As a rule, the elephant would step upon the head of the condemned. In the most common procedure, the execution elephant was trained to place its enormous foot gently upon the condemned's head. At this point, those who had accused the condemned would be brought forward and allowed to look beneath the elephant's foot to confirm the identity of the prisoner. They could then either recant or confirm their accusations. Typically, the condemned would scream and beg for witnesses to recant, but few ever did, as it often would mean trading places with the condemned since perjury was commonly considered to be a capital offense. Once the confirmations were made, the mahout, or elephant driver, would give the command, and the elephant would press down with its immense weight, bursting the condemned's skull and then crushing the head completely flat.
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