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1830 (ca.): Mermaid Killed in Benbecula, Scotland

Carmina Gadalica Hymns and Incantations, Vol. II, by Alexander Carmichael, 1900 Edinburgh

Around 1900, the following tale was published about the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland:

        "Some seventy years ago, people were cutting seaweed at Sgeir na Duchadh, Grimnis, Benbecula. Before putting on her stockings, one of the women went to the lower end of the reef to wash her feet. While doing so she heard a splash in the calm sea, and looking up she saw a creature in the form of a woman in miniature, some few feet away. Alarmed, the woman called to her friends, and all the people present rushed to the place. The creature made somersaults and turned about in various directions. Some men waded into the water to seize her, but she moved beyond their reach. Some boys threw stones at her, one of which struck her in the back. A few days afterwards, this strange creature was found dead at Cuile, Nunton, nearly two miles away.

        "The upper portion of the creature was about the size of a well-fed child of three or four years of age, with an abnormally developed breast. The hair was long, dark, and glossy, while the skin was white, soft, and tender. The lower part of the body was like a salmon, but without scales. Crowds of people, some from long distances, came to see this strange animal, and all were unanimous in the opinion that they had gazed on the mermaid at last. Mr Duncan Shaw, factor for Clanranald, baron-bailie and sheriff of the district, ordered a coffin and shroud to be made for the mermaid. This was done, and the body was buried in the presence of many people, a short distance above the shore where it was found. There are persons still living who saw and touched this curious creature, and who give graphic descriptions of its appearance."

Did It Happen?

        This is just the first note on this claimed event in Anomalies, and it definitely needs further investigation. More information will be added as I find it. Also note that some modern accounts of this tale claim it actually took place in 1870; but this is a newer mistake in the telling.