Sea Monsters and Mermen

Is seeing believing? Or does believing mean seeing only what you want to?

A post over at Curious Expeditions on the fascinating story of the Feejee Mermaid, a merman with a long history, made me think about some earlier beasts of the sea. Ambroise Pare's 16th- century Monsters and Prodigies includes a number of illustrations of aberrant fish monsters, mermen, and this stunning "sea devil" (above).

The Feejee Mermaid was eventually outed as a hoax, and one of several mermen sits in an Austrian folklore museum. I'm having a hard time figuring out which one is ugliest. This guy up here or the one in living color. Care to share your opinion?

For those of you looking for more info on the Feejee Mermaid, Google Books will let you read Jan Bondeson's chapter in the Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays In Natural and Unnatural History. For the sea devil, Janis Pallister's translation of Pare's "Monsters and Prodigies" should give you plenty to marvel at.

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