Mary (elephant)

Mary (elephant)
The hanging of 'Mary'

Mary was a five ton Asian elephant who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early twentieth century.

Contents

The death of Red Eldridge

On September 11, 1916, a hotel worker named Red Eldridge was hired as an assistant elephant trainer by the circus. On the evening of September 12 he was killed by Mary in Kingsport, Tennessee, while taking her to a nearby pond to splash and drink.[1] There are several accounts of his death but the most widely accepted version[citation needed] is that he prodded her behind the ear with a hook after she reached down to nibble on a watermelon rind. She went into a rage, snatched Eldridge with her trunk, threw him against a drink stand and stepped on his head, crushing it.

Execution

The details of the aftermath are confused in a maze of sensationalist newspaper stories and folklore. Most accounts indicate that she calmed down afterward and didn't charge the onlookers, who began chanting, "Kill the elephant!" Apparently[according to whom?] within minutes, a local blacksmith tried to kill Mary, firing more than two dozen rounds with little effect. Newspapers[which?] published claims that Murderous Mary had killed several workers in the past and noted that she was larger than the world famous Jumbo the elephant. Meanwhile, the leaders of several nearby towns threatened not to allow the circus to visit if Mary was included. The circus owner, Charlie Sparks, reluctantly decided that the only way to quickly resolve the potentially ruinous situation was to kill the elephant in public. On the following day, a foggy and rainy September 13, 1916, she was transported by rail to Erwin, Tennessee, where a crowd of over 2,500 people (including most of the town's children) assembled in the Clinchfield Railroad yard.

The elephant was hanged by the neck from a railcar-mounted industrial crane. The first attempt resulted in a snapped chain, causing Mary to fall and break her hip as dozens of children fled in terror. The severely wounded elephant died during a second attempt and was buried beside the tracks. Although the authenticity of a widely distributed (and heavily retouched) photo of her death was disputed years later by Argosy magazine, other photographs taken during the incident confirm its provenance.[citation needed]

References in popular media

George Brant's 2008 play Elephant's Graveyard tells the story of Mary's execution through the circus members and the residents of Erwin.[2]

Writer Caleb Lewis has written a play about Mary and the events that led to her execution entitled Clinchfield. The play premiered at Flinders University on 22 July 2009.

Singer songwriter Chuck Brodsky has written a song titled "Mary The Elephant".

References

See also

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sister Mary Elephant — is a comedy skit by Cheech and Chong. The recording was released as a single in 1973 and climbed to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974. It was also included on Cheech and Chong s second album, Big Bambu, released in 1972.ynopsisThe title… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary — is a female given name. Mary may also refer to: This section lists people commonly referred to solely by this name. Contents 1 Religious contexts 2 Royalty …   Wikipedia

  • Mary (disambiguation) — Mary may refer to:People with the name MaryMusic* Bloody Mary (band), Italian musical group * Mary (album), a 1999 album by R B singer Mary J. Blige * Mary from Dungloe (festival), the music festival held in Dungloe, Ireland * Mary Mary, gospel… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Ann Smith — is alderman of the 48th ward of the City of Chicago; she was appointed in 1989 by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace Kathy Osterman;[1] she was first elected in 1991. On February 27, 2007 she was re elected to her fifth full term of office.[2]… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark — Mary Donaldson redirects here. See also Mary Donaldson, Baroness Donaldson of Lymington. Mary Crown Princess of Denmark; Countess of Monpezat …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Jane Merrick — Mary Jane Merricks date of birth has been given erroneously as 19 May 1837, but new records show she was born on 20 November, 1836 and died 19 May, 1873). She was the mother of a well known 19th century historical figure called Joseph Carey… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Astor — from the trailer for The Great Lie (1941) Born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke May 3, 1906(1906 05 03) Quincy …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Leakey — Born 6 February 1913(1913 02 06) London, England …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Roach — speaking at TED in 2009. Photograph by Bill Holsinger Robinson. Born Etna, New Hampshire Occupation Author (non fiction) …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Scott — Mary Edith Scott geb. Clarke (* 23. September 1888 in Waimate North in der Bay of Islands; † 16. Juli 1979 in Tokoroa) war eine neuseeländische Bestsellerautorin. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Wirken 2 Werke 3 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”