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Old 09-26-2007, 08:15 PM   #1
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Electrocuting an Elephant

by Thomas A Edison (yes, THAT Thomas Edison )

Topsy (c 1875 - Jan 4, '03), was a trained elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Coney Island's Luna Park. Due to her having killed three men in as many years (including an abusive trainer who attempted to feed her a lit cigarette), Topsy was deemed a threat to people by her owners and put down via electrocution on January 4, 1903. Inventor Thomas Edison captured the event on film. He would release it later that year under the title, Electrocuting an Elephant.

An initial means of execution discussed was hanging. However, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals protested and other ways were considered. Edison then suggested electrocution, in order to discredit the use of AC electricity that was cutting into the market for his DC electricity. Edison then convinced the ASPCA that this would be more humane.

To augment the execution, Topsy was fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide before 6,600 volts of electricity were sent coursing through her body. She was dead in well under a minute. The event was witnessed by an estimated 1,500 people and Edison's film of the event was seen by audiences throughout the United States.

Luna Park burned down in a spectacular fire in 1944.

On July 20, 2003, a memorial for Topsy was erected at the Coney Island Museum
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:33 AM   #2
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wtf? man i was expecting this to be one of those videos where some creepy girl pops up and screams, scaring the outta you.. not actually electricuting an elephant
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:32 AM   #3
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I remember hearing that story when I toured Ford's estate a few years back, sucks for the Elephant...

He wanted to show how dangerous AC power could be, hence the electric chair.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:40 AM   #4
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:44 PM   #6
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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poor thing. That's a horrible death
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