Man Claims a Killer Elephant is Buried Somewhere in Wichita Falls
Is this fact or fiction, you be the judge.
Last week I did a story on emus allegedly rampaging in Wichita Falls and animal control having to put them down at some point in the 90's. Guess what? That may not be the craziest story of animals being put down in our city. However, we have to go WAY back in Wichita Falls history. Let's go back to the year 1899.
I am once again asking for any more information on this story. The only source I have is an author named Mike Cox, who wrote a story for Texas Escapes. He looks to be a credible author on Texas history from his books, so I don't think this is something he made up for the internet. Mike claims that a circus was in town during 1899. As a publicity stunt, the circus owner was going to kill an elephant in our town.
Apparently the elephant had recently killed a second person while on the road. The first death happened a few years prior. So why not have a murder in Wichita Falls? Hell, our city made famous just three years before this in 1896 for lynching two bank robbers in the middle of town. For more on that story, check out famous historical markers in Wichita Falls.
The circus owner apparently put flyers all over Wichita Falls telling the folks to come help kill the elephant. If this were to happen today, you can imagine that PETA would be all over our town. In 1899, bloodthirsty Wichitans just a few years removed from a lynching were all ready to help kill an elephant. According to Mike's story, the elephant was put up on the corner of Brook and Kell.
“Everybody in Wichita Falls who had a shooting iron repaired to the scene,” one newspaper reported. “There were folks with shotguns, revolvers of various kinds and rifles.”
Once again, I don't have a link to this newspaper, so I am hoping anyone can help me out with more on this story. Here is where we get into the real crazy part of this story. The people of Wichita Falls unloaded into the elephant, but nobody had anything strong enough to pierce the elephant's thick hide. Basically, we just pissed the thing off and annoyed it.
The circus owner had a crazy idea, strangle the elephant to death using two train cars. Yeah, I said we were going into the crazy part of the story. Once again, according to Mike, the elephant was taken to a nearby train track. A thick chain was placed around its neck and two switch engines pulled both ends. This would be the end of the killer elephant.
Now, what do we do with the body? Apparently someone in town offered to dispose of the elephant, if they could use the skin as a roof. I mean, that thing was stopping bullets, had to make a durable roof, right? The man buried the animal somewhere in town and allegedly use the skin for a roof somewhere on the corner of Seventh and Austin Street in downtown Wichita Falls.
Mike closes out this story by saying the first good rain in the city shrunk the skin, basically making it useless. I know, don't believe everything you see online, but this story is so crazy I had to share it with you guys. I can't find anything else backing it up. I never would have believed the lynching bank robbing story in our city, but that is a real one.
I want to know if an elephant is buried somewhere in Wichita Falls because if this is real, holy crap!