It is hard to say whether the picture is fake or real . Either way , the story of Mary - the only elephant in the world to be deleted hanged - will send shivers down your spine . Cruelty towards animals is by no means rare , but stories like this seriously leave you wondering if there's any hope for us humans .
Mary 's fate was sealed on a cold afternoon in February 1916 when traveling circus Charlie 's Spark arrived in the small town of Kingsport , Tennessee . He was the star of the circus - he could pick out 25 musical sound horn with her trunk . He was also the champion pitcher circus ' baseball team . As a promotional activity , conducted the circus parade along the main street that day . Maria , or ' fatal Mary ' as he was known later, was ridden by a 38 - year -old Walter Eldridge .
Eldridge happened to be a drifter - he has just joined the circus before the day and had no experience of handling elephants . But that was of no concern ; she would do fine as long as he can handle the ' elephant stick ' - a long shaft with a sharp spear tip . Jumbo Stick is a well- known instrument that evokes intense fear out of tortured creatures. To make an elephant to perform tricks , it first must be broken down into subservience . And that's where the stick comes in handy . Trainers repeatedly poke the giant creatures until they bleed profusely . Eventually they will do anything the trainer asks , to avoid the stick .
Mary was obviously trained to stick too . He wants to do as long as he held Eldridge arranged it - or so he thought . Unfortunately , on that fateful afternoon , happened to be suffering from an abscessed tooth painfully Mary . He stopped during the parade to chew on a piece of watermelon rind and Eldridge jabbed him to keep moving , tackle him to the exact spot of infection .
Once he made the decision to kill the elephant , I suppose Spark would milk it for all its worth . So he made a spectacle of killing . There was much deliberation in the way of killing ( can see elephants eating poison and electrocution is not an option in a small town ) . Some suggested that Mary was crushed between two railway engines . Others asked for his head and legs tied to the train heading off opposite directions , dismembering his life .
Finally , Spark lived with spectacular idea of hanging . Anyone heard of hanging an elephant - the idea sounds very ridiculous, right ? But Spark had plans of his own . The town of Erwin - the circus ' next stop - had a 100 - ton crane used to lift the train carriages . It was perfect for the job . He even offered the crowd a free viewing of the wind , in exchange for use of the crane .
On the day of the hanging, Mary led the railway yard with the other four elephants from the circus . A chain was placed around his head and one of his legs are tethered to a rail to stop her from running away . As the crane whirred into action and hoisted him up , a loud crunching noise filled the air . The genius seems to have forgotten to release the chain around the legs of Mary - her bones and ligaments of NASA under all the strain .
But it is nowhere near the end . The tragic comedy of errors continues - he raised only 5 feet in the air when NASA's chain and he crashes to the ground , breaking his hip immediately . " It made a right smart little racket , " recalled one of the viewers . Mary was in terrible pain as a stronger chain attached to his neck . This time , worked workmanship .
Mary was raised high in the air as her great legs thrashed around and he slowly choked to death . The audience cheered and laughed , even while he discharged terrible shrieks of agony. He was left hanging for half - an hour before declared a vet her dead .
The picture of the gruesome end of Mary are often perceived to be a fake . Comparing it to other photos taken at the time, however , do not point towards its authenticity . It is rumored that a large grave is dug out for her with a steam shovel , but the exact location is not known .
And here's the bit that really breaks your heart - as the circus prepares to leave , one of the remaining elephants broke away from the common man and ran back toward the site of the hanging . Perhaps it is mimicking the behavior of wild elephants back bone of fallen members of the family for many years . Or maybe it was just looking for Mary . Either way , Mary is gone for good . And that's the only consolation - its muted suffering is finally put to an end .