1814: Private John McMillan, deserter 1938: George Brain, Wimbledon murderer

Seven-Out: Executed Today’s Seventh Annual Report

October 31st, 2014 Headsman


Dante‘s model of Purgatory, with a level for each of the seven deadly sins.

Yesterday’s post completed Year 7 of this here death blog; today’s Halloween anniversary of our maiden post is the traditional occasion for self-indulgent reflection.

Seven straight years of nailing every-24-hours deadlines — over 2,500 posts by now — is a little feather in our headsman’s hood. But even in pausing to preen, I must admit that this labor of love has felt more like labor than ever before these past months. There’s a reason that seven years comes with its own itch.

No need to belabor the point. The site presses ahead to Year 8; as a matter of fact, there are dozens of posts already pre-scheduled. But the editor under the hood is also searching for a fresh spark from the Muse to leave this fallow period behind. Executioner’s angst: surely there must be more to this world than the chopping of heads?

There are innumerable stories worth the telling that we have not yet touched and justify perseverance in an existential desert. But one also must also acknowledge that this will still be true after seven more years or seventeen. Every executioner comes to his end, sometimes when least expected.


Photo of seven Communards in their coffins, by André-Adolphe-Eugène_Disdéri

Traffic

Seven years deep, the annual list of most popular posts ever has ossified to the point where the minor yearly rearrangements just don’t have much new to say that previous annual reports haven’t already said. Last year’s installment ran up to an unwieldy 66; I’ve pared it back to 40 this year for better digestion. Check out the Year 6 report and you’ll get a pretty good idea what the next 20 or 30 on the list would have been.

1. Ted Bundy (January 24, 1989)
2. Eleven from the Stutthof concentration camp (July 4, 1946)
3. Pargali Ibrahim Pasha (March 15, 1536)
4. Hideki Tojo (December 23, 1948)
5. Mohammad Najibullah (September 27, 1996)
6. Rainey Bethea (August 14, 1936)
7. Samuel K. Doe (September 9, 1990)
8. Jesse Washington lynched (May 15, 1916)
9. Karl Hermann Frank (May 22, 1946)
10. Green Tea Hag (March 4, 1771)
11. Eugen Weidmann (June 17, 1939)
12. Thomas Cromwell (July 28, 1540)
13. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni (July 19, 2005)
14. Nguyen Van Lem (February 1, 1968)
15. Fou Tchou-li (April 10, 1905)
16. Prince Mustafa (Oct. 6, 1553)
17. Allen Lee “Tiny” Davis (July 8, 1999)
18. The rapists of Maggie dela Riva (May 17, 1972)
19. James Corbitt (November 28, 1950)
20. Pulitzer Prize-winning firing squad photograph from the Iranian Revolution (August 27, 1979)
21. Pvt. Eddie Slovik (January 31, 1945)
22. Eva Dugan (February 21, 1930)
23. Hamida Djandoubi (September 10, 1977)
24. Three partisans in Minsk (October 26, 1941)
25. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (June 19, 1953)
26. Charles Starkweather (June 25, 1959)
27. Claus von Stauffenberg (July 21, 1944)
28. Amon Goeth (September 13, 1946)
29. Eight July 20 anti-Hitler plotters (August 8, 1944)
30. Karla Faye Tucker (February 3, 1998)
31. Robert Francois Damiens (March 28, 1757)
32. Princess Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud (July 15, 1977)
33. Mohamed Oufkir (August 16, 1972)
34. Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin (December 11, 1962)
35. Dhananjoy Chatterjee (August 14, 2004)
36. John Bennett (April 13, 1961)
37. Stephen Morin (March 13, 1985)
38. Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray (January 12, 1928)
39. 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. (June 16, 1944)
40. The Stoning of Soraya M. (August 15, 1986)

One reason this list looks the same year after year is that the lifetime-pageview metric confers such a huge early mover advantage on older posts. Meaghan Good’s guest post on the electrocution of 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. just squeaked onto our countdown at no. 39 above: it’s the most recently-posted story in that cohort, and it ran 28 months ago. Only two of the remaining 39 were published within the past four years. The random emergence of a news story or bit of cultural ephemera may cause some heretofore obscure post to pop onto the marquee come next year, but the list just posted increasingly resembles the light of a distant star — the snapshot of what transpired when the blog was young.

What’s been going on more recently?


Seven men on the gallows, sketch by unknown artist, Bolognese school c. 1630

Most Popular Posts Within the Past Four Years

Here’s a pull of the most-trafficked posts over the course of the past four years that were actually written during the past four years.

1. Pargali Ibrahim Pasha (March 15, 1536)
2. Eva Dugan (February 21, 1930)
3. 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. (June 16, 1944)
4. David Tyrie, the last hanged, drawn, and quartered (August 24, 1782)
5. Boonpeng Heep Lek, the last public beheading in Thailand (August 19, 1919)
6. Majid and Hossein Kavousifar (August 2, 2007)
7. Kehar Singh and Satwant Singh, assassins of Indira Gandhi (January 6, 1989)
8. Pin Peungyard, Gasem Singhara, and (twice) Ginggaew Lorsoungnern (January 13, 1979)
9. Twelve blown from cannons in British Punjab (June 13, 1857)
10. The Münster Rebellion leaders (January 22, 1536)
11. Daniel Pearl (February 1, 2002)
12. Three accomplices of Elizabeth Báthory, the Countless of Blood (January 7, 1611)
13. Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, strange fruit (August 7, 1930)
14. Andrei Vlasov, turncoat Soviet general (August 1, 1946)
15. Cartouche’s brother, hanged by the armpits (July 31, 1722)
16. German soldiers for cowardice (Uncertain/various dates, 1945)
17. Laura and Lawrence Nelson lynched (May 25, 1911)
18. Amelia Dyer, baby farmer (June 10, 1896)
19. Massacre of Waldensians (April 24, 1655)
20. Clarence Ray Allen (January 17, 2006)

The diversity for periods, topics, and especially geography in the above list pleases me. One of the intentions of this site is to capture snapshots of the death penalty experience in many times and places.

Even though the major Anglo countries — the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia — ranked one through four in traffic sources and collectively supplied over two million of the site’s three million or so pageviews this past year, we also boasted traffic hot spots from the Philippines, Pakistan and India, South Africa, and (it doesn’t really pop on the map) Singapore … with a clear assist to the fabricators of the British Empire for promulgating English in all these places.

Guest Posts

Outstanding guest posts accounted for more than 10% of the content for the past year, led as usual by the indefatigable Meaghan Good. Meaghan’s own individual contributions to the site are nearing a half-year’s worth of content; she also recently published for Kindle a fictional story, Execution Detail in Tartu, exploring the experience of an ordinary Einsatzgruppe commando carrying out his little bit of the Holocaust on the Second World War’s eastern front.

Meaghan Good

Robert Elder

Amelia Fedo

Harry Brodribb Irving

Aaron Molyneux

Jonathan Shipley

Robert Wilhelm


Seven years went under the bridge like time was standing still …

On this day..

Entry Filed under: Administrative Messages

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