The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: mermaids

Burlesque off Bourbon Street, Beneath the Sea? An Interactive Show for Adults Only


One of the mermen featured at the Mermaid Masque. Photograph by Sarah Brown.

If you find yourself in New Orleans this weekend, and up for a wildly different take on a burlesque show, check out ‘Splish’, running October 23-24. Set in the converted warehouse ‘PORT’ in the 9th Ward, the space has been transformed into an undersea world where the Mermaid Masque’ will unfold.

Splish will showcase the mermaids and amphibisexuals of the once-famous night club “The Show and Tail.” According to a review of the production in The Guardian, “The story is a meld of the cult Paul Verhoeven flop Showgirls with a reverse spin on The Little Mermaid, as new-to-town Polly auditions for a mermaid cabaret called Show and Tail”. This interactive and multimedia production is hard to capture in words, but guaranteed to entertain and amuse, if not to leave one perplexed.

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Behold the Elusive Feegee Mermaid. “The Very Perfection of Art, Imitating Nature.”


Throughout the mid to late 1800’s, P.T. Barnum’s traveling sideshows grew notorious through the showcase of ‘freaks’ of nature, curiosities and other oddities. Some of the human ‘live’ exhibits like Siamese twins, Tom Thumb, the bearded lady and the human skeleton were indeed caused by real mutations and deformities. Most though, were completely fabricated, constructed in imagination and held together by glue, smoke and mirrors.

One exhibit that drew thousands to the sideshow was the Feegee Mermaid, a grotesque mummified skeleton of a supposed half mammal and half fish version of a mermaid. Nothing like beautiful sirens in typically portrayed in ocean folklore, this thing looked like a mini monster that would happily eat your face.


P.T. Barnum’s feegee mermaid from 1842. Originally published in: The New York Herald

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Incredible Portraits of South Korea’s Freediving Sea Goddesses


Yang Chunja. Photo: Hyung S. Kim/Korean Cultural Service NY

Since well before the advent of neoprene, women in South Korea and Japan have been the breadwinners in the Korea Strait, freediving to support their families. They’re instructed to do so, while the men stay dry, ashore, reasoning that because it is believed women (generally) have a higher percentage of body fat, they’re more fit to endure cold water. Whether or not a little body fat makes a lick of difference when diving in the cold Korea Strait, who’s to say? What’s clear is that these women are certifiably valiant.


Ko Wallja. Photo: Hyung S. Kim/Korean Cultural Service NY

Photographer Hyung S. Kim traveled to the South Korean island provence of Jeju, where for hundreds of years, women have been supporting their families by taking to the deep to hunt and gather everything from lobster to sea urchin. He set up a plain white backdrop just ashore from where women would spend six hours a day diving. Not used to having their pictures taken, you can imagine their consternation as Kim attempted to convince them–just out of the water–to stand in front of a white backdrop for a portrait, ignoring the beautiful coastline around them. But it worked.

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Pterodactyls, Mermaids, Cannibals, H-Bombs and Mormon Whales – Our Favorite Fake Ocean Stories from World News Daily


The famed Savannah Hydrogen Bomb Found! Well, maybe not. 

World News Daily Report is an online candy store for birthers, truthers, tinfoil hat wearers, cryptozoologists right and left-wing conspiracy theorists. It’s the Weekly World News for a new era, and a poster website for PT Barnum’s famed adage “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute.”

World News Daily churns out click-bait stories with the hopes that you’ll visit their real world advertisers like Starbucks and CNN. It’s a brilliant – and disturbing – business model.


Would you like a latté and some Jesus to go with your $200,000,000 in gold? 

WWDR’s stories are passed around the Interwebs like a nuclear hot potato and its hard hitting reporters, Barbara Johnson and Bill Flanagan  seem able to scoop every other journalist on the planet at will. In fact, Bob is the real life brother of Tommy Flanagan, a Saturday Night Live Op/Ed contributor who fought alongside the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos in World War II.

Tommy Flanagan, brother of World News Daily Report’s Bob Flanagan.

Before I offend  too many of my gullible friends and colleagues, let me also point out that I’m also regularly lured into clicking on WWDR’s stories. But it doesn’t take much research to conclude that sites like this that keep in existence. Here’s a sampling of the ocean stories that might have acutally made headlines on TheScuttlefish – if they were true…

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Life in Salt: David and Goliath – One Man’s Quest to End Myth Mongering at the Discovery Channel – A Scuttlefish Feature


Depiction of a megalodon. Image: CC BY 3.0 Karen Carr

On January 8, 2015, the Discovery Channel’s new president Rich Ross shared a surprising new commitment. While on the Television Critics Association press tour, he declared that starting in 2015, Discovery (and its subsidiary Animal Planet) will not run any new fake-documentaries. He also announced the replacement of several senior-level executives to oversee documentaries, specials and scripted programming. Discovery networks had aired so-called ‘docufiction’ shows, touting the existence of mermaids and the extinct megalodon shark. This docufiction phenomenon is a fairly new phenomenon – a new media reality where entertainment blurs reality and mocks science altogether. As a result of these shows, an astonishing number of viewers actually came to believe the megalodons still existed and mermaids existed in the first place.

For one scientist in particular, the announcement of Discovery’s change in tack represented a personal vindication – the result of a two-year campaign to stop the spread of disinformation through these fictitious programs. David Shiffman, a Ph.D. student in shark ecology at the University of Miami, Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and a senior correspondent for the blog Southern Fried Science has been among the most vocal opponents of these programs. To Shiffman and his colleagues in the scientific community, shows like these represent a colossal – and even dangerous – blunder of myth mongering.


“I would have loved these Discovery Channel programs – if they were on the SyFy channel instead.” David Shiffman in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina tagging a shark. Photo courtesy of David Shiffman.

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So You Wanna Be a Mermaid? A New School in Montreal Might be Right for You!

Image: Mermaid Swimming Academy

Photo from AquaMermaid.

So you wanna be a mermaid? Well now you have a chance to follow your dreams at the new mermaid school in Montreal.

AquaMermaid is the first in Canada to introduce a “school” concept for mermaid swimming, with instructional courses and classes, making “AquaMermaid” accessible to everyone. Programs are structured in a safe and fun environment, and designed to cater to all age groups and genders.

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Water Wench Wednesday; Late Special

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Raoul Servais – Sirene (1968)

This darkly surreal and poetic tale was created by the Belgian master of animation Raoul Servais in 1968.
The website of the Raoul Servais Foundation contains lots of info about the author and his works.

The LaLaVox Box – The Sea, The Sea

“The Sea, The Sea” – the first single by The LaLaVox Box in a very nautical collaboration with Carolyn Turgeon (author of the book MERMAID) and Lorelei Vanora (Berlin’s Singing Mermaid) – via allmermaids

See post on I am a mermaid