The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Molten gold was poured down his throat until his bowels burst.

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflNov 6, 2009 3:00 AM

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"Pouring hot liquids or metals, such as lead or gold, into the mouth of a victim was a practice used on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, by the Romans and the Spanish. Several sources mention the bursting of internal organs. The question remains whether this is actually the case and, also, what the cause of death would be. To investigate this, we obtained a bovine larynx from a local slaughter house (no animal was harmed or killed specifically for this purpose). After fixing the larynx in a horizontal position to a piece of wood and closing the distal end using tissue paper, 750 g of pure lead (around 450°C) was heated until melting and then poured into the larynx. Immediately, large amounts of steam appeared at both ends of the specimen, and the clot of tissue paper was expelled with force by the steam. Within 10 seconds, the lead had congealed again, completely filling the larynx... ...Based on these findings, we suggest that the development of steam with increasing pressure might result in both heat induced and mechanical damage to distal organs, possibly leading to over inflation and rupture of these organs... ...Even if this is not the case, the development of a “cast” (once the metal congeals again) would completely block the airways, thus suffocating the victim."

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