10 Horrible Torture Techniques from Medieval Times
We have seen torture techniques in movies and in books. We have heard about them from our parents. Some seem a bit mild, even though they are reported to have been effective, but there are other means which scare the pants off you just to hear about them. Well, here is a chance for you to learn about some torture techniques used in the Middle Ages which will likely succeed in doing just that. Hold on to your britches and learn about…
1. The ‘Knee Splitter’
This device was literally used to sever legs and other limbs from the human body. It was frequently used during the Spanish Inquisition, and was popular because it was so versatile. When the handle was turned the steely spikes would close together, cutting of the limb which was inserted between them. It would not only separate the flesh, but was effective in cutting bone, as well. Sometimes they were heated to make the process more painful.
Vlad the Impaler was known to use this technique, which consisted of forcing victims to sit down on a spike, resulting in their impalement and death. The victim’s weight would cause their body to slide down the pole. While you may think one would die right away, it actually took up to three days for them to ‘give up the ghost’.
3. Head Crusher
This one was also popular in the Spanish Inquisition, and consisted of the chin being placed over a bar on the bottom while a steel cap was placed over the head. The teeth would break first, followed by the crushing of the rest of the skull. Some models actually had small containers attached which would catch the victim’s eyeballs when they popped out.
4. The Judas Cradle
This device was another form of impalement, but it was reportedly less dastardly than the first. The victim would be placed over a metal spike either at the vagina or rectum, and then ropes would draw them down onto the device. It took a long time for the victim to be fully impaled by this contraption.
5. Torture by Sawing
This was considered an effective and inexpensive way to administer torture. The victim would be tied up and then hung upside-down, which ensured the blood rushed to the brain. This resulted in them bleeding out very slowly, which was a humiliation in itself. Most were only cut from the crotch to the abdomen, but others were sawn entirely in half when they wanted to make a strong point.
6. Coffin Torture
This means of torture was simple, yet horrible in its implementation. It consisted of the victim being locked into a body-shaped steel cage, whether they fit or not; if they didn’t they were painfully forced into it. Then they were left to be eaten alive by birds or wild animals. This was done when they were guilty of a crime requiring death as a punishment.
7. Breaking Wheel
This device was also called the ‘Catherine Wheel’, and it always resulted in a slow, sure death. The victim would be tied to a wheel’s spokes, and then the wheel was manually turned while the one administering the torture used an iron hammer to smash the victim’s limbs and crush their bones. Once this was complete the victim was left on the wheel until they were dead. It was considered merciful to hit them in the stomach or chest, which were ‘blows of mercy’ or ‘coups de grace’. This would end things much sooner.
8. The Rack
Here is one most of us have heard of. The rack was considered the most painful of all. It was a frame made of wood which had a pair of ropes on the bottom, and another pair attached to a top handle. The victim was tied to the frame, and the torturer would turn the handle, stretching the victim until their bones separated; sometimes their arms and legs were torn from their bodies. In later years spikes were added to the rack which would stab through the back as the victim lay on it.
9. The Anguish Pear
This was used on women who did crimes such as blaspheming or lying, or others if they were homosexual or performed abortions. It was placed into the vagina or rectum, and at times the mouth, if the offender lied or blasphemed. It had four ‘leaves’ which would separate after insertion as a screw was turned. It would result in severe mutilation, and would even dislocate jaw bones. These elaborately decorated devices are still in existence today.
10. Breast Ripper
Last, but certainly not least, is the ‘breast ripper’. This thing was primarily used on females, and it not only caused unbearable pain, it also bled them out and mutilated their breasts terribly. This was used on those who cheated on their husbands or gave abortions. ‘The Spider’ was another model of this device which was hooked to a wall. The woman was then placed on the device and then ripped off the wall by the one administering the torture.