Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Dark History

Horrifying Medieval Torture Devices (And How to Use Them!)

The descriptions of this story could be unsettling to many
The descriptions of this story could be unsettling to many
0
(0)

The Middle Ages were a time of brutality, where punishment for crimes was often cruel. The justice system was not as developed as today, and torture was often used to extract confessions or punish offenders. The following devices are some of the most infamous torture tools from this time. Beware, though. This article can make you squirm.

Still here? Alright, let’s go!

The Rack was a medieval torture device that stretched the victim’s body to excruciating pain. It was one of the most common torture devices used during the medieval period, especially in Europe. The device was often used to extract information, confessions, or punish prisoners.

Rack torture devices like this would leave victims brutalized — and oftentimes, paralyzed.

Rack torture devices like this would leave victims brutalized — and oftentimes, paralyzed.

The Rack consisted of a rectangular wooden frame with two rollers or windlasses at either end. The victim would be laid on a table, face up, with their hands and feet bound to the rollers. The rollers were then turned, causing the victim’s limbs to be stretched in opposite directions, gradually increasing the tension on their joints and ligaments. As the tension increased, the victim’s limbs would dislocate, and their bones would crack and break.

The pain inflicted by the Rack was excruciating, and the victim would often scream and beg for mercy. Torturers would often use different techniques to prolong the agony of their victims. For example, they might pause the stretching to allow the victim to recover slightly before resuming the torture or use weights to add extra tension to the victim’s limbs. Sometimes, torturers would also use additional methods to intensify the pain of the Rack.

A depiction of the torture chamber in Ratisbon, Bavaria, features a rack device on the bottom left.

A depiction of the torture chamber in Ratisbon, Bavaria, features a rack device on the bottom left.

They might, for example, attach heavy weights to the victim’s body or use fire or hot coals to burn the victim’s feet or hands. The Rack was a highly effective torture device, as it inflicted intense and prolonged pain without killing the victim outright. This meant torturers could use it to extract confessions or information from their victims without worrying about accidentally killing them.

However, the Rack was also a notoriously cruel and brutal torture device, banned in many countries during the 18th century. Today, it is still used as a symbol of the brutality of the medieval period and a reminder of the inhumanity that humans can inflict upon one another.

  • The Iron Maiden

The Iron Maiden was a torture device used during the medieval period in Europe. It was a cabinet made of iron or wood with a door that could be opened and closed. The inside of the cabinet was lined with spikes or blades designed to impale the victim.

The victim would be placed inside the Iron Maiden, and the door would be closed, causing the spikes or blades to pierce their flesh. The spikes were not long enough to cause fatal injuries but were long enough to cause intense pain and suffering.

As the spikes impaled the victim, they would be unable to move and trapped in the cabinet until they were either released or died from their injuries. The Iron Maiden was a ruthless torture device, as the victim would be left in constant pain and suffering, unable to move or escape.

A person being forced into the Iron Maiden

A person being forced into the Iron Maiden

The Iron Maiden was often used as a tool of intimidation, as prisoners would be forced to walk past it on their way to their cells. The sight of the Iron Maiden, with its spikes or blades, would strike fear into the hearts of prisoners, making them more likely to comply with their captors’ demands.

There are many stories and legends about the Iron Maiden, some of which are likely fictional. However, there are also many historical accounts of the device being used during the medieval period.

The Iron Maiden was believed to be used most frequently in Germany and other parts of Europe.

  • The Pear of Anguish

The Pear of Anguish, also known as the Pear of Torture or simply the Pear, was a pear-shaped device used for torture during the medieval period in Europe. It was typically made of metal, with three or four segments that could be expanded by turning a screw at the device’s base.

The Pear was often used to punish women accused of witchcraft, as it was believed that they had made a pact with the devil and needed to be punished. The device was inserted into the victim’s mouth, vagina, or anus, depending on the nature of the alleged crime.

Once inside the orifice, the screw at the device’s base would be turned, causing the segments of the Pear to expand and stretch the victim’s flesh. As the Pear expanded, it would cause intense pain and discomfort. If the device was inserted into the victim’s mouth, it could cause their teeth to break or their jaw to dislocate.

The pear of anguish, also referred to as the choke pear.

The pear of anguish, also referred to as the choke pear.

If inserted into the vagina or anus, it could cause tearing and bleeding, and in some cases, it could even cause death. The Pear was often used as a form of punishment but also to extract confessions or information from the victim.

The threat of the Pear was often enough to make the victim confess, as they knew the pain that awaited them if they did not. The Pear of Anguish was considered a fierce and barbaric form of torture, even by the standards of the medieval period.

It was eventually banned in many parts of Europe as people began to recognize the inhumanity of its use. Today, the Pear of Anguish serves as a reminder of the importance of treating others with respect and compassion and warns against torture and violence in any form.

  • The Judas Cradle

The Judas Cradle, also known as the Judas Chair, was a brutal torture device used during the medieval period. It was a pyramid-shaped device that was made of wood or metal, and it was typically around six feet tall.

The device was designed to force confessions from victims by inflicting intense pain. The victim was placed on top of the pyramid and then lowered onto it with the pyramid’s point inserted into the anus or vagina.

The victim’s weight would cause the pyramid to stretch and tear the victim’s orifice, causing immense pain and suffering. The device was often used as a way to extract confessions from women who were accused of adultery or witchcraft.

A poor victim being weighed down on a Judas Cradle

A poor victim being weighed down on a Judas Cradle. Original image can be accessed here.

The use of the Judas Cradle was considered one of the most barbaric forms of torture during the medieval period. The victim would be slowly lowered onto the pyramid, and the pain would intensify as the pyramid stretched and tore their flesh.

The victim would be left in this position for hours, sometimes even days, until they confessed to the crime they were accused of. The Judas Cradle was often used with other torture devices, such as the Rack or the Iron Maiden, to increase the victim’s suffering further.

Sometimes, the victim would be rotated on the pyramid, causing the point to dig deeper into their flesh and increase the pain even further.

  • The Spanish Donkey

The Spanish Donkey, also known as the Wooden Horse or the Chevalet, was a cruel and painful torture device commonly used during the medieval period. It was a wooden plank with a sharp wedge at the top that resembled the shape of a donkey. The victim would be placed on top of the wedge, with their weight causing them to slide down onto the sharp point slowly.

The wedge of the Spanish Donkey was often sharpened to a point, and the victim’s weight would cause the wedge to pierce their flesh, causing immense pain and suffering. The device was typically used to extract confessions or punish prisoners, and it was especially effective in obtaining information or admissions of guilt.

A Spanish donkey (right) spanish donkey being used for torture

A Spanish donkey (right) spanish donkey being used for torture

The Spanish Donkey was often used with other torture devices, such as the Rack or the Iron Maiden, to increase the victim’s suffering further. In some cases, the device was heated, causing the wooden wedge to burn and char the victim’s flesh as they were slowly impaled upon it.

The Spanish Donkey was considered one of the cruelest forms of torture during the medieval period. The pain inflicted by the device was excruciating, and victims would often confess to crimes or provide information simply to escape the agony.

The Spanish Donkey was widely used throughout Europe, particularly in Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean.

  • The Wheel

The Wheel, also known as the Breaking Wheel or Catherine Wheel, was a torture device used during the Middle Ages. It was a large wagon wheel or wooden frame that the victim was tied to, with their limbs stretched out. Once secured, the torturer would use iron bars to beat the victim, aiming to break their bones.

As the torture progressed, the wheel would be rotated to cause more damage to the victim’s limbs. The torturer would continue to beat the victim until all of their limbs were broken, causing extreme pain and often resulting in death.

The Wheel being used. Original image can be accessed here

The Wheel being used. Original image can be accessed here

The Wheel was often used as a public punishment for criminals or political prisoners. The victim would be displayed for all to see, with the broken bones serving as a warning to others who might consider committing a similar crime. The torture was considered especially effective in enforcing the authority of the ruling powers, as it left a lasting impression on the populace.

Using the Wheel as a torture device dates back to ancient times, with examples of its use found in various cultures throughout history. The device was eventually banned in many countries as a form of cruel and unusual punishment, but it continued to be used in some regions up until the 19th century.

Today, the Wheel serves as a reminder of the brutal nature of torture in the past and the importance of protecting human rights and dignity in modern society.

  • The Coffin Torture

The Coffin Torture, also known as the Torture of the Boot or the Scavenger’s Daughter, was a fierce form of torture commonly used during the Middle Ages. The victim would be placed in a small, coffin-shaped container, barely large enough to accommodate their body. The container would often be lined with sharp spikes or other painful protrusions.

Once the victim was placed in the container, they would be left in darkness for hours or even days. The container was small enough that the victim could not move or lie down, making sleeping impossible. This lack of sleep, combined with the discomfort of the container and the fear of the unknown, was often enough to break the will of even the strongest prisoners.

Scavenger's daughter. Inquisition Exhibition at the Palacio de los Olvidados in Granada.

Scavenger’s daughter. Inquisition Exhibition at the Palacio de los Olvidados in Granada.

The Coffin Torture was often used to make prisoners confess to crimes they may or may not have committed. The physical and psychological torture inflicted by the device was intended to make the victim desperate for relief. They would often confess to anything to be released from the container.

In some cases, Coffin Torture was used as a form of execution. The victim would be left in the container until they died of starvation, dehydration, or exhaustion.

The Coffin Torture was a terrifying and inhumane torture that dehumanized its victims and instilled fear in the general population.

  • The Heretic’s Fork

The Heretic’s Fork was a fierce instrument of torture used during the Middle Ages to torture and punish those accused of heresy. The device consisted of a long, thin, metal fork with two sharp prongs placed into the victim’s mouth. Once the prongs were inserted, a leather strap was tied around the victim’s neck, which prevented them from moving their head or dislodging the fork.

The prongs of the Heretic’s Fork were often long enough to penetrate the mouth’s soft tissues, causing intense pain and injury to the tongue, cheeks, and palate. The design of the fork was such that the victim couldn’t close their mouth, so they were forced to endure the pain of the prongs until they were removed. The Heretic’s Fork was also used to prevent the victim from speaking, as any tongue movement would cause the prongs to pierce the mouth’s soft tissues.

The Heretic's Fork was a fierce instrument of torture used during the Middle Ages

The Heretic’s Fork was a fierce instrument of torture used during the Middle Ages

The Heretic’s Fork was particularly effective as a means of torture because it did not cause any permanent physical damage to the victim. However, it was excruciating and could be used for long periods, as it did not cause significant blood loss. The pain caused by the Heretic’s Fork was so intense that many victims were forced to confess to crimes they did not commit simply to stop the torture.

The Heretic’s Fork was not limited to the Middle Ages, as it was also used during the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th and 16th centuries. During this time, it was used to torture and punish those accused of heresy, blasphemy, and other crimes against the Catholic Church. Despite its brutality, the Heretic’s Fork was used as punishment and torture well into the 18th century.

  • The Lead Sprinkler

The Lead Sprinkler, also known as the hand brazier or hand-held cauldron, was a cruel torture device used in medieval times. It was primarily used to inflict severe burns and scalding on the victim’s body.

The device was a long metal tube with a handle on one end and a small opening on the other. The tube would be filled with boiling oil, water, or molten lead and then heated over a fire until it reached a scorching temperature. The torturer would then hold the tube by the handle and sprinkle the hot liquid onto the victim’s skin, causing agonizing burns and scalds.

The Lead Sprinkler was a portable and versatile torture device, which made it a popular tool among torturers. It was small and easy to carry so that torturers could torture prisoners in various locations, including dungeons, prisons, and public squares. The device was also relatively simple, and torturers did not need special training.

The Lead Sprinkler. It was sprinkled like the holy water

The Lead Sprinkler. It was sprinkled like the holy water

The Lead Sprinkler was often used to extract confessions from prisoners, as the pain inflicted by the device was excruciating. Many victims would confess to crimes they had not committed just to make the torture stop. In some cases, the Lead Sprinkler was used in conjunction with other torture devices, such as the rack or the strappado, to increase the pain and suffering of the victim.

The use of the Lead Sprinkler was not limited to torture. It also punishes various crimes, including theft, blasphemy, and treason. Sometimes, the victim’s skin would be marked with a brand to indicate their crime before being tortured with the Lead Sprinkler.

  • The Knee Splitter

The Knee Splitter was a torture device commonly used during the Middle Ages. It was primarily used to inflict excruciating pain on the victim’s knee joints. The device consisted of two large wooden blocks, each with sharp spikes or pointed edges on the inside. The blocks were placed on either side of the victim’s leg, with the knee joint between them.

The blocks were then tightened using a screw mechanism, causing the spikes to penetrate the flesh and crush the knee joint bones. The pain inflicted by the Knee Splitter was excruciating and often resulted in permanent damage to the victim’s legs. The device was often used to punish prisoners or extract confessions, as the threat of using the Knee Splitter was often enough to make a victim talk.

The knee splitter

In some cases, the device was used as a form of execution, as the injuries sustained by the victim were often fatal. The Knee Splitter was a popular torture device during the Spanish Inquisition and was used extensively by the Catholic Church to punish heretics and non-believers.

The device was also used during the Salem Witch Trials in the United States to extract confessions from accused witches. Despite being a medieval torture device, the Knee Splitter continued to be used in various parts of the world well into the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • The Thumbscrew

The Thumbscrew is a torture device that dates back to the Middle Ages. It was a simple yet effective tool often used to extract confessions or punish prisoners. The device consisted of two metal rods, each with a screw thread. The victim’s finger or thumb would be placed between the rods, and then the screws would be tightened together, crushing the digit.

The pain caused by the Thumbscrew was excruciating, as the bones in the finger or thumb were crushed and broken. The device was often used with other forms of torture, such as the rack or the wheel. Victims were often threatened with the Thumbscrew to extract information or confessions.

The Thumbscrew is a torture device that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is being used on a victim

The Thumbscrew was also used as a form of punishment in prisons. In some cases, prisoners were subjected to having multiple digits crushed, making it difficult or impossible to perform manual labor or even feed themselves. The Thumbscrew was a versatile tool and could be used in various ways.

For example, it could be used to crush the fingers of a thief caught stealing or to punish a heretic who refused to recant their beliefs. The device could be adjusted to apply varying degrees of pressure, making it an effective tool for punishment and interrogation.

Overall, the Thumbscrew was a brutal and effective torture device used throughout history to extract information or confessions from victims or punish prisoners.

  • The Cat’s Paw

The Cat’s Paw, also known as the Spanish Tickler, was a gruesome torture device throughout history. The device was designed to tear the victim’s flesh using a metal claw heated over a fire until it was red-hot. The claw was attached to a long wooden handle, allowing the torturer to maintain a safe distance from the victim while inflicting great pain.

The torturer would hold the hot claw over the victim’s skin to use the device, allowing it to sear and burn the flesh upon contact. The torturer then dragged the claw across the victim’s skin, causing deep and painful wounds. This process could be repeated as many times as necessary, causing great agony and suffering to the victim.

The spanish tickler in action

The Cat’s Paw was often used to punish prisoners or force confessions. In some cases, the torturer would focus on specific areas of the body, such as the chest or back, while the entire body would be tortured in other cases.

The device was particularly effective at causing intense pain while leaving minimal permanent damage, making it a popular choice among torturers. However, the wounds inflicted by the Cat’s Paw could become infected, leading to further pain and suffering for the victim.

  • The Saw

The Saw, also known as the saw torture, was a medieval torture device designed to inflict excruciating pain on the victim. The victim would be tied upside down, and a saw would be used to cut through their body slowly, starting at the groin and moving upwards.

The saw was usually a large two-man saw, and the executioner would take great care to make the cuts as slow and painful as possible. The victim would often be suspended in the air with their legs spread apart, and the saw would be positioned between them.

Sawing of three men, from a 15th-century print

Sawing of three men, from a 15th-century print. Original image can be accessed here.

The executioner would saw slowly, applying enough pressure to cut through the flesh and bone. The process was slow and painful, and it could take several hours or even days for the victim to die. The Saw was often used to punish prisoners or extract confessions.

The goal of the torture was not only to inflict pain on the victim but also to force them to confess to crimes they may not have committed. The sight of the Saw was often enough to scare prisoners into confessing, as they knew the executioner would not hesitate to use it.

The Saw was eventually banned in most countries due to its extreme brutality and the fact that it often resulted in a slow and painful death. Nonetheless, the Saw remains a haunting reminder of the brutal torture techniques used in medieval times.

  • The Strappado

The Strappado might sound like a kinky device to be used in the bedroom, but it was not. The Strappado was a torture commonly used during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was primarily used to extract confessions from prisoners or suspected criminals. The device consisted of a rope or chain attached to a pulley, with the victim’s hands tied behind their back.

The victim would then be suspended from the rope or chain and lifted off the ground, causing their arms to be pulled upward and backward. The shoulders would slowly dislocate as the weight of the victim’s body pulled down on their arms. The pain caused by the shoulder dislocation could be excruciating, and the victim would often be left permanently disabled.

The Strappado was a popular torture method because it was simple to execute and required minimal equipment. It could extract confessions from various individuals, including political dissidents, religious heretics, and common criminals.

The Strappado, used as public punishment

The Strappado, used as public punishment

The Strappado was also frequently used in combination with other forms of torture. For example, the victim might be beaten, burned, or subjected to other forms of physical abuse while suspended from the rope or chain. The combination of the Strappado with other torture methods was intended to increase the pain and suffering of the victim, making it more likely that they would confess to the crime they were accused of.

In some cases, the Strappado was also used as a form of execution. The victim would be lifted off the ground and left suspended until they suffocated or died from the injuries caused by the dislocation of their shoulders.

  • The Breast Ripper

The Breast Ripper, also known as the Iron Spider or simply The Spider, was a gruesome device used primarily during the Middle Ages in Europe. The device was used to torture and punish women accused of various crimes, particularly adultery, heresy, and witchcraft. The torture aimed to inflict immense pain and damage to the victim’s breasts, often resulting in their complete removal.

The device consisted of metal pincers with sharp claws designed to grip and tear off the victim’s breasts. The claws would be heated over a fire until they were red-hot, which made them more effective at tearing through the victim’s flesh.

The victim would be tied to a wall or post, and then the claws of the Breast Ripper would be applied to their breasts, which were often exposed and sometimes even cut or slashed beforehand to ensure maximum damage. The claws would clamp onto the breasts, tearing the flesh, muscle, and sometimes even the rib cage.

Medieval torture device called the breast ripper. Used to tear, mangle, and even rip off the breasts of women accused of acts such as adultery, abortions, witchcraft, and general blasphemy.

Medieval torture device called the breast ripper. Used to tear, mangle, and even rip off the breasts of women accused of acts such as adultery, abortions, witchcraft, and general blasphemy. Original image can be accessed here.

The pain inflicted by the Breast Ripper was excruciating, and the wounds it caused were often fatal. The device inflicted physical pain and humiliated and shamed the victim, particularly women seen as transgressors of social and moral norms. It was used as a warning to others not to commit similar crimes and to maintain the power and control of the ruling authorities.

The Breast Ripper was a cruel and sadistic device that caused immense suffering and pain to its victims. It is a testament to the brutal methods employed during the Middle Ages and serves as a reminder of the need for human rights and justice in modern times.

RIP Victims.

Next, read about the chilling History of The Cambodian Genocide: Killed For Being Smart. Then, about Buford Pusser, the Policeman With a Vengence!

 

Did you like this Morbid post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Written By

Abin Tom Sebastian, also known as Mr. Morbid in the community, is an avid fan of the paranormal and the dark history of the world. He believes that sharing these stories and histories are essential for the future generations. For god forbid, we have seen that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More? Bet!

Pop Culture

5 (2) The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis took the gold medal for being the quirkiest in history. These games, which ran alongside a...

Dark History

5 (3) First Lieutenant John R Fox wrote his name in the battle-weary pages of American heroism with his selfless act of valor during...

Dark History

5 (1) George Peter Metesky, who might as well have been called the DIY Disaster, took his hobby of bomb-making a tad too seriously....

Dark History

5 (3) As 1941 dawned, Europe lay besieged under the dark shadow of conflict. With relentless ambition, Germany carved through nations, leaving trails of...