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Mermaid Found: 1917

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 10th, 2008

The skeleton of a creature half human and half fish, which scientists say is more than 4,000 years old, has been found on the coast of China. Its discovery, imbedded deep in a sandy shore, has revived the old question of whether mermaids have ever existed. This skeleton is accepted in some quarters as conclusive proof that there were such creatures, long famed in the lore of many lands.

The strange relic which has come to light after centuries had a head, shoulders and arms like those of a woman, as proved by the formation of the bones and skull. The lower half of the body became petrified, and in all respects was like the tail of a fish, with several fins. On the head and the upper portion of the body a shriveled skin was found, similar to that of an Egyptian mummy. If further proof were needed, it would seem to be supplied by a few strands of hair on the head. Dermatologists have decided that this was once flaxen and grew abundantly.

Every story of a mermaid pictured a goddess-like creature sitting upon a rock in the sea, combing her hair. Almost every one of the ancient races left behind them accounts of the mermaid. These have been discredited for ages, being grouped with other myths such as the Greeks entertained. The sea serpent and dragon of such terrible aspect as described by writers of old were ranked with the mermaid as a figment of imagination. But the discovery of this skeleton discredits all the theories of civilization and brings to the fore once more the question so often asked – were there really mermaids?

The name mermaid is of Teutonic origin, corresponding with triton and siren as used in antiquity. The Chaldeans called this creature Oannes, the Chinese named her Wimpus, and even our own American Indians have a legend of the mermaid, in which they term her Ottawes.

It has been one of the unexplained points of the mermaid legend that so many peoples in such distant parts of the globe believed in the reality of a creature half woman and half fish. It would be hard to imagine two races further apart than the Chaldeans and the Indians. But both knew of the mermaid.

The skeleton found in China is considerably smaller than the proportions of a mermaid, according to popular conception, which invests her with a form much the same as that of a woman. It is pointed out, however, that this skeleton might have belonged to a dwarf of the species, or to a kind of fish which is said to have been common in Chinese waters about 6,000 B.C. And it is conceivable that the creature might have grown to larger size in a different clime. Whatever the truth, the finding of this skeleton opens anew one of the most fascinating chapters in the lore of mankind.“Mermaids Really Lived, Scientists Believe,” Fort Wayne [Indiana] Journal-Gazette, May 27, 1917.

Thanks for this historical item from Jerome Clark.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


13 Responses to “Mermaid Found: 1917”

  1. Guerrierinconnu responds:

    Any pictures of this ?

  2. primaryaccount02 responds:

    WOW! In China! Home of the Black Market Fossil trade and Fake Fossil trade?

    Who woulda thought it?

    nuthin suss’

  3. pcs800 responds:

    It says “considerable smaller”, so how big or small is it? I too would like to see a picture, it seems like there would be tons of pics taken by now if something like this was found.

  4. chris from flickerbulb dot com responds:

    “tail like a fish” leads me to beleive it was single, and therefor not split-tailed.

    i wonder about the commonness of such accounts?

  5. plant girl responds:

    I enjoy hearing about stories of mythical creatures some of which may hold facts of a certain being existing, or at one time existed. There have been cases of sailers from the past that have seen certain sea creatures such as the manatee. Which were then, mistaken for mermaids. This body that was found could hold the evidence needed to determine if something other than a fish or human is out there.

  6. Maine Crypto responds:

    As this was printed in 1917, I wonder whatever happened to it?? I am cynically guessing that it was later discovered to be a fake with a womans skeleton and the lower part of a fish meshed together? It would be great to hear follow up on this. I love to hear about mythical creatures.

  7. scosmo451 responds:

    “It would be hard to imagine two races further apart than the Chaldeans and the Indians. But both knew of the mermaid.”

    I always wonder about statements like these. The Chaldeans and the “Indians” all would have been living off the land, well versed in the animals of their respective areas, which would have included fish of all descriptions and, of course, women of their communities. Why would it be a stretch for them to independently mesh two vital aspects of their worlds together? Women who give birth to the community and fish who give nourishment, and, both, life? Children completely unknown to each other and of vastly different cultures all play similar games. Perhaps mermaids, dragons, and bogeymen (Sasquatch, Chupacabra, Mothman, Lizard Man) are more the creations of children than of cultures.

  8. springheeledjack responds:

    maybe all sailors weren’t drunk and superstitious…

  9. jakersHD responds:

    I wanna see pictures, but wow a pigmy mermaid.

  10. glendoor42 responds:

    Is there anyway to see if this is one of the original Fiji mermaids?

  11. Tengu responds:

    Jenny Hanniver…

    Mermaids are a memory of that notorious aquatic animal, the human female.

    In many widespread cultures it was the women who learned to swim, not the men. (I dont know if anyone has ever done a study of this, it was certainly widespead, several australian tribes, the japanese and the yaghans off the top of my head)

    Women have more body fat, and stronger lungs, and so are better adapted for life in cold water.

    This is why there are so few merMEN. (it would be a fine way to pursue a date)

    Most accounts from people who have met mermaids close to, state explicitly that they do have LEGS, (though there is invaribly some confusion if you cant get a close look)

    Sometimes mermaids are seals (a very human looking creature, under the right conditions) but sadly, seldom real sirena…

  12. ashixmaliceaiatreyu responds:

    how bout pictures?

  13. kadence responds:

    Is it too dumb of me to suggest that the skeleton might be small not because it’s a dwarf but a child or young mermaid? How large were humans at that time, maybe it really wouldn’t have been that small. Maybe it’s not even small for a mermaid, if they are or were ever real. Ah! I’m not saying these things to be a jerk, I’m just trying to think of more reasons.

    Has anyone found anything else on this particular skeleton? I’m guessing it turned out to be a fake. Why don’t we hear about this anymore?



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