Monday, July 13, 2009

Strangulation Biology 101

By popular demand from all of you Blande-o-philes out there, here is the Crazy 4 Crazies version of strangulation biology 101. We happen to love this stuff too, so it’s from a whole library of articles and websites that we have set aside as bedside reading. One of our favorites is Strack and McClane’s famous strangulation forensics article from 1999, available at this link.

You don’t have to have an advanced science degree to enjoy this one, so check it out. Our readers need to be well versed in strangulations, since they account for about 10% of all violent deaths each year.

You can kill someone by cutting off the blood going to their brain through their carotid arteries, the ones that squirt across the room in slash-happy horror flicks. All you need is 11 pounds of pressure for 10 seconds to make someone unconscious, so this is the best bang for your buck.

If you go for the jugular instead, you can cut off the blood returning to their heart from their head, making their face swell like a ripe plum.

The third way to kill someone by strangulation is to cut off the airway, which is a little more manly since it takes 33 pounds of pressure. All that pressure can do more than cut off the airflow though. Sometimes the assailant breaks the victim’s larynx (voice box) or a neck bone called the hyoid.

The victim experiences severe pain and then goes unconscious. They can regain consciousness in 10 seconds if the pressure is released, though, so ignore what you see in the movies and hold tight for 4-5 minutes so brain death can kick in. [Disclaimer: this website does not promote murder. This information is for educational purposes only.]

Now that you know how much time to set aside for a strangulation, here are 3 options for how to do it: hanging, ligature, and manual. Hanging is generally too difficult for a serial killer acting alone, so let’s move right to the other two.

Ligature strangulation means you use an object like a cord or clothing. The Boston Strangler did his dirty work with the victim’s silk stockings in most cases. The Hillside Strangler duo, Angelo Buono, Jr. and Kenneth Bianchi, used sheets as ligatures to kill their victims. Telephone cords also used to be popular, but times have changed. Women’s stockings are again the latest rage, including nearly a dozen copy-cat crimes across the U.S. since Destiny Blande was arrested.

Manual strangulation is done with your bare hands and is sometimes called “throttling.” This might be a little butch for a sexy lady like Destiny Blande but is otherwise extremely popular. BTK Killer Dennis Rader testified that his first attempt at manual strangulation was unsuccessful, and he was surprised at how much time and effort was required. Of course he got better with practice.

This is a lead in to an upcoming blog about the forensics of strangulation. Please be patient. We know you’re Crazy 4 Crazies.


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