As many of you may already be aware, this year marks the 200th anniversary of legendary humbug and Connecticut native P.T. Barnum. As such, there’s been a number of Barnum-related events and stories in the news.
This month’s Fortean Times has a great article by local historian Michael J. Bielawa about the nearly forgotten story of reported attempts to desecrate the grave of the world-famous showman at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport.
From the article:
Shortly after his death, aged 80, something very unusual occurred at Barnum’s graveside. Newspapers across the nation debated what might, or might not, have transpired in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mountain Grove Cemetery. Barnum’s associates and friends professed that the evidence pointed a skeletal finger toward the midnight labours of grave robbers. On the other hand, the showman’s parade of detractors suspected yet another well-planned, albeit lurid, publicity stunt. Whichever the case, the sepulchres of Mountain Grove, a cemetery Barnum himself helped found, witnessed “something” eerie during the early morning hours of 29 May 1891.
As with almost everything related to flamboyant Barnum, it’s an entertaining read.
Of course, this site has a few other posts regarding Barnum.
- First off, we have been to the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport on multiple occasions. In addition to all sorts of Barnum and circus memorabilia, there’s also a replica of the FeeJee Mermaid and Pa-Ib, a 4,000-year-old mummy
- There’s also the story of the Cardiff Giant and how Barnum never actually the phrase that’s been attributed him: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
- We also posted about the report that Hugh Jackman was going to star in a musical film based on the life of Barnum. We haven’t found any update on this as to whether it’s still going forward or has been canceled, so no doubt it’s floundering along in Hollywood development hell.
- And we also detailed some of the efforts to analyze the aforementioned Pa-Ib — acquired by Barnum in the 1890s — by the local scientists who were the stars of the sadly defunct “Mummy Roadshow.”
Still, it’s great to see that such a larger-than-life individual like Barnum can still inspire and awe long after his death. No doubt we will continue to devote space on this site to curiosities, oddities and events related to him.