5 Mysterious Documented Mermaid Sightings
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Dark5 presents 5 real-life tales of mermaids spotted around the world and throughout history.
Israel’s Modern Mermaid
During the summer of 2009 dozens of locals and tourists claimed to have seen a mermaid frolicking off the beach of Kiryat Yam, a small Israeli town north of Haifa. The alleged mermaid reportedly only appeared at sunset, and resembled a cross between a fish and a young girl.
One of the first people to see the mermaid was Shlomo Cohen. He claimed he was with friends when he saw a young woman lying on the sand in a strange way. When approached, she jumped into the water and disappeared. Cohen stated that they were all in shock when they saw her tail.
One resident of Kiryat Yam described his alleged undersea encounter with the legendary mermaid as being like [Quote] “A feeling like from heaven”. An NBC investigative report was filmed in the Israeli town as part of NBC’s Destination Truth, which chronicles unique natural phenomena all over the world. The film crew spent a whole week on the beach of Kiryat Yam, filming day and night, both underwater and above it.
The Indonesian Mermaids of World War 2
Japanese soldiers were stationed on a small, remote island within the Kei island chain in Indonesia in 1943 with a surveillance team. Many of these soldiers reported seeing strange creatures in the pristine lagoons and beaches of the island.
They claimed these creatures had limbs and faces similar to those of humans, but mouths like carps, filled with needle-like teeth. Additionally, They had protruding spines or spikes of some sort on their heads, necks, and shoulders. The mermaids were described as typically being just under 5 feet tall, with pink or salmon-colored skin.
Strangely, the creatures were familiar to the islanders. When asked about them, they told the Japanese that these mermaids were known to them as the Orang Ikan which translates to “man fish” in Malay.
These ugly mermaids, often spotted by the villagers around the islands, were sometimes even caught in nets. They were considered fiercely territorial and prone to attacking if approached too closely.
The Benbecula Mermaid
A well-recounted mermaid incident occurred on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland in 1830. A group of islanders were cutting seaweed when one of the women washing her feet on a reef heard a splash in the calm sea and saw a tiny female creature a few feet away.
She called out to the others to come see the discovery. The half-woman, half-fish creature made somersaults and swam around. Some men waded into the water and tried in vain to seize her, but the mermaid disappeared.
A few days later, the mermaid was allegedly found nearly two miles away. Those who found the creature described her as being about the size of a well-fed child of three or four years of age with long, dark, glossy hair, and white, soft, tender skin. The lower part of her body resembled that of a fish but with no scales.
Japan’s 13th-century Mermaid
In Japan, folklore speaks to the existence of the ningyo, which translates to ‘human fish.’ The mystical creatures supposedly vary in appearance and are often portrayed with pointy teeth, and sometimes even with menacing horns.
Once such example is a mermaid mummy said to be over 1,400 years old that is held in a shrine at Tenshou-Kyousha temple near Mount Fuji. According to local mythology, it was once a fisherman who transformed into a ningyo because he dared to fish in protected waters.
An even older specimen has also been subject to much attention. According to legend, on April 14th, 1222, a ningyo washed ashore in Hakata Bay, on the Japanese island of Kyushu. A shaman declared the mermaid corpse a good omen for the nation, and its bones were buried at the Ukimido temple.
From 1772 to 1781, the bones were exhumed from the temple, allowing visitors to use the water in which the ningyo remains had rested. Local belief claimed that soaking in the bone-water would shield the body from epidemics.
The Mermaid of the Orkneys
There have been many sightings of mermaids in the Orkney Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland, but the most famous might be the Deerness mermaid.
Sightings of the Deerness mermaid began in 1890 and occurred over a few summers thereafter. People claimed that the mermaid used to show herself to visitors in Newark Bay with little to no fear of being spotted.
Soon, hundreds of eyewitness reports came forward regarding the Deerness mermaid. Some reported seeing the mermaid sliding up and down underwater rocks, surfacing and then disappearing back into the water.
Often the accounts of her physical appearance were imprecise since the mermaid swam at a distance from the shoreline. One report claimed that the mermaid was seven feet long with a black head and neck on a snow-white body.