When we think of mermaids, we typically picture a beautiful girl with a seashell bikini top. But yeah, that’s what we want them to look like. In actuality, IF mermaids do indeed exist, wouldn’t it make sense that they looked more like fish with nasty scales, slimy and slippery, hair all messed up from soaking in seawater since they were born, skin all wrinkly, gills on their neck, etc?

Of course, mankind has been fascinated with mermaids for centuries. Cultures from all over the world all seem to have mermaids in their folklore, oftentimes with very similar descriptions. But, do they really exist? So for those of you who really need Ariel to exist, here are 7 sightings of mermaids from around the world.

7. Christopher Columbus saw them

On 9 January 1493, Christopher Columbus observed mermaids on the coasts of Africa. He described his experience in his journal, in which he described the encounter with three mermaids that “were not as beautiful as they are painted…although to some extent they have a human appearance in the face….”

But, of course, skeptics think that he was actually looking at a few chubby manatees.

6. Henry Hudson saw them too!

Henry Hudson, explorer and discoverer of the Hudson River, recorded seeing a real mermaid near Russia. He wrote in his log: “Two crew members—Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner—sighted a mermaid at 75° 7′ N, and shouted at the rest of the crew to come and look.” Hudson further recorded it as having a “tail of a porpoise and speckled like a mackerel.”

5.  1943 – Kei Islands, Indonesia

In 1943, at the time of World War II, several mermaids were spotted by Japanese soldiers on the shores of the Kei Islands in Indonesia. They reported seeing them swimming in the water and resting on the beach. A description of the one on the beach is as follows: “roughly 4-foot 9-inches (150 cm) tall, pinkish skin, human looking face and limbs, spikes along its head, and a mouth like a carp.”

When Sgt. Taro Horiba heard news of a dead mermaid that was washed up on the shore, he went to examine it. After seeing it with his own eyes he was convinced. After his return to Japan, he urged scientists to go and study such mermaids, however his claims were turned down because no one believed him. As a result, no investigation was undertaken.

Locals refer to mermaids as Orang Ikan, or “fish people” in Malay. There have been several such sightings in the area, and apparently mermaids have reportedly been caught in fishing nets on odd occasions.

4. 1967 – British Columbia, Canada

This sighting occurred when tourists who were on a ferry saw a woman with the tail of a dolphin. She was described as having beautiful blonde hair and was seen eating salmon. The sighting was reported in the Times-Colonist newspaper and drew a lot of attention, but no one has spotted it since.

3. August 1991 – South Africa

About 30 percent of the remains of an unknown, human-like creature was found in the belly of a dead great white shark in Southern Africa. The body was then examined and determined to have hands and a humanoid skull. A barb was left jammed in the shark’s jaws, which was later claimed to be a mermaid’s weapon

2. 2012 – Zimbabwe, Africa

Mermaids have been sighted on a number of occasions in Zimbabwe. It’s claimed that efforts to complete the building of dams were delayed by mermaids. Apparently, mermaids had harassed the workers when they were installing water pumps. Minister Nkomo said to Zimbabwe’s state-approved Herald newspaper that.

“All the officers I have sent have vowed not to go back there,” “We even hired whites thinking that our boys did not want to work but they also returned saying they would not return to work there again,” Nkomo added.

1. May 2013 – Kiryat Yam, Israel

Kiryat Yam is the only place in the world where a $1 million reward is up for grabs for the first person who can provide conclusive footage capturing a real mermaid. The local government has offered this reward in response to the numerous mermaid sightings there.

One of the first people to see a mermaid there was Shlomo Cohen. He said:

“I was with friends when suddenly we saw a woman laying on the sand in a weird way. At first, I thought she was just another sunbather, but when we approached she jumped into the water and disappeared. We were all in shock because we saw she had a tail…”

There are so many unknowns in the world and every legend and myth has elements of truth to them – especially ones that are shared across cultures since ancient times, for example, the great flood. And keep this in mind, over 95 percent of the oceans on earth are unexplored… 95%! So who knows what may or may not exist there.