Northerners, drawn by Barnum’s carefully-planted doubts about its authenticity, flocked to see the FeJee Mermaid. In the South, however, the issue of the exhibit’s deception aroused controversy. This exhibit review was written by an editor of the Charleston Courier, who was inclined to believe it was real and deferred to the expertise of others. A rival newspaper, the Charleston Mercury, published a review that reached the opposite conclusion -- that the mermaid was a fraud perpetrated by "our Yankee neighbors." Heated exchanges of letters and articles ensued, and defending or challenging the mermaid’s veracity became equated with challenging the honor of those who disagreed. This debate about honor was far more important to Charlestonians than the question of the FeJee Mermaid’s authenticity.