Mary was the star of the circus – she could pick out 25 tunes on musical horns using her trunk. She was also the champion pitcher of the circus’ baseball team.
Mary, or “Murderous Mary” as she would later be known, was ridden by 38-year-old Walter Eldridge, [who] had only joined the circus the day before and had no experience of handling elephants.
Mary happened to be suffering from a painfully abscessed tooth. She stopped during the parade to chew on a piece of watermelon rind and Eldridge jabbed her to keep moving, catching her on the exact spot of the infection.
She reached up with her trunk, pushed Eldridge to the ground and stomped on his head.
Predictably, the crowd went berserk with chants of, “Kill the elephant, kill the elephant”, while Mary stood rather calmly. A local blacksmith fired five rounds of ammunition at the elephant, but they could do no damage to her thick hide. Even circus-owner Charlie Spark bailed on Mary – he decided to kill her to appease the crowd and avoid canceling dates in other cities.
There was much deliberation on the method of killing. Some suggested that Mary be crushed between two railway engines. Others asked for her head and legs to be tied to trains heading off in opposite directions, dismembering her alive.
Finally, Spark settled on the sensational idea of hanging.
Not that hanging an elephant is easy, and the individuals in question were looking for spectacle rather than mercy.
Via Oddity Central for the full incredibly depressing story.