Hoaxes & Rumors

Dead Mermaid Found on a Beach: Real or Fake?

Dead Mermaid Found on a Beach: Real or Fake?

A video allegedly shows a dead mermaid which washed up on a beach in Florida, Bulgaria, or Hawaii. Is this real or fake?

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It’s not real.

There are actually two different videos of beached mermaids which have circulated for the past couple of years, both of which we will discuss here.

First we’ll take a look at the “Dead Florida Mermaid” video, which was posted several years ago and has over 2 million views as of July 2015. The caption states:

My recent discovery of a dead mermaid found washed up on the shores of Gators Pass located at west central coast of Florida. My emotional outburst and crude language forced me to add music otherwise I would not be able to post. The mermaid has been sent to Australia for further scientific study.

(Note that the video has more dislikes than likes on YouTube.)

Juan Cabana – ‘Valisna’ 2012

The origin of this mermaid was not the ocean, but the imagination of an artist named Juan Cabana. His biography reads, “Artist Juan Cabana, using the remains of dead fish and assorted animals as his medium, creates fantastic new lifeforms for people to enjoy today. His life-like creations reflect his interest in Cryptozoology, Anthropology and Science Fiction. Currently, sea monsters and mermaids are his central focus. Juan hopes to someday have the world’s largest sea creature museum.”

Cabana’s website states that his creations use authentic fish skin, fins, and teeth.

This particular work of art is named Valisna 2012, and can be seen in one of his website galleries. Be sure to read our article about another Cabana mermaid, the “Hurricane Ike” mermaid which has amassed millions of views on YouTube.

Before the connection to Juan Cabana was established, we made the following observations about the video.

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  • The mermaid’s hair appears to be a wig. It looks perfectly combed and clean, which would be unlikely if a creature had been floating dead in the water.
  • The corpse looks mummified, which would not happen while floating in sea water.
  • Minimal decomposition. Mammals and fish which die in the water decompose very rapidly. This specimen is almost completely intact. A decomposed body would also likely have a swarm of flies surrounding it.
  • There is a lack of sand on the body, which presumably tumbled around in the water before washing ashore.
  • The video’s description states that the mermaid was “sent to Australia for further scientific study.” There were no scientific reports about such a creature from Australia, or anywhere else.

First Video Rebuttal

We posted an initial video rebuttal to the “dead Florida mermaid” video above, summarizing some of the points above. You can watch it below.

After establishing the origin of the “Dead Florida Mermaid” with Juan Cabana, we produced a second video rebuttal.

Second Video Rebuttal

Below is a YouTube video explaining the connection of the dead Florida mermaid (and the dead Hurricane Ike mermaid) with Juan Cabana.

Spam Facebook App

A malicious Facebook app has also used images from the dead mermaid video to fool users into installing it. Both Facebook and Twitter users have been spotted posting links to the app with such headlines as, “Oh My God! dead mermaid was found up on the shores of Gators Pass located at west central coast of Florida……” Clicking the link prompts users to install a Facebook video app. This app is considered spammy at best, and possibly malicious. It is best not to install the app. If you have already installed it, remove the app promptly to avoid spamming your friends.

2014 Dead Bulgaria / Hawaii Mermaid

In August 2014, a new “dead mermaid” video began circulating. This one was said to be discovered in River Vladaya, Bulgaria. The same mermaid was shown in a November 2014 video which claimed that a mermaid was found on a beach in Kilauea Falls, Hawaii. Watch the original “Bulgaria” video below.

This mysterious creature was not a dead mermaid which washed ashore in Bulgaria or Hawaii, but a prop from the 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. That prop was created by special effects artist Joel Harlow.

Bottom Line

The “Dead Florida Mermaid” is actually a work of art entitled Valisna 2012 created by artist Juan Cabana.

The “Dead Bulgaria Mermaid” (also reported to be the Hawaii Mermaid) is a movie prop created by a special effects artist.

Updated July 7, 2015
Originally published January 2014

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  • Logan

    The texture and cracks on the mermaid’s torso and face indicate it may be made of paper mache or plastic.

    I heard a interview with the artist once. He said he used a monkey skin and grouper to make that mermaid you are discussing. Not paper or plastic. You shouldve realized he is a taxidermist.

  • something

    i think mermaid might exist cause humans have only explored less than 5% of the ocean so mermaids might be living in the 95% of the ocean that we dont know anything about yet.

  • Jo

    Ok, but the article says right in it that this is a work of art, not a real mermaid. Pretty cool for art.

  • waffles

    Juan Cabana, the artist who created the mermaid.

  • splash anyone?

    Was the Tom you mentioned, Tom Hanks?

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