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12″ ‘Mermaid’ mummy found in Japan


12″ ‘Mermaid’ mummy found in Japan

12″ ‘Mermaid’ mummy found in Japan

In 2022, researchers stumbled across a startling discovery in the Enju-in Temple of Asakuchi City: a mysterious one-foot ‘mermaid.’ After months of investigation and research, they then comprehended that this creature was far stranger than their initial assumptions.

When first studied, researchers assumed the Enju-in mermaid was comprised of a monkey’s head and torso fused with a fish’s body – similar in fashion to P.T Barnum’s infamous Fiji Mermaid hoax that originated from Japan.

(Image: Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts)

For decades, visitors to the Enju-in Temple would reverently pay homage to a mysterious creature contained within a box. From its note accompanying it, we know this strange mermaid was captured by fishermen off Japan’s southern coast between 1736 and 1741. To this day, the eeriness of that relic remains unforgettable.

Long ago, people believed that the mysterious mummy was a Ningyo – a creature of Japanese mythology with legendary healing powers capable to cure illnesses and extend lifespans. Sadly, after 40 years it was hidden away out of sight.

Researchers at Kurashiki University analyzed the creature with X-rays, CT scans, radiocarbon dating, and DNA analysis.

In hopes of identifying the specimen without any damage, they found something totally unexpected – a jawbone was present but there wasn’t a skeleton. Instead of an imagined monkey-fish hybrid, they discovered this mermaid had no bones at all!

(Image: Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts

With expert craftsmanship, the mystery creator had inventively stitched together cloth, paper, and cotton with pins. To further enhance their creation, they applied a paste of sand and charcoal all over it before finally coating it in pufferfish skin.

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The mysterious creature’s hair was derived from an unknown mammal while its nails were composed of keratin. To complete the mermaid, fish skin, and teeth from a carnivorous species had been used to form the mouth. Finishing touches included a tail crafted out of a croaker fish -the perfect choice for any sea-dwelling siren.

(Image: Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts

According to radiocarbon dating, the mermaid was created in the beginning of the 1800s– likely due to their mythological importance within Japanese culture. Similarly, Barnum’s mermaid also appears to have been made during that time frame.

Hiroshi Kinoshita, who worked on the study, said: “Japanese mermaids have a legend of immortality. People believe that if you eat the flesh of a mermaid, you will never die. There is a legend in many parts of Japan that a woman accidentally ate the flesh of a mermaid and lived for 800 years.”

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