Is death by hanging painful?
There is Help
Need Help? Contact a suicide hotline if you need someone to talk to. If you have a friend in need of help, please encourage that person to contact a suicide hotline as well.
In general, if you’re outside the US, numbers for your country are here: Help a friend – Befrienders Worldwide. You can also e-mail [email protected] to talk to someone or go to http://www.samaritans.org/how-we… to speak with someone.
– United States
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Para español, llame al 1-888-628-9454.
Locate a crisis centre in your area and at The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (link to: https://suicideprevention.ca/nee…). For youth under 20, you can call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
– UK 116 123 (to reach the Samaritans in the UK)
– France (33) 01 46 21 46 46
– Australia 13 11 14
Let me contribute a first-hand experience of suspension hanging. Although it was hardly comfortable, I lost consciousness within seconds. I have a slapdash dorm room set-up to thank for my survival; had I gotten all the details right, it would have been a relatively painless death. I mention it because gentle, lean-in forms of hanging are more lethal than you might expect, and I have occasionally wondered how many apparent suicides by hanging are more or less accidental… “experiments” by distraught individuals who are merely crying for help or seeking comfort in parasuicidal behavior. It’s a bit like Tylenol overdose — easy to kill yourself, if you’re that careless, without quite meaning to — but with no medical recourse and no chance to explain yourself after the act.
Common knowledge has it that suspension hanging is a slow, agonizing process of asphyxiation, which by all accounts is true of executions performed with a rope. However, it would appear that suicides tend to pad their ropes and belts — because a thin rope of any kind digs into the neck and hurts about as much as you might imagine — and presumably, the padding more effectively cuts off the blood supply to your brain. I am not alone in this; see , in which a completed suicide took only 13 seconds to black out. That’s a few seconds longer than I took, insofar as my memory is a reliable record of the time taken, and FWIW, I was much more generous with the padding. Why make it hurt? Once your weight settles around your neck, there is a tremendous pressure and a rushing sensation in the head just before the world goes dark and swimmy. I had no thought of trying to stand up in order to save myself, and this was purely due to confusion and lack of time.
What the completed suicide experiences next is a question for a theologian. What I experienced next was the gradual awareness that I was lying on my back in the middle of the smooth hardwood floor, looking up at the ceiling. A daydream was fading away, and I realized that although I thought I had been chewing on something which I tasted vividly, there was nothing in my mouth. Then I noticed that there was blood all over my hand, and I found that it was from a small gash on my face. I sat up and tried to recall what had happened, but I could only reconstruct it. In any case, I had literally gotten off the hook, and although this didn’t come with a bouquet and a rainbow, I was grateful that I had been spared the shame of an actual death by hanging.
The experience wasn’t very painful, but it could have been very ugly.
 Sauvageau, A., & Racette, S. (2007). Agonal sequences in a filmed suicidal hanging: Analysis of respiratory and movement responses to asphyxia by hanging. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 52(4), 957-959
Depends on what type of hanging you’re referring too.
I remember reading and seeing the aftermath of a unique “hanging” in a forensic journal. The deceased tied a rope to a tree trunk. Then put the noose around his neck. Got into his car. Turned on the engine. Put the car in reverse. Slammed the accelerator.
He decapitated himself.
Hanging is not the most pleasant way to die even in the most gentlest manner. It still revolves around strangulation to cause asphyxiation. So much wrong can happen in the process.
The reason why hanging evolved over the years is, because the traditional executions of old were drawn out agonizing affairs. The public executions in England had the public pulling on the condemneds’ legs to hasten their deaths, as some wouldn’t die and the public’s patience was tested.
The public prefers a “clean” peaceful death, but the human body is designed to survive. It’s that basic instinct to survive that makes public executions so gross. They’ll vomit. They’ll loose control of their bowels. They scream. They cry. Blood seeps out of the orifices. They simply won’t just die that angelic death shown in movies.
That’s how the drop hanging method came, it was quick. The results became horrifying though when it became not a specialist “art” but a common practice. Then drunk executioners wouldn’t do the correct math for the drop tables, and some condemned were decapitated. This is another reason governments started having closed executions, too.
Even the WWII Nuremberg executions went horribly wrong, where a couple of the Nazis had to be be jerked by the executioner to break their necks, as 20 minutes hanging wasn’t enough (drop hanging the rope is designed to break the neck, when it doesn’t they struggle due to strangulation and it’s an ugly affair).
So, to answer your question: is hanging painful? Yes. Rope or ligature they’re going to feel it, as they’re going to cut off oxygen and blood to the brain. It’s going to feel much like a migraine. Sometimes for a long time, if they don’t break their neck properly (how would it feel to break the neck and not be paralyzed and slowly strangle? That’s the stuff of nightmares).
I just read all the answers that it hurts extremely much. My experience is different. But, that’s likely because I dissociated quite quickly. I was already involuntarily on a psych ward , and I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose, since I had just been told that i was going to be sent to the state hospital, because I was too high risk for any other pace due to constant self harm and suicudality.
In between 15 minute checkes, I quickly looped a torn strip of sheet through the grid of the ceiling vent( first i had to get the sheet through a breakable plastic vent by using a pencil, the torn sheet with a noose I had prepared in the previous 15 minute check).
I was so focused on what I was doing, that the rest of the world just fell away. I quickly climbed onto a dresser, slipped my head through the noose and jumped off. I do remember thinking for a moment that I was very uncomfortable, but I didnt feel real pain and once I accepted that I was going to die, I just felt very relaxed and more peaceful than I had ever felt. I dont remember being taken down by the psych nurses, I just remember waking up flat on a gurney with my head immobilized and someone shouting “ x- ray”, then I realised I must not be dead. I was aware of my surroundings, but I was confused why the nurses who came to check on me and who had known and liked me for some time were so upset with me. Only later did I realise what I put them through, seeing me hanging there and then frantically trying to rescue me, they were traumatized. I felt bad about that. But I also became obsessed with hanging myself again, because of the extreme peacefulness I had experienced when hanging. But, I never did it again I didnt want to shock anyone like that again.
That was about 16 years ago, and Im so glad I did not die,because if I had, I would have never had the pleasure of knowing my awesome daughter.
Why is it so difficult to answer a person’s question without going into the reasons why they shouldn’t do it? Don’t you think they have heard all this before and have gone over many scenarios in their minds already or does it make tou feel like youf did a good deed for the day?
Nowhere in the question does it ask if they should or should not do it. For Christ’s sake I’ve been extremely close to ending it all and still am but before anyone gets to that point they usually exhaust other avenues. Its a gradual process to get to this point.
So to answer your question…
It is fairly painless if done correctly. Falling straight down from the proper height with the proper knot placed behind the left ear will pull the spinal cord apart resulting in instant death. If there was pain it would be so quick you wouldn’t even register it. Drop too far and it is possible to pull your head off which would be pretty grusome for whomever finds you but you’ll be dead so you won’t know anyways.
Using the standing on a chair method and kicking it out will cause you to lose consciousness in a matter of seconds as long as the rope puts proper pressure on the arteries leading to the brain. Once you pass out you won’t feel anything. Death comes soon after from no oxygen getting to your organs.
Yes. If someone finds you in this time you could end up with permanent damage but really…how hard is it to sneak away for 30 minutes where no one can find you. I feel the people that don’t do this step are just crying out for help/attention.
In reality there is alot that can go wrong and if it does it may end up hurting or worse, you fail, and and up with permant damage.
So tie a proper knot, calculate the proper drop height and make sure you have an hour where no one is going to find you.
This question has no direct answer; really it cannot be answered. No one hanged hangs around to tell the story (excepting description below).
Hanging, if properly performed by dropping a victim who is noosed by the neck, causes death by “breaking the neck.” This action causes immediate death by rupturing the spinal cord at the base of the skull.
Consciousness fails so rapidly that awareness of pain fails and memory of the pain cannot form. In a sense it is like beheading, just less bloody.
In my mind it is painful to watch. The purpose of a public execution is to intimidate those observing.
In Medieval Europe, up to, maybe after the 1600s, there was practiced a brutal form of execution called “drawn, (correction per RD comment: hung, drawn and quartering) hanged, and quartering”.
The victim would be dragged behind a wagon, hung by the neck from a rope without being dropped to prevent instant death, then cut down before death by suffocation, and then disemboweled and/or quartered – the legs and arms would be cut off. This form of execution was preserved for the treacherous.
The body parts would then be buried separately to theoretically prevent resurrection of the body to rejoin the soul at the Second Coming.
As far as I know, the last time in England the authorities used this technique was for the conspirators who had attempted the explosion of the Houses of Parliament by planting a massive amount of gun powder in the basement of the Parliament building, 1605. The plan was part of the Catholic conspiracy to restore Catholic rule in England.
At the very last moment, as the story is now told, the conspirators were captured while trying to ignite the charge. This event is remembered as “Guy Fawkes Day,” after the mastermind of the event. Guy was the man executed, who suffered, by being drawn, hanged (correction: hung) and quartered, a slow and unquestionably painful death.
It depends. Death by strangulation is awful, but more ‘humane’ methods of hanging (where the condemned falls a certain distance before the noose applies a large distraction force to a hyperextended cervical spine) are very likely to induce a Hangman’s fracture – Wikipedia
This often results in subluxation of the C1 and C2 elements, crushing the spinal cord against the body of the C3 vertebra.
This is speculation on my part, but I imagine the sudden, traumatic Excitotoxicity would be anything but painful. In fact, there is reason to suggest such catastrophic neural discharges may be associated with the descriptions of ego-loss, light and other non-painful perceptions that patients sometimes report with near-death experiences. Somatic pain signalling is often slower than the more reflexive neural mechanisms located in spinal cord structures. Hence, I imagine a person undergoing a well-executed hanging would experience something like a sudden flash of light and general disorientation then not much more…
If such a merciful traumatic mechanism does not occur and the Hangman’s Dance ensues…well…I don’t really want to talk about that. The extreme sympathetic response to asphyxiation has been described by some survivors in terms like ‘hellish, inescapable terror’.
Yes death by hanging is very painful. Especially for all the people who know you and you leave behind. Death by hanging leaves a hole in the hearts of friends and family.
I have studied the subject and consider a drop hanging the best method. There are charts available which provide the drop distance according to weight. I am 80kg and my ideal drop should be 1.8m. I have an athletic neck so maybe 1.9m would be better. If I was weaker physically then 1.7m would do the job, without taking my head off. The rope and knot is also crucial. 30mm hemp or sisal with a large steel eyelet. The eyelet should sit under the left side chin. The rope where the neck is contacted can be covered in leather or heat shrink. There is no point having an itchy neck as your last thought..
Wet the rope and hange it with heavy weights overnight. This will take much of the stretch out of it. The idea is to have the rope snap the head back and sideways very quickly. Once done. This cant be undone.
Suicide ia a selfish violent act. Not for the perpetrator. The violence infects everyone they know. Be kind to you friends and family. Live for them, if not for yourself.
If you do it wrong, absolutely.
If you do it right (known as “long-drop hanging” when used as an execution method – the idea is to simultaneously sever the spinal cord, cut off blood flow to and from the brain, and close the windpipe), well, it’s hoped not, but I don’t think anybody knows for sure. Obviously, every time it’s been done “right,” nobody came back to say what it felt like, and suitable brain-scanning equipment wasn’t available (or nobody ever thought to try using it) when capital punishment was stopped in most countries that used hanging for execution.
That’s if you get it right, of course. There are a lot of details to consider, and most of them aren’t written down anywhere – there were several official tables published in the UK giving correct drop distance for a given weight of person (they disagree wildly with each other), and there’s a particular place it’s generally agreed that the knot has to go, but otherwise even expert hangmen like Albert Pierrepoint did it by judgement and experience learned apprenticed to his predecessors, estimating the correct thickness and type of rope, adjusting the standard drop for a given prisoner’s particular build and musculature, etc.
Plus there’s always classic amateur mistakes like using a rope so thin that it breaks, or tying the knot wrong so the noose doesn’t tighten properly (Pierrepoint infamously never used a knot at all), or tying the rope to something that can’t take the strain and will break…
By the way, apparently the average successful suicide has about 30 failed attempts before succeeding – that’s a lot of pain.
Yes, ofcourse, it is extremely painful and release lots of emotional toxins. When it starts almost all people want to get rid of this pain and drop idea of suicide but it’s too late. It is so much suffocating and scientifically your breath and blood flow suffer. Your brain stop getting supply and overall it is such a dangerous and painful death.
I transformed people who just want to do suicide to the one who appreciate and love life fully.
Technical details: We are having multiple body so when causal body is bigger than mind (aura) then people feel stuck and bounded and felt like giving up. But aura keep on changing. Soo even if you are pretty sure that right this moment you wanna die.. Next moment you may feel, it’s such a foolish idea. Almost all such soul regret such steps.
Worst part is – when person is dead then soul carry same impression of suffocating, pain, uneasiness and causes for which it does. It is like putting oneself on fire and no extinguisher available. Through body, we can get rid of all pain/suffering but (I – body) have NO OPTION but to be in pain.
Suicide is most foolish thing; when someone is too tired with life its better to take Sanyasa (renounce the world) and join some service organization and do good for the planet. Yes, Because though he/she may feel low, but actually can save many people. So get rid of worldly affair and not the world please.
For example, Join Art of Living, 5000+ service project. Do some, you will find galaxy of best people on planet and you will feel so good.
Hope you are not asking this to perform yourself.
I read an answer to your question where the person actually went through that.
I myself find it very much similar to what happened to me a couple or more months back. Its true that I didnt really think of suiciding at that very attempt. It was just something like – lets see if it works.
Actually I used a towel and as far I can remember it didnt hurt me then. After the suspension I blacked out within seconds. Next moment I woke up was down on the floor. I was choking heavily and there was blood on my face and mouth. My mom was knocking the door. Somehow after I opened the door the incident became an embarassing mess.
After the incident I was bleeding all day. Every time i flushed water through my nose it was red. Also there was a massive aching pain on right upper which lasted a week or so. Rest there was a swelling on my temple and a backache.
The incident actually makes me feel creepy that I was there hanging by my throat. Had the towel not snapped or if it could’ve lasted 5–6 minutes I would’nt be living today.
Apparently when performed correctly death by hanging is not painful, this however requires the correct thickness rope, the right hangman’s knot and a specific distance to fall before the noose tightens and the spinal cord is snapped. The head is supposed to flick forward and back causing “Brain slosh” and rendering the person unconscious. As the spinal cord has snapped at C1 – C2 the nerves responsible for respiration cease to function and breathing stops, being unconscious the person does not register this and so dies in a short period of time. As death is due to lack of oxygen it was very common in public hangings to see the condemned person twitch and jerk about as the muscles of the body starved of oxygen. There is some myth and I don’t know if it is try or not that males experience an orgasm – the likely truth is that as the body relaxes the bowel and bladder relax resulting in some leakage – the escape of urine may be the cause of the speculation. Unfortunately nobody who has been successfully hanged has ever come back to report on the experience. A number of people as below report the extreme discomfort associated with attempted hangings.
No, it is not. I have experienced it. It depends how you do it. I brought one thick rope, approx. 5 feet in length. I then made 2 knots on the nape of my neck. I was standing over the chair. There were pillows below my legs to support. I didn’t pull the chair down. I experienced blackout in few seconds, involuntary voices were coming out of my mouth. Then I felt uncounciousness soon. The whole experience was so calm and relaxing. There was so peace, I never encountered this much in my entire life. Then I tried to remove knots as i was loosing counciousness. If I had not done that, I would have definitely died an easy death. I succeeded in it finally. I can say living is far tough than dying.
I don’t know the answer to this to be honest, I have heard as long as the neck breaks straightaway, death is instant and no pain is felt.
I am interested in this question, as I have known many people take their own life this way, and only a few weeks ago, a very dear friend of mine hung himself, I was the last person to speak to him.
I was so wrapped up in my own ‘grief’ my daughter had emigrated the month before and I had become depressed, so I didn’t pick up on his mood, I certainly didn’t realise he was suicidal.
I have blamed myself for his death since then, doesn’t matter how many times people tell me it wasn’t my fault, it was and I have to live with it forever.
The only thing that will console me… did he feel any pain? I was hoping to find the answer here, but I haven’t.