Saturday, September 26, 2009
On our Williamsburg trip in June of 2007, George found himself in a bit of a predicament. There was an old Guillotine ----and somehow George ended up in a precarious position... Poor Baby--- I think 'she' had him exactly where she wanted him. Ya think????? Is he going to cry???? Poor George--he's just SO abused!!!! Wonder how long 'she' made him stay there---and what promises did he have to make to her???????? Hmmmmmmmmm....
Seeing this old picture made me think about the Guillotine--and its history. How much do you know about them??? I'll admit that I didn't know much---so I did a little research that you might find interesting --or maybe not!!!
During the 1700's, executions in France were public events where entire towns gathered to watch. (Can you imagine?) A common execution method for a poor criminal was quartering, where the prisoner's limbs were tied to four oxen, then the animals were driven in four different directions ripping the person apart. (Yipes!) Upper-class criminals could buy their way into a less painful death by hanging or beheading. (It's hard to imagine something like beheading being more humane... Gads!)
Doctor Joseph Ignace Guillotin belonged to a small political reform movement that wanted to banish the death penalty completely. Guillotin argued for a painless and private capital punishment method equal for all the classes, as an interim step towards completely banning the death penalty. Beheading devices had already been used in Germany, Italy, Scotland and Persia for aristocratic criminals. However, never had such a device been adopted on a large institutional scale. The French named the guillotin after Doctor Guillotin. The extra 'e' at the end of the word was added by an unknown English poet who found guillotine easier to rhythm with.
More than 10,000 people lost their heads by guillotine during the French Revolution, including Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette, the former king and queen of France. Use of the guillotine continued in France in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the last execution by guillotine occurred in 1977. In September 1981, France outlawed capital punishment altogether, thus abandoning the guillotine forever. There is a museum dedicated to the guillotine in Liden, Sweden.
Here's some Guillotine Facts:
• Total weight of a guillotine is about 1278 lbs
• The guillotine metal blade weighs about 88.2 lbs
• The height of guillotine posts average about 14 feet
• The falling blade has a rate of speed of about 21 feet/second
• Just the actual beheading takes 2/100 of a second
• The time for the guillotine blade to fall down to where it stops takes 70th of a second
• On September 10, 1977, the last execution by guillotine took place in Marseilles, France, when the murderer Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded.
Now--aren't you just THRILLED that I gave you all of this interesting (???) information... Thank God that doesn't go on NOW.
Okay---back to my story!!!!! She didn't want her Sweetheart's head chopped off ----so she told him to SMILE for the camera and she'd talk nicely to the guards so that they would free him... For some reason, he obliged ---and gave her a huge smile... Isn't he a Cutie?????
Have a great Saturday ---and stay away from Guillotines.
P.S. LATER: George just 'stole my thunder' from this post today. He said that this was NOT a guillotine ---but was really a STOCK. I said, "Whatever!" He said that they didn't use a 'thing' like this to cut off someone's head. This was used to put people in it --so everyone could make fun of them, throw rotten vegetables at them, etc. Guess that wouldn't be quite as bad as getting your head cut off!!! Oh Well----I now know more about a Guillotine and a Stock... See what blogging does?????? ha