During the 1800s, the circus was one of the most patronized forms of entertainment. The most popular attraction in a circus was the sideshow where bizarre people or creatures can be seen. In 1842, one of the weirdest freak shows featured a bizarre half-breed creature called “Fiji Mermaid.”

The Fiji Mermaid was popularized by P.T. Barnum of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.

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The mermaid was supposedly caught near the Feejee Islands in the South Pacific.

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While this strange creature might give you sleepless nights, it isn’t actually real!

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The truth is, the Fiji Mermaid was only an upper body of a monkey sewn to a fish tail and it was first made by Pacific fishermen. It is uncertain if they did it for entertainment or ceremonial purposes.

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In 1822, a Fiji Mermaid was bought for $6,000 from Japanese sailors by a man named Samuel Barrett Edes.

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Edes exhibited it in London for years until he died. Edes’ son sold it to a man named Moses Kimball, then Kimball showed it to P.T. Barnum

Barnum instantly knew that the creature was a hoax, but he still insisted on including it in his museum and called it “The Feejee Mermaid.”

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For the price of $12.50 per week, Barnum purchased an exclusive rights to display the supposed to be “mermaid skeleton.”

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He even set up a ruse in the circus where he hired an associate to pretend as a doctor who caught the rare creature. The fake doctor then traveled city to city creating a publicity stunt.

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But Barnum’s original exhibit disappeared several years ago when his museum burned down multiple times in 1860. However, many are still created everyday even to this date.

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Why did people easily believe that this creature is true? Probably due to technological limitations before. Somehow, even knowing it is a hoax, I can still say that it is the strangest and most grotesque creatures I’ve ever seen.

H/T: Creepy Basement