Sunday, November 5, 2017

Where There's Smoke . . .

By Miss Evangeline Barnum from “Smoke and Mirrors” by Casey Daniels

The story of my adventures here in the city of New York is finally on the shelves, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  Oh, I am not happy about revealing my secrets in the book.  Quite the contrary!  But had I not revealed them, the story would make little sense.

No, I am happy that I have had the opportunity to tell the story of my brother, PT Barnum’s, incredible museum, along with the story of the plight of so many who come here to America to begin their lives anew and find instead nothing but misery and hard work. 

I do believe that is one of the reasons the American Museum is as popular an attraction as it is.  More than 15,000 people make their way through the doors each day.  That is, indeed, testament to my brother’s genius as is his realization that people who work hard and who have hopes and dreams that may never come true need some form of entertainment to help them through their grim days.

Entertainment is something we certainly have at the museum, along with enlightenment.

You have certainly heard of phrenology, that new science that purports to tell a person more about their personalities and suggests way to improve themselves and their lives by examining the shape and bumps on their heads?  We have an exhibit about it, along with a respected scientist who can do reading for our patrons.

And you’ve read about the Feejee Mermaid.  You must have, for our mermaid is the talk of the country!  You can see her here, stand up close to the glass case where she resides and examine every hair on her head and ever scale on her elegant tail.

If is more amusement you are looking for, we can provide that here, too, from the musicians who play on the balcony above our front door (the worst my brother could find because he is convinced that will drive people inside!), to Ned the performing seal, a dog who operates a loom, and a cat the color of cherries. 

Phin’s American Museum is certainly a wondrous place and I am fortunate, indeed, to work as his assistant here.  The museum is dizzying.  It is delightful.  As for the stories you may have heard about murder happening here . . . that is the stuff of “Smoke and Mirrors.”


  1. Miss Barnum, it is a delight to meet you. I look forward to reading all of your adventures.

  2. Thank you, Janet Marsh! Since I am quite the reader, I look forward to visiting the Highland Bookshop.