of removing a person's head
from the rest of his body
, usually by a sharp blade
, causing death
. It is a widely used form of execution
in the world
. Today, it is still used in Saudi Arabia
as a sort of public execution
to scare off potential criminals
There have been many ways to do this in the past. The axe coupled with a wooden block and a waiting basket is the most common method. The longsword or scimitar (still used now in the Middle East) has also been used. The French invented the guillotine trying to "humanize" execution.
The human head usually flies around 3 feet when removed, accompanied by a great amount of blood spurting from the neck and the head. According to scientists, the human brain can function for 7 seconds when it is cut off from its supply of oxygen before expiring. Reports of movements of the eyes and mouth of the removed head confirm this fact. For a few brief seconds, the dead man is able to see his own body and the great fountain of blood.
In the old days in England, after a beheading, the corpse would be taken to an unmarked grave, tossed in with the head, and some quicklime thrown in to speed decomposition. Today in Saudi Arabia, the condemned is given tranquilizers, and after the beheading takes place, a medic would take the head to a doctor, where he would used a gloved hand to stem the flow of blood. The head is then sewed back on, and the body taken to be buried.
It used to be considered the most humane method of execution, but its gruesome nature has led to its abandonment in most countries for less visual methods, such as lethal injection.