The Wicker Man is one of the most creative and fearsome execution devices of all time. A figure of a giant, made of bent wood and reeds, looms up over a desolate Celtic moor, and hapless captives write inside of its cage-like form. A horde of barbaric and bloodthirsty Celts chant in the distance, eager to see the sacrifice, and a Druid, clad in fur and leather, ignites the massive statue and the captives within, sending them as a burnt offering to the insatiable gods who are forever thirsty for human blood.
Like the iron maiden though, there’s scant evidence that the iconic wicker man ever existed. The only evidence that we have to go on is Julius Caesar’s propagandistic memoir The Gallic Wars. Despite that, though, burning effigy festivals are still popular throughout the world today. Guy Fawkes Night, the Burning of Judas, Zozobra, and, of course, Burning Man all remain immensely popular, despite the oldest known effigy probably being more folklore than fact.