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11 Insanely Brutal Methods Of Execution Used In The Past


Since earlier times, different cultures have been using different methods of execution, some humane and some grotesquely inhumane. However, methods of execution have always been a subject of debate.
Nowadays, the most commonly adopted methods are hanging, electric chair, lethal injection etc., which are considered a bit more “humane” than their historical counterparts. But the history has seen some of the most brutal and gruesome methods of execution over the period of time.
Let’s have a look:

1. The Gridiron

It was simply a grill made of iron but for a slightly different purpose, to roast people to death. That’s right, the person to be executed would be first soaked in oil to ensure proper heating and then placed over a grill, with burning charcoals at the bottom. Needless to say, the death wasn’t a quick one and certainly not pain-free.

2. Upright jerker

Upright jerker was a form of modern day form of execution by hanging, but with a slight modification. Instead of hanging the victims down from a place, they were jerked up by a system of pulleys and heavy weights so as to instantly break their necks. A form of this execution is still used in Iran, just that today, cranes are used instead of pulleys and weights.

3. Bestiarii

Bestiarii was a term used to refer to the people who faced wild animals in a ring. It was also used as a method of execution. Prisoners were thrown into the arena where they would face various wild beasts and would ultimately be devoured by them. This method was really popular among ancient Romans.

4. Mazzatello

Mazzatello was a method used by Papal states (Italian territories directly under the rule of Pope) in the late 18th century. In this, the prisoner would be first led to a public square accompanied by his executioner, a priest, and a coffin. Firstly, prayers would be said for the prisoner. Then the executioner would first stun the prisoner by hitting him with a mallet on his head, and then his throat would be slit. Such a brutal method was reserved for prisoners who were condemned for loathsome crimes.

5. Cement shoes

This was a method of execution preferred by American mafia. In this, cement blocks would be tied to the feet of the victim to weigh him down, and then he/she would be thrown into water body to drown. ‘Cement Shoes’ is a slang term adopted for the method.

6. Guillotine

The use of guillotine was popularized in France during the French revolution. The idea behind this was to inflict less pain and perform the execution as fast as possible. In this, a tall frame with a heavy suspended blade was used. The prisoner would be put at the bottom of the frame with his/her neck directly below the blade. The blade would then be released and would sever the head of the prisoner.

7. Walking the plank

As often seen in pirate movies, walking the plank was a popular method of execution among the pirates. This was more of a show for the amusement of the perpetrators as the prisoner was forced to walk the plank to the end of the ship till they would fall into the water. The idea was to make them drown in the ocean, but sometimes they were eaten by sharks that followed the ships.

8. Scaphism

Scaphism was an ancient Persian method of execution in which the prisoner was stripped and left in a tree trunk with only his hands, legs and head protruding. The prisoner was then force-fed milk and honey till he developed severe diarrhea and then was thrown into a stagnant pond. The exposed parts of the body were then covered in honey to attract insects. Insects would begin accumulating inside their skin and it could take a couple of weeks for the prisoner to die.

9. Columbian neck tie

This brutal method was used by drug mafia.  In this, they would slit the throat of the prisoner and then the tongue would be pulled out through the opening. This was done mainly to intimidate others from going against the mafia.

10. Hanged, drawn and quartered

This method of execution is perhaps the most gruesome one on this list. In this method, the prisoner would first be dragged to the place of execution, then hung till they were nearly dead and then, their intestines were removed and burned. Finally, they were emasculated, beheaded and cut into 4 parts, which were put for display around England.

11. Bamboo shoots grown through the body of victim

Victims would be tied over the bed of bamboo shoots, as bamboo grows 1 foot in one day it would then impale the victim’s body and grow through it.
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