Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brutal Execution Methods - 1

Buried Alive

Being buried alive starts out our list of executions. Dating back to times B.C., this punishment has been used for individuals as well as groups. The victim is usually tied up and then placed in a hole and buried. One of the most recent and disturbing uses of this form of execution was the Nanjing Massacre during World War II, when Japanese soldiers buried groups of Chinese civilians alive in what was referred to as the “Ten Thousand Corpse Ditch”.

Snake Pit

One of the oldest forms of torture and execution, snake pits were a very common form of capital punishment. Convicts were cast into a deep pit with venomous snakes, dying after the irritated and poorly fed snakes attacked them. Several famous leaders have been said to die this way, including Ragnar Lodbrok, the Viking warlord, and Gunnar the king of Burgundy. Some variation on the traditional snake pit is being thrown into a small pool of water containing water snakes.

The Spanish Tickler

This torture device was commonly used in Europe during the Middle Ages. Used to tear open the victim’s skin, this weapon could rip through anything, including muscle and bone. The victim was tied up naked, sometimes in public, and then the torturers begin mutilating them. Usually starting on the limbs and working inward, the neck and face were always saved for last.

Slow Slicing

Ling Chi, translated as “slow slicing” or “the lingering death” was described as the death by a thousand cuts. Practiced from 900 AD to 1905, this form of torture and execution is similar to The Five Pains, but drawn out over a much longer period of time. The torturer slowly cuts and removes several body parts, extending the victims life and torture as long as possible. According to Confucian principle, a body that is cut into pieces cannot be whole in the spiritual afterlife, making the form of execution one that still tortures the victim in the afterlife.

Burning at the Stake

Death by burning has been used as a form of capital punishment for centuries, often associated with crimes such as treason and witchcraft. Today it is considered cruel and unusual punishment, but before the 18th century, being burned on the stake was common practice. The victim is tied to a large stake, frequently in the center of town or anywhere with onlookers and then lit on fire. It is considered one of the slowest ways to die.


Commonly practiced in South Africa, Necklacing is unfortunately still quite common today. Necklacing consists of a rubber tire, filled with gasoline, being forced around the victim’s chest and arms, and then being set on fire. Necklacing essentially causes the body to be turned into a melted mess, which is why it comes in at number 10 on our list.

Execution by Elephant

In South and Southeast Asia, the elephant has been a method of capital punishment for thousands of years. The animals were trained to execute two ways. Slowly, in a prolonged manner, dismembering and torturing or by crushing, which killed the victim nearly instantly. Usually employed by royalty, these elephant assassins only heightened the fear of royalty to the common people, proving that they even had the ability to control wild animals. The concept was eventually adopted and finessed by the Roman military to deal with deserting soldiers.

The Five Pains

This form of Chinese capital punishment is a relatively easy concept to grasp. It starts with the victims nose being cut off, then one hand and one foot, and finally, the victim is castrated and cut in half across the waist. Inventor of this punishment Li Si, a Chinese Prime Minister, was eventually tortured and then executed this way.

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