And The Weapon of Choice is….

Well, dear reader, after the last few weeks I feel you deserve a bit of a break from exploring the recesses of my mind. I can imagine it gets a bit too much for you, to be constantly faced with such life threatening scenarios. Or, maybe you enjoy it as much as I do. Anyway, have a rest and put your feet up. You will need all your strength in the blogs to come, I can assure you.

My little adventure with the good doctor and his toys got me thinking about different ways of killing people and, more specifically, different tools that can be used to do this wonderfully dastardly deed.

So, curiosity obviously taking over, I decided to go and have a look at what is out there. But, I didn’t just look at the common, run of the mill, ‘been there; done that; got the t-shirt’, murder weapons. Oh no, I also looked at the most unusual – from life, from film and, of course, from the page.

I do feel, however, that it will be too much for you to take all in one sitting, especially after the last few weeks, and so I have decided to concentrate on reality this week. I will of course give you the fictional versions next time.

WARNING: some of what you are about to read is not for the faint hearted. So, if you are squeamish, weak willed, lily-livered or compassionate, you may not wish to read on….

Oh, where to start?

After pondering the matter, I think it best to start with the boring, most ‘common’ weapons or methods of murder, before progressing to the more cruel and unusual.

Explosives (excluding terrorism) are commonly used for killing, but due to the fact that most murderers don’t like to draw attention to their crime scene, they rank fairly low on the list. Surprisingly, narcotic induced murder and drowning also rank fairly low.

Whilst I would imagine trying to drown someone is quite difficult (unless you are superior in strength), not to mention a tad noisy (all the splashing around), I would have expected the use of narcotics to rank more highly. Drugging someone always seems so straight forward……..providing the dose is correct, of course.

Fire seems to be a favoured mode of murder, probably due to the minimum of evidence that is left behind. I would imagine it would be fairly difficult to control a fire, though, unless of course you are a natural fire-starter and can do this stuff with your eyes closed. Fire isn’t the most environmentally friendly form of murder either, is it, and so would be largely frowned upon by the eco-warriors amongst you.

Strangulation and asphyxiation hover around the middle of the pack, with the use of blunt objects nudging just ahead of them. Now, when I say blunt objects, I mean anything non pointy that can be used to bash someone’s head in. This can range from your regular hammer, club or baseball bat to bottles and even tree branches. Whatever is at hand, seems to do the trick.

Surprising high rankers, in the common murder weapon stakes, are weapons that we all possess – hands, fists, head and feet. Punching, head-butting or kicking someone in the head is highly likely to prove fatal. So, beware when practising your superhero moves on an unsuspecting friend!

Unsurprisingly, the top slots are held by cold arms (knives and other sharp objects) and firearms. The caveat around firearms, though, is that a large number are used in self defence against criminals, thus distorting the rankings. And I’ll leave the gun debate at that.

Now, dear reader, onto the more intriguing and interesting; the more peculiar; and the more unusual. Whichever way you choose to look at these, if indeed you are brave enough to do so, these weapons were used in real life and, in so doing, elevated a rather staid murder to something so much more……

A katana (Japanese sword) was used by Michael Desiderio to hack his friend, Richard Richardson, to death, all reportedly because of a drug induced argument over a pillow.

A man from Lewisville, Texas, is said to have used two chainsaws – the weapon linked to the most vicious fictional murders – to kill and then dismember his wife. Why? No one knows.

The crossbow, the medieval weapon of choice, was chosen by Stephen Griffiths to murder prostitutes in Bradford, England. He is said to have shot the crossbow bolt into the head, dragged the body back to his apartment, chopped it up and then dumped it in a nearby river.

Kitchen accessories have also been put to grisly use. It was a microwave that a drunk China Arnold used to murder her one month old baby, Paris. Whilst Angeles Cadillo-Castro used an ordinary metal and plastic spatula, to beat her five year old daughter to death.

Next time you uncork a bottle of wine, make sure you keep a check on the corkscrew or, more importantly, who has hold of it. For, you wouldn’t want to end up like Murat St Hilaire, who died by way of a corkscrew to the side of the head.

Now, the bathroom can be full of dangerous items, but would you have considered the toilet tank lid one of these? Well, Marvin Hill certainly did and used it to full effect when he bashed Christine Eubanks over the head with one, killing her. He then dragged her body to his car and dumped her in a nearby creek.

Lethal Weapon 2 is, arguably, best remembered for the nail gun that was used as an automatic weapon. Who knew it could be so effective? Well, it is and, unfortunately, Chen Liu fell victim to just such a weapon. His body was found in marshes with up to 30 nails in his head, all fired from a high powered nail gun.

It was a pickle jar that enabled Daniel Kovarbasich to have his revenge on Duane Hurley, the man who had raped him many times. Kovarbasich repeatedly hit Hurley over the head with a 10lb pickle jar, before stabbing him with a pocket knife and then a kitchen knife – to make sure he was dead.

Cruel murders were probably more in keeping with ancient times, but what about unusual ones? An old tale, told in ‘Guy of Warwick’ (written in the 14thcentury), tells of a chess game between two Viking men, Faber and Sowden (a nobleman’s son). Words became heated as the game progressed and Sowden called Faber ‘a son of a whore’ and cracked him across the head with a rook. Faber tried to remain calm, but Sowden went after him again, so Faber grabbed the chess board (likely made of stone at this time) and bashed Sowden over the head with it, killing him instantly.

Last, but not least, we have an attempted murder. Fed up with her husband running up debts, 45 year old Shinobu Hirata decided to kill him, using a bowling ball. She hit him repeatedly on the head with a 7kg ball while he slept, but failed in her mission. In fact, he sustained no life threatening injuries at all. I’m unsure whether that is due to his thick skull or a very giving mattress!

So, dear reader, have a look around your home and see how many of these objects you possess. Then, take stock of your relationships – family, friends and lovers – for you never know when one of these may be used against you or, even, may come in handy.

May fear protect you when the darkness comes.

Til next time.