20 Of The Most Gruesome Methods Of Execution From History


Mazzatello is perhaps the strangest and most unnecessary form of execution on our list.

Popular in the Papal States, the condemned prisoner was led to a public square. There, they were hit over the head once with a large wooden mallet. This alone rarely resulted in death, so the condemned’s throat would then be slit to finish the job. One wonders why they didn’t just leave the mallet part out altogether.

Upright Jerker

The upright jerker was an execution device invented in the United States during the 19th Century.

A noose would be fastened around the condemned’s neck, and a mechanical pulley system would jerk the rope, along with the victim, upward. The swift action broke the victim’s neck, with the goal of making death instantaneous. It was intended to replace traditional hanging, but it didn’t see widespread use.

Death by Sawing

Death by sawing has been used as an execution method by cultures across the globe. Often, the condemned would be hung upside down, allowing executioners to begin sawing at the genitals. The inverted posture allowed enough blood to flow into the brain to keep the victim alive for most of the horrendous experience.

Flaying Alive

Flaying, or removing the skin, has also been used as an execution method by various cultures. The victim is restrained while their skin is painfully cut from their body. Death occurred due to shock, loss of blood, hypothermia, or infections, and it could take hours or weeks for the flayed individual to die from their injuries.

In some cultures, the skin of the individual was hung in a public place to warn others about the consequences for disobeying the law.