Saint Paul, VA

Mary, the circus elephant that was executed for murder

Maya Devi

On September 13, Mary, a five-ton Asian elephant, was publicly hanged for killing a human that hurt her. The mighty elephant, owned by the Sparks World Famous Shows (a popular circus show), claimed that she was 3 inches taller than Jumbo.

The story of Mary, the elephant

On September 11, 1916, Sparks World Famous Shows Circus arrived in the small town of St. Paul, Virginia. A vagrant named Walter Eldridge, famously known as 'Red,' was hired as an assistant trainer despite his lack of experience. He was told to wield the elephant stick, a spear-shaped rod that is used to guide elephants.

The circus company had asked all its employees to use the stick gently in order to not hurt the elephants.

One day, the elephants were being taken to the watering ditch, when Mary got distracted by watermelon on the ground. When she stopped to eat it, Eldridge prompted her from the back harshly which irritated her.

So she lifted Eldridge with her trunk, flung him against a drink stand. Since that day, the elephant has been called "Murderous Mary." The crowd witnessed this incident and chanted "kill the elephant."

Charlie Sparks, the owner of the circus company, was shocked to hear this and was asked to make a decision. Thinking about the future of his business, he decided to hang Mary to death.

A 100-ton crane that was used to lift railway carriages was brought from Erwin, a nearby town. Mary was tied to a rail, a chain was placed around her head, and was lifted by the crane. Although the first chain broke after she was raised five feet from the ground, a stronger chain was used then. She was declared dead after being hanged for half an hour.

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I have done my graduation in history and politics. I write unique and interesting articles focused on our day to day life.


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