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Public execution, and execution in general, used to be pretty popular back in the day. Watching the government or military take someone’s life was a normal part of life, something you did with your family and friends. There were a few styles of execution that were universally popular – hanging, firing squad, and beheading – but there were others that were more regional. Take garroting for example; this method of execution was popular mostly in Spain and France and some Spanish colonies. The convict would sit in a chair and have a metal collar tightened around his neck until he asphyxiated or his spine snapped. I think I would rather be shot. Garroting in public was abolished in Spain in 1897 after which it was only performed in prisons, and the last garroting of a Spanish prisoner was in 1974. I can’t help but think about the irony of some of these brutal deaths – that they were perpetrated by the very people and institutions who claim to be the judges of right and wrong. From these photos, you can see that there is a lot wrong with putting someone to death in these ways. Executions were often photographed after the invention of the camera; they were not closed off from the media for the most part, so many photos exist of the executions either during, in the moment of death or after death. Today we have collected a few from around the web for your viewing pleasure/disgust!

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