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A B.C. Mermaid

April 22, 2015

Recording for posterity, because this is the first mermaid legend I’ve encountered from the B.C. coast and I don’t want to forget this exists. I’ll be doing some fact-checking on certain aspects of it for my current novel project at some point, I’m sure.

A Mermaid in the Gulf — Mr. Graham, who is erecting a saw mill on Burrard Inlet, has just given us an interesting description of one of these mythological marine animals which he saw on Monday week in the Gulf of Georgia, about midway between the Inlet and the mouth of the Fraser. It was about 6 o’clock P.M., when he saw it gradually rise above the surface of the water within about 30 yards of where he was, showing the entire bust, in which position it remained for the space of five minutes looking in the direction of the boat in which he and two Indians were sitting, when it slowly sank into its native element. The Indians evinced considerable alarm at the strange phenomonon. Mr. Graham describes it as having the appearance of a female with long hair of a yellowish-brown tinge drooping over its shoulders, the color of the skin being a dark olive. The Indians have a legend that if this animal is seen and not killed, those by whom it is seen will pine away and die, and relate an instance of this kind as having occurred amonst the Squamish tribe. Hence the alarm of these Indians at the sight of the one alluded to. They also state that many years ago one was killed on Squamish river by an aged Indian. — British Columbian

Originally from the Victoria Daily Colonist, July 1, 1863. Found in The Monster Book of Canadian Monsters, by John Robert Colombo, 2004 (p. 110).

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Harold Rhenisch permalink
    April 22, 2015 9:07 am

    Remarkable!

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