Surreal law facts
The truth is always stranger than fiction.
7-Year-Old, Occupation: Executioner
While we're talking about France, we have to mention the cute little boy, Charles Jean Baptiste Sanson.
The little boy's father was none other than the chief executioner of Paris, from 1699 to his death in 1726. But his eldest son, little Charles Jean Baptiste Sanson had been born in about 1719 so he was too young to assume this hereditary office. The child had to solemnly watch every beheading conducted by his deputy (François Prudhomme) until he turned 20, at which time he was of age and could wield the official axe of France in the name of his father and of the Royaume! There were, after all, a constant stream of heretics and the highway robbers to dispose of.
Many of the executions were more torture than anything else, the French particularly fond of the wheel, which slowly broke the convict's back, and the torture bed to encourage confessions. Other duties including severing body parts such as the hands of thieves.
Charles served as executioner of Paris until 1754 when a stroke prevented him from doing his job. He gave the office to his son Charles-Henri, who was only 15 at the time. Charles-Baptiste died in 1778 but his son was the executioner during the French Revolution and that new invention, the guillotine, which he used on Louis XVI, Robespierre and Danton