Mar 12, 2014 I Paul Seaburn

Hangman Wanted: Will Train

If you believe the secret to being a good hangman is in the execution, the government of Sri Lanka would like to talk to you.

It’s not exactly a busy job. Sri Lankan judges can sentence criminals to death, but there hasn’t actually been an execution in the country since 1976. This is partly due to the death penalty being revoked in 1978 and all death sentences commuted to life in prison. The death penalty was reinstated in 2004 after a rise in crime and the assassination of a High Court judge, but pressure on politicians by the predominantly Buddhist population has kept the number at zero.

That hasn’t stopped them from keeping a man on the job – it has to be a man because Sri Lankans think women are too emotional. The standard method of execution there is hanging and Sri Lanka’s Prison Department has two gallows ready and waiting, along with a line of death row inmates estimated at over 350 and an additional 470 or more waiting on appeals.

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Despite the light workload, it seems it’s tough keeping the post filled. Two new guys hired in late 2013 didn’t show up for work and the one hired recently quit after finishing the one week training and, as part his graduation ceremony, saw the gallows and panicked. How can you train a person to be a hangman without showing them the gallows? Didn’t he watch the video?

If you’re interested in the job, the age requirement is 18-to-45 and you must have at least an eighth-grade education. The last job call attracted 178 applicants ranging from laborers to students to retired military officers. A man with one eye was rejected. I guess you need depth perception to make sure the rope goes on the right person.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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