48 Responses

  1. Avinash at |

    All I can say to this is…. OUCH

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  2. Terry Bigham at |

    You forgot the Iron Maiden, a coffin-like receptacle lined inside with thousands of spikes. Bram Stoker (who immortalized vampire impaling in his classic “Dracula”) gave an unforgettable demonstration of the Maiden in action at the climax of his grisly story “The Squaw”. And George Orwell took the rat torture into modern times in his “1984”.

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    1. tim at |

      I may be mistaken but i thought the Iron maiden was found to not be that great of a torture device becasue (though painful) it caused death too quickly

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      1. peter8172 at |

        I have had two encounters with an “Iron Maiden…………both times headlining in concert. WHAT A SHOW THEY PUT ON…………….LMAO

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        1. ParusMajor at |

          This.

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    2. FMH at |

      The Iron Maiden with spikes actually never existed. It’s an invention of 19th century historism. The real iron maiden had no spikes and was a relativly low punishment for petty crimes. You just got locked up standing in a coffin like space for some hours. They have one in the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Criminal Museum.

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      1. ELH at |

        on all the historic websites I have been on about medieval torture they say that the iron maiden did have spikes. but who am I to speak. I have no idea!! ;)

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        1. FMH at |
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        2. FMH at |

          Just search for “Schandmantel” in that text.

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          1. ELH at |

            Hmmmm… I stand corrected. Thx FMH

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    3. Dangus at |

      The Iron Maiden did not exist. It was an invention of 19th-Century “torture museums.”

      Reply
  3. Taco Nieuwenhuis at |

    Interestingly enough the brazen bull was first tested on its inventor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazen_bull :-))

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    1. JMP at |

      Yes that was not a very kind way to reward him, was it? :)

      JMP

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    2. mardis4 at |

      the brazen bull was used only once and that was on the inventor perillos of athens.

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      1. sharkomania100 at |

        The brazen bull was used way more then one time by the evil king. The king used it every day during his lunch…

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  4. 5minutes at |

    @Terry: There’s no actual proof that the Iron Maiden was actually used as a torture (or execution) device. Wasn’t public enough. Medieval folks believed in public torture so that everyone would learn from the gruesome experience – and so that the one being tortured would be able to publicly repent of their ways. They believed pain was good for the soul – which is why there were so many creative ways of distributing pain.

    Still… it beats having to listen to Lady Gaga.

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    1. FMH at |

      Yes, the truth is, that there never was an Iron Maiden at all. However, medieval torture was only public if it was a part of the execution or punishment.

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    2. Khv at |

      Lol I rather have lady gaga than turture

      Reply
  5. tim at |

    I heard about a torture that wasn’t the most gruesome and it usually wasn’t fatal which is probably why it didn’t make the list but supposedly it was by far the most painful. so here goes: They would tie you to a chair and then pour molasses or honey on your feet and then let a few goats go at you. the goats would continue to lick your feet down to the bone and the abrasive nature of their tongue meant that your blood loss would be slow and minimal. In case someone doesn’t know what a goat’s tongue is like…it is more abrasive than sandpaper.

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    1. FMH at |

      There’s a good description of that in the German 17th century novel “Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch” which takes place in the 30 Years War. An old farmer is tortured in that way, using salt and his own goats because a band of marauders wants to know where his money is hidden.
      This method can be fatal – but a torture was never intended to be fatal, at least in medieval times. After some time the tortured would either get a heart attack, or suffocate due to the constant cramps the tickeling sensation causes. I doubt that the blood loss would play a major role because the feets’ soles are surely harder than a goat’s tounge.
      The peasant in the novel survives too, but not before revieling where is money is hidden and where his wife and daughter took shelter. You can imagine the rest. So it might acutally have been a very effective way of torturing, given that it doesn’t kill that easily.

      Reply
  6. Dan at |

    Stop me if I’m wrong… but for #1, wouldn’t it not be considered Medievil torture… the ancient greeks created the brazen bull in 92 A.D… the Medievil Period started sometime in the 3rd 4th or even 5th century.

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  7. rajimus123 at |

    no doubt that most of these were also used at an inquisition by the clergy…good list lol think i actually felt some pain reading these haha

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  8. JMP at |

    Thanks for the comments. Yeah Tim, we don’t want to cause death too quickly! That would hurt the score:). You may be right on your comment Dan. But I thought I read that they still used the bull in medieval times.

    Never heard of the goat torture Tim!

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  9. ParusMajor at |

    I must recommend the book “The Executioner in Late Medieval French Culture” (Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, 2003) by Hannele Klemettilä. If you’re interested in this kind of stuff.

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  10. ParusMajor at |

    Oh, btw, Dan. It’s spelled “medieVAL”. Although, after reading this list, I don’t blame you for mispelling it “mediEVIL”.

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  11. ColzStothard at |

    this is some seriously sick stuff, but i have to say, Number 1 is fantastic, very sick twisted mind to create this but none the less a very good way of torturing someone, i know these aren’t any where near as good but what do people think about thumb screws?

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    1. ParusMajor at |

      Thumb screws, probably very effective as a torture device: not lethal, but very painful. After all, torture was most often used as a means to get a confession. Otherwise they could have simply executed the victim. Spanish boot was another one.

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  12. FMH at |

    This whole list is mixing up “torture” and “execution”, which where completely different things in medieval times. Impaling, Brazen Bull, the saw and breaking wheel are matters of execution, while the rest can count as torture or, as the “breast rippers” (you didn’t just rip breast with those but any fleshy part of the body) a torturous part of the actual execution.
    The difference is, that you should die from execution. You could die during torture, too but then the torturer probably lost his job or worse. You wanted to know something from someone you tortured, or torture him as a part of the punishment before the actual execution. In both cases, it was a great shame if the deliquent died during torture.
    I also heard that the head crusher is either fake or a much younger method (17th century or something) but I’m not sure with that. The existance of the bull is also questionable, but this is only because there are only written accounts left. Metal things that big don’t survive that long without being scavanged.

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    1. Arkher at |

      The Brazen Bull COULD theoretically be used for torture, but other than that, I agree.

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      1. FMH at |

        But the Brazen Bull is also not medieval.^^

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  13. bala at |

    Oh! my god.It makes me happy that I wasn’t born in tht period.

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    1. Yu Kno Meh at |

      Ohhhhhheemmmmmgeeeeezzzzzzz liiiiike seeeerrrrrrssssssllllyyyyy guuuuuuuuuurrrrllllllll!!!

      Reply
  14. David at |

    this is straight out of a quentin tarentino movie.

    i could not imagine being one of the victims. this actually happened to people. its sick.

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    1. ParusMajor at |

      What, David? Have you ever seen a Tarantino movie? FYI: there are zero torture devices in them. Violence, yes. Torture devices, no. Maybe you confuse Tarantino movies with Saw movies?

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  15. Peter Boucher at |

    Well, in all due respect, leave it to Mel Brooks to add his humorous parody of The Spanish Inquisition in his movie “History Of The World, Part 1″. Only the comedic genius of Mel Brooks can make torturing look funny.

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  16. Martin at |

    And to think that the great Catholic Church was the main user of torture “to save the souls.” Has she changed? Knowing what is going on in Chiapas, Mexico and other parts of the world, I think it is waiting for the right time to make a comeback.

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    1. FMH at |

      The church itself never tortured as such, they always had to work together with the mundane jurisdiction, even during the inquisition. If a local lord or town magistrate decided that torture wasn’t a good way to find witches and heretics, they could do nothing about it. That happend from time to time.
      In addition to that, it surely wasn’t the main user. The Inquisition only lasted some time, while torture was used in regular jurisdiction over the whole medieval age and the early modern times, up to the 19th century. Well and after that too, in some countries.

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      1. MMA at |

        “Well and after that, too, in some countries.”
        Like, for example, the USA. (Waterboarding, etc.)

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  17. Harvey at |

    What about scaphism?

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    1. FMH at |

      Not medieval, probably.

      Reply
  18. FMH at |

    I just read a book about the subject and I have to say that medieval torture was much less “colorful” as it is described most of the time – inlcuding here. In Germany for example the only devices used were thumb- and legscrews, the rack, whips or canes and fire – usually in that order.
    The reason for torture was, that you couldn’t sentence someone to death without his confession, even if you had very strong evidence. So every death candidate had to be tortured in order to send him to the gallows/stake/breaking wheel/sword. If the evidence wasn’t too good, the accused got the “first degree” torture, usually just thumbscrews. If he didn’t confess in about 15 minutes, he was free. Second and third degree where used if the evidence where better and took 30 minutes to an hour. Second degree usually made use of the rack, third degree used everything and added fire (candles, burning sulfur, liquor).
    If the accused confessed, he had to repeat the confession without torture later – if he didn’t he was usually tortured again.
    The only difference between every regular murder trial and witch trials was that everything was seen as a strong evidence. And of course, those general rules were broken all the time.
    But what is clear, is that most mechanisms you see in a lot of torture museums are inventions of the 19th century to show how cruel the medieval times where – a bit hypocrytic since torture was still used in many “civilized” coutries at that time.

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  19. cepuras at |

    about 10-15 years ago we walked through a travelling museum of torture devices, and my personal favorite was a set of conventional locks in which a detainee was was restrained by his head and hands so as to not be able to stand, nor sit, in a bent over position, and a goat was chained to the locks, unfed, and not given any water.. the description was that ultimately the goat was the executioner.. one lick at a time..

    Reply
    1. FMH at |

      As those traveling museums do, they make stuff up – or at least mix it up. To tie or chain a person in a uncomfortable position was a common – and often deadly on its own, because the victim suffocated – punishment and torture, especially in the military.
      The goats usually don’t go with that but where, according to some written records (among them the famous 17th century novel “Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch”), used to torture people by letting them lick of salt or honey from the victims feet. This is however a rather mild and effective form of torture and was surely never used as execution, but to make people confess. Quite human compared to most of the other stuff, which directly caused permanent physical harm.
      As I already wrote, actual medieval torture was far less colorful and innovative than 19th century scholars wanted to make us think. Most of the time it was just hitting with (sometimes thorny) sticks, thumbscrews, rack, whatever you could do with a piece of rope (said tying, pulling the arms over the had backwards and lifting the victim, constriction of body parts and wipping of course) and fire.

      Reply
  20. sleezy at |

    #1 they used it on 2 fast 2 furious..

    Reply
  21. sum guy at |

    its hard to beleive that they did this its just wrong how they do that

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  22. Willy Wonka at |

    ewwww I CANT belive people Do this disturbing things!!

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  23. dumbledore at |

    OH MY GOD THAS NASTY GUISE

    Reply
  24. Jon at |

    Freaking horrid. The depth human depravity astounds me. As if such mental and physical effort was directed towards designing such vile contrivances. Mercy!

    Reply

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