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Not only could they cause pain, but they often played on psychological fearsshowing that even in the dark ages, the study of the mind was alive and well. For those of the macabre mindset, here are 26 fascinating medieval torture machines.
It is then yanked away, pulling flesh and muscle with it in great chunks. Meant to hold the neck in a single position, it was tightened just enough to be uncomfortable. The real torture came after days without being able to lay down, rest your head, eat, or swallow.
Particularly hideous, the simple pear would be placed inside the orifice of a person and then gradually expanded. More gruesome is when it was used on parts in the lower half of the body which were rarely fatal, but excruciating. Simple biology was used to make The Tub. A person was bound hand and foot so they could not escape, then their face was smeared with honey. Flies and other biting insects would be drawn to the person where they would eat the honey and crawl into the openings in the face. Prisoners tortured in this way were given food and water to keep them alive.
A person is put into a wooden frame that binds their head and hands. A brutal method of slow-cooking, a hollow metal bull would be cast with a special gate on the side. Victims were placed inside, while a fire was lit beneath the belly.
A simple cord, the strappado would be tied around the victims wrists behind their back. They would then be dropped, yanking severely on the sockets of the shoulders. The forward leaning of the body and dislocated shoulders restrict breathing, for added discomfort. Individuals can be nailed to it or bound by their hands and feet, then left to be pecked at by birds, abused by locals, and suffer the ravages of exposure for days without perishing.
Smashing and mashing seemed to be in vogue during medieval times, and the brodequin is evidence of that. An example funny torture ideas a pillory-type device, this was mostly used for women who tended to nag. Another device geared right at women, The Spider would be heated up and shoved into the breast tissue, then pulled away, taking along much of the mammaries with it.
Most often, the boot would be a pressure device made of wood or metal which could be tightened to mash the meat of the leg to pulp, lined with spikes for extra fun, or capable of breaking bones like a slower Brodequin.
Thumbscrew is the common name for Pilliwinks, which have a deceptively cute title. They all do the same thing: Twist the plates like a vice, and they crush the thing between them. Here, people were suspended on a swinging arm out over a river and then dunked repeatedly in the water. Sometimes they would be bound in a bag, which would add disorientation to the waterboarding type exercise. Here they would be tied in awkward poses, funny torture ideas have their limbs smashed with iron cudgels.
Probably the 2nd best known torture method, and also a band that can still rock a stadium, the Iron Maiden was an enclosed structure lined with spikes that would entirely surround a person. They would be left inside for interminable amounts of time, unable to do anything but stand, lest they be pierced by the metal protrusions.
Another piece of neckware that tended to be fancied by the church, these would be placed between the lower jaw and the throat. The name is a bit of a mystery, though the inventor was named Skevington, which might have something to do with it.
Used to wrap a person into a crouch and then crush them into a tiny ball, the funny torture ideas days of this were during the reign of another misogynist, Henry VIII. Easily the most famous old-school torture device, the rack was used to stretch heretics by pulling on their ankles and wrists, in theory until they rent in half while torturers made a wish. Usually it just pulled limbs out of sockets. Similar to the Judas Cradle, the Spanish Donkey is a triangular board that a person is forced to straddle, putting their full weight right on the crotch.
Weights are then added to their feet until it splits them up the middle. Also likely helpful in wish making during long nights in the dungeon.
I personally find the technology of torture to be absolutely fascinating. I also appreciate the twisted genius: the people who invented these devices obviously deeply enjoyed what they were doing. Thing is, had this depth of ingenuity been applied to useful problems, we would probably have flown to the moon by Prayers to everyone. Recognizing the value of the do-it-yourself movement of the last several years, thecoolist. Home Offbeat.
Spanish Tickler via lolwot. Iron Chair via sevenhairs. The Collar via notesfromcamelidcountry.
Pear of Anguish via turbosquid. The Tub via imup2. Coffin via pinterest. Pillory via ladydespensersscribery. Brazen Bull via thrillist. Strappado via fredvanlente. Crocodile Shears via pinterest. Lead Sprinkler via darrenendymion. The Crucifix via wikimedia. Brodequin via vdquynh. Tongue Tearer via blumhouse. The Spider via korupciya.
Malay Boot via wikimedia. Judas Cradle via pinterest. Pilliwinks via blumhouse. Ducking Stool via yoliverpool. Breaking Wheel via flickr. Iron Maiden via hypnogoria. Heretics Fork via haikudeck. The Rack via torturemuseum. Spanish Donkey via uberpunch. You might also like. TheCoolist is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission.
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9 Insane Torture Techniques