Death by Burning
This form of punishment has a long history as a form of capital punishment. Many societies have employed it as an execution method for crimes such as treason, heresy, and witchcraft. It might surprise you to know that this form of punishment was still carried out until recent times.
Death by Burning
Execution by burning in which the condemned is bound to a large stake is more commonly called burning at the stake. Death by burning fell into disfavor among governments in the late 18th century but is still carried out in certain societies today.
When condemned to die in this fashion how quick the death was depended on the executors skill at building a fire When this method of execution was applied with skill the condemned body would burn progressively in the following sequence: calves, thighs and hands, torso and forearms, breasts, upper chest, face; and then finally death. This did not always happen though on some occasions, people died from suffocation with only their calves on fire. Other records report that victims took over 2 hours to die. In an attempt to make this more humane a rope was attached to the convict’s neck passing through a ring on the stake and they were simultaneously strangled and burnt. I would imagine that this still hurt to put it mildly.
In later years in England we became more humane burnings only took place after the victim had been hanged for half an hour. In many areas in England the condemned woman (men were hanged, drawn, and quartered) was seated astride a small seat called the saddle which was fixed half way up a permanently positioned iron stake. The stake was about 4 meters high and had chains hanging from it to hold the condemned woman still during her punishment. Having been taken to the place of execution in a cart with her hands firmly tied in front of her and wearing just a thin shift she was lifted over the executioner’s shoulder and carried up a ladder against the stake to be sat astride the saddle. The chains were then fastened and sometimes painted with pitch which was supposed to help the fire burn her more quickly. See how concerned us Englishmen had become to conflicting pain
Does it happen today? The answer is yes it does.
In the late 1990s, a number of North Korean army generals were executed by being burnt alive inside the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
In 2002 a mob of 500 strong Muslims burnt a railway coach full of Hindu pilgrims.
In Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, there were 400 cases of the burning of women in 2006. In Iraqi Kurdistan, at least 255 women had been killed in just the first six months of 2007, three quarters of them by burning.
On the 21st May 2008 in Kenya a mob burnt to death at least 11 people accused of witchcraft.
On the 19th June 2008, the Taliban in Sadda in Pakistan burnt alive three truck drivers belonging to the Turi tribe after attacking a convoy of trucks loaded with food and medicine.
Don’t think it does not happen here in the United States of America. In one of the most horrifying burnings of modern times in Waco, Texas on the 15th May 1916. Jesse Washington, a mentally challenged African American farmhand, after having been convicted of the murder of a white woman, was taken by a mob to a bonfire, castrated, doused in coal oil, and hanged by the neck from a chain over the bonfire, slowly burning to death. A postcard from the event still exists today.
Thanks to Wikipedia for dates and names