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79082.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:25 am Reply with quote

Taken to "Tusk"
1916 was an era of uncertain times. World War I was raging, "disposable" income was pretty thin, and entertainments such as circuses, had to have a real draw, to survive. For Charlie Sparks, that was his much-touted elephant, Mary.

Sparks was a bitter man. His traveling show filled only ten measly railway cars, not the 42 it took to move John Robinson's Four Ring Circus, his biggest competitor. And Robinson had a dozen elephants to Sparks' five. But Sparks had Mary.

Charlie Sparks flogged his circus as honest, and delivering the goods. Then of course, he inflated Mary's credits/accomplishments to outlandish measures. She was reportedly three inches bigger than P.T. Barnum's Jumbo. The talented pachyderm could play 25 tunes on horns without missing a note. Her batting average in a baseball routine was a solid .400. But...she was temperamental. She had killed somewhere between 2 and 18 men. The number depended on how reluctant a crowd was to buy tickets.

In September of 1916, Mary made that claim to fame come true, at least once. She killed Red Eldridge, a drifter who had been taken on at Kingsport, Tennessee as an elephant handler, a job he knew nothing about. The next day, while taking her to a nearby pond, Mary killed Eldridge.

Eyewitness accounts were of little use, since they varied from the possible to the improbable, except that the end result was the same: Mary had struck or grabbed the man with her trunk and he had been thrown to the ground and stepped on.

A blacksmith immediately shot the elephant five times with a 32-20, to no effect. The local Sheriff then had a go at shooting her as well, with as little result. Sparks' was desperate. He knew his circus would never play the state again, if something wasn't done. So the elephant had to pay. In the end, they hung Mary from a railroad car derrick. There was no extra charge for admission.

That is the full story from the above source. Maybe no-one gave Mr Eldridge proper health and safety training with regard to elepant handling.

Quaintly Ignorant
79083.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:28 am Reply with quote

Make a sentence with the follwoing words:

Asylum Runnning Lunatics The Are The

79084.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:32 am Reply with quote

Ooh! Ooh! Me!
"The running lunatics are the asylum"
Do I get points?? :D

79090.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:20 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Was this just an attempt to outdo Sunderland?

If this is a reference to the monkey hanged as a French spy, then that was in Hartlepool, not Sunderland.


79099.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:13 pm Reply with quote

You are absolutely right, and I, not for the first time, am hideously wrong.
Apologies to all Mackems... and to Hartlepudlians, who do not like to be reminded of their ancestors' infamous error.

Should I shut up now?

79105.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:15 pm Reply with quote

I think some Hartlepool people quite like to be reminded of it - the football team's mascot is a monkey named H'Angus. In 2002 Stuart Drummond/H'Angus won the race to be the town's first directly-elected mayor, and increased his majority in 2005.

79141.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:26 pm Reply with quote

Experiments have shown that bee hives can be used like scarecrows to keep elephants away from trees and crops. Although generally thick-skinned, elephants have weak spots under the belly, behind the ears, around the eyes and inside the trunk, and Maasai bee-keepers report entire herds of elephants being chased up to 5 km by swarms of bees. Attaching an occupied hive to a tree will guarantee that no elephant will graze on it, and even empty hives provide some deterrent effect, as does a recording of buzzing bee noises.

(Fritz Vollrath and Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Naturwissenschaften, 1 Nov 2002)

79150.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:48 pm Reply with quote

Rudyard Kipling mentions bees in the Jungle Book. Hathi is the elephant and the dhole are packs of wild dogs.

‘This is the Place of Death,’ said the boy. ‘Why do we come here?’

‘They sleep,’ said Kaa. ‘Hathi will not turn aside for the Striped One. Yet Hathi and the Striped One together turn aside for the dhole, and the dhole they say turn aside for nothing. And yet for whom do the Little People of the Rocks turn aside? Tell me, Master of the Jungle, who is the Master of the Jungle?’

‘These,’ Mowgli whispered. ‘It is the Place of Death. Let us go.’

‘Nay, look well, for they are asleep. It is as it was when I was not the length of thy arm.’

The split and weatherworn rocks of the gorge of the Waingunga had been used since the beginning of the Jungle by the Little People of the Rocks—the busy, furious, black wild bees of India; and, as Mowgli knew well, all trails turned off half a mile before they reached the gorge. For centuries the Little People had hived and swarmed from cleft to cleft, and swarmed again, staining the white marble with stale honey, and made their combs tall and deep in the dark of the inner caves, where neither man nor beast nor fire nor water had ever touched them. The length of the gorge on both sues was hung as it were with black shimmery velvet curtains, and Mowgli sank as he looked, for those were the clotted millions of the sleeping bees. There were other lumps and festoons and things like decayed tree-trunks studded on the face of the rock, the old combs of past years, or new cities built in the shadow of the windless gorge, and huge masses of spongy, rotten trash had rolled down and stuck among the trees and creepers that clung to the rockface. As he listened he heard more than once the rustle and slide of a honey-loaded comb turning over or falling away somewhere in the dark galleries; then a booming of angry wings, and the sullen drip, drip, drip, of the wasted honey, guttering along till it lipped over some ledge in the open air and sluggishly trickled down on the twigs. There was a tiny little beach, not five feet broad, on one side of the river, and that was piled high with the rubbish of uncounted years. There were dead bees, drones, sweepings, and stale combs, and wings of marauding moths that had strayed in after honey, all tumbled in smooth piles of the finest black dust. The mere sharp smell of it was enough to frighten anything that had no wings, and knew what the Little People were.

The Second Jungle Book - The Red Dog.

Hans Mof
79152.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:59 pm Reply with quote

Since no1 school swot more or less begged for an elephant-related nob gag post 78841 ...

During the musth elephants penises turn green, this is caused by a constant streaming of urine down the legs of the males. The penis becomes coated in an algal layer, giving it a green sheen. It could be a signal to the females. Perhaps it indicates to them that this is a high quality bull. Not only has he managed to exclude the other males from accessing her, but he can afford to spend the whole day following, and still gather enough water to produce all that urine. Certainly the kind of male to father my children!

Furthermore, the penis of the elephant is like a mobile probicis (almost as flexible as the trunk) that can be manouvered into position during the course of copulation. The reason for this is because even though elephants will copulate on top of one another, there is a great distance between the male and female genitalia.

These qi bits of information should be a firm basis for some smutty jokes.

82701.  Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:47 am Reply with quote

If this is a reference to the monkey hanged as a French spy, then that was in Hartlepool, not Sunderland.

I'm pretty sure that this incident never happened, especially as a number of other towns in the UK have suspiciously similar claims. (no source other than a healthy suspicion - I would be happy if someone could prove me wrong)

However, one animal story which is true concerns an Elephant which walked from Edinburgh to Manchester (via Bolton, of course).

In 1872, a certain James Jennison of Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Manchester bought a number of animals at auction in Edinburgh, including a pachyderm named Maharajah. However transporting the beast proved a little harder than expected when the elephant trashed the railway wagon which was meant to transport him.

Maharajah's trainer, Lorenzo Lawrence had a solution though, deciding that he would walk the elephant to Manchester*, setting off on an 10 day trek, covering around 20 miles a day, which would capture the public's imagination and secure the fortune of Jennison, Lawrence and Maharajah.

Online report
"The Elephant Who Walked to Manchester" by David Barnaby.
"The Barnsley Whale" by Steve Deput.

*Barnaby speculates that Lawrence may have deliberately made Maharajah trash the train, and the walk was part of a scheme by the elephant-tamer to ensure future employment.

82716.  Sun Jul 30, 2006 3:34 pm Reply with quote

In the early 19th Century it was illegal for British subjects to travel on the same deck as the famous elephant "Jumbo".

S: "The Barnsley Whale" by Steve Deput.
online source

Interestingly, the online source mentions that PT Barnum merchandised "Jumbo Peanut Butter" which is ironic, as the remains of the mammal currently lie in a peanut butter jar at Taft University in Massechussets.

82829.  Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:47 am Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:
Since no1 school swot more or less begged for an elephant-related nob gag post 78841 ...

Ahem, it was merely a suggestion, based upon quite realistic expectations. That stuff is interesting though, so I'll let you off.

82943.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:25 am Reply with quote

During World War II, the very first bomb dropped on Berlin by the Allies killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

This has troubled me for some time, it can't be true; can it? I mean, I've never been to Berlin, but I'm informed that the zoo is slap-bang in the centre. Any accounts I've read about the first raid on the city explicitly say that the RAF targetted "industrial targets" in the outskirts.

I dunno, it smacks of a duck's quack to me. Anyone got any leads?

Hans Mof
82946.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:39 am Reply with quote

Berlin Zoo suffered 3 attacks in WWII (1941,1943,1944).
Only 91 animals (of 3,715) survived the war, among which an Asian elephant bull.

82958.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:19 am Reply with quote

Hans Wrote:
Berlin Zoo suffered 3 attacks in WWII (1941,1943,1944).

That's interesting, because the first bombs to hit Berlin were in August 1940.

I smell general ignorance here. Is this story well known enough to be debunked?


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