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An elephant that draws. How can that be? Not just abstract blotches we agree to call “art,” but real recognizable drawings of, well, an elephant. A self-portrait of sorts.

Evidence of self-awareness we could never have predicted or is something else going on?

The magician Ricky Jay, besides being a world-class card magician with two Broadway shows to his credit, is also a respected historian of the strange. One of his books is entitled Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women: Unique, Eccentric, and Amazing Entertainers. Therein you will find true accounts of Toby, the Amazing Pig of Knowledge who was able to add numbers; a goose who was able to perform card tricks; Clever Hans, the psychic horse; and a bevy of Singing Mice.

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But to the best of my knowledge, not even Ricky Jay has documented the phenomenon of the artist elephant.

So what is going on here? Other than footage that was sped up from the original, there is no trick photography. Your intrepid reporter will tell you his findings in Part II, later this week…