September 9, 2018

Fight! Badger vs. Bulldog vs. Hypnotist

In the early 20th century laws were enacted to prohibit animal fighting, but social stigma against the practice was slow to catch-up. This was probably due in part to the popular, associated gambling on these events.

At one such occasion a visiting hypnotist who was performing at the Elks' Theater became involved. He would soon regret it.

In relating this disturbing, yet fairly common event in that day, the gory details have been withheld...

The previous evening "Prof. Carl Breon, hypnotist, had persuaded several red-haired youths to crow and flap their wings like roosters and make political speeches" during his performance, the newspaper related. He was a well-dressed man who carried a "mystic cane."

The following day he offered to referee an animal fight downtown. However, his mesmerizing techniques on humans turned out to have no effect on canines.

The fight would be between a renowned badger known as the Bloody Basin Beauty and a female bulldog, named Effie, "owned by Thomas May, the druggist at Timeroff's."

"At first Mr. May...was loathe to match his dog for the encounter." But when he was "assured that the fight would not be reported to the police or members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, he agreed to the combat," the paper published for the world to see.

At 3:30pm, March 3rd, 1911, a throng "began to assemble from all parts of the city, and the windows overlooking the yard of the Lawler block...became vantage points from which to view the battle."

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Of course the fairer sex was not permitted to attend such a savage event. However, that did not keep them from watching: "Many well known society ladies of the city, who had been given the tip by their husbands and sweethearts" also came to witness the spectacle from the windows.

"When Prof. Breon arrived on the scene...betting was fast and furious. Although the badger was never defeated, odds were being placed on the bulldog," the paper reported. Business owners were the biggest wagerers, often betting 3-4 weeks of an average worker's pay! With so much money on the line, a fair start was essential. 

One man "who was a consistent backer of the unconquered 'Bloody Basin Beauty,'" suggested that he should be the one to start the fight by pulling the badger, with a rope, out of its box. However, "hostilities commenced, the backers of the dog claiming that he was interested financially in the fight."

"Order was restored when Prof. Breon stepped to the front, kindly offering to officiate in the badger's corner, stating that he was a stranger in the city, and not interested in the contest." After discussion, all parties agreed to allowing the professor to perform the task.

"Laying aside his mystic cane, the professor pulled his hat tightly on his head, tucked his belt in a notch, and stepping on the box, took a double half-hitch of the rope with his mysterious right," the paper described.

At the call to start, "the badger was pulled with a mighty jerk, the animal landing against the improvised platform on which the Professor stood. The dog made a rush, and the battle was on to the delight of an audience of over 200," the paper reported.

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However, "in stepping from the platform the professor accidentally came between the fighters, and he was bitten by the battle-scared canine after it had (attacked) its antagonist."

The fight was soon over. Suffice to say that the underdog dealt the badger its first defeat and the professor, whose suit was now ruined from the carnage, "was taken to the office of a physician." Fortunately, he was still able to perform that evening.

"At the entrance to the theater, (that) night, a large sign, reading, 'Dogs Must Stay Out,' was noticed. The reason was not explained," the newspaper reported, "'ask Effie. She knows.'"

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Weekly Journal-Miner; 3/8/1911. Pg. 2, Cols. 1-2.

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