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efreysson
05-05-2016, 05:34 PM
My WIP will end up featuring quite a lot of executions by decapitations. I was just wondering about the mechanics of it. Is there a big burst of blood? Does it pump, or is it just one spurt? Might the body twitch afterwards?

Now, I KNOW I can probably go online and find footage of ISIS executions, but I just don't feel up for it.

slhuang
05-05-2016, 05:44 PM
I don't know the answers to what you're asking, but there's a possible-apocryphal story about Lavoisier's beheading during the French Revolution (*weeps ginormous tears*) that goes something like this. Lavoisier, aka "the father of chemistry," decided to make his death one final science experiment. When sentenced to the guillotine, he resolved to blink for as long as possible after death and have a friend watch so it could be recorded how long his brain remained active. He kept blinking for seventeen seconds.*

* This story is possibly an urban legend and possibly I am misremembering parts of it on top of that, but it may give you something that's useful for jumping off in your research.

GeorgeK
05-05-2016, 07:22 PM
Yes on the twitching and yes on the spurts. After about 5-10 heartbeats it's more of an ooze. Hopefully they used a guillotine and not a bad axman The twitching also is not so much twitching as decerebrate rigidity (you should be able to google that without getting to anything having to do with ISIS) which to the untrained might be mistaken as twitching.

efreysson
05-05-2016, 07:44 PM
Yes on the twitching and yes on the spurts. After about 5-10 heartbeats it's more of an ooze.

Wait, the heart keeps beating for a while with no head??

Katharine Tree
05-05-2016, 07:48 PM
Wait, the heart keeps beating for a while with no head??

Yes.

GeorgeK
05-05-2016, 10:56 PM
Wait, the heart keeps beating for a while with no head?? Yes. The heart can beat autonomously until the blood loss is such that it dies and in this scenario both the carotids and jugulars have been severed. the arterial blood is squirting out with the heartbeat and there's no venous blood returning to the heart from the head, so probably only about 5-10 heartbeats before cardiac arrest, could be a little longer maybe

efreysson
05-06-2016, 02:51 AM
Yes. The heart can beat autonomously until the blood loss is such that it dies and in this scenario both the carotids and jugulars have been severed. the arterial blood is squirting out with the heartbeat and there's no venous blood returning to the heart from the head, so probably only about 5-10 heartbeats before cardiac arrest, could be a little longer maybe

Hmm. What colour will the blood be? I know it depends on the oxygen levels.

Might the executioner (wielding a sword) get hit with a splash?

Katharine Tree
05-06-2016, 03:47 AM
Hmm. What colour will the blood be? I know it depends on the oxygen levels.

Might the executioner (wielding a sword) get hit with a splash?

It will be arterial blood, freshly oxygenated from the heart, so it will be bright red. The executioner is probably standing off to the side, so he will not get hit.

King Neptune
05-06-2016, 04:53 AM
The swordsman will almost certasinly get splashed a little, even with careful positioning and a long sword. There is a lot of blood under pressure, and some of it will hit the blade and be splashed back. That's why we now prefer Guillotines.

citymouse
05-13-2016, 06:21 PM
You don't say how these beheadings will be conducted. If this is a modern story, the chances are the implement (sword/axe/knife/guillotine) will be quite sharp. The sword most likely would be a saber/scimitar/samurai and not a broadsword. If an axe is used the executioner will have to be accurate and quite strong. The arc of his/her swing will have to be significant in order to kill on the first stroke. It took three whacks to kill the Queen of Scots, but that axe was not sharp. Then we come to knives. The blades on these can be of any length, but 12 inches is preferred. This is the most gruesome type since it takes much more time. It's noisy. Folks who die this way usually complain. It's also messy. As for the blood, it's bright red and there's a lot.