For years people have been trying to debunk or prove the existence of such mythical creatures as the Loch Ness monster, sea serpents, unicorns and mermaids.
But the days of wondering if these sea creatures are real are over. Mermaids - mythical half-human, half-fish are real and can be found right here in the Tri-Cities, only not in the traditional sense.
"When I wear the mermaid tails, there are a lot of parents who tell their kids 'Oh my god it's a mermaid.' A lot of people stare and ask where they can get one," said Lani-Marie Carbonel.
The 13-year-old Coquitlam resident is one of many young girls who want to live out their fantasies of pretending to be Ariel from Disney's The Little Mermaid - and now they can with custom-made mermaid tails.
Renzo Carbonel, Lani's father, is one of a handful of people in the world who assembles mermaid-styled monofins for the company 3-Fins Custom Mermaid Tails.
Monofins are fins typically used in fin swimming and free-diving; it consists of a single surface attached to foot pockets for both of the divers' feet that allow them to swim through the water in one smooth motion similar to a mermaid.
3-Fins was created by Surrey resident Monika Naumann, who originally wanted to satisfy her daughters' love for mermaids and has since become an international success.
"Lately there has been more and more orders. At first it was one at a time. It was just a hobby for Monika," said Renzo, whose daughter swims with Naumann's daughters. "It's starting to pick up . lately it's been four or five at a time."
He estimated that he has created 50 mermaids tails since the company's inception last year, adding that they get orders from as far away as South America, Australia, the Caribbean and the U.S.
The custom-made mermaid tails can be ordered online in blue, pink, orange, green and red, and some are even available in different shades such as solid or striped. Every tail is tailored to fit each person perfectly by taking your waist and hip measurement, and the length of your body from your feet to the waist.
Once an order is placed, Carbonel assembles the mermaid tails in the New Westminster Bronco Custom Works shop.
He begins with a pair of regular diving slippers, which he trims and mounts onto a larger piece of polycarbonate (a material that is also used to make bullet-proof windows) before all the pieces get put together.
Renzo's portion takes approximately one hour to complete, before he passes it along to Naumann who puts the lycra sleeve over it, turning it into a mermaid tail.
However, don't be deceived - these aren't just Halloween costumes. Once the swimming technique is mastered, the tails can reportedly propel the wearer through pools, lakes or beaches with great speed and agility.
"You feel more powerful," said Lani, a competitive synchronized swimmer. "It's a really fluid motion and you feel really graceful doing it."
The $350-tails can be shipped to the U.S. and Canada and the minimum age for using the tail is eight years old.