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Thread: Tales from the dark side

  1. #1
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Tales from the dark side

    This delightful (not) little extract is a report on execution by guillotine (thought to be humane).

    If you are squeamish, do not read on!! you have been warned.

    Here, then, is what I was able to note immediately after the decapitation: the eyelids and lips of the guillotined man worked in irregularly rhythmic contractions for about five or six seconds. This phenomenon has been remarked by all those finding themselves in the same conditions as myself for observing what happens after the severing of the neck …

    I waited for several seconds. The spasmodic movements ceased. […] It was then that I called in a strong, sharp voice: "Languille!" I saw the eyelids slowly lift up, without any spasmodic contractions – I insist advisedly on this peculiarity – but with an even movement, quite distinct and normal, such as happens in everyday life, with people awakened or torn from their thoughts.

    Next Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. I was not, then, dealing with the sort of vague dull look without any expression, that can be observed any day in dying people to whom one speaks: I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me. After several seconds, the eyelids closed again […].

    It was at that point that I called out again and, once more, without any spasm, slowly, the eyelids lifted and undeniably living eyes fixed themselves on mine with perhaps even more penetration than the first time. Then there was a further closing of the eyelids, but now less complete. I attempted the effect of a third call; there was no further movement – and the eyes took on the glazed look which they have in the dead.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  2. #2
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Ooh. that is spooky CT. I found this as an explanation.

    After your head is cut off by a guillotine you have 13 seconds
    of consciousness (+/- 1 or 2). The first time I ever learned
    this was when I put a patient into ventricular fibrillation.
    The "no blood pressure" alarms came on and the patient said
    "what is that?" I said I suppose you will find out soon
    enough, and he did.

    The 13 seconds is the amount of high energy phosphates that the
    cytochromes in the brain have to keep going without new oxygen
    and glucose. This is reasonably well known to the forensic
    community, but not often found in the literature. I believe I
    touched upon it in one of my articles on asphyxia. At any rate,
    not only can you blink, but you can do two for yes and one for
    no; and it is said to have been done.

  3. #3
    Commodore con Forza
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    Gruesome, but fascinating. I always imagined decapitation as being instant - like turning off a light, but maybe not. I hope it doesn't hurt. Still far preferable to hanging, I would imagine.

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata greatcyber's Avatar
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    Macabre, yet interesting. I guess this would explain why chickens run around after having their heads lopped off.
    Stephen

    Perform a Random Act of Kindness Today...
    ...You Just May Be in Need of One Tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Erk - sorry, but I've had the unpleasant experience of removing a sick chicken's head from it's torso ... still makes me cringe when I think of it and it was about 20 years ago.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  6. #6
    Commodore con Forza
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    I'm very strongly against capital punishment, but I still think the guillotine should be applauded as a significant humanitarian development, because it removed the possibility of innacuracy from a human axeman (especially if he'd been drinking, as well he might) and hanging was a horribly slow death before the advent of the trap-door method which (usually, but not always) broke the prisoner's neck (the reality is described frankly in "The Quare Fellow" by Brendan Behan).

    [If you're even slightly squeamish, don't read on]

    I heard the older method of hanging described on the radio recently - the body would twitch on the end of the rope for several minutes as the prisoner slowly choked to death, during which time there would be involuntary urination, defecation and ejaculation. That was what drew large crowds to watch the spectacle. I'm not someone who uses the word "obscene" lightly, but that strikes me as being utterly obscene.

  7. #7
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I don't care one way about capital punishment or not and I won't be politically correct and state that I'm against it. We don't have it were I live and that's the way the law is here. So be it.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    There are some factual accounts about axemen getting it wrong, probably the most famous of which was the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots. According to some sources, it took three blows to separate the head from the body and she was still conscious for the first two. The manner in which the final severance took place does really not bear repeating.

    Also, for anyone who watched the film The Green Mile and thought that the deliberately sabotaged electrocution (by that vile young guard) was over dramatised and too over the top, it wasn't. Again, based on eyewitness accounts, the visible arcing and combustion of the prisoner were a relatively common occurance if the correct preparations were not carried out. Furthermore, the film didn't give an impression of the smell either.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  9. #9
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting sight about executions and beheadings at the Tower of London.


    http://www.castles.me.uk/executions-...-of-london.htm

  10. #10
    Commodore con Forza
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    "If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs ...."

  11. #11
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Can I keep my body as well?


    This man brings a bodiless head into a bar, the head asks the bartender for a drink and after he is finished, poof a torso appears.

    SO the head asks for another drink and after it finishes poof arms come out of the torso. So the head asks the bartender for another drink and when he’s finished poof legs appear.

    So the head is thinking, "hey, this stuff is great" so the head asks the bartender
    for one more drink for the road and poof his whole body disappears.

    The bartender turns to him and says, "You should have quit while you were a head."

  12. #12
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Yikes - one poor woman lost her head after eleven blows of a blunt axe ... eeeeeiiiikkkk @ marval
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  13. #13
    Rear Admiral Appassionata greatcyber's Avatar
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    Yikes, we are a sick bunch of puppies, aren't we?
    Stephen

    Perform a Random Act of Kindness Today...
    ...You Just May Be in Need of One Tomorrow.

  14. #14
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Oh dear Stephen, I think we might be.

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