It was completely by chance that I first happened upon Animal Planet's pseudo-documentary Mermaids: The Body Found. Of course I was intrigued, who wouldn't be? The odds that a new and undiscovered species may exist in the large expanse of unexplored ocean landscape are pretty good, but a humanoid species that has been undiscovered for this long seems a far cry... until you take a look at how this conspiracy theory unfolds.
Labelled as docufiction, Mermaids: The Body Found leaves a lot of evidence that would make any viewer start to question the line between fact and fiction. Records of mermaids go back as far as written (or drawn) records themselves. From cave paintings to Viking lore, ancient Chinese and Greek legends as well as modern blurry camera phone recordings and more all leave the question: how exactly did these myths stay so consistent over time and culture? Perhaps our current problem in believing revolves around the world we live in today. Our society is now heavily based in scientific fact, and anything that hasn't yet been scientifically proven is pushed into the category of the supernatural.
The still unidentified "Bloop signatures" are what really interest me the most. Some scientists have identified it as the sound of an ice shelf as it breaks away from a glacier, yet the noises seem to be more organic in nature and share more in common with the speech patterns of whales than the patterns of cracking ice.
Is it possible that in the human quest to scientifically understand the world, our ignorance has allowed us the belief that anything not yet proven is simply mythological? Or have governments been hiding the truth in order to continue weapons research that has already been heavily invested in?
Perhaps Animal Planet had heard of similar discoveries and decided to create this work of docufiction as a way to get a larger group of people to look critically at the evidence and decide for themselves whether or not it's true. Solving a puzzle is much easier if you have all the pieces placed in front of you, and that is what this film does very well. Sonar testing, dead marine life, unidentified bloops, the aquatic ape theory, historical records and the ever present feeling of Big Brother's eyes over your shoulder leave you with a lot more questions and more importantly a lot more motivation to research the issue yourself.
If you like to believe that the world is not quite as cookie cutter as we assumed this docufiction is for you. So my only question is: are you a believer?