Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Dark, Mysterious, Fiji Mermaid

Author: Da’Keya Nicholson

This is a photo of the Fiji Mermaid and it is showing how the top and bottom half of its body is half fish and half orangutan.
I am sure you’re all wondering, what could possibly be out in the ocean other than sharks, whales, etc.? There are plenty of answers to this question but, the most interesting, unique, creature is known as the Fiji Mermaid . A Fiji Mermaid is a creature with the bottom half of its body as a mermaid, or fish, and the top half as an orangutan. In 1842, an English Man and member of British Lyceum of Natural History, Dr. J. Griffin, spread the news that a Fiji Mermaid had been spotted and caught near Feejee Island in the South Pacific. The news reached the press fast, and Dr. J. Griffin used all of the media attention to host a mermaid exhibition and the Masonic Hall.

This is a photo of PT Barnum. He was the owner of Barnum & Bailey Circus. He often called it the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Some of his most famous acts were the Cowboy Giant, General Tom Thumb, the Bearded Lady, and the Living Skeleton.
The press later found out that Dr. J. Griffin was a fraud. His real name was Levi Lyman, and he wasn’t even an English Man. There was no such thing as British Lyceum of Natural History. All of his work was done under P.T. Barnum, including the exhibition. PT Barnum was known for his first hoax of a blind slave, known as being a 161 year old former nurse for George Washington. He found out that the mermaid was fake, but didn’t care. All that mattered was that it was that the world believed it was real. PT Barnum sold the first fake Fiji Mermaid from his museum, Barnum's American Museum, in 1822. It was bought by Dutch Merchants, and they resold it to Samuel Barratt Eades for $6000. Samuel sold his ship to buy this mermaid. After Barnum sold the first mermaid, he began making more fake ones to sell. He would hang up pictures, and send pictures to the newspaper company to get his message out about selling Fiji mermaids.

The original Fiji Mermaid spent a decade of it’s time between Kimbell’s Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and Barnum’s Museum in New York City. No one knew where it’s last known whereabouts were, but people believed that it burned in the fire that caused Barnum’s museum to collapse to the ground in 1865.

Works Cited

Andrews, Evan. Life, Magnified, “10 Things You May Not Know About PT Barnum.”, 2018.

Fischer, John. “A History of the Fiji Islands.” TripSavvy,, 2019.

American Social History Productions, “Barnum’s American Museum.”, 2019.

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