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Types of Executions

Eight Ways to Die


Rulers have always devised numerous gruesome ways to do away with prisoners: boiling them in oil, throwing them in snake pits, dragging them under boats, flaying them, poisoning them, burying them alive, drawing and quartering them, and on and on. But today, governments tend to be more civilized--or at least less creative--in the way they deal out death against their own people.

The eight execution methods discussed here are those most widely practiced in an official capacity in the modern world. But it's worth mentioning that governments (including, at times, our own) have been known to kill prisoners through other, less "official" means--ranging from gunshots (no questions asked) to chemical weapons (as Saddam Hussein authorized against thousands of Iraqi Kurds during the Anfal Campaign of 1988) to starvation (the primary means by which the North Korean government manages to kill so many prisoners without handing out more formal death sentences).
Images 1-8 of 8
A lethal injection gurney.  The straps hold the prisoner down during the injection.Lethal InjectionThe infamous lime green gas chamber at San Quentin in California.Gas Chamber Executions"Old Sparky"The Electric ChairFiring SquadExecution by Firing Squad
Hanging of KetchumDeath by HangingStoning of St. EmerenzianaDeath by StoningExecution of King Louis XVIDeath by BeheadingBrueghel's "The Crucifixion"Death by Crucifixion
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