Crimes have been an integral part of our civilisation and so are the punishment and their methods. They also directly reflect on the culture and society and its beliefs that were prominent from time to time in history. Many of these punishments were performed publicly and post death treatment was cruel as well.
Here are some of the cruel and gruesome methods for capital punishment.
In this method the metal ring was slowly tightened around a person's neck until he choked to death. In similar variation, a metal bolt was pressed on the spine to break it, and the person will convulse severely before dying. Last sentence was carried out in 1977 and outlawed completely by 1990.
Another cruel method called breaking wheel, where a person was tied to a wheel and iron tools were used to beat and break bones. Alternatively, St. Andrew's cross was also used and in most cases the person was spreadeagled broken but alive to slowly succumb to the wounds. Also, there are cases when some lived beyond the wounds in a life of severe disabilities, considered as an extension to their punishment. Its use ended with 19th century.
This was reserved for high treason and crimes of highest nature. The person was dragged, thus drawing, and hanged till death, separately their body parts were cut and burned, and limbs were dismembered to be displayed in different parts as a warning.
The person tied to a narrow boat and fed with milk and honey to induce diarrhea was left floating with honey rubbed on the body to attract insects. The feces would accumulate attracting more insects which would breed and feed on him and the person would eventually die of one or more of the factors.
The person would be hanged and slowly skinned alive, depending on the severity of crime, opium may or may not be administered during or after the process and also skinning may be done for extended torture before death or no death at all, only suffering.
The bull was metallic with a door. The person would be shut inside and fire would be set. The person dies being roasted alive, and even it was designed such that the screams were converted to sounds made by angry bulls and smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense.
The person was tied to a wooden post and part by part his flesh was removed. The word Lingchi roughly translates to slow slicing, lingering death and death by a thousand cut. Most of these processes were abandoned by 1st decade of 20th century.