Off the Isle of Yell in 1833, six fishermen reported that their fishing line had become tangled with a mermaid. They said they had kept her on their boat for three hours, and said that she was about three feet long. She ‘offered no resistance nor attempted to bite,' but she moaned horribly. ‘A few stiff bristles were on top of the head, extending down to the shoulder, and these she could erect and depress at pleasure, something like a crest.' She didn't have gills or fins and there were no scales on her body. The fishermen who were very superstitious threw her overboard eventually and said that she dived ‘in a perpendicular direction.'
The story was heard from the skipper by a Mr Edmondson who in turn told the Professor of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh:
"Not one of the six men dreamed of a doubt of its being a mermaid, and it could not be suggested that they were influenced by their fears, for the mermaid is not an object of terror to fishermen, it is rather a welcome guest, and danger is apprehended from its experiencing bad treatment... The usual resources of skepticism that the seals and other sea-animals appearing under certain circumstances operating upon an excited imagination and so producing ocular illusion, cannot avail here. It is quite impossible that six Shetland fishermen could commit such a mistake."