Merman of 1725

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 21st, 2006

You will want to read this account openly, without bias and take in the description in spite of the negative values that our culture places on Merbeing accounts today. Why? Because within such words as you will find here may lie a mystery older than the waves that splash in the sea. Read on, dear traveler, and allow your mind to ponder the wonders herewith. – Loren

An Eighteenth Century Wonder.

An amusing and detailed account of a merman seen in the Atlantic, written apparently in good faith, ends with the following description of the monster, which may possibly have been a seal or a sea lion: “That monster is about eight feet long, his skin is brown and tawny, without any scales, all his motions are like those of men, the eyes of a proportionate size, a little mouth, a large and flat nose, very white teeth, black hair, the chin covered with a mossy beard, a sort of whiskers under the nose, the ears like those of men, [illegible] between the fingers of his hands and feet like those of ducks. In a word, he is a well shaped man. Which is certified to be true by Captain Oliver Morin and John Martin, pilot, and by the whole crew, consisting of two-and-thirty men.” (An article from Brest in the “Memoirs of Trevoux.”) This monster was mentioned in The Gazette of Amsterdam Oct. 12, 1725, where it is said it was seen in the ocean in August of the same year. — Household Words.

Source: Lincoln [Nebraska] Evening News, April 4, 1898.

Thanks to Jerome Clark .

Manatee Mermaids

Please click on the image for the full-size cartoon.

Thanks to Mark A. Hall for pointing out the cartoon, and to Mia B. Smith, Permissions Coordinator at American Scientist, who informs me the copyright for this cartoon is to properly read Bill Long, 2005.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

5 Responses to “Merman of 1725”

  1. Ole Bub responds:

    Manatee…too obvious….

  2. fuzzy responds:

    Ole Bub ~ Sometimes believing is seeing.

  3. CryptoInformant responds:

    Sea Lion, obvious from the ears.

  4. WVBotanist responds:

    What about the manatee of 1855? This image from Harper’s in that year doesnt really look like a manatee.

    Maybe someone else has seen a larger version of this drawing. But I think it illustrates something else about perception and imagination. To me, this looks like a giant, very giant, monk seal. Manatees do not frolic in the shallow surf, nor perch on their forelimbs, that I have seen. So, what is going on with all these strange descriptions and drawings?

    And, what does tawny mean when speaking about a strange creature’s skin as compared to a brown skinned man?

  5. Roger Knights responds:

    Famous poet Robinson Jeffers said he saw a merman:

    The World’s Wonders

    Being now three or four more years than sixty, I have seen strange things in my time. I have seen a merman standing waist-deep in the ocean off my rock shore.

    Unmistakably human and unmistakably a sea-beast: he submerged and never came up again,

    While we stood watching. I do not know what he was, and I have no theory: but this was the least of wonders.

    ———Robinson Jeffers, “The World’s Wonders” (1951), first verses, in “Selected Poems” (NYC: Vintage Books, 1965), p. 75

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