What is a mermaid? Why have stories of them intrigued us for centuries? Do they exist? Could there be mermaids right here in Canada? And more specifically could the great lakes be hiding one of the most sought after legends of all time?
Mermaids are said to be half woman and half fish. They have the top half of a lady and their bottom half looks like the tail of a fish. When they are seen, and the person that has spotted this mysterious being reports this sighting, they usually state that what they saw was, what appeared to be a young woman on the rocks in the sun with a mirror or brushing their long hair with a comb. But when they look closer at her they notice that she does not have feet as a young human woman would have.
These stories of mermaid sightings have been around since the people of old learned how to use the water and began to travel it. Sightings come from all across the globe and yes some are even reported right here in Canada. The great lakes or Canadian waters in general may hold many secrets, but none maybe as great as the sightings of these "ladies."
I found a sighting that dates back to 1967 this report reads:
" In 1967, BC Ferry passengers saw what they claimed to be a mermaid sitting on rocks at the entrance to Active Pass. Reports indicated that the mermaid had long blonde hair, the lower body of a porpoise and was sitting on the rocks eating a salmon. Photos taken by a man in an aircraft support the ferry passengers' description. The Times-Colonist newspaper reported the sighting and printed the photo. A copy of the newspaper report is available, but unfortunately none of the passengers who reportedly saw the mermaid are available for further comment "*
The first thing I did when trying to uncover the mysteries associated with the legend of mermaids in the great lakes was to go back to the roots of this country and try to find out what Native legend has to say about it. I came across many different legends, and I will retell one of them here. It is called A Passamaquoddy Legend.
"A long time ago there was a Native, with his wife and two daughters. They lived by a great lake, or the sea, and the mother told her girls never to go into the water there, for that, if they did, something would happen to them.
They, however, deceived her repeatedly. When swimming is prohibited it becomes delightful. The shore of this lake sands away out or slopes to an island. One day they went to it, leaving their clothes on the beach. The parents missed them.
The father went to seek them. He saw them swimming far out, and called to them. The girls swam up to the sand, but could get no further. Their father asked them why they could not. They cried that they had grown to be so heavy that it was impossible. They were all slimy; they grew to be snakes from below the waist. After sinking a few times in this strange slime they became very handsome, with long black hair and large, bright black eyes, with silver bands on their neck and arms."*
The message I got from this story was that children should listen to their parents. I didn't get a lot of information from the tale but did find that it had a great way of getting its point across. I then contacted a gentleman that has been doing research on the great lakes and the legends that are connected with them. Although he does have a book coming out about legends he had not come across anything about mermaids. However he did share with me his theory on why we may have sightings here. His idea on the subject is this: " After the last Ice Age, the Great Lakes were at sea level, and whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals were common in these waters. There were Native whaling camps along the shores of the Great Lakes. "*
When I asked more about it and asked him if he thought the mermaids traveled with the animals or if he thought the mermaids were actually the animals, he told me that " Whether or not mermaids actually exist, or existed, in an empirical sense, is not as important to me as the metaphorical significance of the mermaid and the gift she brings to the people. She is the gifting mother energy -- watchful, guiding, nurturing, and comforting. She may well come in the form of dolphins, sea lions, or manatees, or perhaps in pure spiritual form. I don't believe there is an absolute reality "*
This got me thinking about how these legends and his thoughts tie into the study of the paranormal.
You can have two investigators at a location and frequently both of them will not have the same or identical story of what happened or what they saw.
Why is this?
One reason may be that our minds all gather and process information differently. In other words, investigator one may have seen what looked like grey swirling smoke, and investigator two may have seen a solider in a grey uniform. It is possible that two people can be looking at the same thing at the exact same time and have totally different thoughts of what it is they saw or heard.
Nothing. Each person's story is valuable and may hold a great deal of importance.
It is widely said that what people are seeing when they look at what they say are mermaids is actually a large water animal called a Manatee. This large water animal likes to spend most of its time in the shallow waters of the Southern USA. And it may account for some sightings. But if the person seeing this creature is convinced it is a mermaid and it holds a special meaning for them then who can argue with them that what they saw was not one, in at the very least the spiritual sense.
Written And Compiled By : Jennifer Tyrrell
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