Scaphism, also called "The Boats", was one of the yummiest and funniest most horrific and gruesome execution methods in Human history, invented by the Persians. The condemned would be tied between two boats and left in a swamp, being force-fed a mix of honey and milk and have the mixture smeared on his body. Insects would quickly start feasting on the poor man while his excrements (milk and honey causes severe diarrhea) would attract worms. It would take up to two weeks for the condemned to die while he is rotting alive and slowly devoured by vermin.

How can this form of execution be adapted to the modern world? What technologies and areas of chemical, biological and medical knowledge can be used to intensify and prolong the suffering of the condemned? How would this execution be carried out now?

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    $\begingroup$ "<strike>yummiest and funniest</strike>" <- not funny $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 6, 2017 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ In My Humble Opinion: Proof once again that " Just because you can, doesn't mean you should". $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Mar 6, 2017 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ In the modern world we separate torture and execution for good reasons. But of course someone does own the reality show rights to saw. $\endgroup$
    – user25818
    Mar 6, 2017 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


*Bravely steps into arena*


10/10 for as long as you want. Or 11/10 for a short moment. Or since it's really about sending a message: 10/10 for a short time to replicate modernly.

Well I'm not listing chemicals... but just like there's mint and chili for hot and cold sensation and they don't typically leave lasting damage (blistering is a psychological response and will happen from strong capsaicin (I don't know if there's any chemical related damage though...)). There's also chemicals for most other things. Including pain.

So you could just inflict pain without degrading anything other than mental health. Then again, not much of anything goes above the pain/fear combination of drowning. Apparently agony levels have been well researched and that one is in a tier of its own.

If you're inflicting pain they may not die. Then again they could suffer trauma reactions like shock and die. If you do drowning it doesn't last long and there's no spectacle. Which, let's face it, is probably what this form of torture was about.

If we're in an area that's unethical enough to do this and are trying to replicate modernly; we might as well go the full monty. Expose the nervous system, lacerate it and use stem cells to increase it's area. Stick them in a vat to help the stem cells, etc. grow. Have bacteria engineered to only eat nervous tissue. Apply to the ends and watch the body struggle to outgrow the amount being eaten. I'd imagine it would succeed while energy is high (so you're still feeding them) but eventually would fail and the pain would additionally slowly have paralysis added. Then you'd have spinal tissue and lower brain eaten. So Pain -> Pain + Paralysis -> Death. You could replace neural impulses and failing organs with substitutes to allow an extra slot of brain erosion before death. Up to you. The hollow human effect of not doing anything would probably be more unnerving to would-be offenders.

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    $\begingroup$ And now I'm done with Worldbuilding today. Going to go have some strong coffee and sleep it off. $\endgroup$
    – Black
    Mar 7, 2017 at 17:32

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