Found in Japan over 300 years ago, this bizarre mix between what seems like a monkey’s upper part and a fish’s tail is believed to grant immortality by some of the locals.
Before passing hands, a former owner of the mummy wrote a letter dating back to 1903 in which they mentioned the origins of the mummy that was allegedly caught off Kochi Prefecture by some fishermen.
The letter goes on to add that the unusual “fish” at the time was sold to the former owner’s ancestors who kept it as a family treasure.
The mummified “mermaid” is currently located in a temple in the city of Asakuchi, and how it ended up there remains unclear. However, the chief priest Kozen Kuida claims it was added to the temple four decades ago and is now kept in a fireproof safe.
In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, he mentioned: “We have worshipped it, hoping that it would help alleviate the coronavirus pandemic even if only slightly”
While the mummy’s believed to be a source of immortality in some legends, it is also the bearer of tragedy in others.
“There is also a legend that a mermaid predicted an infectious disease” stated Kinoshita Hiroshi of the Okayama Folklore Society. While he thinks the “mermaid” might hold religious significance, he is definitely skeptical about its nature believing it was created during the Edo period, a Japanese era stretching from 1603 to 1867.
“Of course, I don’t think it’s a real mermaid. I think this was made for export to Europe during the Edo period, or for spectacles in Japan.”
“The legend of mermaids remains in Europe, China, and Japan all over the world. Therefore, I can imagine that people at that time were also very interested in it.”
“I think it is made from living animals and we would like to identify them by CT scans or DNA testing” he goes on to add.
The 12-inch mysterious creature caught in the pacific ocean between 1736-1741 was taken by researchers from the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts for further examination, where CT scans will be conducted.
While its true nature remains a mystery to many right now, scientists do plan on publishing the results and findings later on this year for everyone to see.