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Mermaid
Mermaid
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Definition
Fast Facts
Film & Television
Gallery
Reported Sightings

Definition of a Mermaid:  A mermaid is a mythological, aquatic creature with a female human head and torso, and the tail of a fish.  The word "mermaid" is a composite of the Old English word "mere", meaning sea, and maid (a woman).  The male equivalent of a mermaid is called a "merman".  Unlike many creatures of legend mermaids do not occupy just one area, but the entire world.



Fast Facts
  • The first known reports of mermaid sightings come from Assyria around 1,000 B.C.
  • Legend has it that mermaids, creatures said to have the body of a woman and a fish's tail, will entice mortal men by their good looks and singing.  When a mermaid finally "reels in" a good one, she will slip a magic cap onto his head that will allow him to live in the sea with her.
  • The Arabian Nights collection of folklore features several tales of "Sea People".  These people resemble normal humans in every way, and differ only in the fact that they can breathe and live underwater.  Sea People can, and do, interbreed with land humans.  The offspring of these unions also have the ability to breathe and live underwater.
  • British folklore typically gives tales of mermaids being mean, spiteful creatures, predicting trouble and provoking it.
Reported Sightings of Mermaids
  • Canada, Vancouver.  Sometime between 1870-1890.
  • Canada, Victoria.  1967.
  • Israel, Kiryat Yam.  2009.  A $1 million prize was offered to anyone who could prove the existence of a mermaid off the city's coast.  Dozens of people reported seeing a mermaid jump out of the water, doing aerial tricks like a dolphin.  However, there has been no proof and the prize has not yet been awarded.


Film & Television

Fiction

Film
Year
Star(s)
About
The Little Mermaid (animated)
1989

Disney's adventures of Ariel the mermaid, based loosely on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (animated)
2000

Direct-to-video sequel of "The Little Mermaid".
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
2008

Third film in "Little Mermaid" franchise, although a prequel.  Direct-to-video.
Splash
1984
Daryl Hannah, Tom Hanks
A man falls in love with a mermaid.
Splash, Too (TV movie)
1988
Amy Yasbeck, Todd Waring
A made-for-TV sequel of "Splash".





















































Non-Fiction

TV Series
Episode Title
Original Airdate
About