Japanese experts are investigating the presence of a 300-year-old "mermaid mummy."
The creature stands 30 centimetres tall, with a human-like head, creepy face, and two hands with fingernails.
Its lower body, however, resembles the tail of a fish.
According to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, the "mummified mermaid" was caught in a fishing net off the coast of Shikoku between 1736 and 1741, according to a note saved in the same box.
The species was purchased by a family before being passed down to another.
"The fisherman who caught it had no idea it was a mermaid and sold it as a rare fish in Osaka." According to the New York Post, "my ancestors purchased it and maintained it as a family treasure."
It was put on display in a temple in Asakuchi about 40 years ago. It's unclear how it got the remains.
The mummified object was transported to Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts' veterinary facility for a CT scan in order to ascertain its exact origins.
The mummy, which looks to be locked in a scream, is seen reclining on the examination table with its hairy head and scaley bottom on full view.
This is the first time the creature has been investigated scientifically. The findings are set to be released later this year.
Mermaid mummy believed to grant immortality
The project was founded by Hiroshi Kinoshita, 54, of the Okayama Folklore Society, while he was preparing to be a natural historian who examined strange entities.
Mermaid mummies, according to tradition, are objects of worship and are thought to foresee infectious diseases, according to Mr Kinoshita, according to the New York Post.
"Japanese mermaids have an immortality legend," he explained.
"It is rumored that if you eat mermaid flesh, you will never die."
"In many parts of Japan, there is a legend that a woman ate the flesh of a mermaid by accident and lived for 800 years."
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Kozen Kuida, the top priest of the temple where the mummy is kept, he has been worshipping it, "hoping that it will help ease the coronavirus outbreak even if only a little."
"I'm hoping that the research study will be documented for future generations."