It’s no wonder that one of the most googled questions about mermaids is “Are mermaids real?” These beings capture our imagination and fulfill our need for mystery, adventure, and meaning.
However, the short answer to the question is no, mermaids are not real in the physical sense of the word.
If you don’t believe us, take it from the professionals: a couple of years ago, the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had to put out a statement reminding people that “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”
There are indeed historical accounts of supposed mermaid sightings, but they were either the result of understandable confusion (what Columbus described as mermaids were most likely manatees) or an effort to make a quick buck (like P.T. Barnum’s desiccated “Fejee mermaid,” created by sewing together the torso of a monkey and the tail of a fish).
Mermaids Are Real as Symbols
All that being said, mermaids are very real (and powerful) as symbols. From literary works to movies and logos of big companies, mermaids come to mind whenever we want to evoke something alluring and enchanting.
This interest has remained surprisingly constant throughout the last couple of centuries. For example, this chart shows how many times the term “mermaid” was used in books written in English between 1800 and 2008. As you can see, there have been ups and downs, but we keep going back to mermaids and their mystery.
“The Ultimate Other”
What is so compelling about these mythical beings? Although our idea of mermaids is relatively recent, the notion of aquatic humanoids is as ancient as civilization, as we have seen in a previous post.
Some anthropologists believe that mermaids symbolize “the ultimate other:” half-human, half-fish; curious about life on land, but living underwater. Maybe that’s what makes them feel so familiar: Nobody fits neatly inside a category and we are always daydreaming about other worlds, including that of mermaids.
If you are interested in learning more about mermaids, these are some previous posts you may enjoy:
- 4 Captivating facts about mermaids
- Mermaids words of wisdom (part 1 and part 2)
- Which mermaid are you? Take the test and find out!
And if you love mermaids as much as we do, then you have to check out our Mermaids Hat Collection.
The hats display the embroidered image of a mermaid on the front, with a powerful word of mermaid wisdom and inspiration embroidered on the back. Shop online and purchase your Mermaid hat today!
And don’t forget to share with us your favorite mermaid facts! Call us (626-353-7347), send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out through social media–Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.