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A screen shot from Princess Ali 1895

Watch Princess Ali as she dances for you at the Barnum and Bailey circus

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Phineas Taylor Barnum Was Born
July 5, 1810

Barnum was skilled at fooling his audiences. When he was only 25 years old, he passed off Joice Heth as George Washington's 161-year-old nurse. You might not have been fooled by the hoax, but a lot of people came to see her. What would you pay to see the bearded Princess Ali?

In 1842, P.T. Barnum took over the American Museum in New York City. He brought oddities of all sorts to the museum. Among the most famous of his attractions was the fake FeeJee Mermaid, a cross between a human and a fish.

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VIDEO CREDIT: Edison Manufacturing Co. “Princess Ali / Thomas A. Edison, Inc. ; producer, William Heise,” 1895(?). Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound, Library of Congress. Call Number FEC 8100.