Barnum’s Feegee Mermaid – Fragrance: Let’s make a mint!
Phineas Barnum created a museum of uniqueness in New York City. Though the museum had both admirers and detractors, no one could argue that Barnum offered both genuine objects of learning — he had fossils and an exotic animal menagerie years before New York ever had a zoo or a museum of natural history — and exhibits that constituted a gateway to the world of the unimaginable, the fanciful, and the bizarre.
His most famous presentation of 1865 was the Feegee/Fiji Mermaid.
The genius of Barnum, though, was that he opened the Feegee Mermaid up to speculation by planting newspaper stories claiming the thing was a hoax — right along side stories that claimed it was the genuine fossilized remains of an actual mermaid. He let patrons decide for themselves just how much of this whole thing was true and how much was humbug, which of course they loved to debate. The world is better for the living of this wacky guy!