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Historical Methods of Torture and Execution Essay

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Historical Methods of Torture and Execution
Europe is the place to visit if this is what you're into. Many cities and towns have medieval torture museums. We liked one that we visited at Mont St. Michel in France. For those of you who can't afford to travel, check out the movie version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum starring Lance Henrickson. Don't know how historically accurate it is, but it's great atmospherically.
Beheading by Axe or Sword
An executioner, usually hooded, chops off the person's head. Quite trendy in England in the 1500-1600's. The axe used for the last beheading in 1747 can be viewed at the Tower of London.
Beating to Death
An example of this is
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Iron Maiden
Female effigies constructed of wood or iron with the inside hollowed out and filled with sharp iron spikes. The iron maiden would be opened up and the offender placed inside. The person would then be embraced by the iron maiden, being impaled by all the stakes.
The Wheel
Wheels were used in a variety of ways. For example, a person could be somehow attached to the outer rim of a wheel and then either rolled over sharp spikes or off a hill.
Crucifixion
Most people immediately think of Jesus. Early crucifixions were carried out on trees.
Drowning
Used in a variety of ways. Popular at sea. Probably the most well-known variation is the witch's test. If the water rejects the woman and she floats, then she is guilty and executed by anth method. If the water accepts her and she drowns, then she was innocent.
Blown from a Cannon
The person is positioned across the mouth of a can, then a shot is fired, blasting through the person's body.
Pendulum
Just like in the Edgar Allen Poe story. A person lies on his or her back and a razor edged pendulum swings above them, slowly descending.
Poison
Interestingly, this has not been a common method of execution. Socrates, who was forced to drink hemlock, is probably the most well-known victim of poison.
Pressing
The person lies under some sort of slab-like surface and then heavy objects such as stones are placed on top until the person is crushed to
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