ICM’s FeeJee Mermaids

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 5th, 2011

International Cryptozoology Museum

The International Cryptozoology Museum is known for its FeeJee Mermaids. On display are three, and they all hark back to the days of Barnum and his promotion of such artifacts in 1842.

We have recent ones, one of which is shown here photographed in various settings.

Below, it is in a new display case created this week, so patrons may get closer to it.

FeeJee Mermaid

Of course, we also have the 1999 movie prop of the original FeeJee Mermaid from the Beau Bridges film, P. T. Barnum.

Wandering travelers visit the museum all the time. Recently, British writer Paul Smith stopped by the Green Hand bookstore, talked to owner Michelle Souliere, and found more. “What I didn’t know was that tucked away in the backroom of the book shop was the International Cryptozoology Museum. The museum is curated by Loren Coleman, who has spent decades scouring the globe for artifacts, sculptures and paintings that celebrate the beasts and creatures found at the fringes of our scientific understanding. Great American hoaxes are showcased and debunked alongside genuine studies and expeditions into the existence of black cats and Sasquatch. It’s a colourful, Fortean world of sideshows, curiosity and superstition that both scares and delights in equal measure.”

Above, Paul Smith is shown in the doorway. Smith’s image of the FeeJee Mermaid, the newest photograph taken, below, is haunting.

Paul Smith has more to say here.

Thanks to the news tip from Michelle Souliere.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

3 Responses to “ICM’s FeeJee Mermaids”

  1. JungleHusky responds:

    Wow. Amazing images. The first target in the first couple of pictures appears to hold the head and upperbody of a monkey that has been stuffed or connected to the lower body of some aquatic creature but the ears really stand out as unusual. Collecting such “oddities” have been very popular in the past and hence had a market since they could be positioned in a bar, cabin, or practically anywhere that could showcase it’s “shock value”. Therefore while these pictures are very entertaining and exemplify profound interest, their authenticity as “mermaids” in the framework of the history of showcasing such oddities is a judgement best left guarded.

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    Ah, well, “their authenticity as ‘mermaids’ in the framework of the history of showcasing such oddities is a judgement best left guarded.”

    What do you really mean by this? Speak plainly.

  3. JungleHusky responds:

    Please forgive ‘flowery’ language above.

    The message I intended to communicate was that oddities such as mermaid bodies have an audience. I can question if these bodies are really mermaids but that is contrary to the big picture that these oddities are intended to be entertainment more than scientific specimens.

    People go to see how strange they are, not their genetic component. As such, the history of showcasing such oddities throughout America has fuelled their entertainment value by building up the hype about seeing that ‘strange thing preserved’.

    Ultimately, just enjoy the photos above.

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