by Allan Green


My life is filled with unique and unforgettable experiences.  Some are so overwhelming they need to be shared.  This particular experience involves my loving wife Catherine and the spirit of the famous African elephant, Jumbo. 

First a story about Jumbo from 1885, necessary to fully grasp the enormity of our experience. 

An Elephant Ear Sandwich on Rye Bread -
the Story of Jumbo
by Bruce Ricketts

A guy went into a restaurant in St Thomas, Ontario on September 15, 1885.  He passed a sign that said that anyone who can order a sandwich that the restaurant cannot supply will get $1000.  He sits down, thinking this could be the easiest money he has ever made, and without even looking at the menu, he asks the waiter for an "Elephant Ear on Rye Sandwich".  The waiter returns ten minutes later with a check for $1000 and hands it to the guy.  The guy says, with a smirk, "Out of Elephant Ears?"  "No," replies the waiter, "we are out of rye bread."

The essence of a good joke is that you don't see the punch line coming.  The chance of being out of rye bread but not elephant ear is remote and what makes the joke funny. But for the people of St. Thomas, on September 15, 1885 - it was not a joke.

Jumbo was an African elephant, born in 1861 in the French Sudan.  He was exported to France in 1863 and then to London Zoo in 1865, where he became famous for giving rides to visitors.  Jumbo's name is from a Swahili word, jumbe, which means "chief."  Unfortunately, Jumbo grew bored in London and began to "act up".

Jumbo was sold by the London Zoo in 1882 to the "The Greatest Show on Earth" - the Barnum & Bailey Circus, for $10,000 and shipped to New York City.  In New York, the ship was met by thousands of onlookers who wanted to catch a glimpse of the 12 foot high "monster".  He was big, but not a monster.  Jumbo became very even tempered in New York.  He became the headliner of the B&B Circus and was featured on most of the Circus' posters.

Jumbo was transported from venue to venue around the US and Canada in a specially built carriage.  The six ton Jumbo was accompanied by his handler, Matthew Scott.

On the night of September 15, 1885, the Circus was playing the town of St. Thomas, Ontario. The circus' 29 elephants had completed their routines and all but two had been led from the big top to their waiting railway cars.  Only the smallest, named Tom Thumb, and the largest, Jumbo, remained until the end of the show to take a final bow.  After the completion of the show, as Matthew Scott guided Tom Thumb and Jumbo along the tracks, a loud whistle announced an impending doom.  An unscheduled express train, unable to stop, hit Tom Thumb, scooping him up on its cowcatcher and knocking him down a steep embankment.  Jumbo, who was leading Tom Thumb was caught between the embankment and circus train and had no place to flee.  He was hit from the rear.  The train was derailed and Jumbo was crushed; his skull reportedly broken in over a hundred places.   Still conscious and groaning, even with the massive injuries, the mortally wounded elephant was comforted by Scott until it died. 

A life-size statue of the elephant commemorates the tragedy in St. Thomas.  Some towns folk also painted a circus mural on one of their buildings.

Jumbo's skeleton was donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The elephant's heart was sold to Cornell University. Jumbo's hide was stuffed and traveled with Barnum's circus for a number of years. In 1889, Barnum donated the stuffed Jumbo to Tufts University, where it was displayed until destroyed by a fire in 1975. Jumbo's tail, which survived the fire, is kept in the University archives. The great elephant's ashes are kept in a 14-ounce Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter jar in the office of the Tufts athletic director. A statue of "Jumbo" was purchased from an amusement park and placed on the Tufts campus after the fire, however this statue erroneously depicts an Asian elephant, not an African elephant. In honour of Barnum's donation of the elephant's hide and more than $50,000, Jumbo became the university's mascot, and remains such to this day.

As a result of Barnum's publicity the word "jumbo" is now synonymous with "large" or "huge".  For example, a large hot dog or sausage may be called a "jumbo hot dog or sausage" and the the Boeing 747 is known as the "Jumbo Jet 

See this story and more at the Mysteries of Canada website:

One hundred and twenty-five years after Jumbo's tragedy, Catherine and I travelled to St Thomas Ontario, to guide sessions and help facilitate healings at a spiritual centre called Angels and Avalon.  We did not know how profound that journey would be.

I have guided people through their Past Life & Spiritual Journeys for over 37 years, with over 38,000 journeys with at least 8000 people.  I've guided people to meet with their permanent Spirit Guides and Angels, and helped people help their friends and relatives and animals cross over to the light thousands of times.  Catherine has been working in the healing energy field for over 35 years as well, and uses Zenith Omega and many other modalities to help shift, clear energy fields and help in healing. She is an unconditionally loving master.

For 38 years I had lived in London, Ontario which is not far north of St Thomas where Jumbo spent his last day.  I was very familiar with St Thomas and Alma Girl’s College, where as a teen ager and member of the Christian Young Men’s Society I went to a dance at the Girl’s college. Some of my male friends married girl’s from that college, and I attended ceremonies at the Am Phi Theatre that was formed into the rock ravine beside the college.  I had many friends in St Thomas and in my 20's I played as a solo musician at the Sheridan Inn there.  St Thomas was a favourite stopover on the way to Port Stanley and the beach of Lake Erie.  St Thomas was an intricate part of my life experience right up until 2006 when I left London and moved to Ompah to marry Catherine and live in a our log home in the woods.

Back to the story......when I took Catherine to St. Thomas and to where Alma College once stood (it had been torn down many years before), I held a faint hope it would still be standing, but I still got the chance to show her the over-grown Am phi Theatre and she was delighted to share a bit of my romantic Past.

As we were driving to the where the College once was, we drove under the train tracks near where Jumbo was killed.  I instantly felt heavy...too heavy. 

I remarked, “Catherine I feel so heavy, all of a sudden; I don’t know if I can give the talk planned for tonight”.

After the Alma College location I took Catherine to the monument for Jumbo the Elephant.  It's a life-size thirty-eight ton sculpture overlooking the valley as you enter St. Thomas.  I was still feeling really heavy, not depressed or sad, just heavy. 

Catherine read the plague of Jumbo’s death and immediately exclaimed, "Is the Spirit of Jumbo still here?"

It was then that we both realised that the spirit of Jumbo had not gone to the light and was around me.  "Around me big time" is how Catherine phrased it.

Catherine knew! "We have to free him!) 

So I called in the bright light you go to when you pass over, and asked Jumbo to stand in front of it.  To my surprise Jumbo was already standing there, facing the light and moving his trunk back and forth in front of the light. All we could do was wait.  People or animals will not leave, if they choose not to and wish to stay, but Jumbo was ready to leave - 125 years between worlds was enough I imagine.

I watched and out of the light came another elephant's trunk and grabbed Jumbo’s trunk.  Jumbo trumpeted in delight and ran into the light.  Instantly, I felt myself get lighter and lighter and was quickly feeling back to normal and rejuvenated.

Catherine smiled at me and we hugged, but then she said there is something more, something attached to Jumbo, some residual.  So I closed my eyes and to my amazement I watched twenty to thirty children go into the light with Jumbo. They had bonded with this gentle giant and when they died young their spirits stayed with him. Something I would not normally think of, but understandable because thousands of children fell in love with him.  He would be so gentle he could tenderly pick a peanut from a five-year-old hand.  Hoping to make him stay, many offered their piggy bank savings when they heard he was leaving the zoo in England.

So now his journey is complete.  We were so honoured to be a part of his ascension to the light, and we feel humbled that Jumbo tuned in to let me know he was there and ready. Blessed Jumbo, his soul will get a chance to rest now, and he can come back again.