Asphyxiation Any method for depriving the prisoner of air, includes compression of the neck, crushing of the chest and the use of chemical agents to prevent oxygenation of the blood and/or muscle function.
Burning Especially favoured for religious heretics and general God-botherers.
Brazen bull The prisoner is shut up inside a brass bull, a fire is set under the bull and the prisoner is slowly roast to death.
Breaking on the Wheel The prisoner's arms and legs are placed in turn across 2 heavy beams and the bones are broken with a large hammer. Optionally, each limb may be fractured multiple times. The broken limbs are then threaded through the spokes of a large wheel, which is hoisted to the top of a tall pole so that birds can eat the prisoner alive.
Boiling to death The prisoner is tied up and placed in a giant cauldron of cold water, which is heated slowly to provide an extremely painful and slow method of execution.
Burial The prisoner is generally covered with earth while alive but immobilized and suffocates.
Cannon The prisoner is tied before the mouth of a cannon, which is discharged to provide a showy and severely messy form of execution. Alternatively, cannons loaded with grapeshot may be used for mass executions as an alternative to a firing squad.
Crucifixion This method was popular in Roman times but it is somewhat out of fashion now.
Crushing by a weight The techniques used for this method of execution vary greatly from place to place and it may be used to provide a quick death or a slow ordeal. A common technique is crushing by elephant or a herd of cattle or horses. The elephant variation has been used in South and South-East Asia for over 4,000 years, and the Romans and Carthaginians also used it.
Death by a thousand cuts If prolonged skilfully, the prisoner may die of septicaemia rather than blood loss.
Decapitation The usual methods involve beheading by sword, axe or guillotine. The guillotine is the most reliable method, if it is properly maintained, as it removes the element of skill from the process.
Deification The prisoner is treated like a god for up to one year; but, optionally, for as little as 8 minutes; before he is ritually stabbed to death so that his spirit can leave the physical plane and become one with the gods.
Disruption Each of the prisoner's legs (and, optionally, his arms) is attached to any combination of horses (or other suitable animals), winches and other pulling machines (e.g. the rack), and a small tree which has been bent to the ground and pegged with a quick release mechanism. The pulling devices are operated simultaneously to pull the prisoner apart.
Drawing and quartering Combined with hanging, this has been voted 'the most cruel and unusual punishment of all time'. As practiced in Britain, the method comprised: dragging the prisoner to the place of execution on a wooden hurdle, hanging by the neck until severely distressed but not dead, disembowelment and burning of the entrails and genitalia while the prisoner watched, then beheading and division of the body into four parts. The 4 body parts, and the head, were then displayed in separate public places as an awful warning to others.
Drowning Mass drowning was popular during the French Revolution. Modern ultra-quick-setting cements have revolutionized the traditional Mafia eradication method involving a concrete overshoe.
Electrocution The method generally comprises use of an 'electric chair'. Electrodes are attached to the prisoner's shaven head and leg. 500-2,000 Volts are applied across the electrodes for 30 seconds initially. The prisoner's body is allowed to cool and a doctor checks to see if the prisoner's heart is still beating. If so, the shock treatment is repeated. This cycle is continued until the prisoner is dead. Sometimes, the prisoner can catch fire so an extinguishing system is an essential accessory for the death chamber.
Exsanguination As Mr. Bliar's government has been bleeding the country to death with Stealth Taxes since 1997, this would be an extremely appropriate penalty for him.
Firing squad Some organizations use a team of 4-8 men (although up to 15 men can be used if the commander of the firing squad wants to show off). The prisoner may be strapped to a chair or secured upright against a stake. Death occurs through a catastrophic drop in blood pressure to the brain. If the job is botched, the prisoner bleeds to death slowly. The Chinese are the most economical, favouring a single shooter delivering a single bullet to the back of the prisoner's neck. His family is then billed for the ammunition expended.
Forced suicide The prisoner was generally obliged to take poison in ancient times. Shooting is a common option now but the Japanese and others have their own ritual ways of ending an inconvenient life.
Garrotte This method was a favourite of the Spanish until 1974. The basic technique involves tightening a rope around the prisoner's neck using a stick as a lever. A length of wire with wooden handles at either end may also be used. The Spanish revised the method to include a chair with restraints for the prisoner. The executioner used a crank to tightened a metal band placed around the neck. Optionally, a metal bolt or blade may be mounted at the back of the neck to facilitate breaking the neck or severing the spinal cord.
Gassing The prisoner is strapped to a chair in an airtight chamber and pellets of sodium cyanide are released into a container of sulphuric acid beneath the chair. The hydrogen cyanide gas released causes suffocation as the haemoglobin in prisoner's blood takes up the cyanide in preference to oxygen.
Hanging According to the method chosen, the victim dies of strangulation and/or the effects of a broken neck.
Impalement A method highly popular with Vlad Dracula, Romanian hero, in the late 15th Century, and a standard Persian punishment at the time of Alexander the Great, 19 centuries earlier.
Induced Spontaneous Human Combustion This is a highly experimental, modern technique which uses a high-powered maser (microwave laser).
Iron Maiden The Iron Maiden of Nuremberg Castle was 2 metres tall and 1 metre wide. The double doors at the front were fitted with dozens of iron spikes, which were designed to provide slow torture rather than a quick death. The spikes were arrange to miss vital organs and let the victim stay upright and suffering for several days. The soundproof doors could be opened individually to let the executioner check up on the extent of the prisoner's suffering.
Lethal injection The method generally involves 3 separate injections: sodium thiopental induces unconsciousness which is supposed to last until the other two injections have taken effect; pancuronium/tubocurarine stops all muscle movement (except that of the heart), and causes collapse of the diaphragm and eventual death by asphyxiation; potassium chloride slows the heart rate to cause death by cardiac arrest.
Pressing a popular execution method for witches. The prisoner was laid on the ground, covered with a board then rocks or weights were then placed on the board until death through crushing occurred.
Poisoning The number of methods available is a reflection of human ingenuity. Natural poisons, manufactured chemical agents, stinging insects and animals with a poisonous bite may all be used.
Sawing The prisoner is hung upside down and then sawn in two, starting at the groin. The brain of the inverted prisoners receives sufficient blood supply to keep him alive and aware at least until the saw severs major blood vessels of the abdomen. In Oriental countries, the prisoner remains upright and sawing starts at the head to provide a much quicker death. Bisecting male adulterers was considered extremely apt as it let both women share his body.
Scaphism The prisoner is stripped and secured within a hollowed-out tree trunks with head, hands, and feet protruding. He is then force-fed milk and honey until he develops severe diarrhea. More honey is rubbed on his body to attract insects and he is left to die through a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock caused by insect bites and contamination of his wounds. Death can take in excess of 2 weeks. Alternatives include pegging the prisoner out across an anthill, and tying him to a tree to die through starvation and blood loss caused by biting insects such as mosquitos and horse flies.
Searing Wounds are inflicted on the prisoner with a sharp blade then molten lead or another hot liquid is poured into the wounds until the criminal expires.
Starvation As related in Edgar Poe's story The Flask of Amontillado, this method usually includes walling up the person condemned to starve to death.
Stoning The prisoner is wrapped in a sheet and buried from the waste down for man and up to the neck for women. A crowd then pelts the prisoners with small stones to cause death through progressive damage.
Strangling with silk robe an Ottoman-style capital punishment for royal persons whose blood may not be shed. Not really appropriate for Mr. B. Liar.