2Torture was used during the Middle Ages for three reasons: To force confessions or secret information from those accusedTo discourage dissent and intellectual freedomTo persuade Jews, Muslims, and other non-believers to accept Christianity
3The Pictures you are about to see were drawn during Medieval times. Make special note of how often clergy members are depicted in each sketch.
4Iron MaidenSpikes in the Iron Maiden were strategically located to avoid major organs, thereby prolonging the inevitable death of the accused.
5The Interrogation Chair This was painful from the start and only got worse. Pain could be increased by beating on the limbs.
6Lockup CellSmall villages often had only a small lockup for holding criminals.There were no windows, no chamberpots and it was never cleaned. A person had to sit in their own vomit and waste, and in the person’s before them, and before them..and before them..
7Public HumiliationHunger, thirst, bad weather and jeers (along with stones and rotten fruit) of passersby made this treatment nastier than it looks. Afterwards, the victim often left town if at all possible.
8Toe WedgeSharp wooden skewers coated with boiling sulfur were slowly driven deep into the tender flesh under the toenails. They were lifted from their beds and slowly pulled out from the skin.
9Gossip’s BridleThe bridle was used to silence women who nagged, questioned authority, or gossiped. It was painful as well as humiliating, for the gag had a barbed tongue-piece.
10Ducking StoolThree dips was common treatment for “socially difficult” women or habitually drunk men. How long the victim stayed under depended on public opinion.
11Tying the offender to a horse, bull or wild animal and driving it away in a panic was not always fatal. But it did get rid of the fellow!
12The WhirligigThe Whirligig was not that bad of a torture. It just spun the victim around in circles until he puked, mostly all over himself.
13MutilationBesides its painful and horrific aspects, it served as an effective deterrent. A blinded or handless thief was certainly put out of business.
14IronsAn effective form of torture as well as restraint. The addition of weights or spikes increased the pain of torn tendons and cramped limbs.
15The WheelThe Wheel produced such violent disturbances in the body as it was swung around that it could kill.The only marks it produced were bruises around the eyes.
16Foot PressTightened by the crank, this ingenious iron Foot Press slowly crushed the victim’s bare foot against a bed of spikes, lacerating flesh and pulverizing bones.
17DisembowelmentThe torso was slit down the middle and the intestines pulled out. Sometimes, the intestines were coated with flammable liquids and set on fire while still attached to the body.
18FireBurning at the stake was not reserved for witches, but rather was a common form of execution. Political dissidents were usually burned as well.
19Heretic’s ForkJammed firmly into the sternum and chin, the Fork held the victim’s head still for the torture.
20Boiling water or molten lead was poured into ears, up nostrils or other orfices. Hot candle wax was sometimes dripped into the eyes.
21Cat’s ClawIt ripped the victim’s flesh to shreds and stripped it off the bone. Especially effective on the back, abdomen, face, limbs, and breast.
22WhippingDone publicly and with a variety of instruments, the most popular was whipping in front of a crowd with brambles or a tree switch with stickers.
23Hanging by the ThumbsThis could encourage confession, but lost its effect after about twenty hours. Sometimes, wet rawhide strips were used. As it dried, the strips would shrink, cutting the thumbs off.
24Criminals were often considered a useful resource for training soldiers. Archery practice was also a kind of execution.
25BreakingBreaking was a cruel execution. The victim was strapped to any handy framework and beaten to a pulp. This could be made a lingering death by starting at the feet and breaking all the bones, one by one, while slowly working up to the skull.
26The SmallboxThis could be found in courtyards of most prisons, where it was used on troublemakers and silent heretics.
27Punishments of heretics and Jews were often gruesomely creative Punishments of heretics and Jews were often gruesomely creative. This was thought to inspire healthy fear in the public, keeping them safe from heretical thought.
28Live BurialBound in a kneeling position and buried up to his neck, the victim was helpless to escape such tortures as shaking maggots in his ears through a funnel, or horses running at him.
29Used to extract confessions, fire was a wonderful tool!
30QuarteringThe criminal had each limb tied to a horse and then the horses were sent out in 4 different directions, ripping the limbs from the body. Sometimes, bets were made on which portion of the body the head would be carried away with.
31The PearUsed in the mouth, vagina, and rectal areas, this device had sharp prongs which mutilated the insides of the victim, shredding intestines, the throat and the cervix.
32The Head CrusherThe dome shape protected the brain while teeth were splintered and eyes squashed. Eventually the sinuses collapsed.
33The Iron SeatThe victim was usually stripped first to allow as much skin contact as possible.
34The NeckbreakerThe board was hammered into the neck, crushing the spinal cord. This caused complete paralysis, but the victim usually died of suffocation because the trachea was often crushed as well.
35PinchersUsed to inflict scarring injuries, tear out eyes, tear off strips of skin, and rip off nipples.
36While prisoners were restrained in the dungeon, rats and vermin could crawl freely over their bodies, gnawing on fingers, toes, ears, and noses. This could be encouraged by pouring hot bacon fat over the prisoner.
37PressingWeights were added to the victim’s chest a little at a time until he eventually suffocated.
38StrappadoHands bound behind his back, the accused was drawn to the high ceiling and dropped with a jerk to the end of the rope, pulling his shoulders out of sockets.
39The RackUsually the shoulder joints were displaced first, followed by the knees. If the torture continued, the victim’s abdomen would tear open next.
40Water TortureWater was poured into the mouth through a funnel while the nose was clamped shut, forcing the victim to swallow to breathe. After a few quarts, one would either drown in his own vomit or his stomach would rupture. Sometimes vinegar, urine and/or diarrhea was forced down the throat instead of water.
41The Spanish DonkeyAfter the prisoner was seated naked astride the Spanish donkey, weights 600 pounds or more were hung from both feet to force his body downward onto the sharp iron edge, until the force was so great that it destroyed the area between the legs.
43The Copper BootThe boot was placed around the foot of the victim and filled to the brim with molten lead causing first degree burns.
44Star-KickingStrips of paper were placed between the victim’s toes and set afire.
45GarroteThis French invention slowly strangled its victim by tightening a band around his neck, splintering his spine and crushing his throat.
46StocksA few hours in the stocks could be a death penalty for some unpopular people. Since a victim could not reach his face to wipe it, some would actually suffocate by the volume of things thrown at them by the passing crowd.
47StakeInsult the wrong ruler and wind up on a stake with a view. If the stake was threaded properly it blocked bleeding and the victim lived for days on the castle walls.