Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FISH-TAILS, part three

Another look for our favorite bathing beauty, who, somehow Noah decided NOT to offer to take on board. I suppose that even with all the storms, she was "in her element" and didn't need the grief of everyone telling her that they didn't believe she existed. 

So, let's take another pass at finding her on our own .... 

In this set we have some possibilities and some "who knows?" claims with no mer-person fish bottoms. #71 and #77 are these sorts of cases which we've seen several of: witness sees person in deep water who seems to be "standing" afloat unlike what they believe that a regular human could do, either too buoyantly or too long, and then just disappears beneath the sea. Well, if accurately portrayed, this would indeed be mysterious/anomalous, and perhaps merbeing-ish. But I want to find the iconic type of merperson, if nothing else to distinguish that from some undersea folkloric water entity like a naiad or selkie or the original sirens [which did not have fishtails.]

#75 is a step closer: no tail but scaly body seen. #74 is in the same "almost getting there" class: "shawl over shoulders" but again no tail. Of course you have to like the idea of a merman in Iowa.

The other three cases are of classic mermaids. I'm always uncomfortable with the stories that the fishermen "caught" a mermaid in their nets. It seems the ultimate "fish story" in a profession renown for such whopper-telling does it not? That's my bias, but I'm sticking with it for case #76.

That leaves cases #72 and #73, both of which I kind of like. #73 is a two-witness case where the witnesses are not heroic and once coming upon a classic mermaid at close quarters, get scared and run away. MUCH better than the macho fisherman with the catch-of-the-century.

#72 is a single witness case [Alexander Gunn, above left] but it is a rarity of a modern actual interview by an investigator. Mr. Gunn came upon this beautiful red-headed blue-green-eyed mermaid while walking his dog on the beach, and she reacted just like the solitary leprechaun would do when disturbed by one of us humans --- she glowered at him with such displeasure that he and his dog beat it out of there. This is also one of those cases where the witness asserted the truth of his encounter until he died. My Good Man, I think that you may have indeed seen one.

This isn't a bad set either. There are two cases where no fishtail bottoms are seen {#s 80 and 83} but both have a little intrigue to them.

#80 has a close encounter in it, and the witness says that the mermaid [green hair, blue eyes] had a glow about her as if she was phosphorescent. [the mind spins onward towards the folkloric Jack-O'Lantern and pixy-led themes.] #83 is more mundane but interests due to the witnesses' familiarity with the place as an unpopulated area, where a lone woman, they felt, would be almost impossible to see.

The two Redondo Beach cases each have mer-being structure, one female [with child!] and one male with extra long tail and beard. Both allegedly multi-witnessed. Would have been nice to have an investigation of some of these things to establish some credibility.

#78 is bare bones, but states an iconic mermaid. Both #s 81 and 82 are, however, very interesting to me, for wildly different reasons. #81 takes place in a shipwreck scene with sailors fighting for their lives in an unforgiving sea. Here the men were assisted by dolphins which [who?] tried to keep them afloat when they were getting too tired to stay awake and hold on. In the midst of this, a mermaid appeared among the dolphins as an encouragement. This could of course be a hallucination under terrible strains, but it is intriguing nonetheless ... and we should always remember that just because it MIGHT have been a hallucination does not mean that it WAS one. Occam's Razor in these matters should NEVER be applied. Occam's Razor is only [marginally] useful in cases of fairly well understood investigations with clearly recognized variables. Almost NO true anomalies fit this description. And one more thing always [conveniently and stupidly] forgotten about Occam's Razor: the Wisdom in the Occam's Razor idea is to give us TWO warnings: a]. when facing a situation which is unsolved, then the "simplest" solution is likely to be the correct one; and b]. --- this is the half conveniently forgotten --- once recognizing one hypothesis which we feel is the simplest [very dangerous in itself], one goes forward with that hypothesis EXTREMELY HUMBLY, as the bottom-line is that YOU HAVE NOT SOLVED THE MYSTERY at that point.

#82 is even more interesting to me. The so-called SAN Art region in South Africa is home to some of the neatest and hardest to interpret ancient rock writings in the world. Some of them are at the top left. Quite the archaeological surprise occurred when it was seen that some of these paintings seem to picture mer-beings. Well, it sends the interpreters into all manner of speculations --- none of which, of course, involve real mermaids. BUT, there are mermaid reports in that area in MODERN times --- reports, as far as anyone can tell, which have been experienced by persons, both native and anglo, who had no idea about the mermaid figures on the rock faces elsewhere in that [general] locale. It is a great "coincidence" at the very least.

{I have no particularly relevant illustration for this set, so we'll make do with the ladies to the left --- even mermaids can use some hair care products ... they sure spend a lot of time combing it.}

Here #s 86, 91, and 88 are not iconic mer-beings. Either we see no bottom at all or the creature has legs rather than a tail. In 86, the merman follows the fishermen's boat too long and too swiftly to be a human; in 91 the being mysteriously appears in a cloud of mist; and in 88 the creature is just WAY off the classical mer-being form, sort of like an analogy of a bogle to an elf. If such a thing exists, it seems to be unique to that part of the world. This would be very easy to discount as something like a dugong but it is described as having human-like legs.

#87 is another one of those claims that the mermaid got hooked on a fishing line. My imagination will have to work a bit feverishly to imagine how that could be going on with a non-biological living creature. If there's anything to such tales, then the mer-being must somehow be controlling the interaction for unknown reasons. ... just a bit too weird/non-sensical for me.

#s 85 and 89 are single witnessed. 85 is a rather nice if too brief scene wherein a hunter suddenly comes upon a sad-voiced mermaid with green hair and glowing eyes. Pretty folkloric picture. #89 has a mermaid floating on something combing her hair --- seemed almost like a movie scene. Report, as I have it, does not mention if witness waited long enough to see her dive off.

My favorite of this set is a mother-daughter sighting of a mermaid in the Zambesi River on an island. She had long black hair, white skin, and was beautiful. There are apparently native traditions about mermaids there, as the mother told the daughter that it was a bad omen to see one. Why my favorite? A long locale tradition seems to exist within which came a modern sighting to a young woman who didn't know much about it --- has "that feel" about it.

This set has more spread to the potential of the cases than any yet. There is a misdated case [#94], a case describing something entirely else than a mermaid [#96], something which sounds like a fish story [#92], and a case of a "normal woman" [#93. There are also three more interesting things.

#95 is in the category of interesting because it is a general statement of persistent sightings of mer-beings near the Isle of Man, plus mention of three separate recent reports. The problem in this specific article is that it is so undetailed about any of the cases that no fishtails are mentioned. I give this a pass in this case because of the brevity plus the lengthy history of fishtail mermaids here, such that when a respondent says "mermaid" in the Isle of Man, a fishtail is implied.

#97 is the sort-of famous Active Pass, BC mermaid case. It's famous because it has a connected photo, and the photo seems to be a bit legendary as far as many internet sites are concerned, which consistently say "alleged" photo, which there is no known copy ... except that there is, as is shown above to the left. That photo [yes, it's lousy quality] was in Ivan Sanderson's collection [and it appeared here quite some time ago.] A photo rarely proves anything, and a poor quality copy of one for sure proves nothing, but I find that the thing is useful nevertheless. This is because it's a great opportunity for each one of us to look ourselves in the mirror.

When you first see that photo, what do you think? If you think: oh what a joke!, then ask yourself --- honestly or you'll never learn anything about you --- WHY did you think that? In fact, if you viewed the thing with any emotion at all, WHY? Some possible questions arise. Am I just a mystery junkie but don't want anything really to be in-my-face real? Do I fear so much being the fool that my defense mechanism is to laugh off any potential concrete data? What's really going on when I am thrilled by stories but threatened by something which if I assented to it might force me to take those stories seriously? It has been my long history with UFO photos that people who happily enjoy the reports start backing WAY off when a photo is shown, and those photos are far from obvious in their goodness, ... they are not, if we're honest, obviously fake or true. This seems to be an ailment of the modern mind --- things are "OK" if they stay a little ways away.

#98 might be my favorite mermaid story. It probably would be no one else's. I like the credibility of the report as it came from a good friend of a quality reporter/writer told to him minutes after the experience. The "strangeness" of course goes without saying. But what makes me like this one is the totally paranormal other-reality-ness of the interaction.

The writer/reporter was tending a driftwood fire for several guests at a party while his friend was wandering down the beach, ostensibly harvesting oysters, but mainly just being-at-one with the seaside and the waters. From a distance the man by the fire saw his friend standing still "transfixed" looking at something, though the distance was too great to see. Shortly the man-by-the-fire decided to walk down towards his friend, who ultimately turned and gestured him over. And he told him what had happened.

The first thing out of his mouth, though softly, was "I've met a mermaid."

" She came into the shallow water at the point and then she came out of the water on the beach, where we get the clams. She was very beautiful. She had long golden hair. Well, it was more like ribbons of kelp, but somehow beautiful. She had a long green fishlike tail that was part of her exquisite body. I just didn't know what to say to her." 

Asked well, what DID you say?, he replied, smiling and a bit embarrassed:

"I said: aren't you cold? She laughed and said, no, she wasn't cold. She asked me why all the people were on the beach by the fire and I explained about New Year's Eve and the rest of it. I wish I could describe her voice. It was very low, like the offshore breeze. The funny thing is that, after the first shock of seeing her there, it all seemed so natural. I suppose that we could have talked for five minutes or more.

" I never did look at her too closely. There was nothing even remotely self-conscious about her, you understand, but since she wore no clothes I felt a little embarrassed about looking at her. Still, I saw enough to know that she was absolutely lovely. You could say breathtakingly beautiful. When I asked her at one point, where she lived, she just pointed to the water and the path of the Moon. Then we saw someone coming down the beach and she took my hand for a second and slipped into the bay and was gone." 

After telling the story, the friend lifted his hand, still wet from the mermaid's touch.

THAT one needs a little moment for a wistful sigh......

I'm going to leave it there for this day. There will be one last entry for this mer-being series, and then one maybe-the-last entry [possibly broken up] for the entire blog. We'll see about the latter, but other things are calling in the forests of this old life.

But nothing, even a decision, lasts forever.

Peace, friends.


  1. I can only imagine how hard it is to find material to study this subject. I took a look at the price of the book Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry, by Rosalie K. Fry, that inspired the movie "Roan Inish" (soundtrack fits the mermaid elements/atmosphere) and it is out of print. Some people are nowadays charging even 1000 dollars for one book.


    1. Anything worthwhile as to actual mer-being encounters is likely to come from following reference listings in Clark, Benwell/Waugh, Eberhart, etc, and cruising the internet. That takes work but only sometimes will take money as so much is available online. As to the Fry book, if you can satisfy yourself with a paperback, they sell used for $40-60. Hardbounds are a different matter entirely.

    2. Thanks for the references, The Professor. I think you are right, it wouldn't need to be a hard cover copy.


  2. A long, long time ago, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to compile a catalog of merfolk experiences, and subject it to the phenomenological and statistical analyses that have been applied to UFO experiences. Would any Law of the Times, for example, show up (I mean, allowing for non-luminous phenomena to be seen almost exclusively in daytime)? This would not be a true control group, but an interesting comparison group. I knew it would be pushing a mountain up the side of a mountain to collect and trace down original(ish) sources, though.

    Merfolk, unlike UFOs, have the interesting characteristic of excluding a "charming" explanation: they are "inharmonious monsters" (e.g., concerning the heavy human-like head on a human-like stalk of a neck), extremely unlikely to survive as sea animals competing with other sea animals, and thus cannot be naturally-evolved creatures. Beyond that--well, Jacques Vallee has recently used the formula, "Ufology has no ontology," meaning it has to go uncommitted to specific hypotheses (like the ETH) despite their allure. The same can be said of many types of "Anomalistics."

    But though it's very unlikely, I can't totally exclude the hypothesis of Alien genetic fiddling. Think of dogs with muzzles pushed-in 'til they struggle to breathe, cats with exaggeratedly stumpy legs, ferrets and hamsters with abnormal fur, and snakes that appear as if they were of pastel plastics. And then there are the children (!) that were (maybe are) injured and deliberately deformed to make better beggars and court entertainers, or castrated to create special voices for Church choirs and the stage. All we have to imagine is that the Aliens are as big a bunch of vapid bastards as we are.

    Frank John Reid

  3. You'd have to assume/imagine a lot more than that. At a minimum you'd have to assume that these genetic game-players would have been around here dropping "mermaids" into oceans for a couple thousand years. I, and you too Frank, don't see much evidence for really old UFO-like reports.

    As far as the use of a mer-being catalog to test things like the law of the times --- no go. There are not nearly enough cases to make a decent data set, and there are almost no cases where the report lists anything like an UFO-report-quality time for the encounter. The idea that one would even see many mermaids in the dead of night not only seems unlikely, but is not present in my little data set --- no UFO lights on them, and rarely right up close. There could conceivably be some low probability of drawing out enough cases from "Little People" encounters, since there are so many, but UFO respondents have been habituated to think about things in terms of modern attitudes towards "knowing what time it is", and other less-modern experiencers not.

  4. the encounter at the beach is the only one that have verbal communication between witness and mermaid ? why do people always think it is bad omen to see mermaid ?

  5. The one question I have regarding encounters with mermaids is this: Why, and indeed how, is it that mermaids speak English?

    Same goes for other fairy-like apparitions; there is no reason that I can imagine that would explain why a race of beings that rarely interact with humans would speak English or whatever local dialect the witness speaks.

  6. These creations are not physical aquanauts from sunken worlds, but paranormal creatures. {Heck even if they WERE Atlantaeans, learning to communicate in the local language would be no issue}. As paranormal creatures they "speak" [note we had very few claims of speaking anyway] whatever language the locals have --- other paranormal entities communicate by whatever the local person's language is, worldwide. With all due respect, "there is no reason that I can imagine" seems to be WAY over-the-top in phraseology, or to speak more about your imagination, or perhaps you're not being serious, or you're not really reading the entries. You'd do better to go back to Science Fiction and ask why the aliens met by the Starship Enterprise crew et al always speak English.

    1. The Anonymous AstronomerSeptember 30, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      I was being serious, and asking these questions under the assumption of a physical reality. If you're treating them as paranormal apparitions that don't exist in our physical nuts n' bolts world outside of the encounter, then yes, they can talk any way they wish to, and make themselves understood.

      By saying "there is no reason that I can imagine that would explain why a race of beings that rarely interact with humans would speak English or whatever local dialect the witness speaks" I was expressing my doubts that a race of water-dwelling people that are rarely encountered would talk the same language as us land lubbers. Think of all the countries that share borders yet speak distinct languages, despite the inhabitants of both knowing full well about the existence of the others.

      As for the English-speaking aliens of Star Trek, well, that's even less plausible :-)

    2. I understand what you are saying in some sense, but I don't understand the basis for it. Intelligent humans living nearby one another learn the neighbors language all the time, even when retaining their own. I've spoken to countless "foreigners" who speak better unaccented English than many of my childhood friends. ... but it is not necessary that I understand the basis for the belief above since it does not apply to the paranormal hypothesis as I intuit what may be actually going on here.