Meet Murderous Mary
Muderous Mary has one of the most tragic lives I have ever read about, as far as circus elephants go. During a parade, Mary’s inexperienced trainer had hit her with a bullhook to keep her in line. Mary had a tooth abscess and her handler made the mistake of hitting the infected area, causing extreme pain and Mary, like a lot of circus elephants, snapped at that instant. Mary threw the handler to the ground and stamped on his head. This had been the third death Mary had caused and as a result, she was sentenced to death and given the wonderful nickname “murderous Mary”. Many ideas as to how to execute the animal were tossed around, but the idea of hanging her was what was decided. The execution itself went horribly wrong and was immensely painful for poor Mary. Her foot was tied to the railway, so she wouldn’t run away, and a chain attached to a crane was placed around her neck. The crane lifted, and nobody though to untie her foot so as it pulled up her bones and ligaments snapped. Once Mary was about five feet off of the ground, the chain holding her up snapped under her weight and she fell to the ground, breaking her hip. Some of the onlookers (this was a public event that was free for the town, and was treated as a spectacle) began to flee at that point. Mary was not yet dead, so a tougher chain was attached to her neck and she was raised back up and hanged. That evening, the circus went on as usual but during the show, one of the elephants escaped and bolted to the site of Mary’s death. In the wild, elephants will visit the bones of fallen herd members often and it is unknown whether this elephant was paying his own type of respects to Mary, or simply looking for her. He was captured and brought back to the circus, where he lived the remainder of his life.
Mary’s life and death was a cruel form of entertainment. The circus kills, and there are many instances of tragic elephant deaths, as well as handlers.
Rest in peace Mary.