The US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been obliged to issue a statement clarifying that "no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found", in the face of a tidal wave of citizens calling to demand the truth about mermaids.
The Roswell-style conspiracy theory kicked off after Animal Planet aired a two-hour extravaganza entitled MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND back in May. Described as "science fiction based on some real events and scientific theory", the programme blurb promises a melange of "real-life events and phenomena with the story of two scientists who testify they found the remains of a never-before-identified sea creature".
Animal Planet elaborates: "MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND makes a strong case for the existence of the mermaid, a creature with a surprisingly human evolutionary history, whose ancestral branch splits off from a shared human root."
Although it once again stresses the programme is "science fiction", Animal Planet then presents two "real-world" events which act as a "springboard" for some aquatic fantasy. They are:
In the early 1990s, the US Navy began a series of covert sonar tests, which were linked to mass die-offs of whales, which washed up on beaches throughout the world. For years, the Navy denied they were responsible for these beachings.
In 1997, scientists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded a mysterious sound (called “The Bloop”) in the deep Pacific, which was thought to be organic in nature. It has never been identified.
Suffice it to say, poor old NOAA quickly became a target for the black helicopter brigade, who suggested that for some reason the US Government had covered up the existence of mermaids. Presumably, this was part of a Cold War experiment to fuse Area 51 alien DNA with mermaid material, thereby creating a superstrong aquatic biological weapon which could be trained to swim towards Russian warships with explosives strapped to its nose.
We may never know, because NOAA refuses to be drawn on the matter. It concludes that the question of why mermaids "occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples" is "best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists". ®