Does a person die immediately when his head is cut off?

Living heads

One of the first documentary evidence of the life of a severed head can perhaps be considered an incident that occurred in 1793 in France, where at that time the guillotine began to be widely used for executions. After the head of Charlotte Corday, the murderer of Jacobin Jean Paul Marat, fell into the basket, the executioner took her by the hair and, mockingly, gave her several slaps. According to eyewitnesses, the face of the executed woman showed obvious indignation at what was happening. And there are many similar testimonies of witnesses described in historical literature. However, in addition to the unfounded statements of eyewitnesses, there are many experiments carried out by real scientists. So in February 1803, the young Polish doctor Wendt, having received the head of one of the convicts for experiments, discovered that in the process of irritating the exposed part of the spinal cord, a pained expression appeared on the face of the executed person. In addition, the head covered the eyelids if Wendt pretended to poke his fingers into his eyes. The head directed its gaze towards the one who called it by name, and moved its lips as if trying to say something. The scientist recorded that the head responded to all manipulations within 2 minutes and 40 seconds after cutting off. 100 years later, in 1905, the French doctor Borje performed a similar experiment with a convict named Languil. Immediately after the execution, Langia's face writhed in convulsions for 5-6 seconds. Then the head calmed down and the eyelids closed. But after the scientist called the criminal by name, he opened his eyes. According to Borje, Langia's view was clear and meaningful. However, after 25-30 seconds the head stopped responding to the scientist’s voice.

Miller's Dream Book

Miller's dream book suggests relying on your intuition. If the severed head is pleasant to you and does not cause horror or antipathy, then in reality you will meet a person who can patronize you.

If your head makes you wake up from fear in a cold sweat, expect trouble, a dark streak in business and love affairs is just around the corner.

Seeing the severed head of an animal in a dream means promiscuity in intimate relationships.

Cutting off your own head in a dream means betraying a close friend. Head covered in blood - to scandals in the family.

Thoughts and feelings of a severed head

Due to the fact that when the head is cut off from the body, the main thinking organ of a person - the brain - remains intact, scientists have long been interested in the question of whether the murdered person is able to think after execution. French journalist Michel Delin was also puzzled by the search for an answer. During the execution of one convict, a professional doctor put a volunteer named Wirtz into a hypnotic trance, thanks to which he was supposed to feel everything that happened to the convict. When the criminal's head was cut off, Wirtz told the doctor and two witnesses that the head sees and feels everything. She sees her wife, child and judges in red robes. She does not understand where her body is and is in great pain.

Interpretation of sleep in detail

A man's head was cut off

If in a dream you witnessed the execution of a person, then in life you will suffer damage due to the oversight of strangers.

Miraculously avoiding execution yourself means success in money matters. If you cut off the head of a friend, or maybe even a relative, then you shouldn’t worry. The dream promises the victim a long life. Visions of medieval executions indicate the dreamer's penchant for sadism.

Cut off the head

If you chop off your head yourself, such a dream means resolving a controversial situation in your favor using tough, aggressive methods. But such an unconstructive way of resolving conflicts can lead to acute contradictions with your opponent.

If you dreamed about the head of an animal, you need to look at your surroundings and be more discerning.

Cut off someone's head

Cutting off the head of a witch means unpleasant adventures, for your children - for a long separation from them, for your rivals - for victory. If this happens against your will, you will abandon risky plans for the near future. Circumstances are not on your side right now. Seeing yourself cutting off someone's head in a hospital is a sign of mental problems or nervous breakdowns.

Fighting in a dream - detailed interpretation of a dream with a fight according to dream books In most cases, a fight in a dream symbolizes your negative emotions accumulated inside. Understatement, resentment, jealousy, envy - very soon all this...

talking head

Dreams with a talking head are a warning. Perhaps the subconscious is trying to protect you from something dangerous or give you wise advice. In any case, it’s good if you managed to remember the content of the dream and analyze it in the morning.

If you dreamed about your own head, expect success in life.

Animal head

If you dreamed about the head of an animal, you need to be more selective in choosing friends and business partners. Take a closer look to see if there are any two-faced or hypocritical people among them.

It matters which animal’s head appeared in the dream:

  • pigs - there is a journey ahead,
  • cat - troubles, conflicts,
  • lion - collapse of hopes,
  • ram - profit
  • snakes - victory over the enemy,
  • chickens - the implementation of plans,
  • angry dogs - ill-wishers, competitors,
  • a good dog is a reliable business partner,
  • crocodile - hidden danger.

"A machine that can bring happiness to humanity"

Guillotin's idea was not immediately accepted. Many deputies advocated the complete abolition of the death penalty. One of its most implacable opponents was Maximilian Robespierre, who believed that “the death penalty is unjust and multiplies crimes much more than it protects from them.” And this is the same Robespierre, during the 40 days of whose dictatorship the guillotine worked non-stop! Until he himself fell into her tight embrace.

Ultimately, the death penalty was retained in the French Republic. On September 25, 1791, the National Convention adopted a new criminal code, which stated, in part:

All those sentenced to death will have their heads cut off. Damn the rope! Long live the abolition of privileges! A noble beheading for all!

The deputies decided that "enlightened humanity must perfect the art of killing as soon as possible" and asked the scientific secretary of the Paris Surgical Society, Dr. Antoine Louis, to develop a mechanical cutthroat based on the ideas proposed by Dr. Guillotin.

Guillotine at work. Exhibition at Madame Tussauds (London)

Photo: Petr Kamenchenko

It should be said that cutthroats resembling the French guillotine were known in many European countries. As a rule, they consisted of a frame within which a heavy blade slid freely. The victim's head was placed on the block, the blade fell down, and the head flew off.

In comparison, the guillotine, which Louis worked out in detail, had several important improvements. The bound convict was laid belly down on a flat shelf, his neck was fixed in a round hole on the block, a board with a special cut was lowered onto it, this ensured the immobility of the victim. The sharp blade had a beveled edge at an angle of 45 degrees, and therefore did not break the neck, as it had before, but instantly cut it.

The harpsichord master from Strasbourg, a German by birth, Tobias Schmidt, agreed to fulfill the order for the production of a prototype. In his letter to Dr. Louis, he said that he would “consider it an honor to manufacture a beheading machine capable of bringing happiness to mankind.”

Schmidt built the car in a week and 812 livres.


The height of the racks is 4.5 meters. The distance between them is 37 centimeters. The average neck thickness is 13 centimeters. The height of the folding board is 85 centimeters. The weight of the cutter is 7 kilograms. The weight of the cargo is 30 kilograms. The total weight of the entire falling part is 40 kilograms. The total weight of the guillotine is 580 kilograms. The fall height of the cutter is 2.25 meters. The fall speed is 23.4 kilometers per hour. The cutter fall time is 0.04 seconds. Neck cutting time is 0.02 seconds.

On April 19, 1792, the machine was assembled in the Salpêtrière (at that time an almshouse and women's prison) in the presence of doctors Guillotin and Louis, as well as the chief executioner of France, Charles-Henri Sanson. We practiced on corpses and live lambs. The cutthroat worked flawlessly.

A few words about the title. At first, the miracle machine was nicknamed “Luizon” or “Luisette” - in honor of Doctor Louis. And only later - with the guillotine. Doctor Guillotin was extremely dissatisfied with the high honor. He and his relatives repeatedly demanded that the name of the thug be changed, but in vain. In the end they had to change their last name. By the way, the words “guillotine” and “guillotining” were never used in official French court documents. Instead they wrote: “The method adopted as a result of consultations with the scientific secretary of the Surgical Society.”

Presentation of the guillotine. Paris, April 25, 1792

Image: Heritage Images/Contributor/Getty Images

Discord in the heart/mind relationship

Another interpretation of what a severed head means in a dream is the fact that the dreamer simply lost himself from strong feelings for a member of the opposite sex. Moreover, we are talking not just about falling in love, but about a destructive and often one-sided desire, which threatens to turn into a most destructive disaster for the sleeper himself. Most likely, the subconscious feels how the potential partner takes advantage of or openly neglects the company of the sleeping person, but consciously the victim herself cannot refuse this kind of connection. This is why such frightening pictures appear, as shock therapy for the heart and to avoid more serious consequences in the future.

Killing should be done humanely

From the very beginning of world history, execution has been not only a punishment for a crime, but an effective method of edification and intimidation - to discourage others, as well as a mass spectacle and popular entertainment. Connected with this is the incomparable ingenuity and cruelty with which Homo sapiens have been killing their own kind for centuries. The longer and more terribly the condemned man suffered before passing on to another world, the more skillfully the work performed by the executioner was considered to be.

The advanced ideas of humanism, atheism and European enlightenment of the late 18th century, and especially the Great French Revolution, influenced many aspects of life, including attitudes towards execution. They did not execute fewer people, but decided that they should kill their own kind humanely—quickly and painlessly.

In Portugal and Spain, a popular execution weapon was the garrote. Exhibition at Madame Tussauds (London)

Photo: Petr Kamenchenko

According to French law, commoners were usually hanged, while nobles had the exclusive right to be beheaded. The revolution abolished class privileges - before death, everyone should be equal, whether you are a simple citizen or a noble one.

At the same time, it became clear that the popular methods of execution, practiced for centuries, had discredited themselves. Doctors have found that in a quarter of those hanged, even despite a fracture of the cervical vertebrae, the heart continues to beat, and this can last for several hours. In addition, for each execution it was necessary to individually calculate the ratio of the weight and height of the condemned person with the length of the rope - there were even special calculation tables in centimeters per kilogram. In case of a mistake, the hanged man's head could be torn off or, conversely, the agony lasted too long - sometimes more than ten minutes.

Proper beheading was also not an easy task; it required professional skills from the executioner and was often accompanied by embarrassment. A case is described in which two clumsy executioners - husband and wife Grandjean - were torn to pieces by a crowd in the French department of Côte d'Or.

In front of a huge crowd of people, they had to behead 22-year-old noblewoman Hélène Gillet for infanticide. Simon Grandjean struck several blows with an ax, but only seriously wounded the unfortunate woman. His wife tried to strangle the wounded woman and then cut her throat with the scissors she used to cut her hair. She succeeded in neither one nor the other. The agitated woman began poking the victim's stomach with scissors. This completely infuriated the audience. The unlucky couple were dragged from the scaffold and stoned to death. As for the condemned woman, she survived, was pardoned and went to a monastery.

The revolution cannot do without public executions. And every execution must carry a deep revolutionary meaning; the human factor can only ruin everything. Revolutionary execution must become a cold, inevitable and merciless instrument of justice. Without hatred and sympathy. Nothing personal!

Only a machine could become a tireless and incorruptible mechanical executioner without nerves and room for error.

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