The Great Naiad Discovery of 1909 • Part 1 • Meramy 2019

March 28, 1909

The Society of Beast and Mermaidology 
United State Chapter
>38  Davenport Street – Boston
Dear Mr. Martin Price,

We at the Society of Beast and Mermaidology invite you and your sister Miss Price, to Salt Lake City where we believe great discoveries in our field will soon take place. 

We are also happy to promote your careers in honor of your late father’s work.

You may know many niadologists have been searching for the ancestor of the Bonneville Naiad. Until recently we’ve only found the ancient remains of the beast. 

We are certain you’ve read recent reports and know that an almost successful attempt to prove the existence of such a creature ended in tragedy earlier this year. 

As the temperatures are now warmer we believe it advantageous to continue the work of Dr. Densley and the late Dr. Brown.

We have planned a month-long expedition to prove this species exists.  The society will provide transportation and accommodations. We’ll expect you by May 1. 

Yours sincerely 

Mr. Jeremiah Callahan 


May 1, 1909

Salt Lake City is not the small backwater town I expected, much more civilized. The train station was very clean and modern and my hotel room is lovely. I’m quite relieved.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had such low expectations but I could tell Martin didn’t want to come from the first moment the Society proposed it. It could be because the chances of discovering a new mermaid species in the desert is about as likely as meeting a raven in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

Martin —the little snake— talked me into Utah over the beaches of South Carolina. “Think of it May, if we split up we’ll have a much better chance of discovering something great.” —and here I am. I wish I were better able to hold my ground with him.

Now, he’s had the nerve to send me a sketch of a species he saw while sunbathing. He’s not good at drawing so I’ve rendered my own version based on his description.

Now that I’m here, I’m going find the Bonneville Naiad on my own and serve Martin right. Teamwork shmeamwork!

May 3, 1909

I’ve settled in quite nicely. It’s been interesting to meet the other naiadologists who’ve come.

There’s a Mr. and Mrs. Tippits who I admit I hadn’t heard of, but they’ve studied potamoi in the Colorado River for some years.

Dr. Noah Flake has written a large number of papers on mermaid nesting habits and made sure to say so. I remember reading one. To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed. He jumped to conclusions without the evidence to back it up.

Dr. Levi Densley is also here which surprised me. He almost found the naiad earlier this year. But, his partner was killed when he fell into the freezing Utah Lake. 

Today we took a short trip to a canal. (It was actually fascinating.) The city built them a few years ago to transport water around the valley. Now, freshwater mermaids have migrated into specific areas.

We saw a small pod of potamoi. They were smaller than the ones I’ve seen back East but definitely related. 

It was an enjoyable day. But, the real work begins tomorrow.

May 6, 1909

I haven’t had the chance to write because we’ve left our comfortable hotel and traveled into the West Desert. We’ll be here for a few days while we study the mermaids in the Great Salt Lake.

Today we met with a local oceanidologist, Prof. Cox. He was an odd fellow with sun-browned skin and tufts of white hair above his ears. He knew a great deal about naiad fossils from ancient Lake Bonneville. 

He sort of bounced through the storage room, all the while grinning with delight. “Oh and this,” he gestured to a specimen with his hands then rubbed them together. “This is an extra special find! See the intact spiny dorsal fin!”

It surprised me to see how large the species is. Some specimens were at least ten feet long. 

Dr. Densley and I both stayed back to sketch while the others went to lunch. He asked me about my brother. I may or may not have been successful at keeping the bitterness out of my voice when I told him where Martin was.

In turn, I told him how sorry I was to hear about the loss of his partner and asked how he was doing.

“I miss my friend,” He paused, “and having a partner. Don’t you find you get more done with the help?”

“It’s hard to say.” I told him.”I’ve only been on my own for a few days. I’m realizing Martin isn’t very helpful. He’s not a good scientist, but tries hard because wants to make our father proud.” 

Dr. Densley nodded but didn’t say anything else. We sketched in silence for the rest of the afternoon.

May 7, 1909

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your note. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your time at the beach. I refined the sketch you sent and enclose a sketch of the mermaid species we studied at the Great Salt Lake today. You’ll be interested to note the segmented body which is similar to their brine shrimp cousins. The mermaids themselves are only a little larger, about the size of my pinky finger. 

I’ve met other niadologists out here including Dr. Levi Densley — you probably recognize his name from the tragic incident last winter? Until then he and his partner had made great progress in his search for the Bonneville Naiad. 

It would serve you right if I partnered with him and left you to enjoy your beach. He asked me if I would you know, but I know father wouldn’t want me to break up the family team. 

Your Sister,


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