When a poor sinner was led out to die, a whole concourse of persons, young and old followed, and especially “the inquisitve females who love to gape at everything.” The populace crowded together in such numbers that often the town gates had to be shut in order to maintain order. The reason for it all was the idea that a public execution had a deterrent effect, and to none of the sage Councillors did it occur that crime did not diminish, but that the executioner continued his task, as his predecessors had done for centuries. 
Cannibalistic acts were frequently part of the spectacle at the execution site itself. In a scene suggestive of epileptics drinking blood from Roman gladiators, a Danish folkloric account describes how “epileptics [stood] around the scaffold in crowds, cup in hand, ready to quaff the red blood as it flow[ed] from the still quivering body.”
While the sharing of blood symbolized the sense of collective benefit derived from the executed body, this practice also raised curious moral issues about collective risk, such as the potential danger of infecting the drinker with the disease of criminality. Elias Henckel (1689) cautions that, “Drinking the blood of a criminal who had been beheaded is likely to result in the acquisition of his criminal character and the pursuit of a career of crime.” Interestingly, Henckel focuses on the moral and ethical implications of the action itself.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I
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The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
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