10 Most Ruthless Methods of Execution In History

The capital punishment that lies behind the history of ancient civilization is bizarre and haunting, when execution methods are taken into consideration. However, the execution methods listed below have been outlawed in almost all countries across the globe. Some of the execution methods like burning, flaying, boiling and sawing will make you cringe.

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10. Death by Boiling

Death by boiling

Execution by boiling was practised in many parts of Europe as a capital punishment for the prisoners. The victim is made to strip his/her clothes and is made to sit inside a tub with boiling liquid. The boiling liquid was either in the form of acid, water, tar, or oil. Execution by boiling can separate the skin and muscles, which eventually can fill the victim’s arteries and veins into boiling liquid. In 1531, a cook named Richard Roose was found guilty of poisoning and killing two people, who had to undergo the boiling treatment to withdraw the crime made by him. He was killed publicly at Smithfield with huge mob around him.

9. The Rat Torture

Rats Torture

Rat Torture, as the name says, is a method of execution that uses rats to kill a living human. The technique behind the execution is pretty simple and cheap. Rats are placed inside a cage, consisting of opening at their bottom, and are placed on the victim’s naked body. The assignment of the cage is either on the head or on the stomach. In order to taunt the rats, hot charcoals are placed on top of the cage and as the heat defuses inside the cage, the rats gnaw and tear the victim’s body to death. The execution method was primarily used during Elizabethan era by the Roman Catholics.

8. Lingchi (Death by a Thousand Cuts)


Lingchi, is a Chinese word that refers to “death by a thousand cuts”, was a barbarous method of execution, that was practised by Chinese in 900 AD. The death behind Lingchi is generally very slow, which comprises of slicing the victim at different areas of the body to death. Once the victim faints due to excess blood loss, the criminals tend to stab at their heart as a final touch towards the murder. Finally, the victim’s head is cut apart and multiple stabs are executed on the heart. The execution method was however banned in 1905 as a result of unbearable sadistic situation.

7. Flaying


Can anyone imagine the way a person’s skin is pealed by slicing with knifes? Flaying is one such method of brutal execution that was practised in Middle East and Africa about a thousand years ago. The method was used to induce fear to the public who involve in crimes and murders. It was executed either on the murderers, soldiers, and slaves. The individual is nailed on to a table and people surrounding the victim start slicing the skin to peal apart from the muscle. The victim dies of dehydration and blood loss, however, as an additional torture; salt materials are sprinkled on the victim’s body for insane burns.

6. The Wheel Torture (Breaking Wheel)

The Wheel Torture Breaking Wheel

18th Century’s most brutal method of execution was “The Wheel Torture”, which is also simply recognized as “The Wheel”. The Wheel Torture was used to execute the criminals publicly that involved rupturing and crushing their body to death. The wheels were specially made in such a way, which can facilitate in tying an individual’s limbs to the spokes of the wheel and while the rotation is initiated, deadly blows are executed on the individuals to blister the bones. These blows can keep the victims alive for a very long time due to which is considered to be very scary. Finally the victim dies of excess dehydration and blood loss. The dead body is then flagged for birds and other preys as primary source of food.

5. Death by Sawing

Death by Sawing

Death by Sawing is one of the ruthless methods of execution mainly involves cutting the victim to death, either transversely or midsagitally. This method was primarily used during ancient civilization to execute the slaves and prisoners. The idea behind sawing is to cut the individual bilaterally alive. The victim is tied upside down and is cut from the genital region. The purpose behind sawing upside down is, to exert at most pain and to keep the victim alive till the brain dies. Upside down facilitates the brain with excess blood and can keep the victim alive for a longer period of time.

4. Execution by Elephant

Execution by Elephant

Execution by elephant is very famous in India and South Asia. The idea behind the execution is to exert pressure on the victim by the elephant to finally crush the victim to death. These elephants are highly trained either in terms of killing the victims slowly or by slashing at a single shot. This was a major practice by Western and Eastern Empires, wherein the victims were made to slaughter by elephants and the left out limbs were fed to the empire dogs. The trunks of the elephant were fit with sharp blades to facilitate the kill process when slow deaths had to be performed. The elephants trained for faster kills, tosses the victim to death in a matter of seconds.

3. Scaphism (The Boats)


Scaphism, also recognized as “the boats”, meaning “anything hollowed out”. It is one of the cruellest method of executions that involve stripping the victim’s body and fuse them into a boat that have openings for head, hands and legs. Further, the victim’s body is loaded with honey and milk in order to attract insects to infest on them. The individual tends to stagnate without even moving their limbs, which adds an advantage for fierce infestation for the insects and other deadly creatures. Through the time, deadly insects infest on them, death happens at a very slow pace with sadistic situation for the victim. Finally, the victim dies with intense starvation, wounds, blood loss, septic shock and dehydration.

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2. The Brazen Bull

The Brazen Bull

The Brazen Bull is considered as the most brutal murdering device in the history of ancient civilization. As the name says, the brazen bull is designed in a unique manner to pilot the victim inside the manmade bull and the victim is locked by closing the valve. It is entirely made of Bronze metal to pass the heat at the earliest. Scorching flames are induced from below the bull and the individual is roasted till the crystals are produced out of them in terms of ashes. The design of the bull is facilitated with an opening near the mouth to convert the screams of the victim to a roar sound of a fierce bull.

1. Colombian Necktie

Colombian Necktie


The Colombian Necktie is the world’s brutal method of execution, which started as a result of Psychological warfare, during the period of political violence known as “La Violencia”. This ruthlessness was executed on about 200,000 people, where the individuals are made to tie a slitting rubber tube on their neck in order to slit their throat to death. The idea behind the execution is to slit the victim’s throat so that the tongue protrudes through the wounds across the neck region. The sadistic situation was created to induce fear among the people and prisoners. The victim die of excess blood loss with insane wounds on neck and post death would result in display of their body to scare the public.

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