Display Pagerank
Welcome to Curious History - Named one of the 20 best Tumblrs by MSN. The world is filled with strange and natural wonders. You will find them here. Please consider a small donation (upper left corner)!

The Hoax of the “Feejee Mermaid”, 1842

P.T. Barnum’s skillful manipulation convinced thousands to see his “Feejee Mermaid.” It was displayed for “positively one week only!” at a concert hall on Broadway. Years later, Barnum recounted with amusement how he had lured the crowds to see an “ugly, dried-up, black-looking specimen about three feet long … that looked like it had died in great agony.”

A generation earlier, on the other side of the Atlantic, the mermaid enjoyed similar notoriety. An American captain named Samuel Barrett Eades purchased the mermaid in 1822, paying for the prize by selling the ship he was supposed to sail. The ship’s real owner, Stephen Ellery, was hardly amused. Ellery hired William Clift, a talented anatomist and zoologist, to examine the specimen.

Clift found the mermaid was a skillful forgery incorporating the head on an orangutan, the teeth of a baboon, artificial eyes, and likely the tail of a salmon. Eades didn’t welcome this news, and later hired his own “experts” to assure him the mermaid was genuine. After entertaining crowds of Londoners, the mermaid fell into obscurity for two decades before Barnum bought it.

(Source: Wikipedia)

  1. 1289004766328 reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  2. lashablue reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  3. now-now-nikki reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  4. trashymommarocks reblogged this from patrickbatemansdaughter
  5. granmachismo reblogged this from patrickbatemansdaughter
  6. patrickbatemansdaughter reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  7. alissasprite reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  8. mjolnirmaleficarum reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  9. mahjongbean reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  10. seagullqueen reblogged this from incense-n-peppermints
  11. pleasecallmesurely reblogged this from anchorsaweighhhh
  12. incense-n-peppermints reblogged this from anchorsaweighhhh
  13. anchorsaweighhhh reblogged this from royalsamurai
  14. royalsamurai reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  15. aqupy reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  16. wanderthewood reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  17. miakodaparks reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  18. envikilljoy reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  19. kammartinez reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  20. bonghitskeleton reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  21. 2bpencil reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  22. naturalistandco reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  23. cokeandpills reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  24. shitforloving reblogged this from coeurdelhistoire
  25. coeurdelhistoire reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  26. sempiternal-writer reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  27. pseudocanadian7 reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  28. dormousesaidfeedyourhead reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  29. theresnoturningbackforustonight reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  30. sainnacashel reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  31. granny-rags reblogged this from odditiesoflife
  32. zynixvassal reblogged this from odditiesoflife and added:
    I knew it!