Mermaids have been the subject of lore for centuries, though most of us were first introduced to these creatures through The Little Mermaid.
Myths about mermaids are worldwide, with different cultures having their own interpretations of the mythical being.
Everything from what mermaids look like, what they do, and whether or not they are dangerous have been subject to myths, stories, and tales being spread about them.
The thought of whether or not mermaids are real and what they could have been like has fascinated people for quite some time, leading to a variety of myths regarding these mythical beings.
Below are just 10 of the myths that are most commonly associated with the idea of mermaids.
Myth 1: The First Mermaid Was A Goddess
One of the earliest myths about mermaids originated in northern Iraq when it was known as Assyria. The myth surrounds Atargatis, who accidentally killed the man she loved.
Devastated, she plunged into a lake with the intention of living as a lowly fish, but because she was so beautiful, only her bottom half turned into a fish.
Myth 2: Mermaids Are Killers
Various myths exist regarding the intentions of mermaids.
Many of them suggest that mermaids use their beauty to lure men to them, only to reveal their true, scary visage and kill men mercilessly.
Greek mythology regarded mermaids as sirens for the same nefarious reasons, though sirens were actually entirely different mythical beings.
However, as time passed, the two ended up being merged into the mythology of the mermaid.
Myth 3: Mermaids Are Not Actually Beautiful
Not all cultures and myths depict mermaids as graceful or alluring. In some Japanese mythology, the mermaid is actually seen as having a human head, with their body from the neck down being a fish’s body.
Myth 4: Mermaids Can Shed Their Tails
Many Disney fans might not know that The Little Mermaid was derived from a fairytale, and that particular fairytale was based on legend.
This legend purported that mermaids were able to shed their tails so they could walk on land and blend in with humans.
Myth 5: Mermaids Are Actually Good Beings
Not all myths have depicted mermaids as evil. Some myths have suggested that mermaids have been able to get along with humans, and have even married humans.
Some cultures see mermaids as a vessel of luck should one be spotted in the ocean.
Myth 6: Mermaids Can Tell The Future
Many myths and reported sightings have existed in Cornish culture for a long time. It’s believed that seeing a mermaid in the water and communicating with them could lead to them telling you about the future.
It is also said that mermaids have supernatural powers as well as the ability to heal humans.
Myth 7: Mermaid Tears Create Pearls
An old Chinese myth states that pearls are created from mermaid tears. This plays into the cultural belief that mermaids are, in fact, beautiful creatures of the sea.
This myth is actually rooted in a love story between a mermaid and a sailor.
The mermaid saved the sailor’s life, but because she used her powers to aid a human, she was banished into the sea forever. Her tears produced stunning pearls which would wash up on the ocean shores.
Myth 8: Mermaids Are Beautiful Singers
It wasn’t just Ariel that had a stunning singing voice. Legend goes that a mermaid sings beautiful songs with an enchanting, stunning vocal ability.
This, coupled with their looks and their long, flowing hair, would help them lure people to their deaths.
Myth 9: Mermaids Aided Sailors And Fisherman
Within some of the myths surrounding mermaids actually being nice, there are also stories about how mermaids would actually help sailors and fishermen.
They would do this by calming any looming storms and rescuing those who had fallen off their ships.
Stories would also emerge as a consequence of several of these men falling in love with mermaids. Once married, the mermaid would whisk the man underwater to a beautiful oasis.
Myth 10: Mermaids Are An Omen
It has been believed throughout history that a sighting of a mermaid was a bad omen.
This omen could represent disasters such as bad storms, illness, or upcoming shipwrecks. As much as one might like to see a mermaid should they be real, it may not actually be a lucky sight.
Pondering the existence of mermaids can be scary and fascinating, especially if any of the myths surrounding them are based in any truth.
We can’t know for sure whether or not any of the myths are true, though there have been reported sightings of mermaids throughout history.
Since the myths surrounding mermaids have represented these mythical beings as both kind and evil, one may not want to ever come across a mermaid in case they truly have bad intentions.