There are moments that make you stop and wonder exactly how crazy and/or stupid people can be. Just when you think you have all the conspiracy theories organized in your head, from the “Elvis lives!” crew to the Area 51 believers to the people who believe the moon landing was faked, there’s another crazy theory du jour. But I grew up spending every summer swimming in the ocean, and never once gave a thought to mermaids!
See, the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration had a very busy weekend. The mid-Atlantic region had nasty storms roll in, and there were tornado warnings, power outages and all sorts of violent weather. So, clearly, that’s why they felt the need to answer the question on everyone’s minds: Mermaids do not exist.
The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few.
But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.
That is a direct quote from the NOAA website. The government felt the need to remind people that Ariel is not really under the sea. I am a bit mystified as to why they felt the need to specifically deny mermaids, but Slate is reporting this was all triggered by a Discovery Channel special. And yes, NASA no doubt has to deal with UFO believers regularly. But seriously, was NOAA getting that many phone calls about mermaids? And they are so specific-“aquatic humanoids”, implying perhaps aquatic non-humanoids (merdogs, or perhaps even worse, merbears?!?) They clearly left themselves some wiggle room here. And telling me not to believe in mermaids is like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant. Or a mermaid riding a pink elephant in a parade. It just draws more attention than it deflects.
So do you believe in mermaids? And is “Under the Sea” going through your head too?