A Circus Band Played A Gig Atop A Lion Cage, With Inevitable Results
In June 1870, James Robinson's Traveling Circus and Animal Show pulled into Middletown, Kansas. In an effort to get the locals keyed up for what promised to be a spectacular amount of animal cruelty, the show's management decided to promote the event by having their house band play a small gig ... while perched on top of a cage full of lions ... which itself was on the back of a truck being driven through the streets. Against all odds, it worked. Until one day it didn't.
Sacramento Daily UnionWe guess 1870s news writers were too classy to add "Idiotic" or "Duh." We feel no such compulsion toward restraint.
While driving through Middletown, the truck driver lost control and crashed, damaging the supports of the cage. The cage's roof collapsed, sending the entire band into the literal lion's den.
For an instant the vast crowd were paralyzed with fear, but for a moment only, and then arose such a shriek of agony as never was heard before. The awful groans of terror and agony which arose from the poor victims who were being torn and lacerated by the frightful monsters below was heartrending and sickening to a terrible degree.
A group of locals quickly raided a nearby hardware store and, armed with everything from pitchforks to crowbars, opened the doors of the cage. Of the 10 band members who fell into the cage, three escaped with minor injuries, four were seriously injured, and three were killed, "as the bodies were so frightfully torn and lacerated as to be unrecognizable by their most intimate friends." Play stupid games with death, win stupid prizes.