Category Archives: Guest Posts

MARRED – NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM SUE COLETTA

AA8Marred is the new psychological thriller from New Hampshire crime writer, Sue Coletta, who is my close internet friend and cohort. Sue’s an exceptionally talented writer with a great sense of humor. In fact, she’s silly enough to drop by the DyingWords shack for a chat about herself and her newest novel which just came online for prerelease on Amazon and other digital retailers. Great to see you! *waves at Sue* Tell us… What’s Marred all about? And what’s with the woman hanging from the barn rafters on the cover?

Hey Garry. *waves back* I think the best thing I can say is what’s on Marred’s jacket blurb.

When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.

Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.

When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.

Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?

Ooooo… Chilling! How much of yourself is in Sage Quintano, your protagonist?

I think all our characters have pieces of us. Don’t you?

AA1I used three main characters in Marred, alternating their point of views. I gave Sage Quintano parts of my heart and soul, the mushy part of me; her love for animals, family, writing, that sort of thing. But Sage lived through a brutal assault, which crushed her spirit. Deputy Frankie Campanelli, my snarky character, says things I only wish I could say. But at one time she would be a better representation of who I am. I’ve mellowed with age. Even Sheriff Niko Quintano, Sage’s husband, has a piece of me. His hard outer layer protects him from heartbreak, but when he loves he goes all in 100%.

When Marred is adopted into a screenplay, who do you want as the main characters? Now, c’mon. Every writer wants to see their book on the screen.

AA3Of course I do! When I wrote my first novel I would spend hours daydreaming about the screenplay version. Marred is my fourth novel, though, so I haven’t given it much thought. Let’s see. For Sage, Gillian Anderson, if she colored her hair sable brown. Jessica Alba for Frankie. She too would need to color her hair, dark with auburn highlights. Robert Downey Jr. for Niko, with short-cropped hair.

I used to own a hair salon, which is why I’m concentrating on the hair here.

You’re a bloody good writer, Sue. How were you as a student?

Aww. *blush* Thank you. As a student I was too busy socializing to worry about grades. Therefore, I got B’s and C’s rather than the A’s I should have gotten.

Ever take an IQ test?

No, but I’ve always wanted to.

What’s your typical writing day like?

AA7Crazy. I start early in the morning, around 4-5 a.m. Read for a while, then get to work by 7 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m., on average. Sometimes later. During the day I take a half hour to have lunch with my husband and two 15 min breaks, or one 30 min. break, to exercise.

Do you have a set process?

Writing process? Absolutely. First, I plan my novel. I use an Excel spreadsheet based on the principals in Story Engineering, Save the Cat, and a few other milestones from other craft books. Once I have my milestones mapped out, I write my scenes. Each scene should either setup the next one or pay it off. Each day I start by editing the scenes I wrote the day before, and then I continue on. This way, by the time I finish the first draft I have less overall editing to do. I realize that’s not the norm, but it works for me. Then I start my editing. First by searching for writing tics, words and phrases I tend to overuse, and then I do an overall read for continuity, hanging plot threads, clues, etc. I send it off to my critique partner and beta readers. Once I get it back I work on the suggestions/comments. One final read-through and it’s ready to go to the publisher.

You held out for a traditional publishing contract rather than going indie like a bunch of the rest of us. Why’d you make that choice?

AA2For a few reasons, actually. Number one, it’s always been my dream to be traditionally published. Number two, when you’re traditionally published more opportunities open up for you. Like going for prestigious awards, for example. Number three, I wanted to work with a team…cover designer, editor, proof reader, etc., without having to absorb the cost. It was a long, hard road, but well worth it.

How was your experience in working with a publishing house?

Great. Everyone has been so nice. It’s a fantastic feeling to know I have a talented team backing me, as well as offering support and encouragement. And, y’know, no more sending out query letters and hoping for a request.

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

AA4I love what I do. I get to kill people for a living and get away with it. What’s not to love?

Will you ever tell where you hide the bodies?

Never!

Hey – Would you attend an autopsy with me?

Sure. As long as it’s not mine.

Ha Ha! What’d you write before turning to crime?

Years ago, I wrote children’s stories. Odd combination, I know, but the stories were bursting to get out. I wrote a dozen or so. Someday I might publish them. Never refuse the muse.

Who’s your biggest writing-craft influences?

AA13Larry Brooks and Brandilyn Collins for craft advice. For authors, who I’ve learned from through reading their thrillers, Larry Brooks, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Thomas Harris, Katia Lief, I could go on and on.

Karin Slaughter. Love that crime writin’ name. What do you enjoy about the writing business?

The writing community rocks. I’ve never met so many caring, supportive people in my life.

Is there any one secret to great storytelling?

AA15Structure. It controls pace, creates empathy for your characters, aka rootability, and provides the reader a vicarious experience.

Hmmm… Great answer. What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve received and where’d you get it?

My mom told me repeatedly, “You can have anything you want out of life as long as you apply yourself and work hard. Dream big, because the sky’s the limit.”

Do you fit your Zodiac sign?

To a tee. I’m a double Libra, sun and moon.

Any tattoos?

Three. Back of my left shoulder, right ankle, and inside the right hip bone.

AA4Inside the hip bone? That musta hurt. Now, what’s the Top 3 on your bucket list?

I want to take a cruise to somewhere exotic. Visit Australia and smuggle home a Quokka. And hit #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Not necessarily in that order.

Where do you see yourself in a year? In five? In ten?

In one year I hope to have three of my novels released. I’d love to win the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award for Marred. Wouldn’t the cover look great here? In five years, I hope to hit the NYTBL. In ten, drop from exhaustion. LOL

AA5So what do you want your dying words to be?

I loved, laughed, cried, danced, and shared my experiences with the world through my books.

Nice! Hopefully that won’t be said for a long, long time. Lots more writing to leave behind, ya know. Speaking of time. What’s your biggest time-vulture?

Facebook. I can’t get enough of hilarious animal pics and videos. Like this…

AA6

Awesome!  Okay, now it’s time to take the DyingWords 10-step psychological profile. You must answer all questions honestly, otherwise I’ll sic the hounds. And no phoning a friend. Ready?

  1. Pantster or plotter?  Plotter.
  1. Window or aisle?  Window.
  1. Print or digital?  Digital.
  1. Harley or Honda?  Harley.
  1. Coffee or tea?  Tea.
  1. Coyote or Roadrunner?  Coyote.
  1. Burial or Cremation?  Burial.
  1. Fine-tip pen or bold?  Bold.
  1. Handcuffs or leg-irons? Handcuffs.
  1. Orangutan or gorilla? Gorilla.

AA16Okay. Just a sec… have to plug them into the DyingWords Psycho-Analyzer… twirl the dials… press the button… wait a minute… and… hmmm… Yep! Saw this comin’. Says because you’re a methodical plotter, fearless with your view, progressive in technology, aggressive as a Hog rider yet refined as a tea drinker, persistent as Wile E. Coyote, choose longevity over being a flash in the pan, are bold with words, keep your hands cuffed to the keyboard, and have hide thicker than a frickin’ gorilla…

You’ll make a great best-selling, crime-thriller writer! Imagine that?

*Sue rolls eyes*

Alright, moving on. With Marred about to be released, what’s your next project?

Wings of Mayhem. About a forensics specialist who moonlights as a cat burglar and mistakenly steals a killer’s trophy box. Oops!

AA17Double Oops. You’ve got a great website, Sue. Tell us about it.

My site—www.suecoletta.com—is dedicated to crime. I post informative articles to help crime writers’ stories ring true, writing tips, editing tips, and feature guests from law enforcement and forensics fields. I also have a Crime Writer’s Resource, which anyone can use. But the site is not only for writers. For instance, I have the Crime Lovers Lounge. Subscribers will get a secret key code that will unlock— You’ll have to subscribe to see what I have in store. More on that coming soon. If you’re a writer with murder in your plot, grab a free pdf 60 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters.

AA19It’s been a long haul for you with it’s just-rewards finally happening. Tell us about your journey.

Actually, I’m wrote an entire post about my journey for Molly Greene. You can read it at: http://www.molly-greene.com.

I just did. Wow! What a story of determination and preserverence. You certainly earned your stripes. Now, last and most important, when and where can we get Marred?

To celebrate the pre-release, Marred is on sale for only 99 cents at these fine retailers. More retailers will become available in the coming weeks. Marred will automatically be delivered on 11/11/15.

Amazon US      Amazon UK      Smashwords

Thanks so much, Sue. Best wishes for Marred looking down from the top of the charts. I’ve had a sneak-peek at the ARC and it’s a top-notch, thrilling read. Great job!

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AA9Sue Coletta is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime as well as the author of five novels. A 4K-word excerpt of Marred will be published in the upcoming anthology, Murder, USA. Her other titles will be available soon. Sue is also editing the How-To / No BS Guide Series on Crime Fiction Writing that are in progress. Connect with Sue on her social media sites:

Web/Blogsite  –  http://suecoletta.com/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/SueColetta1

Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/SueColetta1

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SueColetta1

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/SueColetta

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

Google+  –  http://www.plus.google.com/u/0/+SusanColetta/posts/

AA8

AVERT YOUR EYES – INSIGHT INTO HUMAN NATURE FROM SETH GODIN

I’m a big fan of writer, marketer, motivator, and change-maker Seth Godin and follow his blog religiously. Seth has previously guest-posted on DyingWords and he generously agreed to return with this insightful piece about human nature.

AA1When there’s a wreck on the side of the road, we can’t help it. Despite our best efforts, we look at the accident, sometimes even slow down to get a really good look.

Why?

To remind ourselves it’s not us. To reassure ourselves it’s not someone we know. Phew. Rubbernecking is our way of reassuring ourselves.

AA2Often, though, we do precisely the opposite when it comes to the apparently unfixable, to the enormity of horrible events, to tragedies. (Enormity doesn’t mean “extra enormous.” It refers to the emptiness of something so horrible and large we have trouble comprehending it).

Time Magazine produces a cover that we can’t bear, so we don’t buy that issue. We don’t see the billboard. A disease appears uncurable, so we don’t talk about it. It’s easier to talk about the little stuff, or events with hope.

We also do it with science, to facts about the world around us.

AA3There’s a long history of denialism, defending the status quo and ignoring what others discover. That two balls of different weights fall at the same speed. That the Earth rotates around the Sun. That the world is millions of years old. That we walked on the Moon. The denials all sound the same. They don’t come from stupidity, from people who aren’t smart enough to understand what’s going on. They come from people who won’t look.

Why deny? It’s a way to avert our eyes.

Two related reasons, internal and external.

The external reason is affiliation.

AA4What happens to one’s standing when you dare to question the accepted status quo? What are the risks to doing your own research, to putting forth a falsifiable theory and being prepared to find it proven wrong? What will you tell your neighbours?

When adherence to the status quo of our faith or organization or social standing looms large, it’s often far easier to just look the other way, to feign ignorance, or call yourself a skeptic (n.b. all good scientists are actually skeptics, that’s how they build careers… the difference is that the skeptical scientist does the work to prove to her peers that she’s right, and acknowledges when she’s not).

There’s more data available to more people than ever before.

AA5And the prize for using statistics and insight to contradict the scientific status quo is huge. If a thesis doesn’t sit right with you, look closer – not away. Do the science, including acknowledging when your theory isn’t right.

The internal reason is fear.

AA6The fear of having to re-sort what we believe. Of feeling far too small in a universe that’s just too big. Most of all, of engaging in a never-ending cycle of theories and testing, with the world a little shaky under our feet as we live with a cycle that gets us closer to what’s real.

Part of being our best selves is having the guts to not avert our eyes, to look closely at what scares us, what disappoints us, what threatens us.

By looking closely we have a chance to make change happen.

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AA8AA11SETH GODIN is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

AA9In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. He was recently inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor in 2013.

Recently, Godin once again set the book publishing on its ear by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal after three hours and ended up becoming the most successful book project ever done this way.

His newest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn, is already a bestseller.

Visit Seth’s website at:  http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/

Follow Seth on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ThisIsSethsBlog

CRUCIFIXION – A PHYSICIAN’S VIEW ON JESUS CHRIST’S ANATOMICAL CAUSE OF DEATH

This material is from an article by Dr. C. Truman Davis and was first published by the Christian Broadcasting Network. This appears to be a very factual look at how Jesus Christ really died.

A29About a decade ago, reading Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died, I realized that I had for years taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted — that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details and a too distant friendship with Jesus. It finally occurred to me that, though a physician, I didn’t even know the actual immediate cause of death.

The Gospel writers don’t help us much on this point, because crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetime that they apparently considered a detailed description unnecessary. So we have only the concise words of the Evangelists: “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified — and they crucified Him.”

I have no competence to discuss the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate God atoning for the sins of fallen man. But it seemed to me that as a physician I might pursue the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion in some detail.

A34What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture? 

This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, torture and execution by fixation to a cross. I am indebted to many who have studied this subject in the past, and especially to a contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research and has written extensively on the subject.

Apparently, the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world — to Egypt and to Carthage. The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and (as with almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill at it. A number of Roman authors (Livy, Cicer, Tacitus) comment on crucifixion, and several innovations, modifications, and variations are described in the ancient literature.

A25For instance, the upright portion of the cross (or stipes) could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below its top in what we commonly think of as the Latin cross. The most common form used in Jesus’s day, however, was the Tau cross, shaped like our T.

In this cross, the patibulum was placed in a notch at the top of the stipes. There is archeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified.  Without any historical or biblical proof, Medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross. But the upright post, or stipes, was generally fixed permanently in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the patibulum, weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution.

A7Many of the painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixion, also show the nails through the palms. Historical Roman accounts and experimental work have established that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrists (radial and ulna) and not through the palms. Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when made to support the weight of the human body. The misconception may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Observe my hands.” Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrist as part of the hand.

A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually placed on a staff, carried at the front of the procession from the prison, and later nailed to the cross so that it extended above the head. This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross.

A27But, of course, the physical passion of the Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, the one of greatest physiological interest is the bloody sweat. It is interesting that St. Luke, the physician, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”  Every ruse (trick) imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this description, apparently under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen. A great deal of effort could have been saved had the doubters consulted the medical literature.

Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress of the kind Jesus suffered, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process might well have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

A17After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was next brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiphus. The palace guards then blind-folded him and mockingly taunted him to identify them as they each passed by, spat upon him, and struck him in the face.

In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, Jesus was taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Pilate passed responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate.

It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

A15There is much disagreement among authorities about the unusual scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who allegedly claimed to be the King of the Jews.

Preparations for the scourging were carried out when Jesus was stripped of his clothing and his hands tied to a post above his head. It is doubtful the Romans would have made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter, but the Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.

A16At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produced large, deep bruises which were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of his back would be hanging in long ribbons and the entire area an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.

When it was determined by the centurion in charge that he was near death, the beating finally stopped.  The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood.

A10The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They threw a robe across his shoulders and placed a stick in his hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete so flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) were plaited into the shape of a crown and pressed into his scalp. Again there was copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.

After mocking Jesus and striking him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from his hand and struck him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into his scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and the robe was torn from his back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal would have caused excruciating pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, and almost as though he were again being whipped, the wounds once more began to bleed.

A22In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans returned his garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross was tied across his shoulders and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began a slow journey along the Via Dolorosa.

In spite of his efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, would be too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the his shoulders. He tried to rise, but his human muscles were pushed beyond their endurance. 

The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock, until the 650 yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refused to drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus was quickly thrown backward with his shoulders against the wood.

A9The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms to tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” was nailed in place.

Jesus’s left foot was now pressed backward against his right foot and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving his knees moderately flexed.

Jesus was now crucified.

As he slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating pain would have shot along his fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists putting pressure on the median nerves.

A35As he pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he would have placed his full weight on the nail through his feet. Again, there would be searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.  At this point, as his arms fatigued, great waves of cramps would have swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps would come the inability to push himself upward.

Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles would be paralyzed and his intercostal muscles would be unable to act.

As air could be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled in this position Jesus would have fought to raise himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally carbon dioxide would build up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps would partially subside. Spasmodically, he would push himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

A1Jesus would have experienced hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue was torn from his lacerated back as he moved up and down against the rough timber.

Then another agony began — a terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as his pericardium slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart.

This is documented in the 22nd Psalm, 14th verse: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”

A19It was now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; his compressed heart struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; tortured lungs making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain.

Jesus gasped “I thirst.” 

Another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm refers to this “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.” A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, was lifted to his lips but he apparently didn’t take any of the liquid.

A40Jesus’s body was now in extremes and he would be able to feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues. This realization brought out his words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper “It is finished.”  His mission of atonement was completed and finally he could allow his body to die. With one last surge of strength, he would again press his torn feet against the nail, straighten his legs, take a deeper breath, and utter a last cry “Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; thus the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart.

A41The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John reports “And immediately there came out blood and water.” That is, there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart, giving postmortem evidence that Jesus died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Thus we have had our glimpse — including the medical evidence — of that epitome of evil which man has exhibited toward man and toward God.

It was a terrible sight and more than enough to leave us despondent and depressed. How grateful we can be that we have the great sequel in the infinite mercy of God toward man — at once the miracle of the atonement (at one ment) and the expectation of the triumphant Easter morning.

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Many thanks to Dr. Truman Davis for his insight. His original article can be viewed at this link:

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/onlinediscipleship/easter/a_physician%27s_view_of_the_crucifixion_of_jesus_christ.aspx