History has seen its fair share of gruesome deaths, but as time has passed, there are a few that have made the books and stood out due to their ghastly nature, not to mention their back stories.
Each is different from the last, whether a series of murders or notorious trials; perhaps it is the legends, as well as the cause of death, behind every case that makes them so unforgettable.
In today’s article, we will be taking a look at just three grisly deaths and trials throughout history. Read on for more.
Salem Witch Trials
Possibly one of the most well-known, yet horrific trials in history, the Salem Witch Trials took place from 1692 to 1693 and were designed to prosecute individuals who had been suspected of witchcraft.
In total, 20 were found guilty and executed, the majority of these being women. At the time though, the belief in otherworldly presences was widespread and is commonly cited as part of everyday life during this era.
Those who were accused underwent a series of tests designed to prove their ‘innocence’ though there is much debate as to whether or not these tests were impartial. A few of these tests included the Swimming Test, which involved binding and throwing ‘witches’ in deep water, and the Prayer test, where the individual would have to recite parts of the Bible without blunder.
Victorian Capital Punishment
As horrific as the Salem Witch Trials were back in 1692, Victorian capital punishment wasn’t far from being equally ghastly. One notable executioner was William Calcraft, who became infamous for using the ‘short drop’ technique, where those found guilty would die slowly and painfully of asphyxiation.
And if you thought this was bad enough, Calcraft also made a habit of enjoying a tipple and making jests during his job. From time to time, Calcraft was also ordered to pull the victim’s legs in order to make the execution less agonising.
During his time as an executioner, before his retirement in 1874, it is thought that as many as 450 individuals were hung by him.
Jack the Ripper
So, we’ve taken a look at one of, if not the most notorious trials in history and had an insight into Victorian capital punishment. Now, we have another series of grisly deaths during the Victorian era, but this time, the culprit remains faceless.
Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of the East End in 1888, taking the lives of five known victims, if not many more. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this case though is that the culprit was never caught, despite an extensive list of suspects.
Today, there is more than a handful of Jack the Ripper Tours, giving us a greater insight into the killings and who the real Ripper could have been.
These are just three examples of grisly deaths throughout history.
Richard Cobb – has written 213 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.