50 Most Horrible Executions The Humanity Has Witnessed

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1Mazzatello

Mazzatello was a method of execution wherein the head of the condemned was smashed with a huge mallet. It is one of the most brutal methods of execution ever devised, requiring minimal skill on the part of the executioner and superhuman acquiescence by the victim. This method of execution was reserved for crimes that were considered "especially loathsome."


2. Burning at the stake as a method of execution has been practiced since Babylonia and ancient Israel and was later adopted in Europe and North America. Bags of gunpowder were sometimes tied around the victim's necks to shorten their suffering.


3. After trying to assassinate the king, Robert-François Damiens was sentenced to be executed by having his skin ripped with pliers, molten lead and sulfur poured onto his ripped skin, then dismemberment by four horses. At hearing this, Damiens replied, "Well, it's going to be a tough day." Several texts recount with extreme precision all the horror of his execution in 1757.


4. William Burke was a Scottish murderer who sold corpses for a profit to medical researchers. After he was hanged for his crimes, scientists dissected him, wrote with his blood, and bound a book with his skin.


5. Balthasar Gerard assassinated William of Orange (William the Taciturn) in 1584. For his crimes, he was executed in an extremely gruesome manner. Aside from the standard beheading, he also had his hand burned off, his feet crushed, was disemboweled alive, quartered, and had his heart ripped out and thrown at his face.


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6Gao Qi's Execution

In 1734, a Ming dynasty poet named Gao Qi, was sentenced to be executed for his politically satirical writing, by having him being chopped at the waist. After being cut in two at the waist, he remained alive long enough to write the Chinese character 慘 ("horrible") 7 times with his own blood before dying. After hearing this, the Emperor abolished this form of execution.


7. The drownings at Nantes during the French Revolution was dubbed “The National Bathtub.” More than 4000 suspected royalists which included men, women, and children were shipped off in boats and executed by being thrown in the river. At first, the perpetrators carried out the drownings at night to avoid suspicion, but the dozens of floating bodies in the following days gave them away.


8. After a failed coup against the Medici family (rulers of Renaissance Florence), J. Pazzi was hanged for the conspiracy, his corpse was buried, then dug up and thrown in a ditch, dragged around and propped on his front door, his head used as a door knocker, then thrown in a river and fished out by kids who hanged it, flogged it and threw it back in the river.


9. When Peter I of Portugal was still a prince, he fell in love with his wife's maid, Inês de Castro. After his wife died, his father, King Afonso IV, desired him to remarry but not to Inês. Pedro refused; so, the King had Inês killed. Pedro captured two of her killers and publicly executed them by tearing out their hearts.


10. Ibrahim II of Ifriqiya ordered the execution of every one of his daughters upon birth. When he learned that sixteen of his daughters had escaped notice and had grown to adulthood, he invited them to reception, greeted them kindly, and then beheaded all of them.


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11Saint Lawrence's Execution

Saint Lawrence was executed in a giant grill. While he was being executed he screamed "I'm well done. Turn me over!" After that, the Catholic Church made him saint patron of cooks, chefs, and comedians.


12. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the USA for conspiring to pass atomic secrets to Russia. Ethel Rosenberg's execution however did not go smoothly. After she was given three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping only to have doctors determine that Ethel's heart was still beating. Two more electric shocks were applied, and eyewitnesses reported that smoke rose from her head.


13. The corpses of Mussolini and his mistress were beaten and urinated upon and finally left to hang upside down, for public display, from a rusty beam outside a petrol station.


14. The Americans botched the hanging of the Nazi Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel. The trapdoor was too small and he smashed his head going down, and the force didn't break his neck so it took a full 24 minutes for him to suffocate.


15. Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic who kept repeating "I am the Truth" as they kept cutting his arms, legs, tongue, and finally his head. He was smiling, even as they chopped off his head.


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16Romanov Family Execution

When the Russian Imperial Romanov Family was executed in 1918, the daughters Tatiana, Anastasia, and Maria survived the initial gunfire because they had over 1.3 kilograms (2.9 pounds) of diamonds sewn into their clothing, which the bullets ricocheted off. They were subsequently killed with bayonets.


17. When Jesse Tafero was electrocuted in Florida in 1990 for the murder of two police officers, his head burst into flames. After three jolts, he eventually stopped breathing. Officials blamed the use of a synthetic sponge (in place of a natural one) for the botched execution.


18. In 1752, a man named Ewen MacDonald was hanged but he regained consciousness after being taken to the dissection theatre. When the surgeon who was meant to dissect his body discovered the supposedly dead man sitting upright on the operating table, he promptly bludgeoned MacDonald to death with a mallet.


19. In 1567, a cook was caught stealing silverware from his employer and was sentenced to be hanged. Instead of this, he agreed to be poisoned to test the effects of bezoars (stones that were thought to cure poisons) and go free if he survived. He died in agony 7 hours after being poisoned.


20. In the 13th century, Frederick II of Germany fed two men most excellently at dinner, sent one to bed, and sent the other out to hunt. Hours later, he had them both disemboweled to see who had digested his food better.


21Gilles De Rais

Gilles De Rais was a 15th-century French nobleman who had his servants lure hundreds of poor street children into his castle where he would decapitate them and sodomize the resulting hole (among other things) because he "disdained his victims' sexual organs."


22. Italian serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli chopped up her victims with an axe and turned them into soap and tea cakes.


23. Consort Qi was a Chinese concubine that bore the Emperor a son whom he favored over his empress' son. The Empress responded by torturing Qi, chopping her limbs off, gouging her eyes out, cutting off all her facial features, and locking her in a pigsty until she died, dubbing her the human swine.


24. Son of Saddam Hussein, Uday Hussein, was named Chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee in 1984. Athletes who disappointed him were subject to torture and imprisonment. His own dad jailed him for six months after he murdered Saddam's favorite chef in a psychotic rage. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who witnessed some of Uday's antics, described him as a "psychopath." He was also known to bring kidnapped girls to his home, rape them and then have them torn to shreds by dogs for his and his friend's entertainment.


25. Guy Fawkes was hung, gutted, and tortured for his plans to blow up the English parliament. He was caught red-handed after an anonymous tip-off. He was tortured to reveal his co-conspirators after which he was executed and his body parts were paraded around London.

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