Asian elephants have been domesticated since  around 2000 BC, with most animals captured from the wild as calves (the elephant’s long reproductive cycle makes captive breeding impractical).  Elephants have and are used as war animals, for logging/timber, for transportation, in religious ceremonies, and even as a method of execution (these elephants were trained to step on the condemned’s head, crushing it).  There is still a problem of young calves being taken from the wild to be tamed, threatening the sustainability of the wild population.  

Open; Ancient Times AU

“No, no don’t kill him!” Lola yelled through the gate as her father brought in a thief. She knew him and she didn’t want to watch him get executed. She was the daughter of an executioner who worked in castle. Everyone knew she wasn’t fit to be one. She was too gentle and kind hearted to kill anyone. “Please don’t kill him.” She begged as her father looked at her. The thief looked at her and she smiled. xdarknessxfollowsx

Alfred Clark’s “The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots” (1895) featured what was possibly the first ever edit within a film—and it was a cut in more ways than one. In order to simulate a decapitation, a hidden cut allowed the substitution of a dummy in the place of the (male) actor playing the queen. The effect was so horrific and realistic at the time that audience members reportedly believed that someone had really given her life for the part.

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A Catholic representative looks at the body of Manuel Martinez Coronado, 33 years old, in Guatemala City condemned to die by lethal injection. Manuel Martinez Coronado murdered a family of seven in 1995. His execution was broadcast live on television, during the 18 minutes it took him to die, his wife and children could be heard sobbing in the background.

Ted Bundy’s Execution:

A last thick strap was pulled across Bundy’s mouth and chin. The metal skullcap was bolted in place, its heavy black veil falling in front of the condemned man’s face.

An anonymous executioner pushed the button. Two thousand volts surged through the wires. Bundy’s body tensed and his hands tightened into a clench. A tiny puff of smoke lifted from his right leg.

A minute later, the machine was turned off, and Bundy went limp. A paramedic opened the blue shirt and listened for a heartbeat. A second doctor aimed a light into his eyes.

At 7:16 a.m., January 24th, 1989, Theodore Robert Bundy was pronounced dead.

A witnessing newsman raised his hands in signal as he left the Q Wing of Florida State Prison.

Across the street, along the dewy grass of a cow pasture, word spread among the 500 or so who had come to be near—almost all to cheer—the execution.

Some began chanting, “Burn, Bundy, burn!” And others sang or hugged or banged on the frying pans they had brought along.

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Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen said the speed with which the state meted out justice against the boy was shocking and extremely unfair, and that his case was one of “great injustice” in her ruling exonerating Stinney Jr.

The 14-year-old black boy was sentenced to death for the murder of two white girls in a segregated mill town in South Carolina, in a trial that lasted less than three hours and reportedly bore no evidence and barely any witness testimonies.

He was kept from his parents and any legal counsel when he was interrogated by authorities, and his supporters claim that the small, frail boy was so scared that he would have said whatever he thought would make the police happy, despite there having been no physical evidence linking him to the death of the girls.

Stinney Jr and his sister Amie Ruffner were the last people to see the two girls, aged 7 and 11, alive when they were out in a field near the town of Alcolu. Stinney Jr’s father had been part of the search team that found the girls’ bodies hours later in a ditch, badly beaten with crushing blows to their skulls.

Stinney Jr had been arrested and executed within the space of around three months. Executioners noted that he was too small for the electric chair when he died; the straps did not fit him, an electrode was too big for his leg, and the boy had to sit on a bible to fit properly in the chair.

His case has long been spoken of as an example of how a black person could be railroaded by a justice system during the era of Jim Crow segregation laws where the investigators, prosecutors and juries were all white.

The boy’s family have insisted that he was innocent, and in January they asked a local judge to order a re-trial and clear Stinney Jr’s name, claiming there was new evidence about the crime.

This time Stinney Jr’s case was given a two day hearing in which experts questioned his confession and the autopsy findings, while the judge heard accounts from the boy’s surviving brothers and sisters, and someone who had been involved in the search. Most of the evidence from the original trial was gone and almost all the witnesses were dead.

It took Mullen nearly four times as long to return her decision on Stinney Jr’s case than it had originally taken to arrest and have him executed in 1944, and said in her ruling that she could “think of no greater injustice” than the boy’s case.

Judge Mullen found that Stinney Jr’s confession was “highly likely” to have been coerced by authorities, while few or no witnesses were found to have testified in the trial.

The judge said she was overturning the boy’s conviction because the South Carolina court had failed to grant a fair trial in 1944.


Today in history - The execution of Anne Boleyn

On the morning of Friday 19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed within the Tower precincts, not upon the site of the execution memorial, but rather, according to historian Eric Ives, on a scaffold erected on the north side of the White Tower, in front of what is now the Waterloo Barracks. She wore a red petticoat under a loose, dark grey gown of damask trimmed in fur and a mantle of ermine.Accompanied by two female attendants, Anne made her final walk from the Queen’s House to the scaffold and she showed a “devilish spirit" and looked “as gay as if she was not going to die”.Anne climbed the scaffold and made a short speech to the crowd:

Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.

She gracefully addressed the people from the scaffold with a voice somewhat overcome by weakness, but which gathered strength as she went on. She begged her hearers to forgive her if she had not used them all with becoming gentleness, and asked for their prayers. It was needless, she said, to relate why she was there, but she prayed the Judge of all the world to have compassion on those who had condemned her, and she begged them to pray for the King, in whom she had always found great kindness, fear of God, and love of his subjects. The spectators could not refrain from tears

The ermine mantle was removed and Anne lifted off her headdress, tucking her hair under a coif. After a brief farewell to her weeping ladies and a request for prayers, she kneeled down and one of her ladies tied a blindfold over her eyes. She knelt upright, in the French style of executions. Her final prayer consisted of her repeating continually, “Jesu receive my soul; O Lord God have pity on my soul.”

The execution consisted of a single stroke. It was witnessed by Thomas Cromwell; Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk; the King’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy; the Lord Mayor of London, as well as aldermen, sheriffs, and representatives of the various craft guilds. Most of the King’s Council were also present. Cranmer, who was at Lambeth Palace, was reported to have broken down in tears after telling Alexander Ales: “She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in heaven." When the charges were first brought against Anne, Cranmer had expressed his astonishment to Henry and his belief that "she should not be culpable.” Still, Cranmer felt vulnerable because of his closeness to the queen, and so on the night before the execution, he declared Henry’s marriage to Anne to have been void, like Catherine’s before her. He made no serious attempt to save Anne’s life, although some sources record that he had prepared her for death by hearing her last private confession of sins, in which she had stated her innocence before God. On the day of her death a Scottish friend found Cranmer weeping uncontrollably in his London gardens, saying that he was sure that Anne had now gone to Heaven.

She was then buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Her skeleton was identified during renovations of the chapel in 1876, in the reign of Queen Victoria, and Anne’s resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

A portion of Charles Guiteau’s brain

“The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him”

This is a specimen of the brain tissue of Charles Guiteau. He is best known as the assassin of President James A. Garfield of the USA. 

While James Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881, he did not die until eleven weeks later. Most of his care was considered competent for the day, but his physicians rejected antiseptic technique, and if they hadn’t, it’s widely believed that Garfield would have survived. The exact cause of death was overwhelming infection, leading to rupture of the splenic artery.

His assassin was executed less than a year after his death, by hanging.

From the National Museum of Health and Medicine, via Flickr