Their film of the electrocution part was released to be viewed in coin-operated kinetoscopes under the title Electrocuting an Elephant. It is probably the first filmed death of an animal in history. The story of Topsy fell into obscurity for the next 70 years but has become more prominent in popular culture, partly due to the fact that the film of the event still exists.
In popular culture Thompson and Dundy's killing of Topsy has switched attribution, with claims it was an anti- alternating current demonstration organized by Thomas A. Edison during the war of the currents. Historians point out that Edison was never at Luna Park and the electrocution of Topsy took place ten years after the war of currents.
Topsy was born in the wild around in Southeast Asia and was captured soon after by elephant traders. Adam Forepaughowner of the Forepaugh Circus, had the elephant secretly smuggled into the United States with plans that he would advertise the baby as the first elephant born in America.
The name "Topsy" came from a slave girl character in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Forepaugh announced to the press in February that his circus now boasted "the only baby elephant ever born on American soil". The elephant trader who sold Topsy to Forepaugh also sold elephants to P. Barnum and tipped Barnum off about the deception. Barnum exposed the hoax publicly and Forepaugh stopped claiming that Topsy was born in America, only advertising that she was the first elephant born outside a tropical zone.
Over the years, Topsy gained a reputation as a "bad" elephant. Accounts vary as to what happened but the common story is that on the morning of May 27,a possibly drunk Blount wandered into the menagerie tent where all the elephants were tied in a line and began teasing them in turn, offering them a bottle of whiskey. He reportedly threw sand in Topsy's face and then burnt the extremely sensitive tip of her trunk with a lit cigar. Journalist Michael Daly, in his book on Topsy, could find no record of anyone being killed by an elephant in Waco, and a handler attacked by Topsy in Paris suffered injuries but there is no record of him dying.
In June during the unloading of Topsy from a train in Kingston, New Yorka spectator named Louis Dodero used a stick in his hand to "tickle" Topsy behind the ear. Topsy seized Dodero around the waist with her trunk, hoisted him high in the air and threw him back down before being stopped by a handler. The elephant's handler from Forepaugh, William "Whitey" Alt,  came along with Topsy to work at the park.
A bad summer season and competition with the nearby Steeplechase Park made Boyton decide to get out of the amusement park business. At the end of the year he leased Sea Lion Park to Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy who proceeded to redevelop it into a much larger attraction and renamed it Luna Park.
During the moving of the Luna in Octoberhandler William Alt was involved in an incident where he stabbed Topsy with a pitchfork trying to get her to pull the amusement ride. When confronted by a police officer, Alt turned Topsy loose from her work harness to run free in the streets, leading to Alt's arrest. The occurrence was attributed to the handler's drinking. In Decembera drunk Alt rode Topsy down the town streets of Coney Island and walked, or tried to ride, Topsy into the local police station.
Accounts say Topsy tried to batter her way through the station door and "she set up a terrific trumpeting", leading the officers to take refuge in the cells. The handler was fired after the incident. Without Alt to handle Topsy, the owners of Luna Park, Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy, claimed they could no longer handle the elephant and tried to get rid of her, but they could not even give her away and no other circus or zoo would take her.
On December 13,Luna Park press agent Charles Murray released a statement to the newspapers that Topsy would be put to death within a few days by electrocution. At least one local paper noted that the steady drone of events and reports regarding Topsy from the park had the hallmarks of a publicity campaign designed to get the new park continually mentioned in the papers.
On hearing Thompson and Dundy's plans, the President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsJohn Peter Hainesstepped in and forbade hanging as a "needlessly cruel means of killing [Topsy]" and also told Thompson and Dundy they could not conduct a public spectacle and charge admission. Thompson and Dundy discussed alternatives with Haines, Strangle The Giant Elephant over methods used in previous attempts to euthanize elephants including poisoning, but that, as well as a attempt to electrocute an elephant named Jumbo II two years earlier in Buffalo, New Yorkwere botched.
They also agreed they would use poisoning and electricity as well. The date of Topsy's demise was finally set for Sunday, January 4, The press attention the event had received brought out an estimated spectators and press photographers as well as agents from the ASPCA to inspect the proceedings.
Thompson and Dundy allowed spectators into the park although more climbed through the park fence. Many more were on the balconies and roofs of nearby buildings, which were charging admission to see the event. The details of the electrocution part of the execution were handled by workers from the local power company, Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Brooklyn, under the supervision of chief electrician P.
At Bay Ridge the staff was told to "get an engine ready and clear a feeder and bus to Coney Island Station". Topsy was led out of her pen into the unfinished Luna Park by Carl Goliath, an expert on elephants who formerly worked for animal showman Carl Hagenbeck. Newspaper accounts of the events noted that Topsy refused to cross the bridge over the lagoon, ignoring prodding by Goliath and even bribes of carrots and apples.
The electricians attached copper-lined sandals connected to AC lines to Topsy's right fore foot and left hind foot so the charge would flow through the elephant's body. At pm Sharkey gave a signal and an electrician on a telephone told the superintendent at Coney Island station nine blocks away to close a switch and Luna Park chief electrician Hugh Thomas closed another one at the park, sending 6, volts from Bay Ridge across Topsy's body for 10 seconds, toppling her to the ground.
According to at least one contemporary account, she died "without a trumpet or a groan". At Strangle The Giant Elephant, Topsy was pronounced dead. During the killing the superintendent of the Coney Island station, Joseph Johansen, became "mixed up in the apparatus" when he threw the switch sending power to the park and was nearly electrocuted.
He was knocked out and left with small burns from the power traveling from his right arm to his left leg. Among the press the day Topsy was put to death was a film crew from the Edison film companypossibly directed by Edwin S. Porter or Jacob Blair Smith. It was released to be added to the lineup of films viewable in Edison kinetoscopes within a few weeks under the title Electrocuting an Elephant.
Electrocuting an Elephant does not seem to have been as popular as other Edison films, and could not even be viewed at Luna Park because the attraction did not have the coin-operated kinetoscopes needed to view it. Mike's Mondo Video. In Heck and a local arts group held a competition to select a memorial arts piece to commemorate the th anniversary of Topsy's death.
The chosen piece, created by New Orleans artist Lee Deigaard and exhibited at the Coney Island USA museum, allowed the public to view Electrocuting an Elephant on a hand-cranked mutoscope while surrounded by hanging chains and standing on a copper plate. In recent years portions of Electrocuting an Elephant have also appeared in Strangle The Giant Elephant, music videos, TV shows, Strangle The Giant Elephant, and video games.
The theme of Topsy's electrocution also appears in songs, in the plot-line of several novels, and in poems such as U. Merwin 's "The Chain to Her Leg". In popular culture, Topsy is often portrayed as being electrocuted in a public demonstration organized by Thomas Edison during the war of the currents to show the dangers of alternating current.
The smallest owl is the elf owlwhich lives in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It will sometimes make its home in the giant saguaro cactus, nesting in holes made by other animals. The long-legged burrowing owl lives in South and North America. One of the few owls that is active during the daytime, it nests in the ground, moving into tunnels excavated by other animals such as prairie dogs.
Then, they'll surround the entrances to their burrows with dung and "sit at the burrow entrance all day long and it looks like they're doing nothing," University of Florida zoologist Douglas Levey told National Geographic.
But they're not doing nothing: They're fishing. The poop is bait for dung beetles, one of the owls' favorite types of prey. But nobody had put two and two together," Levey, co-author of a study announcing the behavior, said.
Owls eat a lot of rodents. A single barn owl family will eat rodents in a four-month breeding cycle. One owl can eat 50 pounds of gophers in a year. Many farmers are installing Strangle The Giant Elephant nesting boxes in the hopes that owls will clean out pests like gophers and voles from their land.
Many owls die each year from eating rodents that have been poisoned. In ancient Greece, the Little Owl was the companion of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, which is Strangle The Giant Elephant reason why owls symbolize learning and knowledge. But Athena was also a warrior goddess and the owl was considered the protector of armies going into war. If Greek soldiers saw an owl fly by during battle, they took it as a sign of coming victory.
From ancient times on, owls have been linked with death, evil, and other superstitions. Many cultures saw owls as a sign of impending death. For example, an owl was said to have predicted the death of Julius Caesar. While this may sound like Halloween fun, many cultures still have superstitions about owls and in some places, owls are killed based on these beliefs. Owls have been popular since ancient times. They show up in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the 30,year-old cave paintings in France.
Falconers have used owls since the Middle Ages, although not as commonly as other birds. Today, we still love owls. Most of the time, anyway—owls can attack humans when feeling threatened. If you're looking for deals on items like Keurigs, BISSELL vacuums, and essential oil diffusers, it's usually pretty slim pickings until the holiday sales roll around. Thankfully, Amazon is starting these deals a little earlier with their Big Fall Salewhere customers can get up to 20 percent off everything from home decor to WFH essentials and kitchen gadgets.
Make sure to see all the deals that the sale has to offer here and check out our favorites below. This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Like many of their behaviors, digging is an instinct.
But where does that impulse come from? Cesar's Way explains that before dogs were domesticated and enjoyed bags of processed dog food set out in a bowl by their helpful human friends, they were responsible for feeding themselves. If they caught a meal, it was important to keep other dogs from running off with it. To help protect their food supply, it was necessary to bury it. Obscuring it under dirt helped keep other dogs off the scent. This behavior persists even when a dog knows some kibble is on the menu.
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