Most myths agree that mermaids are creatures of the ocean, but tales of mud mermaids have traveled down the Ohio river, landing in the unlikely and landlocked Vevay, Indiana. These tales can be traced back to an Ohio newspaper that reported “mud mermaids” were being spotted on a sandbar near the small town in the neighboring state. They were described as about five feet long with a humanoid upper body but legs that were fused and tapered to a point. It was reported they had webbed hands with sharp claws and pointed ears that stood up like those of a dog.
No attacks were reported by witnesses to these strange creatures, so it is believed their diet is likely small river dwelling creatures such as fish or amphibians. These sightings continued for a few brief months before suddenly stopping. Some believe these creatures may be migratory as about fifty years later another sighting was reported but this time a woman claimed she was attacked while swimming in the Ohio river by something with a claw-like hand that pulled her under the water. She was able to break free and made it to the safety of a friend’s raft. It is said she was treated for injuries but that the skin around them was stained green for several days.
Some chalk these newspaper stories up to tabloid journalism to boost sales but these reports were not unique to one newspaper, nor limited to one incident. The Indiana Historical Bureau has even collected some of the odd articles they’ve come across regarding cryptid sightings in Indiana over the years.