‘The Hexing Box’ at Merrylin Cryptid Museum

Merrylin Cryptid Museum: Proof for the Existence of Mythical Beings or Elaborate Hoaxes?

(Read the article on one page)

Numerous mythical creatures have been created Over the course of human history. Most of them were based on misunderstandings of real animals, plants, or even other human populations. Greek Legends of satyrs and dog-faced barbarians, for example, may have been based on distorted traveler’s accounts of apes and monkeys. Is it possible, however, that some mythical creatures may actually exist more or less as they were described in legend and myth? This is the claim of the Merrylin Cryptid Museum, which contains what it claims to be the bodily remains of a variety of fantastic creatures ranging from dragons to aliens. They could be genuine, but they also resemble specimens that turned out later to be hoaxes.

Gnome (Alex CF 2014), Cthulhu (Alex CF 2014),and Dragon (Alex CF 2014) of the Merrylin Cryptid Museum.

Gnome ( Alex CF 2014 ), Cthulhu ( Alex CF 2014 ),and Dragon ( Alex CF 2014 ) of the Merrylin Cryptid Museum.

Unusual Specimens Found in a Basement

The creatures in the museum were apparently found in the 1960s in the basement of a mansion owned by Thomas Theodore Merrylin, a crypto-zoologist and an eccentric archaeologist. The specimens were found enclosed in boxes and resembled the withered skeletal remains of various fantastic creatures: mermaids, faeries, gnomes, dragons, vampires, and even some extraterrestrials. In addition to skeletal remains, some of the original tissue such as fur and scales were preserved on the remains.

Image said to depict Thomas Theodore Merrylin.

Image said to depict Thomas Theodore Merrylin. ( Merrilyn Cryptid Museum )

Not all the specimens are fantastic. There are a few dinosaurs, for example, and some specimens which could just be unusual animals. On the other hand, items like regalia related to Cthulhu and the remains of an ancient pharaoh are less likely to be genuine, since they imply much more improbable things than just the existence of mythical creatures.

““Menes” the Vampyr King of Egypt – The Demon Child Pharaoh” of the museum.

““Menes” the Vampyr King of Egypt – The Demon Child Pharaoh” of the museum. ( Alex CF 2014 )

Fake Mermaid Tales

Just because the remains of creatures like werewolves have been found doesn’t mean that we can conclude that they exist. There was at least one case where the body of a fantastic creature was found but later turned out to be fake and was created through sewing together corpses of different animals. This example would be the Fiji Mermaid.

The Fiji Mermaid gained a surge of fame when, in the year 1842 in New York City, it was presented by a man claiming to be an English naturalist by the name of Dr. J. Griffin of the “British Lyceum of Natural History.” The tale he told was that he found the mermaid off the coast of the Fiji Islands in the south Pacific. Dr. Griffin was approached by a man named P.T. Barnum. According to the story, P.T. Barnum tried to pressure Dr. Griffin into putting the mermaid on display at his museum by publicizing the existence of the mermaid by giving woodcuts of mermaids to the press and claiming that they were depictions of the mermaids found by Dr. Griffin.

[Top] Fiji Mermaid, in the Folklore section at the Haus der Natur (House of Nature), a natural history collection in Salzburg, Austria.

[Top] Fiji Mermaid, in the Folklore section at the Haus der Natur (House of Nature), a natural history collection in Salzburg, Austria. ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 ) [Bottom] P.T. Barnums Feejee mermaid ( Public Domain )

After the creature was displayed, it was quickly revealed to be a hoax. It turned out that P.T. Barnum and Dr. Griffin were working together all along to pull off the deception. Dr. Griffin was not even a real naturalist but a conman named Levi Lyman. The Fiji Mermaid was in fact not a mermaid but a creature created by sewing the tail of a fish to the torso of a monkey. This particular act of sewing the tales of fish to the upper bodies of primates was an artform in Japan and the East Indies used to create half-monkey, half-fish figurines for religious purposes. The Fiji Mermaid was probably one of these.

The Fiji Mermaid was most likely made around 1810 by a Japanese fisherman and sold to a British sea captain named Samuel Barret Eades in 1822 by Dutch merchants who had been to the East Indies or Japan. Eades attempted to make a profit from presenting it as a genuine mermaid. But his effort to gain a fortune through this turned out to be unsuccessful. After his death, it was passed to his son who sold it to a showman named Moses Kimball. P.T. Barnum in fact leased the Fiji Mermaid from Moses Kimball to present it as an actual creature discovered by Dr. Griffin.


The article on the Merrylin Cryptid Museum had one glaring error. Barnum's full name was Phineas Taylor Barnum. That's P.T. Barnum, not B.T., as the article asserts.

chris6a2's picture

Thank you for spotting this error, we have made the corrections. 


Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

The Lycurgus Cup.
A strange chalice made its way into the British Museum’s collection in the 1950s. It is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman artifact called the Lycurgus Cup. The image on the chalice is an iconic scene with King Lycurgus of Thrace...

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article