while because I really love your blog ;-) Mrs. C

  3. Hope you will change your mind, professor, and post again. An astounding blog!!! Thanks for all the writing and sifting through so much data.

  4. Sad to know that The Big Study come to an end.I have read it trough the years with pleasure (sorry for my bad english).Many thanks and hope you will change your mind.Christian.

  5. Ditto the comments above, I've enjoyed your blog and hate to see it go, all the best to you!