Let's face it, when it's time for you to die, Mother Nature has plenty of awful ways to take you out of this world, most of which are right outside your door. But arguably the worst of all come in the form of mankind's own invented methods of capital punishment. And death by crucifixion is especially torturous.
Witches were burned at the stake. Those guilty of treason were typically drawn and quartered. Vikings, on occasion, were known to pull their victims' lungs out of their bodies and through their backs so every ragged breath looked like the flap of a wing. Humanity has come up with some pretty sadistic ways to get got, but perhaps the most well-known of these methods is crucifixion.
Whether you're a Christian or not, the story of Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross is common knowledge to pretty much everyone. And while the tragic irony of a carpenter's execution by being nailed to two planks of wood certainly seems like a very specific punishment, the act of crucifying one's enemies has been around for thousands of years.
But do you know what it's like to be crucified? How does one die from a few nails to the extremities? The answers may surprise you.
Four Nails Are Driven Into Your Body
Most people believe nails are driven through the palms of the hands during crucifixion. While there has been some evidence of this, it was much more common to nail the wrists of the guilty party, as there was less chance the flesh itself will tear.
This would not only ensure that the body itself wouldn't come loose from the planks but also that the victim could not try to escape, as the median nerve was often severed, which paralyzed the victim's hands. Then, a nail was driven through each ankle, anchoring the legs to the cross.
Your Muscles Are Strained More Than You Can Imagine
When it comes to being crucified, gravity has many ways of trying to make your worst nightmares come true - especially when it comes to your muscles.
Once the nails are driven through your wrists and ankles, it's time for the real suffering to begin. That's because all of your body weight is resting on those few nails, which stresses all your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Your limbs overextend. And it's going to get much, much worse.
Your Breathing Slows Immensely
It's safe to say that being crucified will cause your stress levels to escalate pretty quick. And, as anyone with anxiety will certainly attest to, the first thing that usually goes with immense stress is the ability to breathe properly.
On top of all this, the weight of your body being pulled down (gravity, again, causing you trouble) is going to make breathing incredibly difficult as a result of the physical strain on your lungs. In some cases, victims were nailed with their arms straight above their head, rather than the typical 'Christ-like' pose, which only makes pulling air into your lungs more difficult.
Your Heart Can't Keep Up
Now that your lungs are gasping their final breaths, it seems a lack of oxygen is going to be what does you in, right? Well, yes and no.
As a result of having your air supply cut off, the rest of the tissue within your body is going to start falling apart as well. Now, your blood vessels are weakening, which can result in fluid slowly leaking into that extremely delicate part of the human body - the heart. The fluid will cause pressure to build, squeezing your heart until it eventually gives up.