I have heard that some cultures (in Southeast Asia, I think) have used elephants as a means of executing criminals. I was told that they have the gigantic beast step on the victim’s head, squashing it flat! Has any one else heard this? Is it true?
India. Read Kipling. He mentions this used to be the practice in Kim.
While not an authoritative historical cite, execution by elephant is shown in some detail in the movie Kama Sutra[sup]*[/sup], a rather tedious movie about love and politics set in 16th century India.
[sup]*Not to be confused with the book from which the title was borrowed which is not tedious and does not involve elephants.[/sup]
The condemned man is bueried in the earth up to his neck, and an elephant is walked around him in a slowly shrinking spiral.
This is to make him contemplate the inevitable.
At the end…yes…his head is squished flat.
I just wrote a huge thing and forgot to sign in first and lost it.
Anyways, there are other reasons that elephants are used for execution. One being the elephant is executed itself. It is electrocuted, you may have seen footage of this. The reason being is that they figure if the voltage is high enough to kill an elephant then it will ensure the successful death of a human. I saw a documentary a few years ago called MR. Death. You can rent it at Blockbuster. It is about a man who was hired to upgrade and repair execution devices around the country to ensure a quick, safe, painless, humane and successful death. There is a problem with the devices failing and the criminal surviving the execution, then left to live as a vegetable until a successful execution can be arranged. Well, the story takes an odd twist. Up in Canada a holocaust denialist is distributing literature stating that the holocaust never happened. Mr. Death is hired to investigate this claim. He is sent to Poland to visit a gas chamber and collect samples from the inner walls of the chamber to find evidence of cyanide. He takes a hammer and chips away samples of the walls. He then takes his finds to a lab here in America. The samples were crushed and placed in a test tube and tested for cyanide. The results were devistating…no cyanide was found. He was then made to testify in court. To make a long story short, he now lives in hiding and fear here in America. Why was no cyanide found? Well, you will have to see the film for yourself. This actually took place in the 80’s. Well, it is a long way off from elephants crushing heads but I just thought it was interesting and perhaps if you see the film we can talk about it.
On another note: a true story. A man in China was put to death for approaching an elephant from the rear. When asked why, he said that he believed that the elephant was a reincarnation of his late wife. He said he recognized her by the naughty glint in her eye.
Ooo-kay. [backs away slowly]
It’s true that elephants are used in executions, but one of the elephants is armed with a blank.
wikipedia has all the gruesome details.
The last recorded execution was in 1947!
Au contrair. Elephants are mentioned in a discussion of the sizes of the various organs involved (you see, the secret to good sex is for the size of the man’s lingnam to be matched to the size of the woman’s yani).