Welcome back Continuing from last week’s column, I hope you are keeping up with the ongoing story of my siting of two mermaids which took place two weeks ago along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico near Rockport, Texas. Friends I have been researching these mythical creatures and I’ve learned that they have been around since man learned to write. In 1430 people living near the town of Edam in the Netherlands wrote about them and in 1817 a mermaid was captured and taken to the King of Poland who promptly ordered that she be released back into the ocean. In early Syrian culture these half human half fish beings were considered to be Gods and one of the biggest, most elaborate temples in the regions was built in honor of one they called Atargatis.
More recently in American history Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame caught sight of one and reported that she had long green hair and was very attractive. Even Christopher Columbus wrote of seeing one near the Dominican Republic. So, what do they look like? According to Greek mythology they are beautiful creatures with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. Columbus wrote in his diary that he actually saw three mermaids when they jumped out of the water near his ship. The King of Poland described the half human half fish a bit differently still having a human face and upper body but also with the tail of a large fish.
The Roman Emperor Augustus claimed he had found “a considerable number’ of mermaids dead on a sea shore but he also considered these sea creatures to be dangerous.
It’s been written that the “Island of the Sirens” (siren was another name for mermaid) was to be avoided at all costs. Ships sank there when sailors were lured close by the sexy singing of the sirens crashing onto the rocks and some men even jumped to their deaths if their ships sailed too near and they heard the sirens’ songs. Early written accounts also talk of mermaids dragging men from land into the black depths of the sea and as the legends spread so did the mermaids.
In Scandinavia fishermen maintained a rule of always releasing a mermaid as quickly as possible so that no evil would occur. It is also said that mermaids have evolved so that they can take an entirely human form as in the movie Splash! when Tom Hanks encounters one. Could there be more out there and was my siting an omen of a shipwreck to come for me as the ancient history books say can happen when you come in contact with a mermaid or was I just out in the sun way too long?
Till next time if I’m not swimming with the fishes, I’ll see ya down the road………….