Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 11th, 2009
Israel is in the grips of mermaid fever after numerous sightings of the legendary sea creature off its coast.
One town council is taking the reports so seriously it is offering a $1m (£609,000) reward to anyone who can prove the existence of a mermaid in its waters.
Kiryat Yam municipality, near Haifa, says it has been told of dozens of sightings in the past few months.
They say it is a female figure, it looks like a young girl.
“Many people are telling us they are sure they’ve seen a mermaid and they are all independent of each other,” council spokesman Natti Zilberman told Sky News.
The nautical nymph is only seen in the evening at sunset, according to media reports, drawing crowds of people with cameras hoping for a glimpse.
“People say it is half girl, half fish, jumping like a dolphin. It does all kinds of tricks then disappears,” Mr Zilberman said.
Asked whether a dolphin or large fish could be a more rational explanation, he insisted: “They say it is a female figure, it looks like a young girl.”
The council denied its offer of a reward was a publicity stunt, but said it hoped to nurture the mermaid as something which could bring in more tourists.
Capturing a mermaid is not necessary, a verifiable photograph will do, Mr Zilberman said.
Asked if the council can afford the payout, he told Sky News writer Dominic Waghorn: “I believe, if there really is a mermaid, then so many people and tourists will come to Kiryat Yam, a lot more money will be made than a $1m.”
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.