Thursday, June 27, 2013

“Electrocuting an Elephant,” January 4, 1903

Watch this video at your own risk! It was shot by a film crew hired by inventor and early electricity entrepreneur Thomas A. Edison, and shows Topsy--an Asian elephant then in her late 20s--being executed by electricity at Coney Island’s Luna Park. For more information about this unjustly treated pachyderm, see Michael Daly’s quite excellent new book, Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison (Atlantic Monthly Press).

READ MORE:The Execution of an Elephant,” by Marc Estrin (The Rag Blog); “Topsy the Elephant,” by Jessica Zimmerman (History by Zim); “An Elephant Dies at Coney Island” (Ephemeral New York): “Memorial to Topsy,” by Lee Deigaard.

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