Category: death

A city of masks: When the Spanish Flu tore through San Francisco

We Recreated a Victorian Funeral

from Ask a Mortician

United Railroads Funeral Cars, which ran routes from San Francisco to Colma, California, ca. 1910.

Calendars advertising the Antikamnia Pharmaceutical Company of St. Louis, Missouri, 1897-1901


Happy Hallow’s Eve!

Scenes from Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1960.


Our Pungent History: Sweat, Perfume, and the Scent of Death

Lost Weegee Crime Photos Revealed!

Artist David Young bought a box of original newspaper photos in 1970, and only discovered recently they were taken by famous crime photographer Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee, in 1937.

Real life film noir: Crime scene photographs from the LAPD

Execution by Submachine Gun in Thailand

One of the most bizarre execution methods in the 20th century was Thailands bizarre method which was utilized from the 1930′s until 2002. While the use of firing squads has been a common practice around the world throughout history, the use of a single submachine is rare. The condemned was blindfolded and restrained on a cross facing away from the executioner. A screen was then placed in between the condemned and the executioner, with a bullseye that was aligned with the center of mass of the condemned. At the executioner’s end was a fully automatic 9mm submachine gun, stabilized in a special vice which held the weapon steady. Before 1984 a Bergmann MP-34 was used, a German weapon dating to the 1930′s. 

After 1984 a Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine gun was used, mounted with a silencer.

One the signal was given, the executioner would pull the trigger, firing a burst of 15 rounds which mostly likely would instantly kill the condemned.

The last execution by submachine gun in Thailand occurred in 2002, undertaken by prison guard Chavoret Jaruboon, of which the biopic The Last Executioner is based upon. Between 1984 and 2002 he was involved in the execution of 55 people, of which he was paid a bonus of 2,000 baht (60 US dollars) per execution. According to Jaruboon, one strange incident occurred when the submachine gun misfired. Jaruboon worked the action and chambered the next round, only to have it misfire again. The weapon was tested and found to function perfectly, but again it misfired. The condemned was searched and found to be wearing a sacred amulet, which was confiscated. On the next attempt, the weapon functioned without issue.

Execution by submachine gun was banned in 2003, and replaced with lethal injection.

The mysterious Japanese balloon bombs of World War II.