Home > Incredible Past > Most Inhuman Ways of Torture from Middle Ages

Most Inhuman Ways of Torture from Middle Ages

 

 

torture

There are some days that when I read the newspaper, watch TV and go on the internet I am sickened by how the human race treats one another. I often wonder how bad it could get but each time I read it feels at least to me that we are sliding further and further away from what we should be and closer and closer to perverse cruelty. That’s one aspect of what has made me research different periods of history and inspired an interest in how people lived.

This article is to illustrate how people were treated in the Medieval and early modern period in Europe. Torture, whether it was severe or not, was a commonplace thing of this time period. Below is a history of devices that were used in torture during the period. Keep in mind before reading that even though I tried my best with this subject matter that you may find some of these devices quite shocking. But it is history and as such should be remembered if only to make sure we as a people do not repeat the same mistakes.

The Middle Ages are infamous for having encouraged and implemented the most inhuman ways of torture to punish or make prisoners confess their crime. Have a look at some of the most shocking torture methods from the Middle Ages.

Implant

Implant

Implant

Practised in Romania during the 15th century, this torture method tops the list of the most shocking torture methods of the Middle Ages and when you have a look at its technique, you can realise its position on the list is not unjustified. The victim was made to sit on the top point of a sharp and thick poll. The poll would go through the body of the victim and then the victim was left to slide down the poll because of their weight. The legend has it that Vlad enjoyed inflicting this punishment on others. And he did this to about 20,000 to 30,000 victims.

Judas Cradle

Judas Cradle

Judas Cradle

Judas Cradle must also have been one of the most painful punishments of the Middle Ages as it would involve the stretching of the victim’s orifice and flesh was ripped off. A victim would be chained or bound in such a way that when they were forced to sit directly on the point they could not move or get off of the point. Eventually over the course of hours or sometimes days the muscles would tear eventually the spike seat would pierce the lower organs causing death. The victim’s vagina or anus was placed right on the point of the pyramid-shaped cradle and then was lowered down on it with the help of ropes. To impale the victim successfully, weights were also added to the victim’s legs.

This device was used in mainland Europe, primarily France, Germany and a handful of other countries but was present in England as well. Made to be durable many of these can be found in museums throughout Europe.

Coffin Torture

Coffin Torture

Coffin Torture

Coffin Torture was all about torture in a metal cage and pecked at by the prey birds—another case of slow and painful death. The metal cage was roughly made in human body shape and the victim was placed inside it. The case was then hung from gallows or a tree. Generally, those convicted of blasphemy or heresy were punished this way.

The Rack

The Rack

The Rack

The Rack was a unique device to punish a victim by dislocating each joint of the victim. It was highly dreaded, and rightly so, and it is believed to be the most excruciatingly painful kind of medieval torture. Consisting of a wooden frame, two ropes fixed to its bottom and two tied to its handle made it a gruesome way of torturing the victims. As the torturer would turn the handle, the ropes pulled the victim’s arms and possibly separating limbs from the body. Later, in a new version of the Rack appeared which had spikes to penetrate the victim’s back, adding more pain and damage.

The Breast Ripper

Breast Ripper

Breast Ripper

The claws of the Breast Ripper would rip and mutilate a woman’s breasts. Often the claws were red hot as they were placed on the victim’s exposed breasts. Once the spikes penetrated the breasts, they were pulled to shred the breasts. Mostly the victim would die and even if a victim survived, she would be scarred forever.

The Pear of Anguish

Pear of Anguish

Pear of Anguish

Mostly the victims of this brutal instrument were homosexuals, blasphemous, liars and women who exercised abortions. The torture tool was pear-shaped and it was inserted into the victim’s orifices—anus of homosexuals, mouth of blasphemers and liars and vagina of women.

The Breaking Wheel

Breaking Wheel

Breaking Wheel

The Breaking Wheel can simply shock you at first sight because of its terrible design. It was designed to hurt the victim’s limbs in extremely painful way. Also named as The Catherine Wheel, it was a torture method to make the victim die slowly but surely. The victim was tied to the specially designed spokes of the large wooden wheel and then the wheel was slowly revolved. The torturer would smash the limbs of the victim with a heavy iron hammer. This would result in breaking of the victim’s limbs into many pieces.

Saw Torture

Saw Torture

Saw Torture

A medieval torture method which was executed as the victim’s body was sawed into two halves by first hanging the victim upside down. Mostly, the unfortunate victims of this easily available device were accused of blasphemy, adultery, witchery and also theft.

The Head Crusher

Head Crusher

Head Crusher

The Head Crusher would compress the victim’s skull, squeeze out eyes and shatter teeth. The torture device was more in practice in Spain for Inquisition.

The Knee Splitter

Knee Splitter

Knee Splitter

The Inquisition in Spain saw the use of another torture device because it was versatile and would inflict pain—The Knee Splitter. It had sharp spikes fitted on its both sides of grip. When the handle of the Knee Splitter was turned, the claws would slowly squeeze against each other resulting in the mutilation of the victim’s bones and skin.

Heretic Fork

Heretic Fork

Heretic Fork

The Heretic’s Fork was a medieval torture device that was placed between the breast bone and the underside of the chin. It was strapped to the throat with a strap. The victim was generally bound, chained or otherwise restrained. If the victim fell asleep and his head dropped the fork would pierce his throat or chest.

Scold’s Briddle

Scold's Briddle

Scold’s Briddle

The Stocks

Stocks

Stocks

The stocks were used throughout Medieval period Europe and made it into the new world as well. It was primarily used as a restraining the victim so that other tortures could be applied or just as a public humiliation.

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Categories: Incredible Past
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