Some people have all the luck. While it’s debatable considering the subject in question, it certainly applies in some way or the other to all the people on this list. Call it fate, call it luck or call it divine intervention, there’s a been a whole lot of people over time who have cheated death in the weirdest ways, be it hangings, lethal injections or a 9 man firing squad. No jokes.
Here are some people who have amazingly survived their own executions.
1. Anne Green
Hanged but came back to life after being given a Tobacco Smoke Enema
The 1600s weren’t exactly a good time for women, as is evident from the case of Anne Green, an English domestic servant who was impregnated by her master’s grandson. Long story short, the child was stillborn, she tried to hide it away, was convicted of infanticide in 1650 and sentenced to death by hanging.
After she was hanged (extremely violently may I add), the doctors still found a pulse, and proceeded to pull out all the medieval stops possible, including giving her a tobacco smoke enema. She recovered fully, was declared innocent by the hand of God, got married, and settled down with her kids. She even kept her coffin as a souvenir!
2. Zoleykhah Kadkhoda
Survived a stoning after being convicted of adultery
On August 11, 1997, 20-year-old Iranian Zoleykhah Kadkhoda was charged with adultery and sentenced to death by stoning, something pretty common in those times in the ultra conservative country. She was buried up to her waist in the ground, but the stoning was soon stopped by outraged villagers. Though she was thought to be brought dead, she managed to recover with treatment and she was granted amnesty later the same year.
3. Wenseslao Moguel
Survived being shot at close range by a firing squad
Wenseslao Moguel was sentenced to death by firing squad in 1915 for his role in the Mexican Revolution. He was charged without trial, and faced the full slew of 9 bullets being shot at his head, including one at close range. Amazingly, he survived, escaped and even displayed his disturbing facial scarring from the close range bullet on Ripley’s Believe it or not.
4. John “Babbacombe” Lee
Survived a hanging as the trapdoor malfunctioned 3 times
John Lee was a servant in the house of Miss Emma Keyse in England. In 1884, Emma was killed with an axe and her house was set on fire. John was charged with the crime and sentenced to hang. In 1885, while standing in the gallows, about to hang, the trap release door malfunctioned 3 times in a row, leading to a whole lot of confusion and probably a few muttered thanks from the lucky John. This massive botch-up resulted in his death sentence also being commuted to life.
5. William Duell
Survived being hanged and was back to full health the next day
17-year-old English boy William Duell was hanged on 24 November 1740 for the rape of of a woman named Sarah Griffin in London. After hanging by the neck for a good 20 minutes, his body was taken to a surgeon’s hall to be dissected for medical training, but the people around noticed he was still breathing faintly. He received immediate treatment and was back to full health by the next day. The authorities also decided to annul his death sentence and he was instead exiled for life.
6. Romell Broom
Survived as they couldn’t find a single usable vein to apply the lethal injection
Romell Broom was scheduled to be executed on September 15, 2009 for the 1984 kidnapping, rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton. While strapped in, the executioners were unable to find a single vein for the lethal injection that didn’t collapse on impact. After more than 2 hours and at least 10 little pricks over his arms, Broom was granted a reprieve and he is now still alive, waiting on appeal.
7. John Half-Hanged Smith
Survived even after being hanged for more than 15 minutes
John was a London housebreaker in the 1700s who was notorious for cheating death as well as evading execution 3 times. Convicted of 2 indictments, he was hanged on 24th December 1705. After hanging around for about 15 minutes, he was taken to a nearby house where he promptly recovered and soon went back to his criminal ways. This guy could shrug off a horse!
8. Joseph Samuel
Survived as the hanging mechanism got botched multiple times
Joseph was sentenced to hang for the robbery of a woman’s home in England. During the robbery, a cop was murdered as well, though Joseph denied being involved in this. Either way, the unbelievable fact about his execution is that he survived it thrice. The first time, the rope snapped, the 2nd time the rope slipped and his feet touched the floor and the 3rd time the rope snapped again! This was seen as divine intervention and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
9. Willie Francis
Survived hist first execution attempt by electric chair
This case has racial bias written all over it. Willie Francis was 16 years old when he was charged with the murder of a drugstore owner in St. Martinville Louisiana. His trial was a sham and he was sentenced to death by electric chair. In 1946 during the execution, witnesses reported hearing the teenager scream “Take it off! Take it off! Let me breathe! I’m n-not dying!” and the execution failed thanks to the chair being improperly set up. Even though he appealed against it, Willie was executed a year after cheating certain death.
10. Half Hangit Maggie Dickinson
Survived even after being hanged for 30 minutes
Maggie was sentenced to hang on the 2 September 1724 at Edinburgh for infanticide. She had had an illegitimate child which is said to have been stillborn, but women’s rights in the 1700s, like I pointed out before, weren’t exactly very reassuring. When she was hanged, her body remained suspended for over 30 minutes. However, while her body was being taken away in a coffin, she started making noises and it turned out she had somehow survived. She was granted a full pardon after this spectacle and there’s even a pub in her name.