Hanging: A Self-Experiment
If you're ever curious what it feels like to be properly hanged, take Nicolae Minovici's word for it: it isn't fun.
A professor of forensic science at the State School of Science in Bucharest in the early 1900s, Minovici nurtured a minor fascination with death that I suppose is only natural for those involved in the discipline. He, however, took his interest to the next level.
Minovici crafted a "convenient" auto-asphyxiation device which he would use to choke off his airway at the neck while comfortably laying sideways on a soft pad. But that wasn't good enough. With the help of a couple of assistants, he next hanged himself from a standing position. The helpers would slowly pull Minovici off the ground until given the signal to stop. Minovici actually became quite talented at this, mustering a "swinging" time of more than 25 seconds after repeated practice.
All of Minovici's initial experiments were conducted with a fixed noose, not the far more unforgiving hangman's knot. So he had to give it a go, of course. For science! When he tried the new knot with the help of his hoisting assistants, he quickly found that the change made a terrifying world of difference.
"Instantly a burning pain ripped through his neck," Boese described. "The constriction was so intense that he frantically waved the men to stop."
Minovici's feet didn't even leave the ground. He decided that his hanging journey would go no further.
Minovici's efforts were eventually published in the French journal Library of Criminology.