Thursday, December 14

The Most Brutal, Cruelest, And Sadistic Methods of Execution in History

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You’ve already seen the 16 most painful and excruciating death penalties from the article The Most Excruciating, Brutal and Cruel Punishments in History. Here are 17 more brutal methods of execution.

If you were sentenced to die for committing a capital offense and were given the chance to choose which method you want to encounter death, which one will be your choice? Here are 17 more of the most frightening and horrible methods of putting people to death from the past to the present.

1.) Decapitation or Beheading (Ax or Sword)

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Beheading of Lady Jane Grey

This brutal method of killing is one of the oldest used in summary execution. Beheading with a sword or axe goes back a very long way in history, because like hanging, it was a cheap and practical method of execution in early times when a sword or an axe was always readily available.

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Saint Paul’s beheading.

2.) Immurement

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Can you imagine the pain and hardship of dying of starvation? This method is simply brutal and sadistic punishment. Immurement is a form of execution where a person is walled up within a building and left to die from starvation or dehydration. This is distinct from a premature burial, where the victim typically dies of asphyxiation.

3.) Stoning or Lapidation

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Lapidation of St. Stephen

This super brutal method of killing people had been mentioned in the Bible. Stoning or lapidation refers to a form of capital punishment whereby an organized group throws stones at the convicted individual until the person dies. Stoning has been used throughout history in a number of places, both in the form of community justice and also as a judicial form of capital punishment. The practice is referred to in Greek history, as well as Christian, Jewish, and Islamic texts. In the Bible it often occurs, or almost occurs, to righteous people or as the result of mob action.

4.) Being Thrown, Fenestration and Death Flights

4.1) Rome executed murderers and traitors by flinging them from the Tarpeian Rock.

4.2) Fenestration, the act of throwing someone from a window, has been used more by rebels and angry mobs than by official executions.

4.3) Death flights, throwing someone off a plane or helicopter, have been used in more recent times.

5.) Snake Pit

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This is a horrible way of dying. Snake pits were a historical European means of imposing capital punishment. Convicts were cast into a deep pit containing venomous snakes, such as vipers. They died from snake venom poisoning as the irritated snakes attacked them. An example of execution by this method is that of the Viking warlord Ranger Ladbroke in 865, after his army was defeated in battle by King Adele II of North Umbria. An older legend recorded in Atlakvioa and Oddrunargrair tells that Attila the Hun murdered Gunnar, the King of Burgundy, in a snake pit.

A similar penalty appeared in ancient China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960). The southern Han, one of the states, imposed a penalty in which a prisoner was thrown into a pool of water containing hundreds of venomous snakes. Soon the prisoner was killed by thousands of snake bites.

6.) Marooning

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Nothing could be more frigthening than being alone by yourself in an island. Marooning is leaving someone behind on purpose in an uninhabited area, such as an uninhabited island. The word appears in writing approximately 1709, and is derived from maroon, a fugitive slave. It could be a corruption of Spanish cimarron, meaning “wild”. The practice was a penalty for crewmen, or for captains at the hands of a crew. A marooned man was set on a deserted island, often no more than a sand bar. He would be given some food, a container of water, and a loaded pistol so he could commit suicide if he desired. The outcome of marooning was usually fatal, but William Greenaway and some men loyal to him survived being marooned, as did pirate Captain Edward England.

7.) Poisoning

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Is this horrible or brutal method  of dying? As a method of execution, poison has been ingested, as the ancient Athenians did, inhaled, as with carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide, or injected. Many languages describe lethal injection with their corresponding words for “poison shot”.          

8.) Hanging

Hanging is brutal, frigthening and horrible way to die. Hanging is a method of putiing a person to death by suspension by the neck. A condemned person mounts a scaffold where his neck is placed in a noose, which is tied with a hangman’s knot. A trap door is released, the prisoner drops, and the shock breaks the upper bones of the spinal column, causing instant death.

There are four ways of performing a judicial hanging — the short drop, suspension hanging, the standard drop, and the long drop.

8.1) Short Drop

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The short drop is done by placing the condemned prisoner on the back of a cart, horse, or other vehicle, with the noose around the neck. The vehicle is then moved away, leaving the person dangling from the rope. The condemned prisoner dies of strangulation.

8.2) Suspension Hanging

Suspension hanging is similar to the long drop, except the gallows themselves are movable, so that the noose can be raised once the condemned is in place. This method is currently used in Iran, where tank gun barrels or mobile cranes are used to hoist the condemned into the air.

8.3) Standard Drop

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(Execution of the persons condemned as Abraham Lincoln assassination conspirators, by the standard drop method.)

The standard drop involves a drop of between four and six feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) and came into use in the mid-19th century, in English-speaking countries. It was considered an advance on the short drop because it was intended to be sufficient to break the person’s neck, causing immediate paralysis and immobilization (and probable immediate unconsciousness). This method was used to execute condemned Nazis after the Nuremberg Trials.

8.4) Long Drop

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Execution of Tom Ketchum

The long drop, also known as the measured drop, was introduced in 1872 by William Marwood as a scientific advancement to the standard drop. Instead of everyone falling the same standard distance, the person’s weight was used to determine how much slack would be provided in the rope so that the distance dropped would be enough to ensure that the neck was broken.

However, this force resulted in some decapitations, such as the famous case of “Black Jack” Tom Ketchum in New Mexico. One of the more recent decapitations as a result of the long drop occurred when Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti (half-brother of Saddam Hussein) was hanged in Iraq in 2007.

Hanging remains the standard method of execution in many retentionist countries, notably Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, several African countries, including Botswana and Zimbabwe, and some Middle Eastern countries including Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Syria and in most Caribbean states. 

9.) Upright Jerker

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In executing upright jerker, a cord would be wrapped around the neck of the condemned. However, rather than dropping down through a trapdoor, the condemned would be violently jerked into the air by means of a system of weights and pulleys. The objective of this execution method was to provide a swift death by breaking the condemned’s neck.

10.) Electrocution

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This is just a brutal method. Execution by electrocution is an execution method originating in the United States in which the person being put to death is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body. This execution method has been used only in the United States and, for a period of several decades, in the Philippines (its first use there in 1924, last in 1976). The electric chair has become a symbol of the death penalty; however, its use is in decline.

11.) Lethal Injection

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Lethal injection refers to the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the explicit purpose of causing the death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also apply in a broad sense to euthanasia, and suicide.

12.) Gas Chamber

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A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used. Gas chambers were used as a method of execution for condemned prisoners in the United States beginning in the 1920s. During the Holocaust, large-scale gas chambers designed for mass killing were used by Nazi Germany as part of their genocide program. The use of gas chambers has also been reported in North Korea.

13.) Firing Squad

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Execution by firing squad is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in times of war. The firing squad is generally composed of several soldiers or peace officers. The method of execution requires all members of the group to fire simultaneously, thus preventing both disruption of the process by a single member and identification of the member who fired the lethal shot. The condemned is typically blindfolded or hooded, as well as restrained – though in some cases condemned prisoners had asked to be allowed to face the firing squad with their eyes open. Executions can be carried out with the condemned either standing or sitting.

In some cases, one member of the firing squad may be issued a weapon containing a blank cartridge instead of one with a bullet, without telling any of them to whom it has been given. This is believed to reduce flinching by individual members of the firing squad, making the execution process more reliable. It also allows each member of the firing squad a chance to believe afterward that he did not personally fire a fatal shot.

14.) Shooting

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Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries.

As a form of the capital punishment in the People’s Republic of China, either an assault rifle shot in the back of the head or in the neck is used or a shot by an automatic rifle in the back from behind is used. In the past the government collected a “bullet fee” from the relatives of the condemned.

In Taiwan, the customary method is a single shot aimed at the heart. Prior to the execution, the prisoner is injected with strong anesthetic to leave him completely senseless.

In Thailand from 1934 until 19 October, 2001, a single executioner would shoot the convict in the back from a mounted machine gun.

15.) Drowning

15.1) Ducking-stools

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What do you think will be your punishment if you have committed offenses like scolding or back biting and sexual offences like having an illegitimate child or prostitution? Well, most likely you will be ducking-stools and cocking-stools, chairs formerly used for punishment and were both instruments of social humiliation/censure.

15.2) Walking the Plank

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Walking the plank is a phrase that describes a form of murder or torture that was practiced by pirates, mutineers and other rogue seafarers. It involved the victim being forced to walk off the end of a wooden plank or beam extended over the side of a ship, thereby falling into the water to drown, sometimes with bound hands or weighed down, often into the vicinity of sharks (which would often follow ships). The earliest known use of the phrase dates back to the latter half of the 18th century.

16.) Necklacing

Sounds like its good! Necklacing or Necklace is a brutal summary execution carried out by forcing a rubber tire filled with petrol, around a victim’s chest and arms, and setting it on fire. Ouch!!! This is excruciating because it may take up to 20 minutes for the victim to die.

17.) Guillotine

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Guillotine is another brutal device in killing convicted criminals The guillotine was a device used for carrying out executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which a heavy blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the victim’s head from his or her body. The device is noted for long being the main method of execution in France and, more particularly, for its use during the French Revolution.

Hope you had a wonderful time reading this. Thanks!

See also

The Most Excruciating, Brutal and Cruel Punishments in History


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