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chala

Mermaid of Benbecula

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Ok people. Yet again I ask for your help, this time on the mermaid of Benbecula. Legend tells us that in 1830 a group of women were cutting seaweed at low tide when they heard a splash coming from the calm sea. When they neared the spot they were surprise to see a miniature woman splashing. They quickly summoned the men and boys from the village who came to try and catch the creature but she avoided them. One of the boys hit the mermaid with a stone and she swam off. A few days later her body washed up on shore around 2 miles away. Duncan Shaw, the sheriff ordered a coffin be made and a shroud. The mermaid was buried - the question is where? Was it on the shore or in the local church yard? Does anyone know when this was first published? The earliest source I have is from Volume 2 of Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael but if there are any sources prior to this I'd love to know where I can find it. All help is appreciated. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

From the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland........

"A field reconnaissance of the dunes fringing Culla Bay, undertaken by a correspondent at the request of the Keeper of Mollusca at the National Museum of Scotland (NMS), led to the discovery of an isolated stone within a wind-eroded hollow upon the crest of the dunes.

The possibility existed that this could mark the site of the grave of a mermaid, reportedly buried thereabouts cAD 1820-1830.

A brief examination of the stone's character did not support the hypothesis that it had been set-up as a grave-marker."

(Anything to keep the tourists happy, eh?)

I know of no earlier version than Charmichael BTW.

Edited by ealdwita

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Thank you for the extra info. All very helpful.

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A mermaid? Really.

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A mermaid? Really.

So the legend goes...

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I have not heard about the Benbecula incident, but i have a thrid hand account to tell, in which there are similarities with the OP story.

My mother in law told me a "true story" about a mermaid found on the beach in the Philippines around 1900's (vague but the best i could get). Apparently it was smaller than a human (even a filipino) and had blonde hair. The local fishermen kept it in a live bait tank/pond and at night it would scream a high pitched cry that seemed to get the locals worried, as they are extremely superstitious. Apprently it was released not long after.

Anyway, i've searched a bit on the net and cannot find anything in relation to this and would appreciate if anyone could tell me if they've heard it as well.

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I can't find anything in my research for the Philippines but these were interesting:

Hidden Animals: A Field Guide to Batsquatch, Chupacabra, and Other Elusive Creatures by Michael Newton


  • 1403: A mermaid was stranded and captured alive after dykes collapsed and flooded the Dutch town of Edam. The creature lived for 15 years in captivity at Haarlem and learned to obey simple orders.

  • 1523: Fisherman on the Adriatic Sea captured a merbeing and delivered it to Rome. It was the size of a 5-year-old child and looked ''like a man even to the navel, except the ears; in other parts it resembled a fish.'' It was also displayed to the public in Antwerp, Belgium

  • 1560: A Spanish doctor and several priests reported the capture of seven mermaids and mermen on the coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

  • Early 1600s: Dutch anatomist Pieter Pauw (1564-1617) dissected a merman captured by members of the Dutch East Indies Company (organized in 1602) off the coast of Brazil. He described it as having a human head and torso, while the lower body was ''shapeless.'' Danish scientist Thomas Bartholin (1616-80) obtained some of the creature's ribs and one arm, including a hand with webbed fingers and large knuckles, for inclusion in his ''cabinet of curiosities'' displayed in Copenhagen.


  • 1833: Dr. Robert Hamilton, a professor of natural history at Edinburgh University reported that Scottish fishermen had captured a mermaid off Yell, in the Shetland Islands, and held it for three hours while compiling a detailed description. The creature had a monkey-like face with short hair on its scalp, a woman's torso, and a tail ''resembling that of a dogfish.'' They released the creature when it began making ''plaintive little moans.''

Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain – Reader's Digest

In the 12th century, some fishermen from Orford, in Suffolk, caught a creature in their nets which they described as having 'the appearance of a man in all his parts'. The fisherman's prize proved unable to speak, even though prompted by torture, and when taken to church, it showed no sign of Christian reverence. On being returned to the water to bathe, the creature quickly, and understandably, escaped by swimming out to sea.

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A meraid? Really.

What’s the point you are trying to make.

Aren’t there allowed to be any Crypto, myths or legends about Mermaids?

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