Feegee Mermaid.

Feegee Mermaid, Dueling Frogs

Field review by the editors.

Grafton, Vermont

The Feegee Mermaid and Dueling Frogs at the Nature Museum at Grafton are far older than their current home, which opened in 1989. In fact, they're so old that no one at the museum knows exactly when they arrived or where they came from, although they may have been donated by an Odd Fellows fraternal lodge down in Brattleboro (The Odd Fellows were known for acquiring unusual items). A third exhibit, a stuffed Carolina Parakeet, may be of a similar vintage, and since the last Carolina Parakeet died in 1918, you get some sense of the age of these stuffed relics.

Dueling frogs.

According to information accompanying the Feegee Mermaid, similar half-and-half monstrosities were "used as talismans" by fishermen in Japan and the East Indies "to protect against rough seas and to ensure a good catch of fish." The specimen in the Nature Museum is small -- maybe a foot long -- although larger fish-human freaks can be viewed elsewhere in America.

The dueling frogs, battered with age (or combat), parry with miniature sabers. Their accompanying information explains that in real life, "frogs and toads have more appropriate ways of settling disputes," usually by peeping or croaking.

Nowadays the Nature Museum at Grafton focuses on environmental programs and exhibits on the flora, fauna, and geology of northern New England, with no obvious fit for a cabinet of curiosities with a freak mermaid, anthropomorphized frogs, and a dead parakeet. The three items are no longer on public display, but they remain popular with visitors who know about them, and if you ask at the museum someone will bring them out and show them to you.

Feegee Mermaid, Dueling Frogs

Nature Museum at Grafton

Address:
186 Townshend Rd, Grafton, VT
Directions:
Nature Museum at Grafton. South end of town, on the southbound side of Townshend Rd, in the old Grafton Grange.
Hours:
Th-F 10-4, also Summer Sa 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
802-843-2111
Admission:
Donation
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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Rusty MammothRusty Mammoth, Alstead, NH - 13 mi.
In the region:
Steam Locomotive Built of Junk, West Rutland, VT - 35 mi.

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