Of Mermaids and Men

A small scattering of merfolk stories exist around the UK and Ireland. Some of the creatures are said to protect hoards of treasure, while others have uttered curses which have wiped out entire communities. While many believe that most mermaid sightings can be attributed to Manatees and other aquatic mammals, not all cases can be readily dismissed as mistaken identity. What follows is a list of the places where merfolk have been encountered or were believed to exist.

 

Image (right) courtesy of: www.royalmail.com/creatures

mermaid stamp, royal mail issued
 


Singing

Location: Lemorna (Cornwall) - Mermaid's Rock
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to sinking
Further Comments: Although this creature has not been seen, it can be heard singing - a ship will sink nearby exactly seven days later.


 


The Seal People

Location: Loch Duich (Highland) - Waters of the loch
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The area is home to a colony of seal people - sea creature while in the water, human when they climb out... Mermaids have also been reported, as have sea serpents.


 


Seaton

Location: Looe (Cornwall) - Nearby beach
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Upset with the residents of the village Seaton, a mermaid caused all the buildings to be buried by sand.


 


Angry Mermaid

Location: Lornty (Perth and Kinross) - Waters between town and Loch Benachally
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: These waters were once the swimming area of a mermaid who was renowned for her bad temperament.


 


Thieving Mermaid

Location: Marden (Hereford & Worcester) - River Lugg
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: An accident sent a church bell into the waters of the local river - a passing mermaid took the opportunity to steal the bell and can sometimes be heard ringing it.


 


Mermaid

Location: Mersey Estuary (Lancashire) - Black Rock
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A sailor once fell in love with a mermaid here. The woman gave him a golden ring, informed the sailor that she would be back in five days to meet him. Five days later, the man died.


 


Mermaid

Location: Morridge Moor (Derbyshire) - The Black Mere, also known as the Blake Mere
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Appears at midnight, daily
Further Comments: This fishy female comes to the surface of the pool at night, ready to pull any witnesses down to the dark waters where they remain forever.


 


U Boat Sighting

Location: Muckle Flugga (Shetlands) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 28 July 1918
Further Comments: The German submarine U108 encountered a giant marine saurian, estimated to be 18 to 24 metres in length.


 


Upset Mermaid

Location: Newport (Shropshire) - Aqualate Mere
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The last time this area of water was cleaned, a mermaid popped up out of the water and threatened to destroy Newport and Meretown if the pool was emptied.


 


Mermaid's Grave

Location: Nunton, Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: The area reportedly contains the grave of a mermaid killed in the early nineteenth century. The mer-creature had been seen for a couple of days, before a teenage boy threw a rock at it, killing the entity. Accounts stated that the upper part of the creature was the size of an infant, while the bottom was like a salmon.


 


Merman

Location: Orford (Suffolk) - Coast near to Orford Castle
Type: Legend
Date / Time: 1197, or 1161
Further Comments: A man from the sea was caught and held in the castle for a period of six months before escaping back into the ocean. He never talked, and appeared to have a preference for fish over other types of food.


 


Angry Mermaid

Location: Padstow (Cornwall) - Padstow Harbour
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local tale states that the harbour here was silted up by a mermaid, more than a little upset after she was shot at by a fisherman. The area has also been home to sea serpents.


 


Selkie Prince

Location: Papa Stour (Shetlands) - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A group of seal hunters who arrived at the island skinned a large number of seals before a violent storm began to batter the island - unbeknown to the hunters, a selkie prince was amongst the seals. The hunters finally return the skins to the seals, after which the storm ceased.


 


Merman

Location: Portgordon (Moray) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 15 August 1814
Further Comments: This figure normally warned of ill fortune at sea - if the crew of a fishing vessel spotted him, they would return to port for the day. Two fishermen spotted two of the creatures in 1814 - one they described as black in colour, with curly hair and long arms, while the other was female with long hair.


 


Mermaid

Location: Portland (Dorset) - Church Ope Cove
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: One story says that a mermaid came ashore here, but died soon after being found by local people heading to church.


 


Rake

Location: Rendlesham (Suffolk) - Pond shaped like an 'S'
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This freshwater mermaid was reputed to be armed with a rake, ready to drag in any children who strayed too close.


 


Gipping Girl

Location: River Gipping (Suffolk) - General area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The mermaid that frequented the Gipping would prey on children who played near the deeper waters of the river.


 


Mermaid

Location: Rostherne Mere (Cheshire) - General area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Easter Sunday (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Her reasons unknown, this mermaid returns once a year to ring a bell hidden deep underwater and sing.


 


Remains of the Bay

Location: Scalloway (Shetlands) - Bay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1810
Further Comments: The remains of a large mystery sea creature drifted into Scalloway Bay. Described as a looking like an upturned vessel, it remained in the bay for two weeks before disappearing - during this time, no one was brave enough to approach it for a closer look.


 


Cursed

Location: Shetland (Shetlands) - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Pre 1822
Further Comments: A fisherman who caught a mermaid while out at sea killed the creature with a knife. It was said that from that moment, he was cursed.


 


Noggle

Location: Shetland (Shetlands) - Near water wheels
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Noggle was a type of water horse that could be found stopping water wheels. When a miller appeared to chase the beast off, he would often be tricked into mounting it - being taken to deep water and his doom.


 


Dark Haired Mermaid

Location: Snettisham (Norfolk) - Snettisham Beech & The Wash
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Little is known about the sighting of a mermaid with long dark hair who was once spotted here.


 


Glassy Eyed Mermaid

Location: Sound of Mull (Argyll and Bute) - Sea
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Pre twentieth century
Further Comments: Becalmed in their skiff after setting out from the Sound of Mull, two men spotted a creature in the water which had the head, neck and upper torso of a woman, although the hair was more coarse and the eyes glassy.


 


Naked Mermaid?

Location: Thurso (Highland) - Sandside Bay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1798
Further Comments: William Munro, a schoolmaster from Thurso, watched a naked woman combing her hair on a rock in the bay. After a few minutes she diving under the water and vanished.


 


Stolen Skin

Location: Unst (Shetlands) - Unknown beach
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A farmer who stole the seal skin of a selkie as she danced naked on the beach forced her to marry him. Many years passed and the selkie bore the farmer several children, although she would spend many hours down on the beach staring at the sea. Finally, one of the children found her seal skin and took it to the selkie, wondering what it was. The selkie took the skin and was never seen again.


Records 26 - 50, of 54

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