The Fiji Mermaid that has taken up residence on my bookshelf
While they have been rumored to have been floating around for centuries, it wasn’t until around the mid-1800s that Fiji Mermaids became something of a household name. The person to blame for this was none other than PT Branum himself. Barnum began exhibiting his Feejee Mermaid, which he claimed were the remains of a mermaid-like creature.
Even though most people came to believe the Mermaid was in fact the head of a baby monkey sewn onto the body of a fish, examples of Fiji Mermaids continued to pop up from time to time at traveling side shows and circuses…and even on the bookshelf of yours truly! A perfect addition to the Strange and Spooky Museum!
But is it real? I’ll leave it up to you to decide!
For more information on the Fiji Mermaid, check out these links:
Museum of Hoaxes: The Feejee Mermaid
Cryptomundo: FeeGee Mermaids & Other Gaffs
I always get a kick out of whenever new friends come over my house for the first time. If I’m lucky, I can catch a glimpse of them staring at their GPS and then up at my house, convinced they’re in the wrong place. After all, where are all the gargoyles? There’s no broken wrought iron fence surrounding the property. No boarded-up windows. Heck, there’s not even a single raven flying overhead. That’s not to say there aren’t strange and spooky things lurking around my house. You just need to know where to look.
Sure, you could take a gander at my massive collection of paranormal books (currently sitting at over 800 volumes) or take a peek at the weird little gadgets that I have for my ghost investigations. But if you take a closer look, you will find all sorts of strange and spooky tchotchkes nestled away in the corners of my house: a coffee mug from the world’s largest cuckoo clock, a “haunted” brick, a framed letter from the Athens Lunatic Asylum, skee ball tickets from Chippewa Lake Park.
While I suspect my wife thinks I have a bit of pack rat in me, I refuse to admit that I might be turning into a hoarder (although I do have to having to continually fight the urge to purge whenever I stumble across an episode of Hoarders on A&E). It’s just that all my life I have been attracted to the strange and bizarre…and collecting mementos from my visits to these type of places. And I got more than my fill of that whenever my family went on a road trip. I can distinctly remember sitting in the back of my parents’ station wagon, peering out the window and waiting for the next billboard to appear. Most of them would be for gas or hotels, but every once in a while one would pop up that would promise unbelievable sights and sounds…but only if we would “exit now.” All it took was one of those signs and I would be constantly nagging and bugging my parents to take me.
Most of the time, my father would tell me to shut my pie hole and read my book. But every once in a while, my mother would force him to pull over and let me explore the latest Mystery Spot. It was on those side trips that I experienced such wonders as two-headed chickens, real-life mermaids, and my all-time favorite, Eggbert the Talking Egg. These adventures had a huge impact on my life and as I grew older, I began to venture out on my own, visiting long-neglected cemeteries, museums that were really just someone’s basement, and abandoned train stations, hospitals, and houses. If it was something weird, I wanted to see it, even more so if it had a gift shop!