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Is the head living after a beheading?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Danielos, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. Danielos

    Danielos Emperor

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    Sorry for this morbid thread, but...

    I´ve read that it could be possible that a severed head could live for several seconds up to maybe half a minute after being cut off. There are even stories of heads blushing, grimacing angrily or biting each other in the basket. One scientist that was about to be beheaded asked his friend to do a scientific experiment. He said that as soon as he was beheaded he would start blinking, and the friend should count the number of blinks. He blinked for quite a while before dying...

    Do you think that these stories have some truth in them, or do you die instantly when the head is cut off?
     
  2. Danielos

    Danielos Emperor

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    This is from Wikipedia:


    "From its first use, there has been debate as to whether the guillotine always provided as swift a death as Guillotin hoped. With previous methods of execution, there was little concern about the suffering inflicted. As the guillotine was invented specifically to be "humane", however, the issue was seriously considered. Furthermore, there is the possibility that the very swiftness of the guillotine only prolonged the victim's suffering. The blade cuts quickly enough so that there is relatively little impact on the brain case, and perhaps less likelihood of immediate unconsciousness than with a more violent decapitation, or long-drop hanging.

    Audiences to guillotinings told numerous stories of blinking eyelids, speaking, moving eyes, movement of the mouth, even an expression of "unequivocal indignation" on the face of the decapitated Charlotte Corday when her cheek was slapped. Anatomists and other scientists in several countries have tried to perform more definitive experiments on severed human heads as recently as 1956. Inevitably, the evidence is only anecdotal. What appears to be a head responding to the sound of its name, or to the pain of a pinprick, may be only random muscle twitching or automatic reflex action, with no awareness involved. At worst, it seems that the massive drop in cerebral blood pressure would cause a victim to lose consciousness in several seconds.[14]

    The following report was written by a Dr. Beaurieux, who experimented with the head of a condemned prisoner by the name of Henri Languille, on 28 June 1905:

    Here, then, is what I was able to note immediately after the decapitation: the eyelids and lips of the guillotined man worked in irregularly rhythmic contractions for about five or six seconds. This phenomenon has been remarked by all those finding themselves in the same conditions as myself for observing what happens after the severing of the neck...

    I waited for several seconds. The spasmodic movements ceased. [...] It was then that I called in a strong, sharp voice: 'Languille!' I saw the eyelids slowly lift up, without any spasmodic contractions – I insist advisedly on this peculiarity – but with an even movement, quite distinct and normal, such as happens in everyday life, with people awakened or torn from their thoughts.

    Next Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. I was not, then, dealing with the sort of vague dull look without any expression, that can be observed any day in dying people to whom one speaks: I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me. After several seconds, the eyelids closed again[...].

    It was at that point that I called out again and, once more, without any spasm, slowly, the eyelids lifted and undeniably living eyes fixed themselves on mine with perhaps even more penetration than the first time. Then there was a further closing of the eyelids, but now less complete. I attempted the effect of a third call; there was no further movement – and the eyes took on the glazed look which they have in the dead."
     
  3. StarWorms

    StarWorms Deity

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    Well your brain is 'you' in a sense. Your brain will die if it runs out of oxygen but that won't happen immediately, it will probably take a minute or two.
     
  4. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    I don't think speaking is possible :lol: You need lungs for that ;)
     
  5. Danielos

    Danielos Emperor

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    But lack of oxygen will make you unconscious much sooner than that. But maybe not soon enough for not making it a very gruesome death...
     
  6. Danielos

    Danielos Emperor

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    maybe a last kiss or two? ;)
     
  7. Hundegesicht

    Hundegesicht Manly Studmuffin

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    Could you be hooked up to a life support machine after being decapitated? It'd be really cool to see guys with human heads and robot bodies.
     
  8. Lillefix

    Lillefix I'm serious. You can.

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    Before anyone else: "Futurama", "Mars Attacks"

    Move on people. Continue debating. Nothing to see here.
     
  9. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    While my head hasn't been cut off, yet, I would suspect conscious thought should continue for a few seconds should shock not set in immediately.
     
  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Perhaps before the next beheading, we should arrange to have the head hooked up to a brain monitor so we can see what kind of activity goes on and for how long.
     
  11. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    I'll get my buddies in Al-Qaeda on this
     
  12. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    :thumbsup:
     
  13. Mesousa

    Mesousa -8.38 -6.67

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    Why are the Mythbusters wasting their time on all the gun porn when they could be testing this? Wusses.

    I'd also like to insert a witty chicken reference here.
     
  14. QuoVadisNation

    QuoVadisNation keeping your angel alive

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    Well.. chickens DO and even humans have been reported to be able to walk around a bit after they are beheaded. I'm not a neurologist but in lay mans terms the signals that came from the brain don't cease immediately after being disconnected from the body until the stream of signals ends or the body runs out of oxygen to power the body's cells.

    I'm going to have to double check with my smart sister on this since she would know better. But if we know the body still moves, the brain could function if it has sufficient oxygen to power its brain cells.. but even then I wouldn't know whether brain operation would be sufficient enough to produce serious cognitive thought for more than a second. Blood and oxygen tends to withdraw from the head quicker than oxygen in the body after all.. Though it might be simple enough to produce signals with whatever oxygen left for automated functions like blinking, opening a mouth, automatic responses to stimuli, and maybe even an out of body experience of consciousness (light at the end of the tunnel experience), but that might be it. If there's a neurologist in the house (and not a philosopher), please correct me.
     
  15. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

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    So if I headshot a zombie, it will still be moving!? :eek:
     
  16. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    They did that in TimeSplitters.
     
  17. amadeus

    amadeus Civ2 / Law and Order!

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    If memory serves correctly, France conducted its last guillotine execution a mere 32 years ago...
     
  18. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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  19. Firestorm94

    Firestorm94 zuh?

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    That's really cool and kinda creepy. I agree with Hundegesicht, it would be awesome to behead someone and hook them up to a robot. It would be a cheap solution for people who don't want to by a CPU for their robot.
     
  20. El Koeno

    El Koeno Emperor

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    There is of course the legend of Klaus Störtebeker. The part about his execution is about as hilarious as executions get.
     

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