There's always been a fascination with mermaids, from sailors to children. Disney's The Little Mermaid wouldn't have the popularity it did without the interest we as humans have at the possibility of a half-human, half-fish person who can live under the sea. There is quite a bit of mermaid lore out there though, some of it good, some of it bad. Let's take a look at the most common mermaid lore that has been shared.
- Sirens lured sailors to their death. This is one of the not so nice bits of mermaid folklore, but in many cases, sailors were scared of mermaids and they even developed ways to ignore the siren call of mermaids, as it would lead to their death. Stories say that sailors on watch would hear them singing and become overwhelmed with their need to be near them that they would steer their boats into rocks and sink to their deaths. To combat this, they would block their ears with wax. This was depicted in Homer's Odyssey.
- Mermaids and sirens are often intertwined. Despite sirens originally being depicted as half-bird and half-human, their form changed during the years, and now they are considered the same as mermaids, though sometimes sirens are considered mean while mermaids are considered nice.
- Seeing a mermaid meant your ship was doomed. In some cases, mermaid sightings were signs to sailors that the ship they were on was doomed to become a shipwreck.
- One of the earliest mermaids comes from Syria. Atargatis, a goddess, dove into the water to become a fish but only her bottom half was transformed.
- Before mermaids, mermen were the only ones to exist, with a fish body and a human body, allowing him to live both on land and on sea.
- Some legends state that humans are descended from mermaids.
- Aquamarine, a stunning blue gemstone, is made from mermaid tears according to folklore, which is why it was thought to protect sailors when they were out to sea or if they fell in the water.
- Manatees were often mistaken for mermaids and some of the many sightings came from sailors seeing manatees.