A Mermaid is a legendary sea being with a female human head, arms, and torso and the tail of a fish. Mermaids are represented in the folklore, fiction and popular cultures of many countries worldwide.
A male version of a Mermaid is known as a Merman and in general both males and females are known as merfolk/merpeople.
Mermaids are often portrayed sitting on a rock, singing and either combing their long locks or looking into a mirror, or both. It is uncertain where the association with mirrors and combing hair comes from. However, like their enchanting voices, the mirror and/or comb is often considered magical.
The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, ca. 1000 BC. The goddess Atargatis, mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, loved a human shepherd and inadvertently killed him. Feeling guilty, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the waters would not hide her divine beauty. Subsequently, she took the form of a Mermaid-human above the waist, fish below. The Greeks acknowledged Atargatis under the name Derketo.
The Babylonians were known to respect a sea-god called Oannes, or Ea. Oannes was supposed to have risen from the Erythrean Sea and educated man about the arts and sciences. In the Louvre today can be seen an eighth century wall-scene depicting Oannes as a merman, with the fish-like tail and the upper body of a man.
In Greek and Roman mythology Poseidon and Neptune were often depicted as half-man and half-fish.
In some cultures, they are a sign of bad luck. In British folklore, Merfolk, like Sirens, often abduct, drown or slay humans. Mermaids were particularly portrayed as seductresses who lured sailors to their watery end.
It was thought that seeing Merfolk was a sign that a storm was brewing or a ship would sink.
Humans have only explored a fraction of our oceans which means that a whole lot more of the ocean still remains a uncharted, So there may be Merfolk somewhere out there………or it might just remain a mystery….