One of Ripley’s favorite exhibits helped make P. T. Barnum a household name – and it just so happened to be a fake! In 1842, P. T. Barnum was approached by a man who offered him a preserved mermaid, which he leased for $12.50 a week. Soon afterward, New York newspapers ran stories on the amazing, mummified mermaid obtained from the little-known Fiji Islands. The papers and the public bought the deception completely. Barnum insisted his “Fiji Mermaid” was genuine until in his old age, when he admitted that the “mermaid” was just a fusing of the upper half of a monkey and the lower half of a fish.
“Barnum was wrong. The public doesn’t like to be fooled. And I’m happy to say I’ve never fooled my public. Not that the public always thinks so.”— Robert Ripley
March 1, 2024
Nearly every year, locals of Wisconsin's Chippewa Flowage use gas-powered boats to push back floating bog islands.
Robert Ripley began the Believe It or Not! cartoon in 1918. Today, Kieran Castaño is the eighth artist to continue the legacy of illustrating the world's longest-running syndicated cartoon!