Tuesday, September 6, 2011

6 Execution Methods You Probably Don't Know About

We all heard about the Iron Maiden (no, not the band), impaling, and burning at stake as methods of execution or death. Yeah, those are really cruel deaths which involve a lot of planning and probably some mad psychopath behind the whole idea, but there are some execution methods that you probably haven’t heard about. So, check out these gruesome deaths that were quite popular in their time. I’ll even rank them according to their gruesomeness just because it makes things a little bit more fun.

 Nero, the ruler of Rome, was kind of a psychopath. He hated Christians so he liked to have a bit of fun with them by lighting his garden with their bodies. Yeah, that’s correct, he used humans as candles. They were tied or nailed to stakes and then the Romans poured boiling substances over their heads. This was done at night and apparently it pleased Nero as he used them as garden decorations during some special events. You know that type of firework called a Roman candle? Well, now you know the origin of its name.


Flaying actually means skinning (as in, removing the skin from a person's body OMG). As an execution and torture method flaying humans was done, of course, while they were alive. If it was merely a torture method without death, then only parts of the skin were removed. However, if the person was sentenced to death by flaying or they were captured by enemies, then death was the goal of this practice and usually a lot of skin was removed. Apparently Assyrians were even more inventive and they captured the children of their enemies which were flayed before the eyes of their parents. Very popular in China too, flaying was used by Sun Hao, Fu Sheng, and Gao Heng but they mostly liked to remove the skin from the face.

The name of this torture method is very cool. The Five Pains almost sounds like a quest in an RPG game. But it was a way to torture people in China during the Qin Dinasty. It involved, well,  five ways of inflicting pain. First the victim had their nose cut, nothing amazing here because we are used to nose cutting from medieval times. Then the executioner cut the hand of the victim. As a third pain they cut a foot and ultimately they castrated the person. The last pain inflicted was death and it was usually done by cutting half at the waist. What’s cool about this method is the fact that its inventor died this way himself.

Slow Slicing (Death By a Thousand Cuts)

You know Chinese people have these patience and perseverance proverbs like The journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step or The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Well apparently they like to use their philosophy in all areas of life, even torturing and executing. The death by a thousand cuts is exactly what it sounds like. And they didn’t do it fast either. Of course, there is no perfect method to this, every executioner had its own way and signature cut. Apparently the person was tied and brought to a public place where they were executed in this way. Ultimately, if the executioner was kind enough (or bribed by the victim’s family), he would stab them in the heart faster in order to kill them. Some emperors even wanted the executions they ordered to last for three days. Apparently, the remains of the victim were often used as Chinese medicine.  

In England, they had other horrid torture methods such as being hanged drawn and quartered. The torture began with the person being drawn by a horse to the place of execution. The whole execution was done before a public because, you know, executions in the past were sort of like our reality shows nowadays. The public was ecstatic when an execution was programmed and if it was a famous man, it was just like the Super Bowl of medieval times. First they were hanged for a little while just to play a little with them. Some victims were lucky enough and died during hanging, most of them were not. Then they were taken to be disemboweled. While their stomach content was hanging, they would be emasculated which means that their penis and testicles were cut off. Because cutting a person’s genitals is not enough torture, the executioner burn them in front of the victim. Other organs were torn out and finally the person was beheaded. Of course, being quartered comes from the fact that the body was divided into four quarters afterward. Also, the executioner also had a blast by parboiling the remains so that they won’t rot too sun while being displayed on the city gates. 

Ok, so it seems that the person who invented this method was not sane at all. It is an ancient Persian method that involves a lot of pretty sick things. The victim was stripped naked and well tied to tree trunks or boats. It’s pretty normal execution until now, but the fun part just begins. The executioner forced the victim to ingest milk and honey until they developed severe diarrhea. Also, because that was not enough they also rubbed some of the honey on the body for the insects; after that he was just left in the sun. Now imagine attracting a lot of flies and mosquitoes that will probably bite your skin because you are covered in honey.  They would also leave their eggs on the victim’s body and the guys who are torturing him would come back every day and give him some more honey. This would last for a long time, a very long time. Death was usually caused by dehydration, starvation or septic shock. However, if the victim was lucky enough they would develop delirium fast, but that usually takes a few days. Some records of this method state that people survived even 17 days before dying. 


  1. hi andreea..this kind of torture s are really inhuman and grotesque. i cant imagine how such horrible and ugly practices can cross ones mind. hope these inhuman idiots all get the worst of punishment from God The Creator forever and ever..

    1. Ironic, since in that time period it was common for people to do this in the name of God. Hmmm. If you look at it that way, there is no God or God is real Jerk.

  2. hi andreea, you may want to add in your ( may be final ) comment in my blog..
    a million thanks for the great recipe, drob and for your kind thoughts and willingness to do guest post in my blog.
    The Drob dish is so popular and it looks so delicious with the interesting ingredients and beautiful photographs from you.
    i will definitely will try it out. have a nice day

  3. Well, at least we should be happy that we didn't live in those gruesome times.

  4. Lol, you read my mind, I was just writing a comment there when you posted this. :D

  5. Buna ziua, detin mai multe siteuri de succes si as dori o colaborare cu dumneavoastra. Daca prezint vre-un interes as dori un email la adresa sitestiri arond gmail.com

  6. I knew the first 5 but the last one is just sick :)

  7. Yes I know, it take a really severe mental disease to come up with that one. :D

  8. The execution methods are really terrible!

  9. I was in Rome 4 months ago and have a blast, listening to the history of this place and on Nero.

    Btw with regards to the cutlets on blog - I am not sure whether zucchini will do but you can try and let me know as I have not tried before.

    Thank you so much and appreciate you visiting my blog.

  10. @Balqis Yes, these execution methods are insane
    @Nava I bet Rome was fantastic! Thanks for the comment! It was a pleasure visiting your blog 'cuz it's great :D

  11. Nero, the ruler of Rome was realy a very cruel person. It is also said that he hang people in his death garden to make his enemies afraid of him. These all executions in one post tell us that how lucky we are that we live in this century.

  12. He was indeed a cruel ruler and he is very famous for that.

  13. OMG...That is a lot of interesting information!

  14. Andreea,

    Suppose those days, the need to instill fear to become powerful leaders even when they die. In China, the concubines of the late Emperor (ones without children) would be strangled to death and their coffins buried along side his coffin?

    Those ancient methods practiced here, how they executed married women accused of committing adultery. In Malay they called it 'hukum sula' - a death sentence whereby a sharp stake (like bamboo)was pushed from the anus up to the stomach, in public view!!

  15. Just one more crazy story I heard,

    I got this from my tourist guide on my trip to Medan, Indonesia.

    There once exist a carnivorous tribe in Medan; would imprison their victims, feed him daily and at the right size, ceremoniously would slaughter and feast on the meat.

  16. @Jasna Thanks dear for commenting, it's nice to see that people find my article interesting ^_^
    @Katrina yeah I've read about the concubines of the Emperor in China and I find it absolutely fascinating.
    We had impalement(hukum sula) here in Romania too. Vlad the Impaler (hence the name) was renowned for this practice and he used it for criminals and war prisoners. The road to Wallachia was full of rotten corpses impaled by Vlad. It seems that there were about 20 000 corpses and when the Turks attacked (The Ottoman Empire back then)they turned around after seeing the corpses(I don't know if this last one about the Turks turning back is true, it may be just a tale)
    Wow, the story about the tribe who imprisoned the victims and fed them until they were the right size is absolutely terrifying, but if you look at it from a survival point of view, it's pretty logical to act that way if you want more food. Thanks for your interesting stories Katrina (:

  17. I caught some backpackers and tested some of these methods. I like flaying the best.

  18. I guess Rome wouldn't like me much

  19. Pffft! They never had to listen to erectile dysfunction ads on the radio with the stinking telephone repeated over and over and over and ....

  20. It's one thing going through life not knowing what cylinder phonograph records sounded like...but the minimum-phase property of human sacrifice is that today's generation will never know what the slowly dying children of the enemies of the Assyrians taste like while the flesh is still raw and warm. And I can just imagine sheets of blood cascading down Aztec pyramid staircases from the brats of Conquistadors....

  21. Wow. People of yore sure knew how to party :)