Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Main
   

Introduction
Victims
Suspects
Witnesses
Ripper Letters
Police Officials
Official Documents
Press Reports
Victorian London
Message Boards
Ripper Media
Authors
Dissertations
Timelines
Games & Diversions
Photo Archive
Ripper Wiki
Casebook Examiner
Ripper Podcast
About the Casebook

Most Recent Posts:
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - by cobalt 54 minutes ago.
Hutchinson, George: Any updates, or opinions on this witness. - by DJA 1 hour and 23 minutes ago.
Scene of the Crimes: Mitre Sq, The demise is almost complete - by c.d. 2 hours ago.
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - by Graham 2 hours ago.
Scene of the Crimes: Mitre Sq, The demise is almost complete - by Herlock Sholmes 2 hours ago.
Visual Media: London 1924 in colour - by Herlock Sholmes 2 hours ago.

Most Popular Threads:
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - (8 posts)
Scene of the Crimes: Mitre Sq, The demise is almost complete - (7 posts)
Hutchinson, George: Any updates, or opinions on this witness. - (7 posts)
Torso Killings: torso maps - (7 posts)
Visual Media: London 1924 in colour - (6 posts)
Lechmere/Cross, Charles: Lechmere was Jack the Ripper - (6 posts)

Wiki Updates:
Robert Sagar
Edit: Chris
May 9, 2015, 12:32 am
Online newspaper archives
Edit: Chris
Nov 26, 2014, 10:25 am
Joseph Lawende
Edit: Chris
Mar 9, 2014, 10:12 am
Miscellaneous research resources
Edit: Chris
Feb 13, 2014, 9:28 am
Charles Cross
Edit: John Bennett
Sep 4, 2013, 8:20 pm

Most Recent Blogs:
Mike Covell: A DECADE IN THE MAKING.
February 19, 2016, 11:12 am.
Chris George: RipperCon in Baltimore, April 8-10, 2016
February 10, 2016, 2:55 pm.
Mike Covell: Hull Prison Visit
October 10, 2015, 8:04 am.
Mike Covell: NEW ADVENTURES IN RESEARCH
August 9, 2015, 3:10 am.
Mike Covell: UPDDATES FOR THE PAST 11 MONTHS
November 14, 2014, 10:02 am.
Mike Covell: Mike’s Book Releases
March 17, 2014, 3:18 am.

Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Other Mysteries

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-09-2018, 03:27 PM
Ginger Ginger is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 507
Default 1941 Elephant Poisonings

http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blo...killer-by.html

There's a blog that I read on a fairly regular basis, "Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem". He tends to post a nice mix of entertaining modern crime stories (often the sort where the thug realized too late that the little old lady had a .38 in her purse - I love those!), as well as historic crime accounts.

His post for March 3rd deals with an outbreak of elephants from the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus being poisoned, and associated threats being made against zoo elephants. This all took place in November of 1941, with the first batch of elephants being poisoned in Atlanta, GA on November 5th, and a subsequent poisoning a few days later in Macon, GA. Eleven elephants died altogether. There's an allegation that threats were made to poison the elephants at the National Zoo as well, but that's only on the strength of a statement by the president of the circus, not the police.

Something that's overlooked in the post, (and, one assumes, in the source material) is that the Disney movie "Dumbo" was released only 13 days prior to the first poisonings. It was doing quite well at the box office, and was in fact Disney's first movie to turn a profit, IIRC. It seems difficult to me to imagine that it wouldn't be a natural, well-nigh unavoidable association for someone writing a news article about circus elephants, but the past, as has oft been observed, sees things differently than the present.

It was less than a year later, in August of 1942, that Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey also suffered a fire to their animal tents in Cleveland, which killed a number of elephants, along with other animals. Most investigators of the time believed that to have been an accident. The circus had been set up close by the train tracks, and it was believed that an ember from a passing train had started the fire. (As a personal aside, I once rode in an open-topped car on a holiday excursion train being pulled by a steam engine, and at least once, and IIRC twice, we got showered with burning embers. Using my personal experience as a yardstick, I'm surprised that most of the country didn't burn down repeatedly during the Age of Steam.)

In July of 1944, when the RBBB big top burned in Hartford, CT, killing 167 people, in what was commonly held, although never proven, to have been an act of arson, the menagerie fire came under scrutiny again, as perhaps forming part of a pattern. So far as I know, nothing came of that.

It's pure speculation on my part, but I tend to wonder whether Dumbo played a part in motivating the elephant poisoner, and whether the subsequent menagerie fire might have been related. The elephant herd in Dumbo, apart from Dumbo and his mother, were not at all nice people. I first saw that at the age of about five or so, and the scenes where Dumbo was being tormented by the grownup elephants, and (far worse) where his mother was taken away from him and chained up were quite frightening to me. What if someone with emotional issues from past mistreatment saw Dumbo, and reacted to it, and found some sort of vicarious revenge in killing the elephants? It's all rampant speculation on my part, but I do tend to wonder.
__________________
- Ginger
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-10-2018, 12:32 AM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is online now
Chief Inspector
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,659
Default

Very interesting post and link. I've never heard of these elephant murders. I think there is a clue in the mention that "The Ballet of the Elephants" was a major draw. That suggests someone who might have wanted the circus to fail, or at least have a disadvantage, that season.

Disgruntled employee definitely sounds like a good bet.
__________________
Pat D.
---------------
Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
---------------
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-17-2018, 10:19 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
Superintendent
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Flushing, New York
Posts: 2,758
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger View Post
http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blo...killer-by.html

There's a blog that I read on a fairly regular basis, "Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem". He tends to post a nice mix of entertaining modern crime stories (often the sort where the thug realized too late that the little old lady had a .38 in her purse - I love those!), as well as historic crime accounts.

His post for March 3rd deals with an outbreak of elephants from the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus being poisoned, and associated threats being made against zoo elephants. This all took place in November of 1941, with the first batch of elephants being poisoned in Atlanta, GA on November 5th, and a subsequent poisoning a few days later in Macon, GA. Eleven elephants died altogether. There's an allegation that threats were made to poison the elephants at the National Zoo as well, but that's only on the strength of a statement by the president of the circus, not the police.

Something that's overlooked in the post, (and, one assumes, in the source material) is that the Disney movie "Dumbo" was released only 13 days prior to the first poisonings. It was doing quite well at the box office, and was in fact Disney's first movie to turn a profit, IIRC. It seems difficult to me to imagine that it wouldn't be a natural, well-nigh unavoidable association for someone writing a news article about circus elephants, but the past, as has oft been observed, sees things differently than the present.

It was less than a year later, in August of 1942, that Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey also suffered a fire to their animal tents in Cleveland, which killed a number of elephants, along with other animals. Most investigators of the time believed that to have been an accident. The circus had been set up close by the train tracks, and it was believed that an ember from a passing train had started the fire. (As a personal aside, I once rode in an open-topped car on a holiday excursion train being pulled by a steam engine, and at least once, and IIRC twice, we got showered with burning embers. Using my personal experience as a yardstick, I'm surprised that most of the country didn't burn down repeatedly during the Age of Steam.)

In July of 1944, when the RBBB big top burned in Hartford, CT, killing 167 people, in what was commonly held, although never proven, to have been an act of arson, the menagerie fire came under scrutiny again, as perhaps forming part of a pattern. So far as I know, nothing came of that.

It's pure speculation on my part, but I tend to wonder whether Dumbo played a part in motivating the elephant poisoner, and whether the subsequent menagerie fire might have been related. The elephant herd in Dumbo, apart from Dumbo and his mother, were not at all nice people. I first saw that at the age of about five or so, and the scenes where Dumbo was being tormented by the grownup elephants, and (far worse) where his mother was taken away from him and chained up were quite frightening to me. What if someone with emotional issues from past mistreatment saw Dumbo, and reacted to it, and found some sort of vicarious revenge in killing the elephants? It's all rampant speculation on my part, but I do tend to wonder.
Hi Ginger,

I had not heard of the elephant poisonings. Interesting that they did occur after the opining of Disney's "Dumbo", but this story is totally new to me. However, the Hartford Circus Fire as a possible case of arson (and if such, mass murder) is well known. A side mystery in that case is that two children were never identified among the victims.

Jeff
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-17-2018, 09:19 PM
Ginger Ginger is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 507
Default

There seems to have been a somewhat acrimonious contest for control of the circus happening within the Ringling family at that time as well. John Ringling, the last of the five eponymous brothers, had died in 1936, and the control of the circus had fallen to his nephew, John Ringling North. The family was apparently split into two factions, with the rival faction supporting Robert Ringling, North's cousin. In 1943 they managed to oust North, and install Ringling as President. That lasted until 1947, when North regained control of the circus, and kept it until 1967, when the circus was finally sold. So, a bit of turmoil going on behind the scenes as well.

Also, interestingly, the circus's chief elephant trainer, Walter McClain, referenced in the article, was killed in an accident in November of 1942. He was supervising an elephant who was pushing a wagon into position, when, trying to hop onto the wagon and ride it, he slipped and fell under the wheels, his head being crushed instantly. No possibility of that having been anything but a mishap, as it happened in front of numerous witnesses. The circus did seem to have had a few bad years there.
__________________
- Ginger
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.