The Hanging of Mary the Elephant

This is one of the most strangest stories I have read in a long time. An elephant handler is killed by Mary the Elephant , so..

That night, Charlie and Addie Sparks had to make the most difficult decision of their circus careers. After all those years with Mary they had become so attached to her, but they couldn’t take a chance that she might harm a circus patron. They decided to have her destroyed.

But how were they to destroy a 7500 pound elephant? Shooting her in four soft spots on her head might have worked but was too risky with the crowd of curiosity seekers that the story attracted. She was too smart to eat food laced with cyanide. In 1903 an elephant had been electrocuted at Coney Island, but that was with the help of Thomas Edison. Kingsport or Erwin did not have enough electrical power for an electrocution. Clinchfield could use two engines to crush Mary, or the derrick could be used for hanging her.

There is the story and picture from this website.
(via Monkeyfilter)


  1. My favorite part about the Topsy story was how Edison wanted to use that as an example of the dangers of Alternating Current. Even the wizard of Menlo Park could be an idiot sometimes.

    That is a pitiful picture and story isn’t it Ed? I would like to think that we are a bit more humane today. (But I think we know the answer to that.)

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