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Noting the contrast with some recent acquittals of other criminals, the paper remarked apropos its skeptical stand on the death penalty that “though Carpentier is very unattractive at least from what we know of his case, we confess sincerely that his conviction was not sufficient to convince us [of capital punishment], because it proves once again how juries in different places arrive at different verdicts for the same types of crimes.” Le Figaro anticipated that regional inconsistencies in sentencing would contribute to ending the death penalty.Entry Filed under: 19th Century, Beheaded, Capital Punishment, Common Criminals, Crime, Death Penalty, Execution, France, Guillotine, History, Murder, Public Executions, Theft Tags: 1860s, 1869, arras, charles carpentier, jean-baptiste troppmann, leon berger, october 21 This legendary freebooter terrorized the Hanseatic League‘s trading channels from Novgorod to London in the 1390s.He was the most famous of a company of privateers who’d been hired out in 1392 to place their thumb on the scale of Scandinavian dynastic politics** — notably, supplying Stockholm during a siege, from which service they obtained† the nickname Victual Brothers.

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With the sort of screw-thy-neighbor entrepreneurial spirit of the times, the aptly-named Wang engorged himself to the tune of 3 billion yuan — around $400 million, give or take — running a pyramid scheme based on the reputed herbal aphrodisiac polyrhachis vicina roger. According to Bois de Justice, whose collection of guillotine arcana is second to none, this is one of the rare photographs extant of the guillotine in its more classically inspired public-scaffold setup.

(Seriously, “roger”.) From 2002 to 2005,* ten thousand Chinese investors fantasizing of 40 and 60% returns ponied up $1,300 a pop for ant-breeding kits with a street value of twenty-five bucks. The buyers were supposed to return the formicids after a few months so the company could process them into aphrodisiacs and miscellaneous other remedies … Some early investors were paid off by those who got sloppy seconds, but eventually the ponzi scheme collapsed and the pigeons realized that the ants they’d sprung for were really a pig in a poke. Its construction is lovingly detailed in this New York Times report on the following year’s execution of Jean Baptiste Troppmann: …

By the time investigators cockblocked the company in 2005, less than 1% of the proceeds could be recovered. a square-shaped scaffold, thirteen feet long by about twelve feet six inches wide, supported on four posts six feet in height, and reached by a flight of ten steps.

At least one sucker committed suicide realizing he had shot his life’s wad. This scaffold is railed in on all sides, with an open balustrade, and at two-thirds of its length are fixed two upright parallel posts, surmounted by a cross-beam which goes by the name of the “chapeau.” They are thirteen feet high, and have a space of about fifteen inches between them.

“He should just die,” one non-suicidal investor told the western press. The knife, which is attached to the chapeau, is composed of a triangular blade of steel, fixed by means of three iron pins into a leaden haft, called the “mouton,” which gives it great weight.

This mouton is nearly fourteen inches broad and the blade at its greatest width hardly a foot …

The criminal, having mounted the scaffold, finds himself in front of the vertical bascule, which extends from just above his ankles to the middle of his breat, and facing him also is the lunette, with its movable portion raised.

The executioner pushes the bascule, which falls into the horizontal position, and then pushes it along the table; the head of the victim seems, as it were, to throw itself into the semi-circular opening of the lunette, and an assistant immediately seizes hold of the hair.

Two things now remain to be done — one is to press the button which acts upon the mechanism of the upper portion of the lunette, causing it to fall and secure the head of the criminal — the other is to set loose the knife which is to cut the head off.

On decapitation taking place the head is thrown into the basket while the executioner, by a single motion slides the body down the inclined plane.

The rapidity of the motion is almost inconceivable …

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