Tonight is the premiere of World of Wonder’s three-part series Machines of Malice, airing at 10PM Eastern on the Discovery Channel. MOM (only coincidentally WOW upside down) looks at man’s history of making death devices, and in tonight’s episode deconstructs the ingenious technology involved in some of antiquity’s most dreaded mechanisms. Specifically for the episode, the WOW crew physically built and tested the early execution machine pictured above. The dummy endured a punishing death by Rome’s “Great Wheel” – as it rolled downhill, the wheel generated impacts equal to car crashes at 125 mph. (After the jump, more devices from tonight’s show)
BURNING MEN: It took a week to plan and build this 20-foot-tall replica of the ancient Celtic Wickerman – but only an hour to burn. The fire was so intense, it left scorch marks on the cement platform. Note the humanoid forms engulfed inside.
RAIN DELAY: While constructing the world’s first life-size replica of the elevator system under the Roman Colosseum, the build crew weathered multiple flash floods. One storm sent a river of water two feet high through the site. The crew watched helplessly as 3,000 pounds of lumber floated downstream.
LION-SIZE SCRATCHING POST: Eventually, Machines of Malice was able to test the Roman Colosseum elevator system with an actual lion. When “Major” reached the Colosseum floor, he dismantled the guard rails. Major, Hollywood’s hardest-working lion, has appeared in multiple films and commercials.