The Eight Pains: Executed Today’s Eighth annual report

Yesterday’s post, the 2,922th consecutive day we’ve filled in these implacable annals, completed our eighth revolution around the sun since this here site was born on Halloween way back in 2007.

When looking back on this project, whenever it should come to an end, it will be very difficult to account for how it’s managed to shamble along all this time without going all to pieces. Life has changed quite a bit in that time, but death seems to hold maddeningly consistent.

I have been lucky, no doubt, to have that margin (if sometimes barely that margin) of health and income and time to maintain, and luckier still for the collaboration and support of many others who have contributed to this site and without whom it would have died a fool’s death long ago. The surest thing I can credit to myself is the obstinance just to stack up the next post, day upon day, whether I want to or not. As Steinbeck wrote of the onerous birth of The Grapes of Wrath.

I’ll get the book done if I just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.

Books, at least, have ends to go with their beginnings and middles. We are eight years in, the figure for the infinite and a number that’s starting to get too big for the numerological sport. It’s a goddamned bloody history of tragedy and horror that we’ve slogged through and the fact of the matter is that we haven’t even scratched the surface of enterprise: if anything, the surface has scratched us.

Growth Chart

  • 15.25 million pageviews
  • 24,509 Twitter updates to (at present) 4,235 followers
  • The Ted Bundy post has 7,666 comments

Typical daily traffic has dipped a bit and is now more in the 6,000-7,000 neighborhood than former heights of 7,000 and even 8,000.

Traffic

As we’ve noted in some past incarnations of this accounting, the register of Executed Today’s most-trafficked posts all-time has become fairly ossified by dint of the enormous first-mover advantage that the oldest posts on the site enjoy. 2015’s top 40 is basically 2014’s top 40, with some minor jostling around the order; the only new additions vis-a-vis 2014 are Soviet partisan Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, one of the earliest posts on this site and a regular top traffic earner around the lower fringes of these posts, and — a truly new addition — our September 2014 treatment of Nigerian gangster Ishola Oyenusi.

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. Rainey Bethea (August 14, 1936)
6. Mohammad Najibullah (September 27, 1996)
7. Karl Hermann Frank (May 22, 1946)
8. Samuel K. Doe (September 9, 1990)
9. Jesse Washington lynched (May 15, 1916)
10. Prince Mustafa (Oct. 6, 1553)
11. Eugen Weidmann (June 17, 1939)
12. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni (July 19, 2005)
13. Green Tea Hag (March 4, 1771)
14. Allen Lee “Tiny” Davis (July 8, 1999)
15. Fou Tchou-li (April 10, 1905)
16. Thomas Cromwell (July 28, 1540)
17. The rapists of Maggie dela Riva (May 17, 1972)
18. Nguyen Van Lem (February 1, 1968)
19. Pvt. Eddie Slovik (January 31, 1945)
20. James Corbitt (November 28, 1950)
21. Eva Dugan (February 21, 1930)
22. Pulitzer Prize-winning firing squad photograph from the Iranian Revolution (August 27, 1979)
23. Hamida Djandoubi (September 10, 1977)
24. Three partisans in Minsk (October 26, 1941)
25. Charles Starkweather (June 25, 1959)
26. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (June 19, 1953)
27. Robert-Francois Damiens (March 28, 1757)
28. Claus von Stauffenberg (July 21, 1944)
29. Princess Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud (July 15, 1977)
30. Ishola Oyenusi (September 8, 1971)
31. Eight July 20 anti-Hitler plotters (August 8, 1944)
32. Amon Goeth (September 13, 1946)
33. Karla Faye Tucker (February 3, 1998)
34. Dhananjoy Chatterjee (August 14, 2004)
35. 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. (June 16, 1944)
36. Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin (December 11, 1962)
37. Stephen Morin (March 13, 1985)
38. Mohamed Oufkir (August 16, 1972)
39. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (November 29, 1941)
40. John Bennett (April 13, 1961)

The two posts falling off the top 20, Ruth Snyder’s illicitly photographed electrocution and the stoning of Soraya M., come in at nos. 41 and 42, respectively.

Most Popular Posts Within the Past Four Years

To get a view of what new content is actually hitting, we took a look last year at the top posts by lifetime pageviews that were actually written within the past four years. Even this view skews to the earliest; 10 of those posts from last year automatically roll off in an updated snapshot for being written before Halloween of 2011 — just as most of the posts in this moving window date from 2012.

1. Ishola Oyenusi (September 8, 1971)
2. 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. (June 16, 1944)
3. The M√ľnster Rebellion leaders (January 22, 1536)
4. Boonpeng Heep Lek, the last public beheading in Thailand (August 19, 1919)
5. Kehar Singh and Satwant Singh, assassins of Indira Gandhi (January 6, 1989)
6. German soldiers for cowardice (Uncertain/various dates, 1945)
7. Pin Peungyard, Gasem Singhara, and (twice) Ginggaew Lorsoungnern (January 13, 1979)
8. Amelia Dyer, baby farmer (June 10, 1896)
9. Daniel Pearl (February 1, 2002)
10. The kid brother of the outlaw Cartouche (July 31, 1722)
11. Leo Echegaray (February 5, 1999)
12. The Dachau Massacre (April 29, 1945)
13. Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party coup (July 22, 1979)
14. Laszlo Baky and Laszlo Endre (March 29, 1946)
15. Johnny Frank Garrett (February 11, 1992)
16. Anna Antonio (August 9, 1934)
17. Clarence Ray Allen (January 17, 2006)
18. Mary Hamilton, lady in waiting (March 14, 1719)
19. Eva Braun’s brother (April 28, 1945)
20. Sehzade Beyazit (September 25, 1561)

Dead Draw

A years’-long white-whale project somehow came to fruition this year thanks to the inestimable design prowess of Tom Eykemans. As a result, it’s now possible to have the dead man’s hand comprised of actual dead men. (And women.)

You can have these in time to creep out your poker buddies for a pittance of a tip to your friendly executioner. (We promise not to do you like Monmouth.)


Buy this on Selz

Guest Posts

As usual, many of the site’s best posts are the products of guest authors. Does one even consider Meaghan Good a “guest author” at this point? She’s logged about six months’ worth of content over the years, with numerous more in the hopper pending future publication. Every year I try to find a different way to say that Meaghan rocks … but man, does she rock.

Meaghan Good

Robert Elder

David Graham-Scott

Amelia Fedo

Emma Goldman

Lucie, Lady Duff-Gordon

Harry Brodribb Irving

Michael DeHay

Sabine Baring-Gould

1460: Tiburzio di Maso, Roman brigand

The Roman outlaw-slash-rebel Tiburzio di Maso was executed on this date in 1460, with seven other members of his band.

Tiburzio’s father had been put to death seven years before for joining in the anti-papal intrigues of his kinsman (by marriage) Stefano Porcaro. Theirs was the old populist dream of Cola di Rienzi, to throw off the depraved overlordship of Rome’s patricians and resume the tribune of the people.

Their enemy in this endeavor, to speak a bit more specifically, must be the pope himself — for as Gibbon observed, “the policy of the Caesars has been repeated by the popes; and the bishop of Rome affected to maintain the form of a republic, while he reigned with the absolute powers of a temporal, as well as a spiritual, monarch.” It was this throne that had destroyed Tiburzio’s father, and upon which he proposed to revenge himself.

White breast, sweet tongue, kind eyes and ready wit! You marble limbs, full of vigour, when shall I see you again? When again shall I bite those coral lips, or feel again that tremulous tongue murmuring in my mouth, or ever handle those breasts.

Why, Achates, you have scarcely seen this woman. Where she is most feminine, there she is most lovely. I wish you could be me! Not the beautiful wife of Candaules, King of Lydia, was more beautiful than she. I cannot wonder that he wished to show his wife naked to his friend, to give him the greater pleasure. I would do the same myself. If it were possible, I’d show you Lucretia naked, for otherwise I cannot describe to you how beautiful she is, nor can you imagine how full and substantial was my pleasure. But rejoice with me, because my delight was greater than words can tell.

-[the man who would become] Pope Pius II, The Tale of Two Lovers

By the time the son Tiburzio came to avenge his father,* the pope in question was Pius II, once so much the gentleman-humanist that he is the only pontiff to byline an epistolary erotic novel. Come election to the seat of St. Peter, however, he had predictably discovered a newly illiberal affinity for the overweening prerogatives customarily asserted by his office

Among the lesser of these prerogatives was the option to make his residence in the less miasmatic confines of his native Siena, and his extended absence from Rome surely gave some air by which the brash youth could kindle a rebellion. Tiburzio attracted a gang who alternately caroused together and sallied together as highwaymen on the famously dangerous roads. “If in Porcaro the democratic movement had already generated to the level of Catiline, in Tiburzio and Valeriano, the heroes of 1460, it had sunk to that of mere brigandage,” wrote the German historian Ferdinand Gregorovius. (Via)

“Mere” brigandae posed a real danger to papacy’s safety, however, enough so that the governor’s running skirmishes with this most dangerous gang eventually required the returned of Pope Pius to steady the situation: a captured informant gave information that Tiburzio’s band was in league with Ghibelline nobles and had even arranged with the condottiero Jacopo Piccinino to throw open the city gates for his army.

But our man, well into the history-repeating-as-farce cycle, squandered his opportunity and his life by recklessly sallying into the city from refuge in nearby Palombara once one of his party was arrested. The Roman masses turned deaf ears on his calls to arms, and papal gendarmes captured Tiburzio and several misadventuring comrades. Without the inducements of torture, he too admitted the conspiracy with Piccinino — and the whole bunch hanged together on Capitoline Hill.

* Dad’s foe was Pope Nicholas V, who died in 1455.