Pierrepoint and other Lord High Executioners

Albert Pierrepoint, the UK’s most notable executioner who hanged several hundred serial killers, Nazi criminals and murderers over a 25 year career started his vocation early on life following in his father’s footstep.  “In my [youthful] imagination,” he wrote in his memoir, “Death was an adventure . . . and Execution was romance.” At the end of his working life he wrote: “All the men and women whom I have faced at that final moment convince me that . . . I have not prevented a single murder. Capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing except revenge.”

  His execution diary has recently been sold at auction and may result in an updated memoir coming out.

  He was born 30 March 1905, London and was a Sun Aries square a Uranus Neptune opposition.  His Mars in Scorpio opposed Algol and squared Saturn which makes sense of a state assassin.

 His father Henry, 30 November 1877, a Sun Sagittarius had his Pluto conjunct Algol square Uranus, sextile Mars. His uncle Thomas Pierrepoint, 6 October 1870, a Sun Libra had his Mars in Leo in a ruthless square to Pluto and trine Saturn trine Neptune.

Charles Henri-Sanson, 15 February 1739, high executioner of France who beheaded Louis XVI by guillotine, and another three thousand people during the French Revolution including Robespierre, some of them in a gruesome fashion, had an afflicted Mars conjunct Chiron on the focal point of a yod inconjunct a revolutionary Uranus sextile Pluto; with his late Taurus Moon probably conjunct Algol.  

Giovanni Battista Bugatti, the Official executioner for the Papal States. With a tally of 514 kills, 6 March 1779, had a cruel Mars Saturn in Scorpio sextile Jupiter with Mars opposition Algol; and a Pisces Sun square Uranus.

  All too ghoulish but noteworthy the presence of Algol in nearly all the charts as well as an afflicted Mars.

Continuing on from the previous post of the recent US nitrogen gas execution, see post January 26th 2024.

  One of my objections to the death penalty apart from it not being a deterrent, is that it contaminates not only society but those who are tasked with carrying out the executions.  Though admittedly the forms of execution nowadays are nowhere as sadistically stomach turning as the methods of centuries ago. Civilization has crawled forwards an inch or two.

4 thoughts on “Pierrepoint and other Lord High Executioners

  1. Hello Marjorie,
    I don’t know if it’s relevant but Robert Badinter, the french ex-minister who ended the death penalty in 1981 during his career, has an opposition between aquarius mars 11th house and leo neptune 5th house squaring Algol in 1st house. He has just died last week.

  2. I, with my well occupied 8th house (incl Pluto at 0 Virgo and Uranus conj Mercury in early Leo), finds this post utterly fascinating. Reminded me of an interesting book I read ages ago,

    When the Guillotine Fell: The Bloody Beginning and Horrifying End to France’s River of Blood, 1791-1977 | by Jeremy Mercer. In 1977, Hamida Djandoubi (born 22 Sept 1949 in French Tunisia) was the last person executed in France with the guillotine (10 Sept 1977, Marseilles France) Marcel Chevalier was the chief executioner and also has a family lineage of this. This book covers politics, history of capital punishment and racism in addition to the actual case.

    In an earlier post on Truman Capote, I believe, someone wondered if Scorpio/8th house are focussed on Death. In a way, yes… however I’d say it’s an awareness that Death and the Underbelly of human behaviour exists and is worth understanding.

    My generational story is filled with Plutonian misery and, even as a child, I wanted to understand “what is Evil?…. where is it in me?… in others? I found Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie, an interesting attempt to understand this.

    Anyways… this post intrigued me, as did the Truman Capote one…. so there is certainly a connection with my full 8th house!!

    On the other hand, my only sibling… sister.. has Sun conjunct Mars in Scorpio!!, and she is fiercely holding to locking that Shadow door firmly shut. I don’t know of anyone who is as committed to denial as she is… and gosh has that played out in her life.

    It does seem that there are consequences to not opening the Scorpio door…. not punitive… but still… consequences. Maybe a strong Scorpio/Pluto chart will either give the person a more intense fear of Pandora’s box or it will give extra courage to dig deep….. or to be comfortable in jobs such as this.

  3. I wrote a screenplay on Sanson years ago. While I did charts for other revolutionary characters I never did one on him strangely enough. Executioners passed their job down to their sons so it would be fascinating to do a family study to see how Mars and Algol work through generations. Thanks for such an interesting read…as usual.

  4. The guillotine was allegedly invented to be more humane than the other alternatives. I can’t be sure but I think a doctor invented it. It was supposed to be more humane inasmuch as it was sharp and quick.

    Hanging in those days wasn’t worked out by the weight and the drop as it was a century later. People often died quite slowly through strangulation.

    The other alternative was being beheaded by a swordsman. A French swordsman was considered the preferred choice. Certainly Anne Boleyn thought so. I doubt that being French made any difference as all swordsmen had the difficulty of hacking through the neck. Not a great choice.

    So the guillotine was supposed to do away with suffering. But I have not read of any account to know whether that was true or not. But as the masses wanted to make a spectacle of the whole thing, I am quite sure that watching them suffering was the main event. As it evidently still is in places that practice the death penalty. As a species we seem to have devolved rather than to have evolved to anything worthwhile. If a country or a state has to have a death penalty, at least make it quick and humane, otherwise we demean ourselves. Which I think Marjorie pointed out recently. Which is a good reason to not to have it. But in the last fifty years it is quite plain that the state has abdicated any sense of responsibility in the lenient sentences, if any being passed. You certainly couldn’t say inflicted. Sadly I do not see the situation changing.

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