North Carolina Minute: Amusement from days gone by

Published July 14, 2022

By J. C. Knowles

In the March 12, 1920 issue of the Orphan’s Friend and Masonic Journal, Writer Fred Olds wrote about some of the amusements of days gone by. Here are a couple of the amusements Olds wrote about, which were from advertisements in the Raleigh Register of 1799.

“The public is hereby informed that there has just arrived (in Raleigh) and is to been seen the Amazing Mermaid, a creature very rare, remarkably curious and of astonishing structures and sight. It is the only one seen since the Archdale of Austria’s, which is upward of 226 years. This wonderful Nymph of the Sea, half a woman and half a fish, is near three-feet long, and has funs, gills, ears, arms, hands, fingers, breast and shoulders and also a contiguous scale covering the fish part. It is allowed by all of them that have seen it in the world. It may be seen by anybody without the least degree of danger, for he that shows it is prudent and careful. Price 37 ½ cents per head, upon which the print and history of it is delivered.”

“Another advertisement informs the public that “Monsieur Rinaldo,” who now comes from France and who hath appeared before all the crowned heads of Europe and who hath their certification, will play the musical glasses, in the long-room at Peter Casso’s tavern, assisted by his wife, a lady of great culture and refinement. The glasses are played upon by being rubbed with moistened fingers, they being tuned with water, or else a piece of wood or slate driven across them.”