Professor Heidi Rich
English Composition 101
21 July, 2013
Mermaids: Tails or Tales?
If you asked a group of individuals to describe what a mermaid looks like, most of their opinions would be the same. They would say that mermaids are sea creatures, which are half human-half fish and typically female. If you asked the same group of people whether or not they think mermaids are real, you would most likely get a mixed response. People like to believe that mermaids exist based on their human like similarities and plentiful “sightings.”
The first scientific description of Merfolk were documented in 586 A.D. by Historian Pliny the Elder and legends of the creature have made their way through Europe, Africa, Asia, The Middle East and undoubtedly to North America. In 1493, Christopher Columbus reportedly saw three mermaids frolicking near the coastline of Haiti. He documents that the creatures “came high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted.” (Unknown Explorers) These historic sightings however, have been rumored to be the sailors’ hallucinations. It is thought that the men actually saw manatees and mistook them for women, and it is even said that the men would sometimes engage in sexual intercourse with the sea mammals, just like Shepherds have been believed to do with their sheep for centuries.
Regardless of whether or not these rumors are true, there is another possible explanation for mermaids that is critical to consider. In William Bonds’ Book “The Secret History of Mermaids,” he states that “the key to making sense of all these tales comes through the story of a Dutch seaman called Hamel. He was on a Dutch ship, ‘Sperwer’ that was wrecked near the Korean island of Cheju in 1653. This is where he and the other survivors of the wreck spent ten months on the island. On returning to Holland, he wrote a book about his experiences and claimed that there were mermaids on the island. What’s interesting...
Cited: Mermaid. Answers.com. Answers Corporation. 2013. Web. 20 July, 2013.
Museum of Hoaxes. The Feejee Mermaid, 1842. Alex Boese. 2011. Web. 19 July, 2013.
Unknown Explorers. Mermaid. Unknown Explorers. 2006. Web. 7 July. 2013.
Weeki Wachee Springs. History of Weeki Wachee Springs. Weeki Wachee Springs.
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