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"Real" Mermaid Mummies

Mermaids are one of the most commonly faked creatures, usually in a mummified form. here are some of the most famous examples:

Fish Mermaids

Most so-called mermaid mummies are small and size and often cobbled together from the remains of fish and monkeys.

Osaka Mermaid (1682)

Various supernatural creatures referred to as 'yokai' are displayed in Japanese temples and shrines. This includes several examples of mermaid-like creatures including the example shown below is on display in Zuiryuji Temple, Osaka (Japan, pictured below).


Feegee Mermaid (1842)

Perhaps the most famous hoax mermaid was a creature constructed from monkey and fish remains and exhibit by Barnum. He referred to it as the Feegee mermaid (a.k.a. the Feejee/Fiji Mermaid and Sirenfish).

The whereabouts of that mermaid are mot definitively known, although several claim to own it. The mermaid at the Ripley's Museum (Niagra) does not match photographs of the original (right). Nor does the example on display at the Natural History Museum, Austin's Museum of the Weird, or the Australian National Maritime Museum. The Ripley's Oregon mermaid is closer but still no quite right. All of these mermaids may have been perpetuated by meta-hoaxers, selling fake fakes!


Buxton Mermaid (~1850)

The Buxton Museum and Art Gallery holds a mermaid mummy with an artificially constructed upper body decorated with human hair.

Bloomsbury Mermaid (~1921)

A mermaid displayed in London was thought to originate from Africa.

Hull Mermaid (1934)

This rather unconvincing specimen is on display at Hull Maritime Museum. X-ray images leave little doubt as to its artificial origin.

Japan (1942)

Held in the British Museum in London, this mermaid is said to have been acquired in 1942 from Japan.


Photo credit: rvacapinta / / CC BY

Phillippine Mermaid (2003)

This shriveled mermaid has been circulated online as coming from the Philippines (2003) and India (2004), This is actually an artwork by Juan Cabana (see below).


Malaysian Mermaid (2006)

The mermaid pictured right was exhibited as real by Safuan Abu Bakar.

Takeshi Yamada's Mermaid (2006)

This mermaid was created as an artwork for the annual Coney Island mermaid exhibition.

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Tulsa State Fair (2008)

This toothy mermaid was presumably made and displayed just for fun.

David A L'Adresse (2010)

Some tips for making your own mermaid mummy. Mermaid making instructions also appeared in the magazine Fortean Times (Nov., 2009).

Malcolm Lidbury (2011)

A modern example (below).


Juan Cabana (Ongoing)

Juan Cabana has an ongoing business making mermaid mummies. Predictably pictures of his creations are sometimes represented as being real mermaid bodies found in locations such as Malayasia.

Undated Examples


Manatee Mermaids

Dugongs/manatees are periodically mistaken for mermaids in alive, dead and preserved states.



PADDYBOY60 from Centreville Michigan on September 04, 2012:

Interesting hub.

grumpiornot on August 02, 2012:

Fascinating and unusual stuff. The Hollywood stereotype is permanently replaced with a manatee...

PADDYBOY60 from Centreville Michigan on October 16, 2011:

They are very interesting to look at. Man's imagination knows no bounds. Nicely done.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on August 22, 2011:

I wonder if they will ever find a real mermaid? Interesting pictures of hoaxes though - never fails to amaze me the lengths that we humans will go to! And our credulity sometimes!

tangoshoes on July 20, 2011:

Cute hub! I have seen some of these on hoaxes on display @ Ripley's!

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