Friday, June 10, 2011

Mystical Mermaids; Just Humans or Creatures with Healing Powers?

Astrid Berges-Frisbey

Since the day I first watched The Little Mermaid, I have been just crazy about them and I would read numerous books about these mystical creatures whom we refer to as mermaids. Now that I've grown out of the mermaid-dress-up phase I've gotten into the research phase. From my knowledge, I know that mermaids are half human-half fish creatures that enchant sailors and drown them underwater to make them their eternal husbands. This idea of magical creatures seem so unreal and unbelievable yet, I wondered if it was really true.

How could people long ago make up stories about magical underwater creatures without basing it on something real? The very first mermaid must be modeled after something that resembled it in physical resemblance or in characteristics. This lead me to such information that I just had to share.

I came across a website called Woman Thou Art God and it discusses the possibilities of mermaids being resembled or mistaken for humans or animals. William Bond, the author of The Secret History of Mermaids, discusses how history provides evidence that mermaids could actually be woman divers in many areas of the world, which is why some sightings of mermaids record that they did not have tails. During these times, women were forbidden to be swimming in the wide ocean or be nude so it could be that when sailors saw such occurrences,  they believed that they have encountered mermaids.

The key to making sense of all these tales comes through the story of a Dutch seaman called Hamel. He was on a Dutch ship, ‘Sperwer’ that was wrecked near the Korean island of Cheju in 1653. Where he and the other survivors of the wreck spent ten months on the island. On returning to Holland, he wrote a book about his experiences and claimed that there were mermaids on the island. What’s interesting is that even today women from the island dive for shellfish and edible seaweed. Does this mean that what we refer to as mermaids are simply women divers?
Thanks to television, I was introduced to a mermaid, a woman who can interact with underwater creatures, free dive for 50M underwater in one breath. She was interviewed on 20/20 on a special edition called "Superhumans".

"The tail gives me so much more propulsion and streamline ability," said Fraser. "I can swim much faster with the tail on than other people can without it. So really fast, strong swimmers can't keep up with me when I'm wearing it. It's like it imbues me with some kind of superhuman powers of confidence and longevity to be in the ocean."

 What got me thinking was the documentary of "The Little Mermaid", a girl born with a mermaids tail. This is called the mermaid syndrome also known as sirenomelia.  Her name is Shiloh Pepin and she was born with the mermaid syndrome, her muscles joined her two legs and she was born without a rectum, bladder, vagina, colon or uterus.

Mermaid Syndrome
Could it be that people saw a woman with the mermaid syndrome and thought she was a mermaid? Also, why is it that people who have this syndrome are all women?

In the movie, Pirates of the Carribean - On Stranger Tides, the mermaids were known to have healing powers. Why is this so? Is it something about their soul? Could mermaids be a symbol for women healers? Why is it that mermaids are known to have these healing powers?
There are stories of mermaids and mermaid powers.

Sometimes a kind mermaid will give good advice to human beings. There was once a man in Galloway who had skill as a curer of diseases, and it was said that he received some of his knowledge from a mermaid. A beautiful girl named May was ill with consumption. The Galloway herbalist tried in vain to cure her, and as he loved her dearly and wished to marry her, his heart was very sad when he found that his herbs did not do her any good. One evening as he sat sorrowing on the shore, a mermaid raised her head above the waves and sang:
Would you let bonnie May die in your handAnd the mugwort flowering in the land?
(Mugwort is a flowering, aromatic plant.)
Then she vanished. The man went at once and gathered the flowers of the mugwort, and made a medicine. This he gave to May, who was soon restored to health.
Maybe these legends are not false at all. Maybe there is a possibility that mermaids were once healers, human beings who walked the earth.

I still would like to believe that there are such creatures as mermaids and one day our technology will be astronomically advanced that we will be able to venture down below into the unknown?
Yes, I believe we will.