I think I know who mermaids are, yes who, not what. But, to understand my theory about who mermaids are, it is helpful to understand how my mind works while doing research. When I research anything, I am not looking for something specific. I am looking for data, the evidence – all of it. Any theories I might have had are gone. I just want the data. Though it may be tempting to discount some of the evidence to make a theory stick, I know I am not going to find the truth that way. To be honest, I do research for me, just me. I still have the same curiosity I had as a kid and I need to know the five w’s and how.
Now back to our mermaids. Each piece of the evidence must be explained for a theory to be accurate. Looking at the range of dugongs and manatees, they do not live worldwide, yet mermaids have been sighted all over the world, so the scientists are wrong about that. Rereading some of the earlier accounts of mermaid sightings, I realized that not all mermaid sightings are of mermaids with a fish tail, some have legs like humans. As a matter of fact, part of the legend of mermaids is that they can go back and forth between legs and fish tail.
Now I was not just looking for mermaids, I was looking for women. Women swimming, though not swimming for fun, some of the waters where mermaids had been sighted are very cold. No, these would be working women. I found that just such a thing has existed for thousands of years.
In centuries past women dove in deep waters holding their breath in search, primarily, of food to support their families. These women have also dove for sponges, pearls, and even to recover items from ship wrecks. Women were better at these dives because they have a higher body fat content than men, they can dive for longer periods of time. They would dive deep, rest on their return, and dive again, getting several dives in one day following this method. They dove wearing only loincloths. The cold wet clothing would make them even colder while they were resting, so they dove without clothing. Some of these divers would rub oil on their bodies to help keep warm. The water glistening on the oil on their bodies could possibly look like water glistening on a fish’s body.
Did I find my mermaids? I now know where sightings of mermaids came from. In Korea and Japan, women still practice free diving just as women for centuries before them did. However, in our modern day, they wear thin suits for modesty. In Japan, they are called Ama and they dive for pearls. Did I find my mermaids in the waters of Japan, do mermaids exist? I borrow a paragraph from an esteemed colleague from the Sun.
“Virginia Elizabeth, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia Elizabeth, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. …”
Yes Elizabeth! Mermaids do exist!