Half hangit Maggie, the woman who survived her execution

September 2, 1724Edinburgh, ScotlandMargaret Dickson (approximately 22) is hanged, incompletely, for the murder of her child “Ye Sons of Satan, Candidates of Hell, Listen unto the serious Truths I tell,” cautions a pamphlet announcing Dickson’s execution. The pamphlet continued, in rhyme, explaining the nature of Dickson’s crime and concluded: “The Miscreant kills the Fruit of…

The guillotine declared France’s official means of execution

March 20, 1792 France The guillotine is declared the official means of execution in France Though beheading machines existed before the guillotine, with documentation existing as far back as 1307 in Ireland, the French refined the design and were the first to implement it as an official means of execution. Originally, the machine was dubbed…

Man kills family of five with a club and fire

February 3, 1780 Litchfield County, Connecticut Barnett Davenport (19) kills his employer Caleb Mallory, his wife Jane Mallory, and three of their grandchildren Davenport had been in trouble with the law since childhood; during his confession of the Mallory murders he admitted to committing several crimes as well as frequently battling the urge to kill.…