Consider yourself lucky. If you are reading this you most likely not only live in a society blessed by a functioning legal system you also probably live in a society in which that system makes an attempt to fairly and efficiently deliver justice, especially in the case of capital punishment. For most of history rather than capital punishment being focused on ending life it was focused on drawing it out long enough that the victim would be put through as much hell-on-earth as possible. So, in order to help you count your blessings we are bringing you 25 of humanity’s most brutal methods of execution.
An ancient Persian method of execution where a person is stripped naked and placed in a tree trunk with only the head, hands, and feet protruding. They are then forced fed milk and honey until they develop a severe case of diarrhea. All of there exposed skin would then be covered in honey to attract insects while they were left floating in a stagnant pond. As the person’s feces accumulated, the insects it attracted would begin to eat and breed within his/her skin which would become increasingly gangrenous. Death could take over 2 weeks and was likely the result of starvation, dehydration, and shock.
photo – webhatii.com
A method of execution preferred by the American mafia, it was similar to Republican Marriage in that it involved drowning but instead of being tied to someone of the opposite gender, your feet were placed in cement blocks.
Execution by Elephant
Walking the Plank
photo – realfuture.org
You’re probably getting tired of people being thrown into the water, but this form of execution many times ended a little differently from the previous two. Mainly practiced by pirates and rogue seafarers the victims often didn’t even have time to drown before they were dealt with by the sharks that tended to follow the ships.
photo – politicalvelcraft.org
Having originated in the United States, this method of capital punishment is now often employed in countries like Iran. Although it is very similar to hanging, rather than the victim being dropped through a trap door to sever the spinal cord they are violently jerked upwards, typically by a crane.
Drawing done by Cate Richards, www.caterichards.net
The Spanish Tickler
Also known as the cat’s paw this device was used by the executioner to rip and tear skin off of the victim. Oftentimes death would not occur immediately but rather as a result of infection setting into the wounds.
photo – brainz.org
Burning at the Stake
photo – sodahead.com
Somewhat self-explanatory, this technique has been used by governments throughout history to execute condemned prisoners. One of the latest documented cases was during the Nanking Massacre in 1937 when Japanese troops buried Chinese civilians alive.