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Before they got round to inventing and perfecting the sudden drop hanging technique in the 19th century, what happened to Paula Angel wasn't unique. Before then, they simply stood the convict on a stool or cart which was then kicked/driven away. This was rarely enough to break the neck and most people who were hanged slowly suffocated. (If they were lucky, they had friends who would pull on their legs to make it a bit quicker.) But there are known cases of people reviving after they'd been cut down, and there was then some controversy about whether they should be let go and strung back up again. (Legally, there shouldn't really have been any question about it since I'm pretty sure that the judge's sentencing included the words 'hanged by the neck until you are dead', but people often believed that it represented some kind of miraculous divine intervention showing that God didn't want the person to die, and so mercy should be shown.)

There's a quite famous 18th-century case, of 'Half-hanged Harding':

And the case of Anne Greene in the 17th-century (on which Iain Pears based his book _An instance of the fingerpost_):
They didn't have too many qualms about executing women in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Rich (Angel)

It's hard to believe that her first name could have been Paula. First, Angel is a spanish surname. Seconed this occured in Las Vegas, New Mexico. It would be more accurate to choose a spanish first name don't you think?


I agree with you about the name Paula. She was Hispanic. The Espy File of US Executions lists her as Paula Angel. (See the Espy File link at the bottom of the right-hand column of CLEWS)

paula angel

my name is paula angel. i'm caucasion. i find the story amazing. I would love to know more of this paula angel.


for all intents and purposes, Paula is a latino name if pronounced correctly.

Segura Knoll

In my grandmother's family, from New Mexico, the name Pabla is very common but they were often called Paula and later Pauline.


She got exactly what she deserved.

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