Monster Week returns to Animal Planet with a follow-up to Mermaids: The Body Found, a fake documentary about a mermaids. Mermaids: The New Evidence is a fake interview with the original whistleblower Dr. Paul Robertson, who claims to work for the very real National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which actively refutes the so-called evidence. Nonetheless, there’s just enough truth to keep conspiracy theorists hooked.
P.T. Barnum famously promoted a hoax mermaid known as the “Fiji Mermaid,” which was actually a monkey torso sewn onto a fish tail. A reported expert displays a flyer for the exhibit of a real mermaid that never took place because the specimen was lost in a real fire in 1865. He did managed to recover photographs of the mermaid that bear an uncanny resemblance to evidence caught on camera, what little there is.
Like any good hoax, the footage that is always obscured in some manner and careful not to linger too long.
One such video is an attempt to collect on a real $1 million reward offered by Mayor Shmuel Sisso of Kiryat Yam in Israel, which is known for mermaid sightings. Despite the monetary incentive the man fumbles with the camera and doesn’t manage to zoom in on the mermaid until it’s swimming away. Needless to say, he didn’t collect the reward money.
Another video, said to be recorded by a remote operated submarine at a Russian oil rig, captures a fish being speared by a mermaid but not the actual mermaid, which seems to dart past the camera faster than the spear.
When we finally get to see a face, it’s in dark footage purportedly captured during a man overboard exercise by UK Coast Guard. “It’s a desire to see something in the footage that’s not there,” wisely advises Kenneth Greenwood, District Officer of HM Coastguard.
The special concludes with what’s presented as definitive proof: a mermaid hand on the outside of a submarine. The research team says they reported the incident to authorities which they claim is why Greenland recently issued a moratorium on drilling. In fact, the decision was in response to protests by Greenpeace.
The only thing the evidence really proves is that mermaids are a monster hit. The premiere was watched by a record breaking 3.6 million viewers. Sinking the previous record holder, Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real with 2.8 million viewers.
“The phenomenon of MERMAIDS has truly been a watershed – and a watercooler – moment for Animal Planet,” said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged & entertained television audiences and online fans alike.”
Animal Planet will re-air the special on Wednesday May 29 at 10PM EST with encores at 1AM and 5AM.
Watch Mermaids: The New Evidence Online: