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Afrah Fazil

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Guillotine

In 1792, in Paris, at the place de Grève, the guillotine was used for the first time on a human, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier, after having been tested during its development with corpses and sheep. The executioner was Charles-Henri Sanson. The severed head fell into a wicker basket; sawdust absorbed the blood. According to the Chronique de Paris, “The people were not satisfied at all. ... Everything happened too fast. They dispersed with disappointment,” wanting the gallows back, with more spectacle. The guillotine, as used in France, was invented (1788) by the King's physician, Antoine Lewis, built by a German harpsichord maker, Tobias Schmidt, and named for the French politician Joseph Ignace Guillotin who promoted its use as a more humane method of execution.«

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