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September 12th, 2007

NACHTKABARETT 2001; NINE INCH NAILS - Elephant Electrocution

A short nostalgic mention of one of my first NACHT' ventures that took place in early 2001, published on the (then) premiere NINE INCH NAILS / MARILYN MANSON / NOTHING RECORDS news authority site, SeemsLikeSalvation.

Nine Inch Nails, between 1991 - 1997, was and probably always will be one of my all time favorites (though later work I can mostly take or leave, aside from a few off WITH TEETH), second only to Manson and COIL. And this brief news piece is also a notice that a forthcoming update will contain a NACHTKABARETT site feature on various visual allusions in the 'SELF DESTRUCT' era of NINE INCH NAILS.




The 'Closure' boxed set home video, which additionally features Manson in both the unreleased video for 'Gave Up' and also backstage throughout on the Self Destruct tour, contains all of NINE INCH NAILS videos up to 1997's 'The Perfect Drug', with great connective interludes between the videos, courtesy of Peter Christopherson of COIL, who also directed all of the BROKEN era videos.

One interim piece of video footage, before 'March of the Pigs', is vintage film footage from 1903 by Thomas Edison of an elephant being electrocuted.

This was one of my first pieces of investigative NACHTKABARETT-esque unveiling which was featured as a news item on,

Archived link to the original article:


History of Elephant Electrocution On Closure Box Set


[Monday, February 19th, 2001 - 8:00 am ET] Although its not really related, a viewer by the name of Trnqt666 recently took on a history hunt about the black and white piece on the 'Closure' box set right before the 'March of the Pigs' video when the 1903 Thomas Edison film was shown of the elephant being electrocuted.

"I wanted to find either stills of that or see what other experiments he had done (which I don't think were photographed, but he also had electrocuted a 1000lbs horse as well as squirrels, dogs and cats while developing the electric chair)," he explained. "Anyway, the elephant's name was Topsy and was one of the elephants that was allowed to roam free at Coney Island's Luna Park. Initially she was going to be publically hanged because she had killed 3 people in 3 years (although the last person was a drunk who had fed her a lit cigarette)," he continued. "Even at the time it was considered inhumane to hang such an animal so Thomas Edison (who was also a frequenter of Luna Park) decided that it would be an opportune time to show the world the dangers of AC, alternating current, high voltage electricity as well as test electrocution (electricity + execution) as a means of humane, painless execution," Trnqt666 said. He filmed it and showed it around the country to sway popular opinion into believing that DC electricity was ideal for the future (his rival George Westing house supported AC). Of course in the end AC won the battle but in any case I always was curious at the circumstances which would cause a man to electrocute an elephant."

Two sites where he got some of the information can be found at Roadside Pet Cemetery: Topsy and RailwayBridge: Topsy.

Thanks a lot to: Trnqt666 (Nick).


The original video is also now on Wikipedia





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