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Weird and Wacky in Bangkok - Correction's Museum

Updated on September 4, 2013

Bangkok Corrections Museum - Old Style Execution

One decapitated the prisoner's head and the other chopped off his feet to save time removing the leg irons.
One decapitated the prisoner's head and the other chopped off his feet to save time removing the leg irons. | Source

Wicked Cruelty or Just Punishment?

Several years ago I went to Bangkok in Thailand and after seeing numerous golden Buddhas in an assortment of sitting and lying positions; I was more than ready to see something different. I wanted to experience something weird and wacky and ended up visiting the little known Correction's Museum. It was originally a prison which had since been converted to a rather benign looking park/museum. Using artist’s illustrations and life-size models the museum is packed with cunning and inventive ways to make a fellow human beg for a quick end. A sick sick mind was hard at work formulating blood-curdling techniques to inflict the maximum pain and horror possible.

Do You Think He's Restrained Enough?

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The Old Ways

On the walls there are illustrations of 21 methods of execution. One technique involved wrapping the offender in oil and then setting him alight. Others had their ears pierced with javelins and then, to make their deaths more excruciating, the javelin would be swivelled around inside the unfortunate inmate’s head. Personally I don’t know why they even bothered with the pretence of ear-piercing, when their ultimate aim was simply to thrust a long wooden/metal pole through someone’s brain. Others had cloths of fire shoved into their mouths or had their hands or stomach set on fire. The officers poured scalding hot oil on them or they were half buried and then set alight until they died. Some were scalped alive, their brains exposed, pebbles and sand rubbed in and the crude lobotomy shown to the prisoner. A particularly grim illustration showed a guard slicing off pieces of the prisoner’s body, frying them and forcing him to cannibalize himself. Another had his skin slit from his neck to his waist and his waist to his ankles. Are you finding this disturbing? Read on, there’s more...

Death By Fish Hook

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Oh Dear, Are You Going To Use Those Fish Hooks On Me?

In one of the illustrations a hapless prisoner had two large fish hooks pierced in the top and bottom of his lips to pry them open and then a chisel was then used to cut the skin up to the ears. I imagine the screams and gurgling noises alone would make you soil yourself. How did the guards get used to that kind of suffering? Perhaps they were desensitised or, more frightening; they didn’t possess certain human traits like compassion and empathy. In which case, this would be the perfect vocation of a sadistic psychopath. In 1908 somebody somewhere decided to streamline the execution procedures and they switched to decapitation.

The Rattan Ball Contained Sharp Nails

Place an offender inside and let an elephant kick it around the courtyard.
Place an offender inside and let an elephant kick it around the courtyard. | Source

Instruments of Torture

The Ratten Ball was a particularly cruel game. The wretched prisoner was placed inside a wicker ball with many long sharp nails jutting from the outside in. Then, for a bit of a laugh presumably, they would get an elephant to kick the ball around the courtyard, all the while the inmate was being stabbed over and over. Just think about that one for a moment, dozens of long filthy nails slicing through all the soft tender parts of your body at high speed. Sometimes the elephant would crush the ball with its big foot. Please don’t try this at home.

The Bed Lek - Bad for Your Neck

Hook a prisoner up and start suspending them slowly.
Hook a prisoner up and start suspending them slowly. | Source

Does The Prisoner Need to be Roasted?

The Bed Lek involved hanging a person from a hook in their chin with their feet gradually being suspended until they confessed. There was also a crude temple pressing tool made from two sticks and a tourniquet, if you want to teach some guy a lesson, just squash his head with sticks. One of the cells contained a small wooden box, literally the length and width of an average Thai, with only 2 breathing holes in the lid. The snugly fitting coffin containing the inmate would be dragged out and left in the scorching sun to cook slowly. Why not just shoot them and be done with it I hear you asking. You’ll be pleased to learn they also offered this service. In the past the prisoners were beheaded. They have a display of the types of knives used for different functions: some were for decapitation and other special axes were used for cutting the ankles from the shackles because it was easier than trying to pry open the leg irons after execution. Makes disturbing common sense to mutilate the body. The head was also rammed onto the end of long stick and put on display. This method of execution was done up to the 1930s. Between then and 2003, a death sentence was carried out by gunshot. A screen was placed between the shooter and the prisoner. Nowadays they use lethal injection, guess it’s less messy.

Definitely Worth a Visit

So there you have it, weird and wacky in Bangkok. I left the museum appalled and fascinated in equal measures. And then on the hunt for some more stimulation I visited the Forensics Museum. You can read about it here. If you want to visit the Correction's Museum, this is the address: 436 Mahachai Road, near Rommani Nart Park.

Here is an Interesting Video to Give You a Feel for the Place

© 2013 Muttface

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    • Muttface profile image
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      Muttface 4 years ago from Portugal

      Hee hee, 'never cross a Thai' as they say in backpacker circles.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very fascinating stuff. And, of course, disturbing and macabre. I admit, if I were in Thailand, I'd have to check out the museum. I'm thinking all this might be why Thailand is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia never colonized by the West.