Topsy’s electrocution on Coney Island, New York on January 4, 1903.

Today, January 4, 119 years ago, a female, wild-caught Asian elephant called Topsy is killed in front of 1,000 plus people at Lunar Park, one of America’s first amusement parks, on Coney Island, New York. She is fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide. Then, 6,600 volts of electricity are shot through her body felling her to the ground. Finally, she is hung for 10 minutes to make sure she is dead. The Edison Manufacturing Company filmed the electrocution. The film, ‘Electrocuting an Elephant,’ is now recognised as a key moment in cinema history and watched more than one million times on YouTube. If anyone knows anything about Topsy it is by how she died. Topsy was brought as a baby to the United States in 1876.

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