Dead Mermaid Found in the Philippines Hoax

Mermaid Hoaxes Are Not New, But They're Still Popular!

Mermaids—defined as half-human, half-fish denizens of the deep once believed to lure lovestruck sailors to their death—have been a staple of myth and legend for thousands of years. In fact, the first such stories go back to ancient Assyria. Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen mermaids during his voyages and so, too, did Blackbeard the pirate. Even today there are tales of mermaid sightings.

There is, of course, one problem with such stories: mermaids don't exist.

See the Dead Mermaids!

The fact that mermaids are mythical beings has never stopped anyone from providing evidence of their existence. In fact, you can see images of "dead mermaids" by clicking on the links below. These horrific creatures are said to have turned up in the Philippines. Be warned, however: these rather gruesome photos bear little resemblance to Ariel of Little Mermaid fame!

  • Photo #1
  • Photo #2
  • Photo #3

These same images surfaced once again in early 2005 as part of a message claiming the mermaid carcass was washed up on a beach in Chennai, India by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004.

The History of Faked Mermaid Remains

While tales of mermaids go back thousands of years, faked remains are relatively modern. By far the most famous is P.T. Barnum's Feejee Mermaid, purchased secondhand by the great showman in the mid-1800s and exhibited throughout the United States as a sideshow attraction.

Often, "mermaid" bodies created for public display use the body parts of dead monkeys and fish. The photographs you have just seen document a modern version of such an artifact. A similar specimen fabricated in Japan is believed to be 1,400 years old.

Hideous or Alluring?

The glaring irony in all this mermaid fakery, with respect to the ancient tales on which it is based, is that the mummified specimens one typically finds on display are, without exception, hideous in appearance—"the incarnation of ugliness," as one American critic described Barnum's creature—while the classic mermaid of folklore and pop culture is invariably represented as beautiful and alluring. It is a discrepancy no one ever bothers to explain.

Sources and Further Reading

Preserved Yokai of Japan
Cryptozoology Online, 29 June 2009

The Feejee Mermaid
Museum of Hoaxes

The Feejee Mermaid Archive
The Lost Museum

The Merman's Home Page