Medieval Torture Devices You Never Want To Encounter (21 pics)
Medieval times were strange. Back in the day they used some pretty gruesome techniques when it comes to torture. You're not going to believe that people used to do these things.
The Rat Torture - A cheap and effective way to torture someone was with the use of rats. There were many variants, but the most common was to force a rat through a victim's body as a way to escape. This was done as follows:The victim was completely restrained and tied to the ground or any horizontal surface. A rat was then placed on his stomach covered by a metallic container. As the container was gradually heated, the rat began to look for a way out - through the victim's body. Digging a hole usually took a few hours and caused agonizing pain for the victim. This resulted in death.
The Judas Cradle - A terrible medieval torture where the victim would be placed on top of a pyramid-like seat. The victim's feet were tied to each other in a way that moving one leg would force the other to move as well - increasing pain.The triangular-shaped end of the judas cradle was inserted in the victim's anus or vagina. This torture could last, depending on some factors discussed below, anywhere from a few hours to a few days. A common variant of the Judas Cradle was the Impalement Torture
The Coffin Torture - The period of time a victim was to be kept inside the coffin was determined by his or her crime. Very serious crimes, such as blasphemy, were punished by death inside the coffin where the victim was to be kept inside under the sun with animals eating his or her flesh.
The Brazen Bull - When a victim is placed inside the brazen bull, he or she is slowly burned to death. This device gradually became more sophisticated until the Greeks invented a complex system of tubes in order to make the victim's screams sound like an infuriated ox.
Scold's Bridle - Primarily on women,the device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. A bridle-bit or curb-plate, about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue. The curb-plate was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the offender moved her tongue, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Wives who were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear the branks, locked onto their head.This is an 18th century Scold's bridle in the Mrkisches Museum in Berlin
The Rack Torture - The torturer turned the handle causing the ropes to pull the victim's arms and legs. Eventually, the victim's bones were dislocated with a loud crack. If the torturer kept turning the handles, some of the limbs were torn apart, usually the arms.
The Chair of Torture - There are many variants of the chair. They all have one thing in common: spikes cover the back, arm-rests, seat, leg-rests and foot-rests. The number of spikes in one of these chairs ranges from 500 to 1,500. To avoid movement, the victim's wrists were tied to the chair or, in one version, two bars pushed the arms against arm-rests for the spikes to penetrate the flesh even further. In some versions, there were holes under the chair's bottom where the torturer placed coal to cause severe burns while the victim still remained conscious.
The Pear of Anguish - A pear-shaped instrument was inserted into one of the victim's orifices: the vagina for women, the anus for homosexuals and the mouth for liars and blasphemers.The instrument consisted of four leaves that slowly separated from each other as the torturer turned the screw at the top. It was the torturer's decision to simply tear the skin or expand the "pear" to its maximum and mutilate the victim.
The Breast Ripper - Used as a way to punish women, the breast ripper was a painful and cruel way to mutilate a woman's breasts.This instrument was mostly reserved for women accused of conducting a miscarriage or those accused of adultery.The claws were used either hot or cold on the victim's exposed breasts. If the victim wasn't killed she would be scarred for life as her breasts were literally torn apart.
The Head Crusher - The head crusher was widely used during most of the Middle Ages, especially the Inquisition. With the chin placed over the bottom bar and the head under the upper cap, the torturer slowly turned the screw pressing the bar against the cap.This resulted in the head being slowly compressed. First the teeth are shattered into the jaw then the victim slowly died with agonizing pain, but not before his eyes were squeezed from their sockets.
The Saw was widely used throughout the Middle Ages, mainly because the tools required were found in most houses and no complex devices were required. It was a cheap way to torture and kill a victim who was often accused of: witchery, adultery, murder, blasphemy or even theft.The victim was tied to an inverted position. This had several "benefits" first, it assured sufficient blood diverted to the brain, second, it slowed down the loss of blood and third, it humiliated the victim. Depending on the victim and torturer, this torture could last several hours. When a confession was required, the victim was frequently forced to watch someone else be subjected to this method. If they didn't confess, they would be slowly cut in half.
The Virgin of Nuremberg The Maiden - The victim was tied inside the Maiden and one of the two doors was shut, penetrating the victim's flesh with the strategically-placed spikes that didn't penetrate any vital organs. When completely closed, the screams from the victim could not be heard outside, nor could the victim see any light or hear anything. This increased the psychological pain. Additionally, the spikes blocked the wounds so it took many hours - or even days - for death to occur
The Spanish Tickler - Sounds like a kinky sex toy right? This terrible device was used in most of Europe during the Middle Ages. It's a very simple instrument that was used to tear a victim's skin apart. Due to its shape, neither bones nor muscles were spared. The victim was naked and detained,making him or her completely defenseless. Then the torturers began the sometimes public act of mutilating the victim. They often began with the limbs and slowly moved into the chest, back, neck and eventually the face.
The Garrotte Torture - The victim was tied to the instrument and his or her neck forced inside the iron collar. With the handle that can be seen in the picture, the executioner slowly crushed the victim's neck causing death from asphyxia.
Flagellation Whipping - Flagellation, or whipping, was very common in Rome. It was still in use during the Middle Ages most notoriously in the army where flagellation was a very common form of punishment.
Pillory Torture - The pillory was used to publicly humiliate a victim. Even though it was meant as a mild form of punishment, the crowd sometimes made it lethal.The pillory often served as a post for Flagellation. When the victim was restrained with the device, they were completely defenseless and subject to the crowd.
The Wheel Torture AKA Breaking Wheel - The victim's limbs were tied to the spokes and the wheel itself was slowly revolved. Through the openings between the spokes, the torturer usually hit the victim with an iron hammer or club that could easily break the victim's bones. Once their bones were broken, they would be left on the wheel to die, sometimes placed on a tall pole, so the birds could feed from the still-living human.
Thumbscrew Torture - The victim's fingers were placed inside the instrument and slowly crushed as the torturer turned the handle on top. This method was primarily used to extract confessions as it was both painful and lasting.
The Heretics Fork - The instrument consists of two forks set against each other that penetrated the flesh under the chin at one end and the upper chest at the other. As usual, this instrument didn't harm any vital points thus avoiding death and prolonging pain.The victim's hands were tied behind their back to prevent any chance of escape. The Heretics Fork made speech and neck movement almost impossible and was used after a confession to avoid hearing the victim any further. As can be seen in the picture, a small collar supported the fork forcing the victim to hold their head erect.
The Knee Splitter - Even though the name implies that this instrument was only used for "splitting" knees, it was also used in other body parts including: the elbows, arms and even the lower legs. As the torturer turned the handle, the claws slowly slammed against each other mutilating any skin in between. The number of spikes the knee splitter contained varied from three to more than twenty.
The Almighty Crocodile Shears - The crocodile shears had a very specific purpose: To mutilate those who attempted to assassinate the king. The interior design closely resembles a tube containing numerous spikes on both ends. Although it was sometimes used to mutilate the fingers, its most common purpose was to mutilate a man's penis.