Check out These Horrific Execution Methods Throughout History

In today’s society executions are fairly rare when compared to the past. In the western world, lethal injection is the only option viable option doesn’t occur en masse. Other execution methods exist around the world such as hangings, shootings, and more, but again, they are not as prevalent as they used to be. Throughout history, there have been a lot of different (and horrible) execution methods used to end lives, from all different countries all over the world. We take a look at some of the most devastating execution methods, and be warned, number 10 is almost too heart-stopping to imagine.


Execution 8

Source: sickchirpse

This one is just as disgusting as it is brutal. This ancient Persian method of execution involved a few different steps. First, people were fed milk and honey to induce diarrhea, while they were stuffed into a tree trunk. All of their skin would be covered in honey, which would attract bugs. The bugs would then eat their skin. This was a long and extremely painful way to die.


Execution 12

Source: merriam-webster

The idea for this type of execution was conceived in the 1700s and was all about ending life, not inflicting pain. The large blade would drop at incredible speeds, decapitating the victim. Tens of thousands of people were killed by a guillotine. Check out the next entry for another type of execution method that was also responsible for a ton of deaths.


Execution 7

Source: wikipedia

Even today, this is still one of the most popular methods of execution in some places around the world. This method has been used for thousands of years and is responsible for the death of millions of people. Hanging involves suspending someone from a noose tied around their neck until they eventually choke to death or their neck breaks.

Cement Shoes

Execution 10

Source: cosanostranews

Drowning is definitely one of the worst ways to go, and perhaps the worst way to drown is by wearing cement shoes. This was a favorite of the American mafia and dozens and perhaps even hundreds of people died as a result of this method. Check out our next entry for another water-related execution method.


Execution 15

Source: listverse

This referred to the individuals who would fight beasts and animals in Ancient Rome. While some did this willingly for money and fame, it was also used as an execution method as prisoners were often thrown in with deadly animals naked and unable to defend themselves. Check out the next entry for another method in which an animal is used as a weapon.


Execution 2

Source: History

This method was practiced throughout Europe and Asia and truly has to be one of the worst forms of execution imaginable. This method involved a person being hung upside down and then being sawed in half, beginning at the groin. They were upside down so they would remain alive throughout their entire upper half being cut in two.


Execution 13

Source: bluebloodisblackblood

We’ve all had a hangnail that rips off a bit of skin, but this makes that look like child’s play. Flaying involves actually removing large chunks of skin from a person to kill them and make an example out of them. It was done all over the years and dates back to thousands of years ago. Check out number 4 on the list to see a very similar, but much more aggressive, method of execution.

Blood Eagle

Execution 11


This is a method that was used in the Nordic sagas and was not only brutal to look at but also would hurt like none other. This method involved the victim having heir ribs cut and broken so they resembled wings, and then pulling out their lungs through the open wound. And to add insult to injury, salt was poured on the wound.

Breaking Wheel

Execution 14

Source: imgur

This one was also called the Catherine Wheel, and was often done to a person in public in front of hundreds of people. This brutal practice took place in Europe and involved tying a victim to a wheel and spinning it, while an executioner delivered bone-shattering blows to the victim as they spun.

The Gridiron

Execution 3

Source: lolwot

In ancient times, this was one of the worst ways to go and caused a lot of pain. While people often cook meat on flames to prepare it for eating, this method involved people broiling their victims over hot coals. This was insanely cruel and produced a long and drawn out death.


Execution 19

Source: themuslimissue

While this method was usually quick, it was also very violent. This involved penetrating a human, usually with a stake, pole or spear. This was a favorite of Vlad the Impaler and was used throughout Europe for centuries. Check out the last entry to see a similar method, only one that is much more deliberate and agonizing.

The Head Crusher

Execution 18

Source: gabworthy

While it was largely used as a torture device, this method killed a ton of people and left a lot more with irreversible damage to their head and face. This method was used throughout history and involved turning a crank which would crush a person’s skull and break their jaw, which as you could imagine, would have been excruciating.

Walking the Plank

Execution 16

Source: realfuture

This is an awful one that is essentially a person walking to their death. This was a favorite among pirates and other people on the open waters and would involve them forcing someone to walk off the boat into the water, where they would either drown or be eaten by sharks. This method originated hundreds of years ago.

Premature Burial

Execution 9


This is an execution method that was used throughout history by a number of different governments to deal with condemned prisoners. It is pretty self-explanatory as people would just be buried alive, and would eventually die under the ground. One of the last documented cases of this practice at the government level took place in 1937 in Asia.

Death by Elephants

Execution 20

Source: sickchirpse

Elephants are one of the biggest animals on the planet and when they trample, they can kill with ease. Throughout history in southeast Asia, elephants were used as a method to kill many people. They would crush their victims and were often even trained to prolong the death of the victims.



This method of execution was historically practiced by Samurai in Japan, and was a ritualistic form of suicide and execution that allowed people to die with honor. A Samurai would stab themselves in the stomach and then while their guts spilled out, a friend would behead them to put them out of their misery.

The Spanish Tickler

Execution 5

Source: gadgetpics

While flaying would be awful, this is basically a much more violent and aggressive alternative. These sharp and tearing devices would rip and shred the skin to pieces and rip it off the victims. This wouldn’t always kill people quickly, and they would often die as a result of the infections and not the wounds themselves.

Colombian Necktie

Execution 4

Source: guystyleguide

We’re going to spare you the gore and not show a picture of what this looks like, as it is truly gruesome. The Colombian Necktie is a favorite of the cartels in Mexico and is still used today as a method of killing people. This involves slitting a person’s throat and pulling their tongue through the wound, which resembles the look of a tie.


Execution 17
Good Friday … Three Crosses

Source: christianity.about

This method employed by the Roman’s was supposed to be extremely slow and painful. First, a person was to carry their cross to the site of the execution and then were nailed up to the cross and left there to suffocate or starve after weeks of hanging on the spot.


Execution 6

Source: emgn

This was a fairly rare execution and took place throughout Asia. It was not meant to be quick… it was meant to drag on and become incredibly painful. Bamboo grows very fast, and people would be tied up and left to wait until the Bamboo grew long enough to impale them, which could often lead to days or even weeks of agony.