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The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History.
In his new collection of essays, Jan Bondeson tells ten fascinating stories of myths and hoaxes, beliefs and Ripley-like facts, concerning the animal kingdom. Throughout he recounts--and in some instances solves--mysteries of the natural world which have puzzled scientists for centuries.
The Feejee Mermaid (pp. 36-63) It belongs to human nature to strive toward the impossible: to fly in the air with the birds, or to swim underwater like the fishes.
I had first learned about the Feejee Mermaid while researching an article on the influence of two pseudo-sciences, mesmerism and phrenology, in the antebellum city of Charleston, South Carolina. The Mermaid had been exhibited there, for a fee of course, by the great American showman of the day, P. T. Barnum.
The Feejee mermaids are a perfect example. This Feejee Mermaid above is the original prop used in the movie P. T. Barnum, which was made to look like the 1866 specimen in Barnum’s American Museum. The most current type of Feejee Mermaid gaff, however, are those made from legally obtained deceased animal parts mixed together.
The Fiji mermaid (also Feejee mermaid) was an object composed of the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish. It was a common feature of sideshows where it was presented as the mummified body of a creature that was supposedly half mammal and half fish, a version of a mermaid.
And in 1859, the Feejee mermaid returned to London for more exhibits. In June of that year, Barnum returned the mermaid to Kimball. That was the last time anyone can produce clear evidence that the Feejee Mermaid still existed. One theory is the mermaid is tucked within the collection at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Bondeson explores other zoological wonders: toads living for centuries encased in solid stone, little fishes raining down from the sky, and barnacle geese growing from trees until ready to fly. In two of his most fascinating chapters, he uncovers the origins of the basilisk, considered one of the most inexplicable mythical monsters, and of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.
Fiji was discovered by British Sailor and navigator Capt James Cook. He called the islands FeeJee, the natives called it Viti. Then the British changed its name from FeeJee to Fiji.
The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History by Jan Bondeson ISBN 13: 9780801436093 ISBN 10: 0801436095 Hardcover; Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1999-05; ISBN-13: 978-0801436093.
A ventriloquist and an orangutan were among the other curiosities. Shortly after the mermaid’s arrival, the city’s rival newspapers, the Mercury and the Courier, lined up on opposite sides of a heated and complex debate about the exhibit’s authenticity, the authority of expertise, and the relationship between commercial entertainment and scientific knowledge.
The Fiji (also spelled Feejee and Fejee) mermaid was a putative evolutionary link popularized by circus great P.T. Barnum and others in the 1800s (Saxon, 1995, 97). It is a good example of how non-scientists have reinforced Darwinism in the public’s mind by a forgery.
The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History by Bondeson, Jan. Cornell University Press. Used - Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear.
PostHeaderIcon Mermaid myths, legends, and folklore PostHeaderIcon What is a mermaid? Mermaid mythology and legends Mermaids are marine beings commonly depicted as having human-like upper bodies and piscine lower bodies. Their existence has been reported for centuries by sea-faring folk, but has been dismissed as either mere superstition or the confusion of a drunken sailor.One Shinto headquarters in Fujinomiya holds a mermaid mummy reputed to be 1,400 years old. In 1842, a Japanese mermaid was exhibited in America by the master showman P.T. Barnum under the name of the Feejee mermaid. The publicity generated by Barnum led to similar mermaids becoming popular side-show attractions in the second half of the 19th.The Feejee Mermaid A drawing of Mr. Graberg's frog and a cross-section of the quarry in which it was found. From the Ktingliga Vetewkapd-Akademind Handlingar of 1733. tor's paper was to be put in the archives, where it is still kept today. Only the brief section containing Mr. Grhberg's account of the discovery of the frog.