Severe Wounds


Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 22:43:38 -0300
From: "Roberto L. Vargas" <ten.iuqoc|sagravlr#ten.iuqoc|sagravlr>

I just read recently in a book

On a somewhat related note at a neurosurgery lecture the surgeon projected a lateral skull x-ray image with what seemed like a machete lodged beteen the eyes and taking a large part of the forehead all the way into very close to the middle of the skull.

So we thought, "why would they take an x-ray of a dead guy". Turns out, the guy was impaled with the machete in a fight and he was not only alive, but conscious for a considerable amount of time and walking around with these machete sticking out of the bridge of the nose and forehead. He went unconsciuos after a while, but he didn't lost a considerable amount of blood. When the neurosurgeons arrived to check on the by now famous machete guy, there was a family physician (who are the butt of many surgeons jokes, undeservedly) on top of the guy trying desperately to get the thing out. The surgeon says he took the doctor out. Why? The machete was like the proverbial pinger in the dam. It took 18 hours of surgery to slowly dislodge the weapon and the guy came out of it alive, with just some neurological deficits.

I saw another case of a machete (they are big here in the island) lodged in the neck of a man. He was unconscious, but very much alive. The machete had hit the vertebral body and that had stopped it's cutting line, but not without severing both jugulars on that side and nicking the carotid. This is almost all the way to the midline. He had such luck that the machete again worked as a finger in the dam, lodged firmly in the atherosclerotic carotid thus helping to reduce the bleeding. He survived, with a bit nmore neurologic damage than the one before.

The point is that people can survive, even against incredible odds, terrible amounts of damage. Sometimes. Other times, a simple punch can kill anyone. The other point is that even if the guy survived the shell, he MUST have major sequelae. There should be very little bowel left so he must be defecating in bags. Forget about kidneys, they are easily compromised when they lose blood flow withour mentioning a direct impact. he has to be on chronic hemodialysis. And many more things like that. I encourage you to be creative in hampering your player's characters bodily functions.


From: Marco
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 02:48:53 -0500 (CDT)

Heard a funny story;

In the Filipines, it happens that people still sometimes duel with live blades. A very well known and highly gifted Filipino stylist from the islands told about a bolo duel he saw. (Bolos are basically short swords, used in agriculture, like a machete, though they sometimes have a thrusting point).

Anyway, one guy get his arm cut off by the other, Arm flys off, and the bolo it held buries itself in the throat of the "winner," who dies. Loser gets a touniquet, and survives,though minus an arm.


From: Robert Thomas
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 10:21:53 GMT0BST

Turns out, the guy was impaled with the machete in a fight and he was not
only alive, but conscious for a considerable amount of time and
walking around with these machete sticking out of the bridge of
the nose and forehead.

In a similar vein there was a recent case in the UK of a woman on a train attacked by a released mental patient, (don' you just love care in the community), she survived the attack and the x-ray which was shown on television was incredible. The kitchen knife was embedded all the way from the top of her skull through the brain to the base and she survived and as far as I am aware had very little damage. She was able to testify about the attack in court anyway.


From: "Duran Goodyear"
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 23:01:07 -0400
Along these lines…

There is a guy in Pennsylvania, where many decades ago, when they were building one of the many rail lines in the state, was caught in an explosian that threw around some of the meter long stell rods they were using for some sort of engineering task.

Well, the stake went up, through the bottom of his jaw, slightly to the right, and out the top of his head.

And aside from being knocked down from the blast… Was able to walk to the doctor to get it looked at…

Mind you this was WAY before we were even looking at the brain, let a lone understanding it slightly… well, they were able to remove the rod, and he survived…

The only detriment… He lost all mathematical skills, and he developed a rather nasty talent… oh, yeah, his right eye didn't work so well also.


From: J. Frederick MacKenzie
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 01:58:51 EDT
Regarding folks who survivved serious injury:

«« There is a guy in pennsylvania, »»

The man in question would be Phineas Gage. He was involved in tamping an explosive charge when the stuff went off and blew the abovementioned bar through his head. As I recall, his personality changed drastically after the injury (but I can hardly blame the guy, putting steel bars through one's frontal lobes is generally not good for one's mood).

How deadly a given wound is depends on location more than anything else. The advantage of larger/more powerful weapons is just that they damage a larger area, thus increasing the chance/frequency of significant damage. The cross-section of area damaged by a massive round like the .50 cal. is easily 6" in diameter, so the odds favor that a vital structure such as an artery or vital organ will lose its function.

Where I work (a prison), the inmates try to kill each other with fair frequency, but without much skill. One of the inmates was assaulted a couple years ago and was stabbed 47 times while another assailant beat his head in with a mop wringer. The victim not only survived, he was conscious for questioning afterward. Some people are just hard to kill.


From: Andrew
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 09:52:49 +0100

Last night the question was raised that if you can skin a human could you do it while they were still alive?

Furthermore if they lived how long would it be before they died.

Can anyone help?


From: Shane Ivey
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 20:51:18 EDT

For the sake of reliving SAN losses past, below is the URL of a site which another list member brought to us a few weeks ago. It offers very exact details on the treatement of the human carcass. Its emphasis is on preparation for consumption, but it may still be useful if you have the … stomach for it.


Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 04:07:12 -0400
From: "R. Menzi"

IIRC, in I,an Indian Woman in Guatamala, by Rigoberta Menchu, she describes how the police torturers partially skinned her mother, taking care to avoid the veins and arteries. By leaving the main bloodflow lines in place and with judicious use of antibiotics, a victim can be kept alive for quite a long time.

The Guatamalan torturers (likely American-trained) knew quite well where not to cut open. The Nazis on K. wouldn't be any worse at it.

The part that made me most revolted at the torturers was that some of them were not even cold toward their subject, but lustful! They raped the half-skinned victims! How the fuck do you even get it up to rape a skinless ass?!?!

(this is where a fat guy whispers "The horror, the horror.")


Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 01:44:58 +0900
From: Jay and Mikiko Noyes

A: Yes, you can. Flaying was a relatively common and effective torture in the middle ages.

B: The skin wouldn't look very pretty if you did it while they were still alive.

I'm not sure. It would depend on shock and blood loss. Is there a doctor in the house?


Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 12:33:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Andrew D. Gable"

Last night the question was raised that if you can skin a human could you
do it while they were still alive?

If you know what you're doing. We had a discussion somewhat similar to this on a Jack The Ripper discussion group. IIRC, if you skin the person slowly, so that they don't bleed to death all at once, you can do it. I don't know how long the person would survive, though; I imagine if they didn't die during the process, they would very shortly afterwards.

Kind of grisly, if you ask me: but the kind of thing that could come up in a CoC game.


From: "G. Wyckoff"
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 09:31:07 -0500 (CDT)

The Guatamalan torturers (likely American-trained) knew quite well where
not to cut open. The Nazis on K. wouldn't be any worse at it.

Okay, maybe I've been losing some SAN lately and some of the posts have been striking me particularly badly, but does anyone else wonder where in America torturers would go to learn to flay people alive?? Is the claim that they were American trained referring to traing by the U.S. government, or by some other organization based in the U.S. Perhaps it's just me, but I find the idea that my tax dollars might have been going to teach a group of sadists how to flay someone and keep them alive particularly troubling.


Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 16:01:37 +0100
From: Phil Ward
« does anyone else wonder where in America torturers would go to learn to flay people alive?? Is the claim that they were American trained referring to traing by the U.S. government, or by some other organization based in the U.S. »

I believe the american governent has in the past run training schools for for south-american special forces-type troops, and intelligence operatives. Some of whom have some nasty habits when they get back home. I remember watching a program on it a year or so back….

I suspect though that the american-trained refers to other parts of their training, brutality perhaps, but _not_ flaying someone alive… I hope.


Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 10:25:20 -0600 (CST)
From: Chris or Maliki

Okay, maybe I've been losing some SAN lately and some of the posts have
been striking me particularly badly, but does anyone else wonder where in
America torturers would go to learn to flay people alive??

i think the american trained bit is referring to the School of America (i think that's the name), which is basically a fun little exchange program,where we send the CIA, or CIA trained personell to Latin American countries and train people there to be better sadists. i'm pretty sure that's how it works, or else i'm confusing it with something else…regardless


Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998 01:50:37 +1000
From: Rob Shankly

"The Silence of the Lambs" may be helpful- to avoid spoiling I'll say no more.

IIRC it is "useful" to suspend the victim upside down, so that as they go into shock their blood pressure at the brain will be maintained, and so their lungs remain empty (ie. they don't choke on vomit). This was apparantly why St.Andrew (and others) were crucified upsidedown, btw.

Any burn or skin loss more than 2cm in diameter should be treated as serious, requiring the victim see a doctor. Skinning any animal is going to kill it reasonably quickly through shock and infection. Of course, in CoC the victim might be assisted through some kind of arcane intervention. Without magic the skinned person is going to be a near complete cripple- in severe shock and pain. This might be temporarily reduced by drugs. Keeping someone alive with third-degree burns to more than 5% of the body requires medical assistance; I imagine it is not much different for skinning.

«< WARNING- The following is pretty nasty »>

The other way to remove skin is in small amounts, spread over a long period. The "death of a thousand cuts" practised by Manchu Dynasty torturers was a very slow controlled skinning process. The victim was stripped then bound in a kneeling or prone position, then tightly shrouded in netting. This caused small nodules of skin to stand out through the mesh. These were then sliced away with a knife like a straight razor. One or two might be cut on any given day, or if a quick end was decreed then the blade could be run quickly downa limb, causing rapid death through bleeding.

Finally, for general tips on skinning (game) try


From: Michael Layne
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 12:41:10 EDT

Your tax dollars at work! (The Government can afford to train torturers, but they can't afford to procure another HU-16 for NUMA to use in DG support — er, for support of oceanographic surveys…);)

Seriously, I don't think the School of the Americas trained torturers, as such. Interrogation may have been included in the cirriculum, but my guess would be that the course primarily covered nonintrusive psychological methods, and evaluation and synthesis of the scraps of data a prisoner would provide. In practice, I think these still tend to be more common in interrogation than hauling out a rubber hose, or pulling out the poor captive's fingernails…

Some of the people who trained there, however, would have come from cultures which put less of an emphasis on "human rights" than the US does, and, when they got home, they would have applied the lessons in their own manner. If a man had sadistic tendencies before he reported to the School of the Americas for training, he would likely still have them when he went home to Lower Snarf or wherever….

But give these folks some credit! They more than likely developed these techniques on their own (with possibly a little input from records of the Spanish Inquisition)!


Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 15:48:21 -0500 (CDT)
From: Don Juneau
On Thu, 1 Oct 1998, Chris or Maliki wrote:

The School of the Americas, down in Georgia somewhere. (I can find more data pretty easily, but it's biased; there's been a lot of squawking about how it's a CIA front, or that the US military is teaching them to be torturers and fascists, and all that. Like we have the monopoly.. <sigh>)

As a matter of fact, torture, while having its uses, is a very minor part of even the most ugly fascist/socialist/Barneyist/ dictatorship. (It doesn't take much to make the rumour mills start spurting out all *kinds* of stories, especially in less-open societies where said rumour mills are as popular [if not more so] as movies or television.) Covert infiltration of "underground" or opposition movements, or the creation of said "outlets", is a much higher priority, with better results. (Until you get to the "back-to-basics" barbarians, and those twisted souls who enjoy a spot of flaying before dinner.)

I'll also note that some evidence exists that a lot of the similar "tales of horror" from the Kuwaiti refugees after the Iraqi invasion were fiction; the same "liberal media" who decry the SoA were very happy to expose that, without examining similarities. (One example I'd read about was the "dismembered death-squad victim"; it seems that when you combine people who carry and use machetes in their daily work, and also drink and get into fights, you occasionally have messy leftovers.)

This will probably cause a nice political furball, which I will avoid… as for skinning humans, it would take practice - which can be done on corpses, live or dead animals, or even yourself (for those *truly* bored). I doubt that even such fun people as the KGB had *classes* in it, but perhaps basic taxidermy and medical texts would help.

(I do have special doubts about the SoA getting too colourfull in the cirriculum. It's been in business umpteen years, and if there's ever a truism been proven, it's "two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead." Those claiming that it turns out "death squads" should note the originating-country's requirements for qualification - those most likely to be pals with some politically-involved ranking officer are also those most likely to make qualifications easier. "Yes, Colonel, I am most grateful. And I will return the favour a thousandfold!"

(Hmmm. That last seems a bit cliched or bigoted. <sigh> Ah well, if I was perfect, I'd not resemble Senor Sock as much as I do.)


Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 17:52:56 -0300
From: "Roberto L. Vargas"

Just a few thoughts on skinning someone alive. I think it would be very hard, but certainly possible. The most important factors would be keeping the electrolytes in acceptable values, somehow stopping the fluid losses ( and not exactly from blood since there is tight control over the amount of blood the skin receives, and the body will even kill portions of it outright rather than loose other things; and there are very powerful peripheral vosoconstrictors which can also help a lot) and control infections. Chances are, the person will not die right after the skinning or during the procedure. If he dies, it will happen hours after or days after.

1)have peripheral and central access to the venous system and hydrate vigorously while closely monitoring electrolytes and fluid markers. (Actually, monitor everything, closely)

2)Use prophylactic antibiotic wide-spectrum coverage and start it before skinning.

3)Have Advanced Cardiad Life Support personnel nearby at all times, since the chances of arrythmias or arrest are huge.

4)If he survives the first few days and is scarring, he should survive though hideously deformed. Remember to make longitudinal cuts along these healing, since it will heal too tight and cut circulation in the extremities and prevent breathing in the thorax, perhaps causing obstructions in the abdomen. This is not the time for him to die.

Even with all these measures, most people will not survive, or will at the very least loose function of their kidneys, suffer irreversible brain damage, and such things. I'm sure there are many other things I'm not considering that are equally important, but starting with these would help. The suggestion of doing it a portion at a time will do wonders for the prognosis.


From: "Jeanne Thelwell"
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 08:31:19 +5

Appropos the discussion of the School of the Americas, check the following link, which I should point out is set up by a human rights advocate and is very hostile to SOA.


Date: Sat, 03 Oct 1998 02:09:06 +1000

From: Rob Shankly

I'm a bit sorry I mentioned a crucifixion at all, since it was not my intention to raise any kind of religious discussion. There seems to be an interesting case of dueling dogmas going on: we have non-christians insisting that their version of events is both more accurate and less subject to revision than that of the believers. I thought that the stereotype was completely the reverse!

In the interest of ongoing (friendly) discussion I'd like to suggest everyone be careful with what they post. In passing I'll say that I'm agnostic, but have no axe to grind with anyone who does not proselytize. The following is not meant to be taken as an argument with anyone's beliefs about the death of Christ or any of the other Christian martyrs. Details are from "Daily Life in Ancient Rome", The "Encyclopedia Brittanica", and my (admittedly imperfect) memory of reading I did on this topic about ten years ago.

Historically crucifixion was carried out in a wide variety of ways. The idea probably started with the Carthaginians, who certainly used it frequently. By time of the mid-Roman empire it was an established form of execution that had laws governing its application: crucifixion was only used on slaves and lower class criminals. The Romans routinely whipped the victim before execution. They usually made the victim carry the cross to the place of execution (but not always: slaves executed after the revolt of 72 BCE were crucified on the spot). In most cases the person was nailed to the cross prior to its being erected, but sometimes (rarely) the cross was put up first and the victim had to climb a ladder.

On this point there is great uncertainty about the manner of Christ's crucifixion: medieval painters seem to want to include the ladder, but maybe it just gives a better picture!

And just in case you thought that there were no other variables, there were instances where victims were simply tied to the cross and no other means of securing them was used.

Sometimes a bare post was used, sometimes a cross (crux immissa, or Latin Cross), sometimes a T-arrangement (crux commissa, or Tau Cross), and sometimes an X-shape (crux decussata, aka St.Anthony's Cross). St.Andrew is widely believed to have been crucified on one of these latter, upside-down.

Death was normally due exposure and dehydration, or through shock/bloodloss (remember the Romans whipped the victim first, then put nails through their wrists). In some cases crowds were permitted to abuse the dying, hastening their end. On other occasions the crucified were attacked by animals. Finally, I have read somewhere that the sudden weight taken by the outstretched arms would have dislocated the shoulders: painful in itself, but also likely to cause a collapsed lung.

Really cheerful stuff! I will try to dig out my original sources for anyone interested. I urge caution if anyone wants to use crucifixion in a game; make sure none of your players will be offended.

Eyelids, Tongue and Balloon Animals

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