The Spanish Tickler

spanish ticklerAlso 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

burning at the stakeA historically popular method of capital punishment, if the victim were lucky he or she would be executed along with several others. This would ensure that the flame is much bigger and lead to death by carbon monoxide poisoning rather than actual burning.


bambooAn extremely slow and painful punishment used in Asia, the victim was tied down over several bamboo shoots. Because bamboo grows so fast (up to 1 foot per day) it would penetrate directly through the victims body, slowly impaling then.

Premature Burial

premature burialphoto – 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.

Ling Chi

ling chiAlso known as the “death by slow cutting” or the “lingering death”, this form of execution was finally outlawed in China at the turn of the 20th century. It involved pieces of the victims body being slowly and methodically removed while the executioner tried to keep him or her alive for as long as possible.


seppukuPracticed by Samurai, Seppuku was a form of ritualistic suicide that allowed the warrior to die honorably. Essentially he would disembowel himself and in an ideal situation there would be a close friend standing by ready to behead him as soon as his guts began to spill.

Brazen Bull

brazen bullNot only inhumane, the bull was deliberately created for the enjoyment of the executioner and onlookers. First proposed to the tyrant of Akgragas in Sicily by the metal worker Pirillos, the bull was designed to be big enough for one person to fit inside. After a fire was lit below, the person would slowly burn to death. The head of the bull, however, was designed to acoustically convert their screams into “bull sounds” and the smoke from their burning body would be expelled through its nose.

Colombian Necktie

colombian necktieEmployed heavily in Colombia (go figure) and the rest of Latin America by drug cartels, we spared you the picture on this one. It involved cutting open the victim’s throat and then pulling his or her tongue out through the opening. Usually the body was left as a warning to others.


crucifixionA particularly brutal method of execution practiced primarily by the Romans, it was intended to be as slow, painful, and humiliating as possible. Usually after a prolonged period of beating or torture, the victim was forced to carry his own cross to the location of his death. Afterwards they were either nailed or tied to the cross where they would hang sometimes for several weeks. Death, when it did come, usually came by suffocation as the victim could no longer hold themselves up to breathe.

Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered

hanged, drawn, and quarteredUsed mainly in England, it is widely considered to be one of the most brutal forms of execution ever devised. As the name implies it came in three parts. In the first the victim was tied to a wooden frame and dragged to the location of their execution (drawn). They were then hung until nearly dead (hanged). Immediately after being taken down their abdomen was opened and their entrails were removed. As the victim watched they were then burned before his or her eyes. He was then also emasculated and eventually beheaded. After all of this his body was divided into four parts (quartered) and placed in various locations around England as a public crime deterrent. This punishment was only used on men for any convicted woman would generally be burnt at the stake as a matter of decency.


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