‘Mermaids: The Body Found’ Fools Viewers Again

“Mermaids: The Body Found,” a “documentary” about the possible existence of the mythical beings, is stirring up trouble again. On Sunday night, Discovery Channel re-aired the two hour special, which originally aired on Animal Planet, and the Internet exploded with theories with rumors and theories about whether the sea creatures are real or not.

But it was all just a well-crafted hoax on Discovery’s part. When the special first aired in May, Discovery admitted that they used an actor to “discover” the mermaid body on a Washington state beach.

Even the description should have tipped viewers off that something wasn’t quite right. Discovery’s description of “Mermaids: The Body Found” reads,

“What if there’s a kernel of truth behind the legend of this mythic creature? Is the idea of mermaids really so far-fetched? Maybe so, maybe not. The show itself, though science fiction, is based on some real events and scientific theory.”

Not only that, but the press release for the show clearly states that it isn’t a true documentary. It reads,

MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND makes a strong case for the existence of the mermaid, a creature with a surprisingly human evolutionary history, whose ancestral branch splits off from a shared human root. The film is science fiction, using science as a springboard into imagination and centering the story on the following real-world events.”

Apparently that wasn’t enough to stop people from believing that a mermaid body had actually been found, and the U.S. government felt the need to step in and put the rumors to rest. NOAA released a statement earlier this month debunking the theory, saying,

“The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas… But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”

And that’s that, because NOAA said so.