The Victorian era is responsible for a great deal of change brought about in history. As well as bringing about the electric lightbulb, the time altered the way people communicated, were entertained and saw the world around them. It’s safe to say that, while it might look a lot different to today, the Victorian era might be the closest precursor to modern society that we have. Although a great deal of the information from the time seems legitimate, however, not everything is quite as it appeared to be. Victorian inventions might have changed the way that we live but along the way, there was a red herring or two thrown in, catching many people off guard.
To understand the Victorian mentality, we have to journey back only a few years, taking a closer look at a strange discovery unearthed in London in 2006. A number of crates sparked the interest of hundreds of people, seeming to contain a set of exotic animals that had never been seen before. Photos of the artifacts – which included strange fish, fairies and deformed skulls – were soon released online, sparking something of a modern day treasure trail to get to the root of the mystery.
The items had been discovered in the depths of London’s old Merrylin Cryptid Museum, which also contained a backstory on all of the animals in an the stranger still Encyclopedia Obscura. The museum itself was linked to a Thomas Theodore Merrylin, who, according to the Encyclopedia, was born in England in 1782. A closer look at the man revealed how he had spent his life searching for mysterious creatures by studying physics, evolution and chemistry along the way. Despite his finds, Merrylin’s original museum was met with widespread distaste and before long, the building was turned into an orphanage. After this point, Merrylin was never seen again.
When the items were discovered, then, historians had a field day. The basement revealed a world of wonders, stacked full of crates containing baby werewolves, jakalopes and strange monsters. Rooted in mystery, the story is as intriguing as they come and while Merrylin’s finds might seem have seemed improbable, there was initially little evidence in either direction. So little was known about the supposed founder of the collection, in fact, that many believed the collection to entirely real.
Of course, the Victorians were renowned for their fascination with the macabre, a fact that the museum’s owner used to his own advantage. Today, sculptor and photographer Alex CF works alongside the collection, posting his findings online. Keen fans soon discovered that it was Alex CF who was responsible for the discoveries, having fabricated the entire backstory. That doesn’t stop his enthusiasm, however. As well as maintaining the collection, he conducts research in the area, committing himself to discover more on the strange subject. Despite the truth behind the hoax, he encourages visitors to believe the creatures could still be real; we simply are not ready to understand their significance yet.