Elvira Madigan was the stage name of Hedvig Eleonora Antionette Isabella Jensen (born 4 dec. 1867 in Flensburg, Germany) . She was the daughter of a circus artist Frederich Peter Jensen who left (or died) the mother Eleonora Cecilie Christine Marie Olsen (Laura) (born May 29. 1850) in 1870. Laura then married a new man American John Madigan (1850-1897) , who was a “parforcerytter”.
Already from when Elvira was 5, she appeared as a tightrope walker in the circus Madigan and toured all over Europe. The summer of 1888 the Swedish Count Bengt Edward Sixten Sparre (born 27. 1854) , a lieutenant in “det Skånske Dragon regiment” saw Elvira. They fell deeply in love with each other and exchanged love letters in secret.
Sixten Sparre was married to Countess Luitgard Engel Agda Dorthea Adlercreutz (born 1. March 1859 - died 1912), 29 September 1880. They had two children a boy and a girl but were not happy together.
One morning in June 1889 Elvira and Sixten Sparre ran off together. First to Stockholm in Sweden, then to Svendborg in Denmark where they stayed at a boarding house on Taasinge, at Madame Frederiksen. But the money ran out quickly up and their affair was at that time an unprecedented scandal. They chose to died together. The pair went to Nørreskoven near Valdemar Castle, Tåsinge 19. July 1889. Sixten Sparre first shot Elvira in the right temple and then himself through the mouth. They were found three days later on a rain jacket, under a sunshade and the picnic basket emptied.
They were buried “på Landet” cemetery on Tåsinge 27 July 1889, and to this day there is a tradition of brides presenting their bridal bouquet on Elvira's grave.
Elvira Madigans tombstone
Komtesse Luitgard Engel Agda Dorthea Adlercreutz