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Death By Elephants

Definition: Humanity has conjured a constellation of ways to conduct executions, and this may be one of the wildest methods of them all.

 

Capital punishment has always been cruel, but that cruelty has changed over time and varies in accordance with place-specific cultural mores and legal norms. Still, the prospect of meeting your end under the weighty foot of a compliant elephant seems too absurd to be real.

However, the strange but true practice of death by elephant was a common method of public execution popular in Southeast Asia, predominantly India, from the Middle Ages until as recently as the late 19th century.

Also known as Gunga Rao, these executions relied on the brute force of a pachyderm to crush its victims to death, usually pressing on their head or abdomen with a giant foot which bore all of its weight.

While enemy soldiers were most commonly found at the receiving end of this unusual punishment, petty criminals found guilty of offenses such as tax evasion and even theft were also subject to execution by elephant.

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Resources:

  external linkKiller Elephants: When Pachyderms Carried Out Capital Punishment Krissy Howard

 

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