Weird History Story Of The Man Who Had To Be Hanged Twice Is Almost Too Excruciating To Read  

Kellie Kreiss
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The story of Art Kinsauls, the man who had to be hanged twice, is not for the faint of heart. After committing a brutal murder in North Carolina in the late 1800s, Kinsauls was condemned to an execution far more heinous than anyone could have predicted – and it was all carried out under the guidance of state-approved capital punishment methods.

After evading capture for months on end and resisting his ultimate arrest, Kinsauls was condemned to execution by hanging – the most common, economical, and allegedly reliable method of execution around at the time. However, Kinsauls would continue to try to escape by any means necessary, including suicide. 

After two unsuccessful suicide attempts that left a bloody gash across his throat, his execution day finally arrived in 1900, and, despite his injured state, he was hung. Yet, like his suicide attempts, the execution was unsuccessful, and he was cut down and made to walk the steps to the gallows again, the blood gushing from his neck. Because of the sheer terror created by the scene, Kinsauls's two hangings would be the last ones carried out in North Carolina; however, his was not the last botched execution in the state.

He Tried To Kill Himself Twice Before He Was Hanged

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Photo: The Oregon Native Son/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Once Art Kinsauls was finally captured and tried in October 1899 for the heinous murder of his neighbor John C. Herring, he was promptly sentenced to death by hanging; however, he tried desperately to escape his fate at the gallows. 

First, Kinsauls tried to kill himself by secretly overdosing on sleeping pills, which he had gotten ahold of while in prison, but he was unsuccessful. For his second attempt, he employed a far more gruesome – and perhaps desperate – method of trying to go out on his own terms, using the lid of a tin can to cut open his throat. Despite the extreme damage that this suicide attempt wrought, Kinsauls survived and managed only to delay his arrival at the gallows.

After The First Attempt Failed, He Was Hanged For A Second Time Covered In His Own Blood

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When the day finally came to carry out his sentence, Kinsauls's throat had not yet healed, but the executioners decided to proceed anyway. The city erected a stepladder-style gallows outside of the prison, and, in front of a crowd of hundreds of witnesses who had traveled from near and far, they sent Kinsauls to his death. Or so they thought.

Kinsauls survived the first hanging attempt, likely due to the fact that the stepladder and rope length were not adequate to break his neck in the fall. Instead, they simply managed to split open the condemned man's neck where it had previously been slit, causing blood to poor out from behind the tightened rope as Kinsauls remained writhing in pain. Yet, rather than accept their failure and give into the pleading of the crowd to end the brutal display, the executioners cut him down, walked him back up the stepladder still bleeding, and forced him to his death a second time. This time they were successful.

He Eluded Police For Nine Months After Committing The Brutal Stabbing

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Photo: Patrick Feller/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Just as Kinsauls didn't go out without a fight, neither was he captured without first taking the authorities for a whirl. Though he was captured only days after getting into the argument with his neighbor, John C. Herring, which would end in his stabbing Herring to death with a butcher knife, he quickly organized his escape with the help of a few friends and spent the next nine months on the lam, effectively avoiding run ins with the police. Despite his best efforts, he was eventually apprehended after a gunfight broke out on his farm during which he sustained injuries. In his wounded state, he was unable to escape.

The Second Attempt Killed Kinsauls – And Was The End Of Hanging Executions All Together

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Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

At a time when hanging was the most common method of execution used in the US, particularly North Carolina, there was little debate as to how a criminal like Kinsauls should be punished for his actions. However, the events that ensued dramatically changed the conversation around the favored execution method and ultimately led to its dying right along with Kinsauls on September 28, 1900.