How to conduct a hanging

In Is there an official U.S. manual on how to conduct a hanging?, Cecil wrote: “… official pamphlet number 27-4, Procedure for Military Executions, … provides everything from rope specifications to instructions on what music to play before and after.”

C’mon, Cecil, don’t leave us … er … hanging.

What is (or was) the government-sanctioned pre- and post-execution music?

I’ll bet it was a Spike Jones number, right?

Intro: I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You, by Louis Armstrong.
Outro: Wish You Were Here, by Alice Cooper.

“Start spreading the noose, I’m hanging today…”

Before: The escort will then proceed toward the scene of the execution, the band playing the “Dead March.”

After: The escort, with the band playing a lively air, will return to their parade ground and be dismissed.

Here you go. Apparently before the execution they are supposed to play the “Dead March” and afterwards, a “lively air.”


ETA: Damn you, Nemo! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

The official pamphet.

“…we’re one of the few remaining countries on earth where guidance on this subject is still in demand”.

I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Amnesty International says ( that 96 countries have abolished the death penalty, 58 still use have it, and 23 carried out executions in 2010. I wouldn’t call 58 or even 23 “a few”. Further, I suspect - but I am too lazy to do the research - that while only about a third of countries still use the death penalty many of those like China have very large populations. How many people live in a country that uses the death penalty?

I’m thinking there is still plenty of reason to have official execution manuals, although I’ll acknowledge that ensuring executions are humane and aesthetic may not be a big priority everywhere.

I think Uncle Cecil was referring to the use of hanging in particular, not the death penalty in general.


In the second paragraph, either the Alaska Justice Forum got the name wrong, or Cecil misquoted the magazine, but in any event it’s the “U.S. Marshals Service.”

See also this thread:

See also this thread:

Nope, he was referring to methods of execution other than hanging:

ETA: I’ve got to say that the figure detailing how to tie a noose is one of the prettiest drawings I’ve ever seen in a government manual.

I’ll say this: If I was ever condemned to death, i’d choose hanging. It’s by far the fastest and most reliable way to go.

unlike the other methods it also includes a thrill ride.

Man, U.S. Government, that’s cold.

“And then, not only will you be dead, but we’ll all be happy about it! The band will play cheerful, upbeat music, the sun will be shining and the birds will be singing, and maybe there’ll be a rainbow and a single shaft of golden sunlight will illuminate your lifeless, broken-necked body dangling from the gallows!”

MODERATOR NOTE: THere were two different threads on the same topic, so I’ve merged them. That perhaps causes a wee hiccough in the trouser-legs of the time-space continuum, but you’ll deal with it.

NOTE AS POSTER (NOT AS MODERATOR): MEBuckner, you’ve missed the mark (rare for you!) Instead:

If, as Cecil reports, hanging has been discontinued, what is the current official method of execution for military convicts under the sentence of death?

I always understood that hanging was very imprecise. So many people didn’t end up with a broken neck and actually choked- and in some cases the hangman actually had tp grab the “victim” so his added weight did the job. (I have no cites for this).

Also, I understand that the stress of the job was immense. Either alcoholics were employed, or the hangmen ended up alcoholics.

For me it woud always be a lethal injection.

Assuming proper training, a firing squad is actually the best way to go. I suspect that beheading is a fairly close second.

General anesthesia, as for surgery, followed by cutting off your oxygen after you’re under.