As long as the death penalty exists in various countries, there will always be a requirement of executioners and that is a unique and demanding job simply because there are hardly any takers for it. But! Someone has to pull that lever or press that switch. There have been famous executioners in history with a tale so grisly that it would appear haunting and eerie. Here are five bizarre tales of executioners who met their own sinister deaths.
On May 12th 1625, Simon Grandjean and his wife, an executioner couple prepared to behead Helene Gillette, convicted for murdering her baby in Dijon, France, to which she denied.
It was ironical that Grandjean actually missed her twice. All Helen suffered were a few cuts on her shoulder. This made the crowd angry and berserk, even as Madame Grandjean dragged Helen below the scaffold and attempted to behead her with shears. The executioner couples were dragged away by the crowds who tore them to shreds. As for Helene Gillette, she was pardoned by Henrietta Maria, the sister of the French Monarch Louis XIII and went on to become a nun.
The story of Dick Bauf is indeed bizarre. Living in 17th century Ireland at the age of 12 was a dicey situation, especially if you entered child care. When his parents were convicted of burglary and murder, he was spared from child care on condition that he should be the one, to execute his parents. The ungodly condition was also approved, but his parents and Bauf actually went ahead with it.
Bauf grew up to be a pickpocket, petty thief and burglar himself, till becoming a notorious highwayman with a price on his head. A few bounty men hoping to catch him ended up in a trap, set by Bauf who burnt them alive. Ultimately, after entering into a relationship with a married woman, Bauf met his nemesis in her vengeful husband who got Bauf arrested. He was hanged in Ireland on May 15th 1702.
During the 1400s, France was rocked with Civil War with Paris occupied by the Armagnac faction. Several of the noble gentry were killed by citizens in an attempt to reclaim their city. The killings were led by famous executioner Capeluche, in league with the Duke of Burgundy, who also bartered a deal to spare many. However, the bloodthirsty Capeluche reneged on his deal and killed those he promised to spare. That was his undoing. Capeluche was captured by the Duke of Burgundy and John, the fearless and was condemned for execution.
His executioner turned out to be his own valet, but the man giving the proper instructions for the torture and beheading was none other than Capelcuhe himself. Insane, isn’t it?
The drunkard executioner of York in the 19th century was notorious for his drinking bouts, so much so that he actually fell through the trap door meant for one of his convicts. Curry himself was a prisoner awaiting deportation when he applied for the job of executioner of York. His alcoholism earned him the nickname of the bungling executioner. By 1821, he was always seen swaying drunk to work and fumbling on the job, and the crowds gathered to see a hanging would end up abusing him instead. It was during the hanging of five convicts all at once, that Curry fell through the trapdoor himself,luckily he didn’t put the noose around his own neck instead.
Curry retired after his last Job of hanging Ursula Lofth ouse, convicted for murdering her husband. He spent his last days drinking himself and laboring in a workhouse till his death.
Undoubtedly, England’s most famous executioner, Jack Ketch’s name would go down in history, synonymous with the job of executioner. One of the most fitting candidates of bizarre tales of executioners, he was also a man known for his aggression and brawling which landed him in jail after accosting the Sheriff. His Assistant Paskah Rose carried out executions in his stead; however, Rose was a greedy man and with Edward Smith, an accomplice, became a burglar, notorious for day time robberies.
It was on April 31, 1686, when they were ultimately arrested and convicted of robbing the house of William Barnett. The duo was sentenced to death by hanging. Needless to say, it was Ketch, who was called upon to carry out the execution.