For centuries, the Japanese people have been fascinated by a strange mermaid mummy that was believed to have been caught off the coast of Shikoku, Japan in the depths of the Pacific Ocean between 1736 and 1741. The mermaid was considered to have immense power, and its worshippers believed that it could grant them immortality.
The mummified mermaid was kept in a temple in Asakuchi, where people worshipped it for its supposed immortality-giving powers. Even to this day, people continue to turn to the mermaid mummy for its supposed health benefits, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it became a symbol of hope and protection against the virus.
Despite the mermaid mummy’s significance to the Japanese culture, scientists were skeptical of its authenticity. They suspected that it was a hoax created to look like a sea creature and suggested that the fishtail was grafted onto the body of a primate. However, their doubts could not be confirmed without rigorous testing.
To find out the truth behind the mermaid mummy, a sample was sent to a research facility where it underwent several tests. The first test was a CT scan to determine its composition and whether it was indeed a mermaid. Hiroshi Kinoshita of the Okayama Folklore Society conducted the study and was stunned by the final results. They discovered that the mummified mermaid was made of cloth, paper, and cotton decorated with fish parts.
Kinoshita explained that the creature’s appearance was deceiving, stating, “If you were to imagine it normally, you would think it was a combination of the lower body of a fish and the upper body of an ape. However, the survey results show that this is not the case. From what we now know, the lower half of the body is fish, but the upper half is not mammalian.”
Despite its appearance, the upper half of the mermaid mummy was made of human materials like cloth and paper. The researchers also discovered that the mummified mermaid was made of parts of pufferfish skin that were used to create its arms, shoulders, cheeks, and neck. Its hair was taken from a mammal, and its nails were crafted out of animal keratin. The creature’s jaws were taken from an unknown carnivorous fish.
While the mermaid mummy had no internal skeleton, the CT scan revealed metal needles in the back of its neck and lower body that were likely used to hold the pieces together. The bottom half of the mermaid mummy was crafted from croaker fish scales, and the surface of the creature was painted with charcoal powder mixed into a paste-like substance.
To confirm their findings, the mummified mermaid underwent several more tests, including X-ray imaging, fluorescent X-ray analysis, DNA analysis, and radiocarbon dating. All these tests confirmed that the mermaid mummy was indeed a carefully crafted hoax.
Although the revelation that the mermaid mummy was a fake may be disappointing to some, it sheds light on the power of belief and the significance of cultural artifacts. The mermaid mummy remains a symbol of Japan’s rich folklore and mythology, and its story continues to captivate people around the world.
This discovery also highlights the importance of scientific inquiry and the pursuit of truth. It’s essential to approach cultural artifacts with an open mind and a willingness to learn, even if it means dispelling long-standing myths and legends. The mermaid mummy may not be real, but it’s still an important part of Japan’s cultural heritage and a reminder of the power of imagination and belief.
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