Wednesday 7 December 2011

How a tribal society dealt with a notorious serial killer



Among the associated tribes a public executioner was employed to put criminals to death when ordered by the chiefs to do so.

The natives have a vivid recollection of a bloodthirsty savage named Pundeet Puulotong, 'dragger out of kidney fat,' who acted in that capacity, and who was so fond of doing cruel deeds that he solicited the office himself.

He killed his victims with a club called yuul marrang, 'wild hand,' made of quandong wood, and kept for the purpose.


Pundeet Puulotong was a great fighting man. On killing one of a neighbouring tribe, he would show himself to the relatives of his victim, and challenge them to spear him. None, however, dared to meddle with him.

On asking members of his tribe how many lives he had destroyed, the reply was that he took one at almost every meeting.

When he was seen approaching a meeting the women wept, as they were certain he would put someone to death before he left.

If he received a scratch, or had blood drawn from him, he would kill some person in revenge.

The old savage grew quite blind and helpless in his old age, and the natives say, that, instead of putting him to death, which they could easily have done, they left his blindness to punish him for his innumerable murders and cruelties.


COMMENT: I find it shocking that the tribe did not, apparently, have any way to deal with this sadistic multiple killer. I would have imagined that he could/ would have been executed in his sleep, or surprised and set-upon by a posse. But no. He killed to his heart's content. The tribe just waited until he became decrepit and dependent, and then punished him by not killing him.



Gyan said...

It is unclear from the quote whether he was a murderer or merely an executioner.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gyan - you think?

An executioner is merely implementing the judgment of others. And what about his sentence?