25 of Humanity’s Most Brutal Methods of Execution

Posted by , Updated on February 26, 2015

Consider yourself lucky. If you are reading this you most likely not only live in a society blessed by a functioning legal system you also probably live in a society in which that system makes an attempt to fairly and efficiently deliver justice, especially in the case of capital punishment. For most of history rather than capital punishment being focused on ending life it was focused on drawing it out long enough that the victim would be put through as much hell-on-earth as possible. So, in order to help you count your blessings we are bringing you 25 of humanity’s most brutal methods of execution.

The Spanish Tickler


Also known as the cat’s paw this device was used by the executioner to rip and tear skin off of the victim. Oftentimes death would not occur immediately but rather as a result of infection setting into the wounds.


Burning at the Stake


A historically popular method of capital punishment, if the victim were lucky he or she would be executed along with several others. This would ensure that the flame is much bigger and lead to death by carbon monoxide poisoning rather than actual burning.




An extremely slow and painful punishment used in Asia, the victim was tied down over several bamboo shoots. Because bamboo grows so fast (up to 1 foot per day) it would penetrate directly through the victims body, slowly impaling then.


Premature Burial


Somewhat self-explanatory, this technique has been used by governments throughout history to execute condemned prisoners. One of the latest documented cases was during the Nanking Massacre in 1937 when Japanese troops buried Chinese civilians alive.


Ling Chi


Also known as the “death by slow cutting” or the “lingering death”, this form of execution was finally outlawed in China at the turn of the 20th century. It involved pieces of the victims body being slowly and methodically removed while the executioner tried to keep him or her alive for as long as possible.

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