Pictures taken on Norfolk beach capture a body with human-like features
Mystery find at Great Yarmouth has the skull of a man but the tail of a fish
Debate rages online over possible explanations for the eerie discovery
A man claims to have found a mermaid washed up on a windswept Norfolk beach.
If it’s true, she had deserted warm tropical waters to swim among the oil rigs, fishing trawlers, crude oil tankers, ferries and cruise liners in the chilly North Sea.
Paul Jones posted photographs which he says were taken at Great Yarmouth and which have been shared 15,000 times on the social media website in two days.
In his post he wrote “Today at Great Yarmouth we found what looks like a dead Mermaid washed up on the beach.”
The gruesome images show the decaying body of a human-like creature with a fish tail lying on the sand.
The mid section of the body appears to be rotting while the tail and head have stayed relatively intact.
Many online posts support his claim that it’s a mythical mermaid. But others say it’s a dead seal – the east coast has a large colony of grey seals.
One post, from Paige Cook, said ‘Rip Ariel’ in a reference to the Disney film The Little Mermaid.
But there may also be a more simple explanation. Mr Jones’s Facebook profile shows him to be a keen modeller – particularly of creepy figures. He is a member of the ‘Horror and Halloween DIY’ Facebook group.
Fascinating facts about the myth of the mysterious mermaid
A mermaid is a mythical creature that is half woman and half fish. The name comes from ‘mer’ meaning sea. The male version is called a merman.
Above the waist they appear as a lovely young woman, whilst from the waist down, they are like a fish with fins and a spreading tail.
Legends of half-human, half-fish creatures go back thousands of years. Sightings were made by the early Arabs and the Greek Pliny in 586 A.D.
Mermaids described by the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus. He reported seeing three mermaids in the ocean off Haiti, in January of 1493.
The modern view of mermaids has also been influenced by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Little Mermaid, written in 1836.