It seems that humans have the innate ability to believe in things that our brain would otherwise tell us are not real. Whether it's ghosts, dragons or any other mythical creature, there always seems to be a sliver of a possibility that these tales of folklore might actually exist. The idea of these mythical creatures existing in our world today is exciting. It can be refreshing to envision living in the same world with actual mermaids and dragons! It brings us back to those feelings we felt as a kid, preparing for a zombie apocalypse with our friends.
There’s a reason why television shows such as “Ancient Aliens” have become a cultural phenomenon over the past few years. No matter the age, thousands of people are still fascinated by these stories. Not only that, but people are constantly searching for these things both off and on the internet.
Stats from SEMrush have shown that over 40,000 people plug in “are mermaids real” into their search bar on average every month. We were able to gather this information by simply doing a keyword phrase match search and then using filters to ensure the results were narrowed down to just “are ____ real” keyword phrases.
So what exactly makes these such interesting searches. Let’s take a closer look into the top 5 searches of “are ___ real” to try and get a better understanding of the fascination for these mythical beings.
Whether it be land dwellers or sailors wondering about the great mysteries of the oceans they sail, mermaids have captured the imagination of human beings for centuries. The earliest known references of mermaids is said to have appeared all the way back in 1000 B.C. This earliest mermaid legend is thought to have begun in Assyria and told the story of an ancient Goddess named Atargatis.
From this point on, the legend of the mermaid was born. Tales of mermaid-like creatures would appear in some of the most famous works of ancient mythology such as Homer’s Odyssey, who told the story of sirens luring sailors out to sea.
However, the myth of the mermaid wasn’t lost with the ancient Greeks. Even in modern times, there is still a strong interest in these mythological creatures. There have been several false sightings of mermaids over the years with most of them being explained through a case of photoshop or an artist's rendering of a mermaid in a real world situation.
While some of these instances may seem clearly fake it has not stopped people from believing. With over 40,500 monthly searches, the “are mermaids real” keyword shows that people are still incredibly interested in the myth of the mermaid.
While not necessarily the most searched keyword phrase, it seems no other believers have as much passion for the proof of existence than those who believe in aliens. It wasn’t until the year 350 BC, that the notion of Earth being alone in the universe was even questioned. Until the Greek philosopher Aristotle made the suggestion that Earth may not be alone, no one seemed to think otherwise.
One of the biggest reasons why so many people believe there are aliens out there is based of the sheer size of our solar system. Earth is one of 8 planets, not including the dwarf planets, located in our solar system. However, that's just the beginning of defining just how large the solar system is.
The true size of the solar system is defined by the reach of its gravity, or how far an object can still be in the sun's orbit. It is estimated that the furthest reach of our solar system is the Oort Cloud, which is 1.87 light years away from earth. To put that in perspective, if you were driving a car at highway speed, it would take 19 million years to complete the journey to the edge of our solar system.
Now, after knowing all that, it is very plausible to see why someone could believe in life outside of earth. On top of that, there have been several cases of individuals claiming that they themselves have actually seen or have been abducted by alien life.
In a National Geographic poll conducted in 2012, 80 million Americans – 36 percent of the population, believe in the existence of UFOs.
One of the first incidents to really kick start the belief in UFOs and alien life forms was the infamous Roswell UFO incident in the 1940s. A ranch worker in Roswell claimed to see what he thought was a UFO, later said to be a US Air Force Balloon, crash at a ranch in Roswell New Mexico.
While not much thought was given to the initial incident, people soon began to question whether there was more to the story than the government was letting on. It turns out those skeptics were right, just not exactly how they originally thought.
The United States government did actually know more about that crashed “weather balloon” then they initially disclosed. That “balloon” turned out to be a part of something called Project Mogul, a network of top secret tracking devices launched from Alamogordo New Mexico. While this may be the reason provided by the government, it hasn’t stopped thousands of people from continuing to subscribe to the Roswell UFO theory.
While many of us may think of extraterrestrial life as those “gray aliens” portrayed throughout different forms of media, extraterrestrial life is actually any life form not found on Earth. This includes something as simple as bacteria found on another planet. Putting that into perspective, it becomes a little bit easier to see how those 80 million can believe in alien life. Given the recent findings that there may be liquid on Mars, the idea may not be as bizarre as once believed.
As defined by dictionary.com, a ghost is “the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.” The notion that ghosts are real seems to stem from the basic notion that surrounds the mystery of death.
We as humans still do not know what, if anything, happens after death. Very similar to the statistics in the belief in aliens, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey, 18% of adults say they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost. While even a greater number, 29%, have said they have felt in touch with someone who has already passed away.
Just like with most of the items on this SEMrush list, just believing in something does not necessarily make it real. As said earlier, defining what a ghost is isn't exactly the most agreed upon definition. Because of this, it can be hard for someone to actually “prove” that something is a ghost. This is partly why a show such as “Ghost Hunters” is so successful. It provides those who believe in ghosts a platform to turn to for proof while also giving skeptics reasons for doubt.
However, regardless of the absence of solid scientific proof, ghosts continue to captivate the imagination of humans worldwide. Look no further than ghost inspired holidays across different nations.
For example, both Halloween and Day of the Dead are holidays celebrated in multiple countries around the world. These holidays are dedicated specifically to the celebration of the spirits and the dead. Day of the Dead (or Dia De Muertos) is generally celebrated by people of Mexican ancestry and differs from Halloween in the fact that the Day of the Dead is the gathering in celebration of direct family members who have passed away.
While we may never know for sure if ghosts are “real,” the horror genre throughout media continues to produce hundreds of new ghost related kinds of content each year, proving that, sometimes, it's just all about getting lost in your own beliefs.
While we may no longer be in a Vampire boom like the Twilight induced craze of 2008, vampires are still extremely popular. In ancient folklore, vampires were undead creatures who fed off of the blood of the living. Despite their recent popularity, they have in fact been a part of pop culture beginning with 19th-century poetry and literature.
In 1897, Bram Stoker introduced the modern world to the tale of Dracula. From that point on, Dracula has been one of the most well-known names associated with vampires and vampire lore. The success of Stoker’s novel grandfathered the modern vampire genre throughout different forms of media including movies, literature and television.
While there is no defined set of characteristics that go into describing a vampire, the one universal characteristic is the need for blood to continue to survive. In more recent times, this distinction has lead to an interesting group of people who claim to be actually “real” life vampires.
These people are certainly not vampires in the historical sense of the word — they are not turning into bats or living forever. However, according to themselves, they do in fact need blood or psychic energy from people in order to remain feeling healthy. The number of people who identify as a vampire is thought to be in the thousands. These individuals claim that there are actually two distinctly different categories of a vampire. First are those who feed off real blood and then there are those who say they simply feed off psychic energy. In both cases, these individuals state that without either blood or energy, they begin to feel relatively weak and low on energy.
Although these individuals differ from what’s traditionally thought of as a vampire, it can be argued that this proves vampires are, in fact, real — just not in the romanticized “Twilight” way in which many of us imagine.
In 1968, with the release of “The Night Of The Living Dead,” George A. Romero created one of the most groundbreaking pieces of cinema in history, and along with that, helped launch a pop culture phenomenon. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word zombie was first used in the English language around 1810 and is defined as a “corpse said to be revived by witchcraft, especially in certain African and Caribbean religion."
While George Romero is widely regarded as the creator of the modern zombie film, he was not actually the first. That distinction belongs to Victor Halperin when, in 1932, he directed the first zombie film, “White Zombie.” Unlike most modern day zombie films, “White Zombie” focused more on the Haitian origins of zombie folklore. Beginning shortly after the Haitian Revolution in 1804 and from there on out, the tales were attributed to the religion of Voodoo.
The modern day version of the zombie has gone through a litany of changes over the years that differentiate it from its Haitian origins. With the release of “The Night of The Living Dead,” Romero introduced the modern world to the horrors of zombies. Today, zombies still hold the same principle characteristics that they did hundreds of years ago. These include death, lack of emotion, hunger for flesh and the notion they can only be destroyed by damage to the brain.
For the majority of the zombie mythology, there was never given much thought in the actual existence of them. However, a minor wrench was thrown into this way of thinking during the 1980s. Scientist Wade Davis claimed he had found a powder that could essentially turn people into actual zombies.
Davis discovered that a combination of five different ingredients could be used to turn someone into a “zombie.” The main toxin used in this process was said to be tetrodotoxin. Davis began his research after noticing several cases of zombie poison documented by Haitian psychiatrist Lamarque Douyon. While many scientists reject Davis’s research, Davis explains that the effectiveness of the drug is partly due to a placebo effect relying on an underlying Haitian belief in the Zombie folklore.
Although Davis may not have given definitive proof in the existence of zombies it did open up the possibility that, through infectious agents, science could potentially create a zombie disease. Is it that far fetched to believe with all the advancements made in science over the past several decades that some sort of zombie strain could become available? As for now, we can continue to feel safe in knowing we aren’t in danger of the undead just yet.
Interested in finding more of the analytical data behind the search results for each of these mythical beings? Use SEMrush and the Keyword Analytics Phrase Match Report to dive deeper into the data.