Mermaid Origins: Lemuria and Atlantis

Updated on December 16, 2016
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Kitty has been independently researching and studying the fae for over 15 years. She enjoys sharing what she's learned with her readers.

Mermaids are legends originating from places all over the world...but where do they really come from?
Mermaids are legends originating from places all over the world...but where do they really come from? | Source

Mermaid Origins

In the 1980s, Disney produced a movie known as The Little Mermaid. This movie was based on a tale written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837, which in turn was based off many of the oldest legends spanning continents all across the world. You will find legends of the mermaid or other similar creatures in countries such as Ireland, Scotland, England, Israel, India, Greece, Syria, China, and various countries on the continent of Africa. How is it that so many different cultures across the world have their own ancient legends of the merpeople? How is it that some of these cultures who never met one another share similar stories of creatures from the sea?

The true origins of mermaids may never be proven, as most people find these creatures to be simply a make-believe creature fit for children's imaginations and nothing more. But there are those of us who believe that legends come from somewhere...that there is truth behind every legend to varying degrees. This is one take on mermaid and merman origins.

Jean Francis Auburtin's Mermaids
Jean Francis Auburtin's Mermaids | Source

Lemurian Merpeople and Shapeshifters

Before the proposed beginning of history, there were civilizations of beings who were a bit different than the civilizations of humans we have today. These beings were very human-like and some of them included human beings; however, these beings were made up of different strands of DNA. Some of the beings are what we might call today "extra-terrestrial", as they were created by beings from another dimension and/or planet.

One of these prehistoric civilizations that is now considered a "Lost Land" was Lemuria (also known as Mu or the Motherland). In Lemuria, there were various types of beings included those who seemed to be able to shift their shapes according to their needs. Some of these "shapeshifters" had the ability to breathe underwater. This was the beginning of the "mermaid" legend that we have today. Lucy Cavendish explains this ability to breathe underwater by stating that these Lemurian beings had a hole that was located about where one's third eye might be, and the water could be breathed in and out through this third eye/mouth of sorts. She also states she has past life memories of being an underwater being in the times of Lemuria, one who was very much connected with the land and sea around her. Sound crazy?

She's not the only author nor person who believes they lived a past life as a mermaid or underwater being during the times of these lost civilizations. In fact, many people have memories of Lemuria...many people have memories of swimming underwater with dolphins and whales. They have memories of swimming underwater for hours and then walking right up onto the land and being able to also breathe the air. So what happened to these mermaid beings from the lost civilization? There are a few theories.

Some believe that after Lemuria began to fall apart, these beings lived and worked in the lost civilization of Atlantis with other beings such as extraterrestrials and other types of shapeshifters. Unfortunately, there were some darker beings that decided they wanted to morph the DNA of the underwater beings or mermaids, and the "gods" decided to destroy Atlantis because of their corruption. Some of the mermaids and shapeshifters escaped the fall of Atlantis, while many perished in the catastrophe along with their extraterrestrial and human counterparts.

So if they escaped, where did they go? What happened to these mer-beings next?

Map Showing Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean
Map Showing Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean | Source

The Merbeings and Greece

After the fall of Atlantis, the refugees spread out all over the world and took it upon themselves to start new lives and new civilizations. One of those civilizations would give rise to an ancient and powerful country now known as Greece. These refugees might have also included the race of mer-people and various "shapeshifters", if you will. One type of shapeshifter that is prevalent in Greek legends is the Siren. The Sirens are very often depicted as beautiful mermaids that are able to lure sailors to their deaths by the mere sound of their lovely voices; however, in Homer's Odyssey these Sirens were actually said to be women that could shapeshift into birds. Be the Sirens fish or birds, this is synonymous with the beliefs of shapeshifters inhabiting the once-beautiful Lemuria and once-powerful Atlantis.

In other Greek legend, Alexander the Great's sister was said to have turned into a beautiful and strong mermaid following her untimely death. It was believed that she would turn the seas into a raging storm until the sailors would tell her that her brother was still alive and conquering the known world. This apparently would calm her and subsequently the seas around her. Mermaids and mermen appear in other tales from ancient Greece, and a few times were in conjunction with the ancient deities adopted from other ancient cultures such as Assyria.

Where would these merbeings have lived if indeed they had ties to ancient Greece? In the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas, of course!

The Sirens were thought to be mermaids, but were also said to have wings like birds.
The Sirens were thought to be mermaids, but were also said to have wings like birds. | Source
A woman's rendering of the seal-woman or selkie of Irish and Scottish legend.
A woman's rendering of the seal-woman or selkie of Irish and Scottish legend. | Source

Europe, The Celts, and Their Merbeings

Not only did the ancient Greeks have their version of the mermaid, but the ancient Celts also had their beliefs in these human-fish-like creatures. The names for these beings varied by region, of course and included merrows, selkies, and ben-varry. And again depending on the region, the mermaid and/or merman could be viewed as dangerous, manipulative beasts or as helpful, loyal friends and even as lovers to some. There is many a tale of fishermen falling in love with a mermaid, only to have the mermaid leave them to return to their home in the sea.

The mermaid that is somewhat different than the other tales is the story of the selkie. The selkie is thought to be a shapeshifter - one who can shapeshift from a seal into a woman when she is on land. This legend is often compared to that of the swan maiden or even the frog prince.

Many mermaid sightings have been documented in Europe, dating back centuries. My most favorite mermaid sighting story was of a man who found two mer-children dying on the cliff by the sea. He took the one who was surviving home and nursed it back to health (the other one had died before he could help it). The mer-child never talked but would eat shellfish and stayed in a tub in the man's home. It did drink milk. The man believed the mer-children had washed to shore during a very strong storm on the water a few nights prior to. This was said to have happened in the 1800s in Ireland. The man was a good soul and returned the mer-child back to his home in the sea. And it is said that this story was published in a local newspaper at one time.

So where did these shapeshifters come from? Were they all in the imagination of the people of Europe or was there some truth behind the legends?

Mermaid's Pool in the UK...does a mermaid still visit here?
Mermaid's Pool in the UK...does a mermaid still visit here? | Source

Please tell me...

Do you believe mermaids and mermen could be real?

See results
Suvannamaccha luck bringing charm in a riverside shop in Nonthaburi, Thailand
Suvannamaccha luck bringing charm in a riverside shop in Nonthaburi, Thailand | Source

What Do You Think?

Legends of mermaids permeate cultures all over the world, from Asia to Africa. From Europe to North America and beyond. Is it possible that evolution could have gone a separate way when we were developing from mere fish as some theories suggest? Could these fish have evolved into a fish-like human who might still live in the oceans to this day? Why are there so many legends and stories of sightings if these things were nothing but our overactive imaginations?

If Lemuria and Atlantis might have existed, who is to say that mermaids and shapeshifters of various kinds didn't reside in these ancient cities alongside of human beings? There are those who believe this is how it was in ancient times, and when corruption came into these cities in drove the shapeshifters and human beings apart forever.

What do you think? Could mermaids or mer-beings be a possibility? Do you ever wonder where those hundreds of thousands of years of human history have gone?

A Mermaid statue in Songkhla, Thailand. An image that can be seen in so many places around the world!
A Mermaid statue in Songkhla, Thailand. An image that can be seen in so many places around the world! | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Nicole Canfield


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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Kitty, I thought I was following you. No wonder I missed this wonderful article. I have read some fiction on mermaids in the fantasy genre that as part of their storyline say that mermaids have no souls. I don't see how that would be possible.

      I can see these wonderful creatures (semi-humans?) as being shapeshifters who survived Lemuria, but I wonder about two more possibilities. Could they be some of the "things" that resulted from experiments between humans and animals in Atlantis? ("Things" is what some of the channelers on Atlantis called these beings.) Could their civilizations be part of the Hollow Earth civilizations that a couple of other hub writers have written so much on? Just food for thought.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Sorry, missed your comment! lol! after looking into it further its said to be a documentary by serious oceanographers? is that the word? but it was fake, but ah wouldn't it be great if it was real? people are still believing its real, its going to go down in web history as real and forgotten as fake, shame really!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 3 years ago from the Ether

      Nell - Very creepy and cool! Do you think it's a fake?

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Yes I definitely believe in Mer's. They have also found other creatures thought to be extinct and they also have found what they used to call as sea monsters with the Giant Squid and mega fish and stuff like that. We have no idea what lies beneath the shelves on the oceans or even in some lakes. We know only so little about the land that we live on for that matter.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi kitty, thought you might like this! its in our Daily Newspaper over here in England! Spooky!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      watergeek - absolutely! thanks for reading and commenting.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Thanks for this article on mermaid history, Kitty. When I was writing on mermaids' potential existence in today's oceans, I had no idea they could have been connected to Lemuria and Atlantis. I've been fascinated with those civilizations too, and it makes sense they should have had something going on with the oceans. Wouldn't you say the accumulated legends in Ireland and England could have come from merfolk who lived between there and Atlantis?

    • jamesjohnbell profile image

      James John Bell 4 years ago from Union, Washington

      Nice history, I appreciate the multiplicity of perspectives. The oldest explanation for mermaids that I have come across is that put forth by various philosophers in antiquity which classified them among the "water elementals" called Undines. There were oreades, naiades, and all sorts of water sprites and of course mermaids. The theosophists placed a further distinction upon them, as they do on all critters that exist in our world and the 'otherworld', they're the fallen or left behind of a previous age of existence. As you pointed out, from the Lemurian Age..

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Thanks, WriterJanis! :)

    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 4 years ago from California

      What an interesting history. If Lemura really existed, then I don't see why these mermaids couldn't possibly have existed.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Carolyn - So cool! Ditto!

      Nell - Yes, legends and folklore come from somewhere...some sort of truth behind each one of them. Me too!

      rebecca - Glad to be able to entertain! :)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very interesting and awesome, voted + I have never heard the background of the mermaids and merpeople. I have always loved stories with mermaids in them, so I found this fascinating. Thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi kitty, I loved this! I do believe that somewhere back in time these legends must have started for a reason. of course they all say these days that it was just the mistake of seeing a seal or something like that, but who knows? I personally would love to know for certain, great hub! voted up and shared! nell

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 4 years ago

      Yeah it was funny because you turned up on my feed because I follow the mythology topic, so I was like "ooh mermaids... Oh cool!" but now I'm following you ;-)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Carolyn - AWESOME! I had no idea the artist was here on HP. Nice to meet you...and I truly like your rendering of the selkie. I've always found them to be so interesting and underrated!

      WiccanSage - Glad I could contribute. Let me know when it's published. :)

      CMHypno - I agree...they had to have figured out the difference at some point right? If they knew where they were going in a sea that was never-ending and all looked the same, wouldn't they be able to tell the difference between a human-like creature in the sea and a manatee? Thanks for reading! Also, it is a wonder that if they're out there they have survived the pollution.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub Kittythedreamer. Most people say that legends of mermaids grew up from sailors and fishermen mistaking seals or dugong for these supernatural beings. But I've always wondered about that, because ancient mariners would have been highly experienced and would have known what they were looking at. If there are any mer-people surviving makes you wonder how they are coping with all the pollution and the millions of plastic bags that have been dumped in the ocean?

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Mermaids are such beautiful and fascinating creatures. I've been working on a young adult novel about mermaids and this has been both inspiring and informative; I'm going to bookmark it for my research. Thanks for the great hub, voted up & useful-- great job!

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 4 years ago

      Love this article, and kind of giddy you used my Selkie drawing! I'm not an artist at all, but when I did an article on Mermaids and Selkies, there were no public domain Selkie images available (besides those Faroe stamps). So I drew my own for my article and threw it up on Wiki Commons in case any other writers needed a Selkie image one day. I'm so happy to see someone did!