You’ve surely heard of mermaids — and probably sirens and harpies too — but what’s the difference between them all? Are all mermaids as beautiful, kind, and curious as Ariel? Will all harpies and sirens trick you to your pending doom? If your curiosity is piqued, then the answers you seek are down below.
What Are Harpies and Sirens?
Harpies and sirens come from the Greek and Roman Mythologies and are half-human half-bird hybrids. They are always female but have a few main differences. Harpies are supposed to be the personification and spirit of storm winds. They are often described as hideous human vultures who snatch food from their victims and carry evildoers to the Erinyes, who are female deities of vengeance and will punish those accursed souls.
Sirens are also half-human, half-bird hybrids, however, they are often described as being dangerously beautiful creatures with appealing looks and enchanting voices. It's said that their songs with lyre music would lure nearby sailors to their doom when they would wreck their ships upon rocky coasts.
What Are Mermaids?
Mermaids are aquatic creatures with the top half of a human being and the bottom half is the tail of a fish. There are male and female merpeople, but the female mermaids are the most well known. In some lore, mermaids are depicted as kind souls that try to save sailors from their ultimate doom or even fall in love with humans, while others are perceived as beacons of danger and lure sailors to the briny depths. Mermaids are thought to have been inspired by the Greek Sirens but have inevitably made their way around the world. Tales of them have spread as far as the Caribbean and people still report sightings, most recently in Israel and Zimbabwe.
So — Are They Real?
As much as everyone loves Ariel in The Little Mermaid and probably dreams of a giant Harpy carrying away a ne'er-do-well who has done you wrong, unfortunately, there is no clear evidence that these creatures exist outside of folklore. Luckily, this means on your next cruise vacation you’ll be safe from the clutches of a heartless siren luring the captain into the rocky shoals or mischievous mermaids dragging you into the depths while scuba diving on your relaxing beach trip.
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