Skip to comments.(Strange Justice) In 1916, a Circus in Tennessee Sentenced an Elephant to Death by Hanging
Posted on 05/24/2012 2:07:33 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
In 1916, a circus in Tennessee sentenced an elephant to death by hanging
In the early 1900s, it wasn't uncommon for humans to use their waxing technological prowess for the express purpose of torturing the hell out of animals. In one particularly mind-boggling incident, a five-ton circus elephant named Mary was condemned to death by hanging after her owners nixed executions by firearms, dismemberment, and electrocution.
After Mary killed her handler in St. Paul, Virginia because of abuse/poor training/a toothache/some nebulous combination thereof, the proprietors of Sparks World Famous Shows executed the pachyderm in the railyards of Erwin, Tennessee on September 13, 1916. As Blue Ridge magazine recalled in 1993:
Mary didn't perform for the matinee performance the day she died. She was chained outside the circus tent, and folks say she spent the entire performance time swaying nervously. The crowd's dissatisfaction with her absence was mollified by the announcement that Mary would be hung in the Clinchfield Railyards later in the afternoon with no additional charge for admission.
More than 2,500 people gathered to watch Mary swing near the turn-table and powerhouse on that drizzly afternoon; perhaps the number of eyewitnesses, as well as the unforgettable, sad spectacle of the event, explains the consensus on this part of the story [...] Wade Ambrose, who was 20 at the time Mary was hung, recalls that the roustabouts chained Mary's leg to the rail, then drove her companions back around the roundhouse.
"They had a time getting the chain around her neck. Then they hooked the boom to the neck chain, and when they began to lift her up, I heard the bones and ligaments cracking in her foot. They finally discovered that she'd not been released from the rail, so they did that."
It doesn't seem surprising that the chain from which Mary hung snapped shortly after she was raised off the ground. It was, after all, just a 7/8" chain, and Mary weighed 10,000 pounds. She hit the ground and sat upright, immobilized from the pain of a broken hip.
Once the crowd realized that Mary wasn't going to bolt, she was again hoisted up and left on display for 30 minutes. The infamous photo above might be a real snapshot of this incident there's also a chance she was hung again postmortem for a photo opportunity. For a similar (but far less depressing) affair, see the time idiot humans thought it would be a grand idea to put an elephant on a German monorail.
This makes me sick.
Never heard of this one...there’s an infamous movie in existence of another mankiller elephant that was executed by electrocution.
Youtube has a video of an elephant being electrocuted in the early 20th century for killing people here in the US.
You just have to wonder why anyone would want to record such a thing.
Apologies ... I posted this for historical reference. It reminds me of something out of Ripley’s Beleive It Or Not. Yes, I too find this disturbing.
I think people a century ago viewed these things differently. Elephants and other wild animals at circuses and zoos were just by and large, considered wild and savage beasts.
Since then, we have learned that elephants, and many other animals, have lots of intelligence, personality, etc.
Maybe they were trying to worm their way into the "in-crowd" on a conservative websight.
Smacktards like that will say any damned thing.
N00bs.. even more so.
At Coney Island they electrocuted and elephant that killed a person. It was highly advertised at the time and was set up by Thomas Edison’s company. At the time we were at a crossroads between a national electrical grid of DC or AC. Edison wanted DC, his invention. So the whole electrocution of the elephant at Coney Island was to demonstrate the dangers of AC power.
Okay, HG, listen up, because I don’t want to have to repeat this.
There may be an “in crowd” here. If so, I don’t give a damn about it. I don’t do cliques, and frankly, “in crowd” sounds like something from a bunch of high school girls. We’re adults, right? Since posting here, I’ve met a lot of cool people I like whom I enjoy posting to. I lurked here for four years before signing up, so I probably feel like I know them better than they know me. But——this is a forum. Jumping in and posting is what you do, and that’s what I will continue to do, and I thought I made that clear to you the other night.
I have a lot of respect for FR and for longtime posters. But don’t confuse respect with obeisance. We’re all just folks here, all hopefully donating members, and I have never met a butt worth kissing. That includes yours. I don’t have a single thing against you, although you clearly have a bug up your rear end for me. Your problem entirely, dude. I’d like to get along with you, but I’ll only meet you halfway. I won’t break my neck to do it.
You think you’re crusty and mean? You should see my father-in-law. I’ve dealt with the best.
No need to apologize. It’s true, animals were viewed much differently in those days. I had no idea things like that happened, though.
BTW, I think you mean “website”.
I'm sorry you're a fat chick.
Since posting here, Ive met a lot of cool people I like whom I enjoy posting to.
Yes, there are many cool people here.
I lurked here for four years before signing up
Lots of mouthy n00bs claim things like that.
you clearly have a bug up your rear end for me.
Perhaps you speak above your station.
Id like to get along with you
That isn't out of the question. You still have be slapped around first.
You think youre crusty and mean?
I'm all full of sunlight and rainbows. True story.
WTF ! I bet the elephant wondered what was going on other than being choked !
LOL. Well, I am a chick, but I'm not fat. "In crowds" are fine in high school, but a little weird coming from the keyboard of an old Texas guy, don't you think?"
"I lurked here for four years before signing up"
"Lots of mouthy n00bs claim things like that."
Could be. I couldn't care less what other noobs claim. I know what I was doing. My husband was watching the election returns in 2008, and I couldn't stand it. I was on FR, and when people started posting, "McCain can't win, it's over", I lost it.
"Perhaps you speak above your station."
Don't think so. If you earn respect, I'm glad to give it.
"Id like to get along with you"
"That isn't out of the question. You still have be slapped around first."
Fair enough. Now consider your slapping done, because I slap back, and a PMSing woman will slap harder, I guarantee it.
"I'm all full of sunlight and rainbows. True story."
Yeah, yeah. And Obama's as straight as Chuck Norris.
In fact, as far as "The Bieb" (as Gunner calls him) is concerned, he might be thinking "rein-beau."
I think that’s a “composed” (put-together) photograph...unless “Murderous Mary” was not that big of an elephant. I’ve seen and stood next to wrecker cranes like that one...an elephant would look a bit bigger compared to the crane.
Uh oh.. we got a real tough guy here.
Disturbing, that. Okay, sunlight and rainbows granted.
Well written. Like you I find some people just tiresome here on FR. The notion that someone has more credibility just because they’ve been here longer sounds like something out of a union thug’s handbook.
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