In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed out from Spain with a mission to find a western trade route to Asia. Instead, he found a whole “New World”…and something altogether more mysterious. On January 9, 1493, near the Dominican Republic, Columbus spotted three “mermaids.” How did he describe them? “They are not as beautiful as they are painted, since in some ways they have a face like a man” (History.com). The myth of a marine human extends as far back as 5,000 BCE, when the Babylonians worshipped a fish-tailed god named Oannes.