Your chance to see PT Barnum's original Fiji Mermaid
The Fiji Mermaid is one of history's most notorious macabre museum exhibits.
It was discovered in the 1800s in Japan, and brought back to the US as the remains of a 'real' mermaid. PT Barnum got hold of it, and exhibited it as a genuine specimen in the 1840s, but it was believed to have been destroyed in a fire.
There have been many different mermaids produced over the years, all claiming to be the original, but the Peabody Museum at Harvard has one that seems to be the same mermaid PT Barnum owned. The museum is putting it on display on October 8 and giving a talk about its history, which you should definitely check out if you have the chance.
Even though everyone knows it's a fake, it has this weird aura and mythology about it which is what makes it so fascinating.
You know full well that someone made it from animal parts, wood and paper mache, but a tiny part of your brain goes "yes....but what if it was real?". That's the magic of the Fiji Mermaid.