Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What the H E... Double Hockey Sticks??????

Capital punishment for elephants? Maybe, but this just seems so bizarre. The story of Topsy the elephant, who was a part of the Forepaugh Circus, by January 1903 she had been accused of killing 3 keepers in 3 years. Two in Texas then she was sent to Coney Island, New York to perform, where she killed another keeper. She was then sentenced to die by hanging (?!?!) but protests by New York's ASPCA had this changed to death by electrocution. And who better than to handle this than Thomas Edison, he was the expert after all. After inventing the electric chair for humans it would only stand to reason he would be the man for handling euthenasia for bad elephants, right?

Bad Elephant Killed
Topsy Meets Quick and
Painless Death at Coney Island.
Topsy, the ill-tempered Coney Island elephant, was put to death in Luna Park, Coney Island, yesterday afternoon. The execution was witnessed by 1,500 or more curious persons, who went down to the island to see the end of the huge beast, to whom they had fed peanuts and cakes in summers that are gone. In order to make Topsy's execution quick and sure 460 grams of cyanide of potassium were fed to her in carrots. Then a hawser was put around her neck and one end attached to a donkey engine and the other to a post. Next wooden sandals lined with copper were attached to her feet. These electrodes were connected by copper wire with the Edison electric light plant and a current of 6,600 volts was sent through her body. The big beast died without a trumpet or a groan.Topsy was brought to this country twenty-eight years ago by the Forepaugh Circus, and has been exhibited throughout the United States. She was ten feet high and 19 feet 11 inches in length. Topsy developed a bad temper two years ago and killed two keepers in Texas. Last spring, when the Forepaugh show was in Brooklyn, J. F. Blount, a keeper, tried to feed a lighted cigarette to her. She picked him up with her trunk and dashed him to the ground, killing him instantly. The Commercial Advisor January 5, 1903

Topsy must have been a rough old girl, and was taken down, by three strikes and your out. But if someone fed me a lighted cigarette, I would have my first strike. It seems that the event was a big money maker for the circus and that a good time was had by all. Once again I ask, what the hell?

May contain objectionable material. Not suitable for all audiences.


High Desert Diva said...

Found you through A Musements...glad I did!

Very interesting posts:
The Caddis Fly
Datamancer (new fav)
hubcab art

Love it all!

yellowdog granny said...

oh man...I couldn't watch the video..didn't want to watch the video...someone tried to feed me a lit cigarette, I'd thump him on the ground telling what kind of treatment she got...poor ole elfnut..

Edgar and Edgar said...

That is sooo sad...It just makes you wonder....Perhaps there was a reason for killing 3 keepers. cruelty?


Lady Lavona said...

This is so sad! In the late 1880s, Edison was embroiled in the "War of Currents" with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Edison had promoted the use of direct current (DC) for electric power distribution, whereas Westinghouse and Tesla wanted to use alternating current (AC).

This excecution was a sort of sideshow Edison used to promote Direct Current vs. Alternating Current. Despite of Edison’s publicity campaign, Tesla’s AC system won out in the end.

Though he was against capital punishment, Edison (and a hired employee named Harold P. Brown) developed the electric chair.

Designs by CK said...

OH MY!!! :(