Part 3 in our series looking at the actual effectiveness of the 6 traditional Cluedo weapons focuses on... The Rope
In Cluedo, the rope is represented by a small piece of yellow string, backed up with an ominous photograph of a noose on the corresponding card.
At first glance, a rope doesn't seem to be a good choice for a murder weapon, particularly when you are in a house so filled with other potential tools of terror, like guns and knives. But don't let that fool you - in our exhaustive research we found that in the world of Cluedo the rope is used as a murder weapon exactly one sixth of the time.
The hangman's noose has been scientifically proven to be the most unsettling knot to tie in a piece of rope. Turn up at a loved one's house with a length of rope and tie a few reef knots or sheep shanks, at best you might pique their curiosity. But turn up and sit quietly in the corner tying a noose, perhaps while humming a lullaby and crying - well, you have yourself a situation.
But despite the macabre nature of the noose, is it believable as a murder weapon? Not as a form of suicide, or execution, but one-on-one kill-or-be-killed murder? Just how would one go about committing murder armed with a rope?
Option 1 - Wrap it around their neck and then squeeze until they stopped breathing. This is something the intended victim would be most disinclined to do. If you felt that you didn't have the strength or bucking bronco skills to hang on for the requisite amount of time then you have a couple of other options.
Option 2 - Build a gallows. This is quite labour intensive and difficult to conceal, but with enough lengths of two by four, a hammer and some nails, a hinge for the trapdoor and a basic grasp of carpentry this is possible. Then of course you would have to persuade your intended victim to put his or her head through the noose long enough for you to trigger the trapdoor. You may also halt construction in the early stages as soon as you realise that the hammer, the nails or even the bits of wood would all make much more effective murder weapons.
Option 3 - use a convenient beam or tree branch to hoist the victim into the air, using their own body weight to kill them. This option relies upon you both having the strength to lift your victim off the ground while simultaneously being heavier. Admittedly you could set up a pulley system to make the lifting easier, and hook your feet under a heavy piece of furniture, but you still have to get the noose around the victim's neck - good luck with that.
So is the rope a practical murder weapon? Well no, it's rubbish isn't it. There are many household objects that have basically the same killing power as a rope, the same kind of 'wrap around neck and squeeze really tight' functionality; bedsheets, trousers, snake themed draught excluders, your own arm, small but flexible children/animals, curtains, Peter Storm cagoules, his or hers towels - the list is practically endless.
Another list practically endless is the list of household items that would make far more effective murder weapons than a rope; knives, bottles, ornaments (including candlesticks), tools, most small items of furniture, windows (either shattered fragments thereof or means of exit from upper story), frying pans, irons, toasters, bathtubs, doors and bleach.
Pros: Has historical creepiness to it; with element of surprise and luck can be effective.
Cons: Requires more elaborate scheming than most murderers have time for; rope also haven for DNA, should you actually be successful - which you won't.