It never ceases to amaze as to just how gullible humans can be and I am not referring here to all the religious claptrap that’s been bandied about for generations but on a more simple level, the April Fool kind of caper. Remember how many years ago Orson Welles radio programme “War of the Worlds” from the H.G.Wells story created such widespread panic in the United States. Well Aliens are forever on people’s minds and in the news and maybe one day some will actually come to light. There is a hilarious quirky Tim Burton film made in 1996 called “Mars Attack” starring Jack Nicholson, Glen Close, Pierce Brosnan among others in which the seemingly indestructible Martians are finally defeated by very loud terrible pop noise. I wonder if anyone was taken in by that one. Hopefully not it I great fun ands so bizarre.
I remember an April fool’s joke many years ago put out by the BBC showing spaghetti growing on trees and for one fleeting second I think I wondered about it so who knows how many people were taken in by it?
But what started this off was a news item from America (where else?) concerning mermaids.
There is no evidence that mermaids exist, a US government scientific agency has said.
Fantastic news. The National Ocean Service a division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) made the unusual declaration in response to public inquiries following a TV show on the mythical creatures. It is thought some viewers may have mistaken the programme for a documentary. “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” the service wrote in an online post. Aquatic humanoids huh?Images and tales of mermaids - half-human, half-fish - appear in mythology and art from across the world and through history, from Homer's Odyssey to the oral lore of the Australian aboriginals. The article was written from publicly available sources because “we don't have a mermaid science programme”, National Ocean Service spokeswoman Carol Kavanagh said, adding that at least two people had written to the agency asking about the creatures.
The inquiries followed the broadcast of “Mermaids, The Body Found,” on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet network. The Discovery Channel has acknowledged the programme was a work of fiction but its wink-and-nod format apparently led some viewers to believe it was a science education show.
But in fact believe it or not, mermaids have existed. At the University of Lincoln, staff and students have been examining the mummy of what is known as the Buxton mermaid. Her hair is human and the tail is definitely fish.
Anita Hollinshead, a conservation and restoration masters student, came across the mermaid while working at the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.
“We think that it came from the mid-19th Century,” she said. “She may have come from Japan or the Far East. A lot of these kinds of mermaid came from that area and were made by fishermen and they sold them to supplement their income as sort of fake mermaids. Sometimes people bought them thinking they were the real thing. They were very popular side-show attractions, particularly in London in the mid-19th Century.” X-ray examinations have shown the mermaid's upper body is built upon a wooden and wire structure. There is evidently also a merman but how do you tell the difference? Is he really equipped with the necessary? A question I can’t answer.