Mary The Elephant: One Of The Most Shocking And Brutal Chapter Of Human History?

Mary The Elephant

An elephant was Lynched just to appease a mob during an era when lynching was common and people find it amusing. It was during a dark time when many victims were black men found guilty of crimes such as ‘fighting a white man’ and having ‘bad character’.

Mighty Mary was a 5-ton Asian elephant who was part of an elephant contingent that traveled with the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. Mary’s talents included picking out 25 tunes on musical horns, which she tooted with her trunk. She was also the champion pitcher on the circus’s baseball team.

Events That Led To The Lynching Of Mary The Elephant

On September 11, 1916, a homeless man named Red Eldridge was hired as an assistant elephant trainer by the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. Apparently, his job requirement was just to know how to use an elephant stick (a sharpened spear). The next day, the circus advertised its presence in the town of Kingsport, Tennessee, with an elephant parade.

Tragedy struck when Mary flew into a rage. Apparently, as she was nibbling on a watermelon rind, Eldridge had tried to keep her in line by he prodding her behind the ear with a hook. Awestruck, helpless onlookers witnessed how she snatched him with her trunk, threw him against a drink stand, and stepped on his head, crushing it.

Within minutes, the local blacksmith who thought she had become savage fired 5 rounds into her with little effect. Other onlookers quickly recovered from the scene and began chanting, “Kill the elephant! Let’s kill it.”

Meanwhile, the leaders of several nearby towns threatened not to allow the circus to visiting 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 wounded elephant in public.

On the following day, a foggy and rainy September 13, 1916, Mary was transported by rail to Unicoi County, Tennessee, where a crowd of over 2,500 people (including most of the town’s children) assembled in the Clinchfield Railroad yard.

It took 2 tries to kill the elephant who trembled while waiting as if she knew what was coming. Using not a rope but a chain, the men tied it to a crane and attempted to lift her up. However, 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.

The Fact That Put Everyone To Shame

A veterinarian examined Mary after the hanging and determined that she had a severely infected tooth in the precise spot where Red Eldridge had prodded her. In her innocent animal instinct, she had only responded in kind and thus was lynched by a bloodthirsty mob.

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