The Fejee Mermaid was acquired by American sea captain Samuel Barrett Eades in 1822 in the East Indies. He traded his vessel — which wasn't his to trade — for the dried specimen from Dutch merchants, who claimed to have received it from Japanese fishermen.

Upon his return to London, Eades exhibited the mermaid in 1822 at the Turf Coffeehouse on St.James's Street. From 1825 to 1842, the mermaid's whereabouts are unknown, though several 'fake' mermaids were said to be touring during this period.

The Fejee Mermaid resurfaced in 1842 on the other side of the Atlantic with Moses Kimball, proprietor of the Boston Museum, who took it to New York City to show his friend, legendary showman P.T.Barnum. Barnum struck a deal with Kimball to lease the mermaid for $12.50 per week. Calling it "The Fejee Mermaid," Barnum advertised the specimen as The Missing Link Between Humans and Fish when it was exhibited at Barnum's American Museum.

Sent on tour through the South in 1843, Barnum was forced to cut short the itinerary when enraged residents of Charleston threatened to destroy the evil exhibit. "The Fejee Mermaid" returned to Barnum's American Museum, which was ravaged by fire in 1865. The mermaid was belived destroyed but no proof was found either way.

Years later there have been conflicting accounts of the mermaid reputedly being rescued from a pile of debris by a fireman.

But who is to say..




Joe Petro III - 2001 - All Rights Reserved