Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The “Mysterious” Fiji Mermaid

Trevor Dent
The Art of Juan Cabana.
In today’s society, everyone has their opinions on mermaids and whether they are real or not. I believe mermaids are real. Mermaids have been around for as long as people can remember. Earth is over 70% water and about 95% of the oceans remain unexplored. Men back then have claimed to see mermaids and there have been multiple stories written and also movies about mermaids. They are believed, centuries ago to roam the seas and lure sailors into shipwrecks, and off the coast into rocky shoals. Mermaids are often associated with bad luck and misfortune. By definition, a mermaid is a beautiful woman, with long hair, and the lower body of a fish. Homer’s Odyssey tells the story of an encounter of a siren and how they were tortured by their sweet sounds. Another story is a young boy from Scotland claimed to have killed a mermaid in 1830 by throwing rocks of it. It definitely looked like a mermaid they said, but there hasn’t been real evidence of it. There are many more legends and many historical claims of MERMAID SIGHTINGS  and it leaves people with many questions, but until we see  better and more pictures and videos, mermaids will continue to be a myth.

Most people don’t think of certain mermaids, or a particular type when talking about them, but there once was a hoax about the legendary Fiji Mermaid by the famous known P.T Barnum. The FIJI MERMAID was an object composed of the upper body of a monkey sewed onto the lower body of a fish. This hoax is became a worldwide topic thanks to the legendary showman P.T. Barnum who was famous for these types of things. The Fiji Mermaid came into Barnum’s possession in 1842 via his business counterpart Moses Kimball and was reportedly found on the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific. Barnum would go ahead and put the mermaid up for display in his Boston Museum in the summer of 1842.  Barnum would lead people to believe that this was a true thing and would so for a very long time until his museum was burned down by a fire in 1865 and people to this day still question whether that was real or not.  P.T. Barnum even explains himself why he did what he did and his reason behind it in his own autobiography. He says the Fiji Mermaid first came to him from Moses Kimball in 1842 and it was made by fisherman. He never realized its value and at that time, it was a great time to examine the mermaid. Barnum claims that was the easiest part of the experiment. ‘How to modify general incredulity in the existence of mermaids, so far as to awaken curiosity to see and examine the specimen, was now the all-important question.’ (Barnum)

The Peabody Museum's "Feejee Mermaid" (photographed in 1998).

The Fiji Mermaid was actually thought to be made by hand by fisherman in Southeast Asia and sold for a profit to local stores. The first ever mermaid was brought to London by Captain Samuel Barrett. Even though it was handcrafted, this lead people to believe if there was a real thing and if so, why was it made.

Works Cited:
Barnum on the FeJee Mermaid, The Life of P. T. Barnum, Written by Himself, 1855. American Social History Productions, Inc., 1855. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

""The Little Mermaid?"" The Harvard University Gazette. Harvard College, 17 Oct. 1997. Web.

"Legend of the Fiji Mermaid." The World Is a Myserious Place. Awesome Inc. Template. 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

"The Incredible Myth Behind the Feejee Mermaid." Scribol. Scribol. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Links for further research:
The article above gives you a good overview of the Fiji Mermaid, and also tells everyone who was involved in it.

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