“A Shocking Sabbath Carnival of Death”
August 14, 2014 2:53 PM   Subscribe

On November 9, 1874, one of the worse incidents in New York history occurred when a polar bear, a panther, a Numidian lion, several hyenas, and a Bengal tiger, slipped their cages from the Central Park Zoo. "The animals, some of which had first attacked each other, then turned on nearby pedestrians who happened to be strolling through Central Park. People were trampled, mauled, dismembered—and worse." posted by stbalbach (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
"A Shocking Sabbath Carnival of Death..."

...shall be the name of my new sludge/grindcore crossover trio.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:00 PM on August 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


one of the worse most metal incidents in New York history

Fascinating story, thanks for sharing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:01 PM on August 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


"A Shocking Sabbath Carnival of Death..."
...shall be the name of my new sludge/grindcore crossover trio.

No, not a good choice, it was already track #5 on the second Cathedral album.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:01 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


...a polar bear, a panther, a Numidian lion, several hyenas, and a Bengal tiger...

Was really hoping for "...walked into a bar." :(
posted by PlusDistance at 3:09 PM on August 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


It was a hoax.

"Many readers panicked when they read the article. However, those who did so hadn't read to the end where it stated (in rather small print) that, "the entire story given above is a pure fabrication."

"Along with the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, the New York Zoo Escape ranks as one of the most notorious media hoaxes of the nineteenth century."
posted by TravellingDen at 3:10 PM on August 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


Was really hoping for "...walked into a bar." :(

"So, a pedestrian walks into a b'ar..."
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:13 PM on August 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Gordon Bennett", referring to the gentleman described in the Slate article, was, at least in the 1980s, still a fairly common expression of surprise in London, when I was a kid. I used to say it. I had no idea who Gordon was until 20+ years later
posted by Bwithh at 3:16 PM on August 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


TravellingDen: "It was a hoax."

Dammit!! Without such comments, this would have been an excellent opportunity to see who all RTFA completely and then comment.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 3:27 PM on August 14, 2014 [11 favorites]


No, not a good choice, it was already track #5 on the second Cathedral album.

Damn it.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


What the heck would be worse than being trampled, mauled, and dismembered?!
posted by sarcasticah at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


But this was a more credulous era, a time before radio and telephones and rapid transit, when city dwellers got their information mainly from the papers and often found it hard to tease rumor from truth.

Hmmm. Is this really true? It seems for almost any claim one can find hundreds of thousands if not millions who will go the grave believing it, no matter how ludicrous.

Still, very cool story. I like the cut of this Bennett fellow's jib.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 3:44 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


What the heck would be worse than being trampled, mauled, and dismembered?!

Trampled, mauled, and dismembered to the tune of "Muskrat Love".
posted by Wolfdog at 3:49 PM on August 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


wasn't this the plot of that Madagascar movie
posted by Lucinda at 4:18 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the Ferguson pre-enactment, the role of the police was played by zoo animals.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2014


We could use a good hoax these days. Preferably one that docent involve death.
posted by tommasz at 4:54 PM on August 14, 2014


A Shocking Sabbath Carnival of Death


This sounds like something the Joker would have done in Gotham By Gaslight.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:22 PM on August 14, 2014


And in SimCity, this was treated as a cute, funny little Easter-egg thing.

Not actually that funny.
posted by General Tonic at 5:33 PM on August 14, 2014


Oh, wait I've been had. Still not funny.
posted by General Tonic at 5:37 PM on August 14, 2014


Trampled, mauled, and dismembered to the tune of "Muskrat Love".

Muskingum love.
posted by srboisvert at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2014


> But this was a more credulous era, a time after radio and telephones, when city dwellers got their information mainly from the internet and often found it hard to tease rumor from truth.
posted by sylvanshine at 5:51 PM on August 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


This kind of blows my mind:
Such expressions of righteous indignation fell on deaf ears. The Wild Animal Hoax, as it came to be affectionately known, only brought more readers to the Herald. It seemed to solidify the notion that Bennett had his finger on the pulse of his city—and that his daily journal had a sense of fun. “The incident helped rather than hurt the paper,” one historian of New York journalism later noted. “It had given the town something to talk about and jarred it as it had never been jarred before. The public seemed to like the joke.”


Bennett was enormously pleased with the whole affair—it still ranks as one of the great newspaper hoaxes of all time. The story even managed to accomplish its ostensible goal: The zoo’s cages were in fact repaired.
I want his mojo. That's almost like a magic spell.
posted by Michele in California at 6:38 PM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


It was a hoax.

Well, not exactly, but a time-traveling Bruce Willis was still able to exonerate Brad Pitt on charges of humanity's near-extinction.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:25 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bennett knew from experience that very few New Yorkers would bother to read the article all the way to its conclusion

plus ça change,
posted by Greg Nog at 7:40 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a fabulous story and I think it is delightful of Hampton Sides to include it in his book to illustrate the character of one of the principals. Thanks also for the link to the video interview, which I found particularly interesting as, although I have kept up with his career, I have not seen Hampton since he was a teenager. It is enormously happy-making when someone you knew and cared about as a boy rises to meet his potential and writes books of such excellence. His writing is extraordinary and each book is better than the last. This one has me tentatively placing him in a rarified class with John McPhee and perhaps surpassing him in some ways since Hampton's books are equally well researched but additionally are extremely compelling narratives.
posted by Anitanola at 9:57 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


And in SimCity, this was treated as a cute, funny little Easter-egg thing.


how do you get it to happen??
posted by Bwithh at 10:52 PM on August 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


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