Archaeologists in Japan are investigating the origins of a horrifying “mermaid mummy” that dates back 300 years. Because of its renowned healing powers, this location has long been considered holy. Most experts believe the strange leftovers are the result of a monkey’s body being mixed into a fish’s tail. It may be decorated with human hair and nails in numerous spots, according to the most latest thinking.
It was Okayama Folklore Society Board Member Hiroshi Kinoshita who discovered the mermaid mummy. During the time it was at the temple in Okayama Prefecture, it was kept in a box and was about 30.5 cm (12 inches) long. He first learned about the mummy when he came upon an image of it in an encyclopedia of mythical beings.
A fisherman using a net is believed to have captured the specimen between 1736 and 1741. The mummy was then sold to a wealthy family, according to an anonymous message found inside the mummy’s box. According to the Asahi Shimbun website, experts are still attempting to find out how the mermaid managed to get inside the temple in the first place.
An image of the “mermaid mummy” stored in a box.
Takafumi Kato, a paleontologist from the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, and his colleagues are now conducting an investigation into the mummy’s origin. They were able to do so only after Kinoshita convinced the temple administration to allow them to study the odd bones. On February 2, experts used a CT scan to image the mummy. A DNA test will be performed to determine the species mix of the mermaid, which will be disclosed by the findings. It is believed that the team’s conclusions would be released later this year.
In this picture, the mermaid’s hands reach out to the mermaid’s sad face.
The mermaid mummy has been compared to two fabled creatures from Japanese folklore. Amabies and Ningyos are the names given to these creatures. To put it simply, Ningyos look like fish but have human heads on their bodies. Amabies, on the other hand, have beaks instead of mouths, and there are three different kinds of tail fins in this species. Each of these occurrences was supposed to be related to claims of miraculous health cures and prolonged lives. According to Metro, a woman called Yao Bikuni is said to have accidentally eaten an entire Ningyo and survived for 800 years thereafter.
Next to the box where the mermaid was discovered is a letter outlining her origins.
In the temple’s priests’ eyes, the mummy represents good health and long life, thus they respect it. The temple’s chief priest, Kozen Kuida, confirmed to the Asahi Shimbun that the mummy had been worshipped. Those involved hoped that by paying respects to the mummy, the impacts of the coronavirus epidemic would be at least partly reduced.
The mummified remains are being processed for a CT scan at this point.
The ancient mummy was originally kept within the temple, where visitors may worship in front of the glass casing. For the last 40 years, however, it has been kept in a fireproof safe inside the temple in order to keep it from degrading. Asahi Shimbun reports that two other temples in Japan hold mummies of similar mermaids, and they’ve been venerated there.
A close-up of the mermaid’s tail scales, which are most likely fish scales.
The fake mermaids that Live Science previously said were likely produced by locals to sell to Western tourists. Tourists from the Netherlands were duped into buying the Feejee Mermaid, a phony replica, in Japan during the late 1800s. As a result, it was acquired by P.T. Barnum’s famed collection in the United States, which was transferred to England and subsequently sold to merchants in the country. To produce the 3-foot (91-centimeter) tail of this mermaid, it is said that the trunk of an orangutan and a salmon were joined.
This new study may help to maintain the mummified mermaid’s legacy at the Okayama temple in Okayama Prefecture. As reported by The Asahi Shimbun, Kuida had voiced his hope that the investigation will leave scientific records for future generations to investigate.