Metuchen Edison History Features
In Old Metuchen
David Trumbull Marshall
Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930
(Second Edition)- (c) 1930
Sometime about 1875 a whale became stranded on the mud somewhere on the Raritan River.
Many people from Metuchen went down to see the whale, which was about forty feet long.
I never got to see it.
Mr. Charles Merritt, who kept a drug store near the Pennsylvania Railroad station, then at Holly Street, had a piece of the whale's skin in a jar of alcohol. The skin was about an inch thick.
All the kids in Metuchen were agog to see this piece of skin. Later the whale was driven, or dragged, or carted, to a fresh-water pond on the Rutgers College farm at New Brunswick.
The fresh water failed to revive him.
After the eels and cat-fish and pollywogs and other carrion-o-nivorous denizens of that pond had denuded the bones of the whale of adhering flesh, the bones were dried and later properly articulated and hung in the Museum of Natural History at Rutgers College.
I saw this whale skeleton in 1883. A short time before 1883 some irreverent college boys had taken the human skeleton from its proper case in the museum and introduced it, like Jonah, into the barrel-like belly of the whale.
Now whether the whale was of the male or female sect, or whether the human skeleton was properly named Jonah or Johanna, I am unable to say, not having been at that time sufficiently versed in the science of Osteology to differentiate male skeletons from female.
The authorities at Rutgers College, not being sure of the sex of the human skeleton, decided that they were not sure of the congruity of including the skeleton of Homo (or Mulier) Sapiens in that of Balena Mysticetus, and the skeleton was again relegated to its own proper case.
This seems a pity to me, for a skeleton in the belly of a whale is an ocular demonstration of the truth of the story of Jonah and the Whale, a story which some skeptical members of the rising generation are inclined to doubt.
I once heard a man give a talk before a Sunday school. This man had recently returned from a trip to Mount Ararat. In his pocket he carried a stone which he said he had picked up on Mount Ararat, and which stone he showed to the children, telling them that if anyone expressed a doubt of the truth of the Bible story that the Ark had rested on Mount Ararat, to say that the story was true, for they had seen a stone which had been brought from Mount Ararat.
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Lasted updated 5/13/99 by Jim Halpin.