Here's an excerpt from my new book Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore. It's a beautifully illustrated collection of stories, sightings, and oddities about mermaids throughout history and from around the world. Enjoy!
Mysterious, magical, and mesmerizingly beautiful, mermaids have enchanted humanity for thousands of years. No matter where you go on Planet Earth, you’ll hear stories of these elusive and evocative sea creatures who are sometimes benevolent, sometimes destructive, but always alluring. They swim in the seven seas; splash about in rivers, lakes, and streams; and even frolic in fountains and wells.
Some researchers theorize that we’re drawn to the dichotomy of light and dark that mermaids embody. These lovely ladies are simultaneously desirable and dangerous. They can bring good luck or disaster. Seafarers have long swapped stories about mermaids charming sailors with their heavenly singing, then smashing their ships and drowning the hapless seamen. Mermaid myths usually depict these sensuous sirens with a dual nature—they can be benevolent or malevolent, depending on what mood they’re in at any given time. Like women, it’s a mermaid’s prerogative to change her mind—and when she does, watch out!