Most Hangings Survived

Just a ridiculously quick story today, found on Futility Closet here.

"In 1803, Australian Joseph Samuel was sentenced to hang for murder. The first attempt failed when the rope broke. A replacement rope stretched, letting Samuel's feet touch the ground. And the third rope broke.

"So they let him go."

Either it's a statistical anomaly, divine intervention, or SHODDY ROPE-MAKING.

I feel like I've heard another story somewhere where they attempted to execute a felon four times and each time something saved him, so they let him go. Anyone able to link me to that story?

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3 Responses to Most Hangings Survived

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t it common practice, though?


    • Was what common practice? Letting the prisoner go if they couldn’t kill him after a few attempts? I actually have no idea. Hmph. Those slacker police are just not trying hard enough. Hang him 70 times, if needs be!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Information – late, but interesting

    Although this blog post is years old, I thought I would give you some of the other people they couldn’t hang:
    Inetta de Balsham – hung by her neck for 4 days but was still alive.
    John “Babbacombe” Lee – tried to hang three times, but the trap door wouldn’t work.
    Captain Kidd – the rope broke twice, but Kidd was too drunk to leave the scene.
    Unnamed Swiss man – hanged 13 times. It was discovered he’d had an infection that caused his windpipe to harden and that he couldn’t be asphyxiated.


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