Mermaids are a popular belief that dates back to the dawn of time. They are usually described as seductive female figures that lure pirates and seafarers to their deaths. The earliest mermaid sightings are believed to have been recorded during the Stone Age period as evidenced by cave paintings some 30,000 years ago.
Today, mermaids have become a part of popular culture. You can credit Disney for creating a more “family-friendly” image of mermaids in the form of Ariel, the heroine of the 1998 film The Little Mermaid. But many have come to believe that mermaids exist in real life. In fact, on June 14, 1967, a photo widely known as the “Mermaid of Active Pass” caused quite a stir with the public. Is this enough proof of their existence? You be the judge.
The Mysterious Mermaid of Active Pass
Active Pass is a strait that separates Mayne Island and Galiano Island in British Columbia, Canada. The pass is currently used by ferry companies, fishing boats, and freighters. Because the pass is narrow, the ferries pass close to its shores. Active Pass is also known to be home to a variety of wildlife including harbor seals, sea lions, orcas, and as many have come to believe . . . mermaids too.
On the early evening of June 14, 1967, The Daily Colonist reported that passengers of the ferry, MV Queen of Saanich, had spotted “a long-haired blonde with the lower body of a fish or porpoise” sitting on a rock at the entrance of Active Pass.
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One male witness described the mermaid as “cute” and “with dimples.” He later added that he was sure that the figure was a woman and that she seemed to enjoy the waves from the ferry washing over her. The witness remains anonymous to this day as he feared that he would be ridiculed for his story.
Just one day after releasing the photo to the public, the Colonist offered a $25,000 reward to whoever could contact the mermaid of Active Pass. The proposition was financed by Charles White of the Undersea Gardens, who even offered the mermaid a contract as well as a substantial salary, room and board, and a supply of special combs. It may sound crazy, but the company was desperate to confirm the mermaid’s existence, so they exerted all the resources they could at that time. Shortly after the offer was placed on the table, the story died down.
It is unfortunate that alleged sighting of the mermaid of Active Pass occurred years before the Internet was made available to the public. If it had happened today, social media could have aided in debunking or proving the rumor. Today, tourists aboard a BC Ferry continue to pay special attention to the shorelines of Active Pass in hopes of capturing a dimpled mermaid on the shores.