Today’s Nekkid Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
There was a time when 85% of insane asylum inmate patients were attired in “state clothing”. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the garb, but a lot of sameness was evident. Undergarments were a particular problem in that the heavy material was too much for the thing elastic. As a result, the clothing was tied at the waist, leaving a bulge. Many wore denim jackets and trousers (overalls) and chambray shirts. On some wards, when patients were put to bed at night, all of their clothing was wrapped in a bundle and placed in the clothing room. Those patients then slept in the nude. Clothing bundles were made up the night before bath day and distributed for that event.
Morbid Report Du Jour!
Marco sent me a link to an article in Popular Mechanics about the Gerry Report:
“In 1887, the state of New York published what became popularly known as the Gerry Commission Report. This is one piece of bureaucratic prose that is neither dull nor boring. In fact, it may be among the most macabre and gruesome in the annals of American writing.
“And it was important. The ramifications of this execution encyclopedia—officially titled “The Commission to Investigate and Report the Most Humane and Practical Method of Carrying into Effect the Sentence of Death in Capital Cases”—echo still in the courts and prisons of America.”
“In all, the commission evaluated 34 different methods of execution, listing them in alphabetical order. Some methods were described in a single paragraph, while others—which presumably the authors found more interesting—took several pages to illustrate. They are:
- Auto da fe (burning to death for heresy)
- Beating with clubs
- Blowing from a cannon
- Boiling (“Usually in hot water but sometimes in melted sulfur, lead or the like.”)
- Breaking on the wheel
- Burying alive
- Decimation (a military punishment for mutineers)
- Dichotomy (cutting a person in half)
- Dismemberment (like dichotomy but even messier)
- Exposure to wild beasts
- Garrote (strangling with a cord)
- Hari Kari
- Iron Maiden (A machine in the image of the Virgin Mary equipped with spring loaded knives)
- Peine forte et dure (placing heavy weights to stop breathing)
- Pounding in a mortar (like it sounds)
- Precipitation (throwing from a cliff)
- Pressing to death
- Running the gauntlet (being made to walk between two lines of men, each of whom has a club.)
(More delightfully gruesome details at the link.)
So which method would you choose? I think beheading or shooting would be my choice.