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In Brazil, Mythical Creature of Sea Mermaid is Quite Real

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Mermaid and diving instructor Luciana Fuzetti trains whilst wearing a mermaid tail in the Tijucas Islands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Image: Reuters)


Mermaid Carol Catan visits the Disabled Child Care Association (AACD) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Children with disabilities being treated at Brazil's hospitals, where economic hardship has crimped services, are getting an emotional lift from a mythical creature of the sea: a mermaid. But in this instance, the siren is quite real. (Image: Reuters)


A mermaid lesson takes place in Rio de Janeiro. Dressed in costume with a long, shiny green tail, Catan chats with young patients and "they feel included, cherished ... It is a very beautiful and gratifying thing." Catan says she has been fond of mermaids since childhood, when she practiced swimming with her legs joined. Inspiration came from the 1984 movie "Splash," starring Daryl Hannah as a mermaid with flowing blond hair and a long red tail. "It was not the long hair ... it was really that huge tail that she had," says Catan. "I thought it was incredible." Catan practices every day and can spend up to four minutes underwater between breaths when she is in peak condition. (Image: Reuters)


A student participates in a mermaid lesson in Rio de Janeiro. Picchi now teaches classes around Brazil. "I fell in love with it," Picchi says, noting that many of her clients associate mermaids with beauty, sensuality, freedom and motherhood. "When they dress up as mermaids," she says, " ... the session changes because they identify with those values." (Image: Reuters)


Mermaid instructor Thais Picchi poses for a photograph in the sea at Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro. Picchi, a former ballet dancer turned civic rights trainer in the capital Brasilia, dove into mermaiding after a personal crisis four years ago prompted her to find ways to reduce stress. She got into diving, sought lessons in underwater dancing and then discovered the mermaid movement. Picchi took a month-long course last year in the Philippines to learn free diving and mermaid skills. (Image: Reuters)


Girls prepare to take part in a mermaid lesson in Rio de Janeiro. Women in Brazil are not unique in their affinity for mermaiding. Classes are held as far away as Texas and some folks wonder if mermaiding will be the next fitness craze. Only tails will tell. (Image: Reuters)


A woman takes a photograph of a girl as she participates in a mermaid lesson in Rio de Janeiro. (Image: Reuters)


Girls participate in a mermaid lesson in Rio de Janeiro. (Image: Reuters)


Mermaid and diving instructor Luciana Fuzetti trains whilst wearing a mermaid tail in the Tijucas Islands in Rio de Janeiro. (Image: Reuters)


Visitors watch several mermaids while they swim in a giant tank during a show at an aquarium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Image: Getty Images)


Visitors watch several mermaids while they swim in a giant tank during a show at an aquarium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Image: Getty Images)


Visitors watch several mermaids while they swim in a giant tank during a show at an aquarium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Image: Getty Images)


Visitors watch several mermaids while they swim in a giant tank during a show at an aquarium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Image: Getty Images)


Visitors watch several mermaids while they swim in a giant tank during a show at an aquarium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Image: Getty Images)


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Offbeat - U.S. Daily News: In Brazil, Mythical Creature of Sea Mermaid is Quite Real
In Brazil, Mythical Creature of Sea Mermaid is Quite Real
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