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Mermaid Documentary Hoax Debunked

Could mermaids be real? That’s the proposition of the reported documentary that aired on Discovery’s Animal Planet cable television channel. Providing evidence of the legendary creatures was the promotional campaign that was released by Discovery, but from the press releases that promoted the show to the text that can be found within the credits, there is plenty of evidence to say that the mermaid documentary hoax has been effectively debunked.

The Credits Prove This Isn’t a Real Documentary

There have been a lot of “mockumentaries” over the years that have fooled people into thinking what they were seeing was real. Spinal Tap is a good early example of this. As the mermaid show unfolds on Animal planet, everything seems pretty plausible at first. This is especially true if someone didn’t read the actual press releases before viewing the program. At the end of the show, however, as the credits are running [and you missed the small part about this all being supposition], here are two key pieces of evidence that this is hoax.

There are not one, but two disclaimers that are placed at the end of the credits.

Though certain events in this film are fictional, Navy sonar tests have been directly implicated in whale beachings.

None of the individuals or entities depicted in the film are affiliated or associated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Any similarities to actual persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

These disclaimers are important for one simple reason: legal liability. They are in place to inform people that they content they have just seen is fiction, not fact, and now you can’t sue them if you were fooled by it.

The Writer/Producer of the Mermaids Documentary Said It Was Fake

In an interview with ABC News, Charlie Foley talked about why they made the entire show seem like it was real by putting it into a documentary format. It added to the overall realism of the show and gave it a certain authenticity that could be enjoyed, even for those who knew for a fact that what they were watching was 100% fiction.

“We wanted people to approach the story with a sense of possibility and a sense of wonder,” Foley told the interviewer. “Hopefully that’s what ‘Mermaids’ allowed viewers to do….allowed them to suspend their disbelief.”

They did a great job at it. The documentaries shattered the ratings records for Animal Planet and it became so popular that NOAA even had to release a statement on it website that mermaids are not real creatures. “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” NOAA bluntly told website visitors.

That’s An Actor, Not a Scientist

The man behind the evidence that is put on display for users to judge that mermaids are real is Dr. Paul Robertson. He allegedly worked for NOAA for about a decade before deciding to get into this whole mermaids research things because mermaids are apparently quite profitable. The only problem is that Dr. Paul Robertson doesn’t exist. The actor’s name is actually Andre Weideman and he’s been in TV movies, appeared in the feature film The Bone Snatcher, and been in limited run television series as well.

Impressively enough, he doesn’t actually have a Wikipedia page setup for him as of yet.

Just the fact that this man is an actor, albeit not a well-known actor, proves that the mermaids documentary is 100% a hoax. If you need to pretend to be a scientist in order to lend credibility to the evidence that is on display, then you’re working hard at fooling people into believing something fictitious is actually something that is real.

Making Fun of One Myth While Starting Another Doesn’t Create Facts

This is actually a pretty common method of creating a better environment for the hoax that is being put onto the general public. These fake documentaries will begin to debunk other myths that are pretty easy to prove are false. This is done to add credibility to the myth that is being promoted while adding a layer of credibility to the researchers that are put up for consideration. This is how people get fooled, even when there are disclaimers in place.

Because the people seem real, they must be real. The mind then ignores the other evidence that it sees because it has made the decision that facts have been seen instead of fiction.

The problem is that this causes people to believe that the mermaid documentary was 100% authentic and there is nothing that can be said or done that will convince them otherwise. Even if Animal Planet ran a full 1 hour special that outlined all of the ways that Animal Planet faked the video footage and Wiedeman came out and admitted he was just an actor, there would be people who wouldn’t believe it even then.

The “Banned” Website Came From the Show

As a final piece of evidence, there’s the mermaid’s documentary website which says that it has been banned by the government. This lends to the idea that there is a government conspiracy in place, much like what was told to viewers on the show, and that the politicians are trying to cover-up the fact that mermaids exists for some reason.

The government did not confiscate the evidence of mermaids on this planet. The show’s producers created the website, made it look like the government had banned the site, and used this as a promotional tool.

All one has to do is look at the initial press release for the mermaid documentaries to see that there was fiction behind the facts. “What if there’s a kernel of truth behind the legend of this mythic creature?” Discovery Channel asks. “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.”

That’s about as clear as it gets right there. The Animal Planet special was promoted to outlets, press, and other reporting agencies as being science fiction. It explores the possibility that mermaids could be real, but in reality, it’s all just a hoax that was designed to get good ratings.