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Author Topic: Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916  (Read 18187 times)

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« on: 12/11/2008 22:42:03 »

 
1916 was an era of uncertain times. World War I was raging, "disposable" income was pretty thin, and entertainments such as circuses, had to have a real draw, to survive. For Charlie Sparks, that was his much-touted elephant, Mary. 

Sparks was a bitter man. His traveling show filled only ten measly railway cars, not the 42 it took to move John Robinson's Four Ring Circus, his biggest competitor. And Robinson had a dozen elephants to Sparks' five. But Sparks had Mary.

Charlie Sparks flogged his circus as honest, and delivering the goods. Then of course, he inflated Mary's credits/accomplishments to outlandish measures. She was reportedly three inches bigger than P.T. Barnum's Jumbo. The talented pachyderm could play 25 tunes on horns without missing a note. Her batting average in a baseball routine was a solid .400. But...she was temperamental. She had killed somewhere between 2 and 18 men. The number depended on how reluctant a crowd was to buy tickets.




In September of 1916, Mary made that claim to fame come true, at least once. She killed Red Eldridge, a drifter who had been taken on at Kingsport, Tennessee as an elephant handler, a job he knew nothing about. The next day, while taking her to a nearby pond, Mary killed Eldridge.

Eyewitness accounts were of little use, since they varied from the possible to the improbable, except that the end result was the same: Mary had struck or grabbed the man with her trunk and he had been thrown to the ground and stepped on.

A blacksmith immediately shot the elephant five times with a 32-20, to no effect. The local Sheriff then had a go at shooting her as well, with as little result. Sparks' was desperate. He knew his circus would never play the state again, if something wasn't done. So the elephant had to pay. In the end, they hung Mary from a railroad car derrick. There was no extra charge for admission.



 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #1 on: 13/11/2008 00:32:45 »
from http://www.thisishartlepool.co.uk/history/thehartlepoolmonkey.asp



The monkey-hanging legend is the most famous story connected with Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic Wars a French ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool coast.

During the Napoleonic Wars there was a fear of a French invasion of Britain and much public concern about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies.
 
The fishermen of Hartlepool fearing an invasion kept a close watch on the French vessel as it struggled against the storm but when the vessel was severely battered and sunk they turned their attention to the wreckage washed ashore. Among the wreckage lay one wet and sorrowful looking survivor, the ship's pet monkey dressed to amuse in a military style uniform.

The fishermen apparently questioned the monkey and held a beach-based trial. Unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like they came to the conclusion that this monkey was a French spy and should be sentenced to death. The unfortunate creature was to die by hanging, with the mast of a fishing boat (a coble) providing a convenient gallows.
 

Offline Don_1

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #2 on: 13/11/2008 08:05:36 »
I love the scene in Blazing Saddles where a man and his horse are about to be hung. I couldn't find a clip of this scene, so here's the camp fire scene instead.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=R6dm9rN6oTs
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #3 on: 13/11/2008 11:06:42 »
Hi Doc and hi Don ....

its all mad stuff...... yea thanks.   :)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #4 on: 13/11/2008 11:26:48 »
I love the scene in Blazing Saddles where a man and his horse are about to be hung.

I love that film. The 1st time I saw it was on a double bill with Monty Python & The Holy Grail. I laughed so much my sides were aching by the time I left the cinema.
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #5 on: 13/11/2008 11:34:38 »
me too  :D
 

Offline Don_1

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #6 on: 14/11/2008 08:34:06 »
I think it is still the benchmark for all spoof's.
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #7 on: 14/11/2008 17:07:54 »
Maybe ............. i cant say i was there at the time  myself.......... ;D
 

Offline RD

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #8 on: 15/11/2008 06:22:28 »
Quote
Topsy (born circa 1875, died January 4, 1903), was a domesticated elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Coney Island's Luna Park. Because she had killed three men in as many years (including a severely abusive trainer who attempted to feed her a lit cigarette), Topsy was deemed a threat to people by her owners and killed by electrocution on January 4, 1903.
Inventor Thomas Edison captured the event on film. He would release it later that year under the title Electrocuting an Elephant.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsy_(elephant)   
« Last Edit: 15/11/2008 06:34:11 by RD »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #9 on: 15/11/2008 10:33:57 »
well what do you know? ..............  thanks RD
 

Offline RD

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #10 on: 15/11/2008 16:21:11 »
Electrocuting poor Topsy (and making a snuff-movie of it) was a publicity stunt by Edison to discredit his competitor George Westinghouse...

Quote
Edison carried out a campaign to discourage the use of alternating current, including spreading information on fatal AC accidents, publicly killing animals, and lobbying against the use of AC in state legislatures. Edison directed his technicians, primarily Arthur Kennelly and Harold P. Brown,[12] to preside over several AC-driven executions of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs but also unwanted cattle and horses. Acting on these directives, they were to demonstrate to the press that alternating current was more dangerous than Edison's system of direct current. Edison's series of animal executions peaked with the filmed electrocution of Topsy, a Coney Island circus elephant. He also tried to popularize the term for being electrocuted as being "Westinghoused".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Currents#Edison.27s_publicity_campaign
« Last Edit: 15/11/2008 18:54:38 by RD »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #11 on: 18/11/2008 23:13:23 »
It gets stranger and stranger
 

Offline yor_on

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #12 on: 29/11/2008 21:05:53 »
Nope the hallmark of good taste, and films, is the one in which Peter Sellers play an Indian visiting (?)Hollywood.
If you haven't seen that one i congratulate you to a new reason to continue the 'wheel':)
If I just could remember its name?
-
Oh what a party?
« Last Edit: 29/11/2008 21:08:38 by yor_on »
 

Offline Karen W.

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #13 on: 03/12/2008 09:43:53 »
It Was "The Party"
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #14 on: 04/12/2008 13:13:10 »
emmmmmmmmmmmm Party


LOL

 

paul.fr

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #15 on: 05/12/2008 13:14:32 »
speaking of being well hung...
 

Offline Hadrian

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #16 on: 05/12/2008 23:49:29 »
speaking of being well hung...

LOL  ...............
 

Offline Don_1

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #17 on: 06/12/2008 00:53:17 »
speaking of being well hung...

Boasting about your decorating skills eh!
 

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Elephant was tried and hung for murder in 1916
« Reply #17 on: 06/12/2008 00:53:17 »

 

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