Most Disturbing and Painful Torture Devices


The Dark Ages were not a pleasant time period to live in by our comfortable present standards. Most people were poor, they suffered from disease, and their freedom was owned by wealthy landowners. And if you committed a crime and could not afford to pay a fine, your hand might have been chopped off or your tongue and lips cut out. After reading this article you will realize that punishment these days look like nothing in comparison to the inhumane practices of those days.


Judas cradle / chair


This device consisted of a pyramid with a sharp point where the victim was hoisted above this sharp point and the control of this would be with an interrogator who could lower the individual in order to increase intensity. The peak of the pyramid would enter his/her private region and the victim could be swayed or made to repeatedly descend on this sharp point.




The sadistic desires of the torturers might make them add weights to the legs of the victim to aggravate the pain. Some versions also suggest that they would leave the victim in mid-air supported by the ropes for the entire night and then torture him with pyramid by morning.




This disturbingly but cleverly thought out device makes us question the mental sanity of some people in those ages. The victim would be stripped and made to hang upside down.


This is done so that the brain is oxygenated and the victim does not pass out due to the surrounding circumstances and thus experiences pain in its entirety. A saw would then slice the body vertically starting from the crotch. The saw would slide down till the navel area or beyond till the victim was no more.


Pear of Anguish


The much feared torture device also referred to as the “choke pear” was the pear which was a metal instrument in the shape of a pear consisting of closed up prongs. This would be inserted into a vagina of a woman or anus of a man and then cranked open so that it opened within the body.




This completely destroys organs internally and was used for those accused of being homosexuals or heretics. Sometimes this device was also used in a victim’s mouth leading to breaking of the teeth and eventually heavy bleeding. This was usually done for those who were accused of blasphemy and lying. Some of these pears also had extra metal spikes.


Brazen Bull


The brazen bull was an enormous metal replica of a bull which was hollow. The victim’s tongue was cut out and then he was shut inside this bull. People then lit a fire under this bull and the wait for the heat to reach its peak intensity and kill the victim. As soon as the person enclosed in the bull begins to feel the wrath of the heat, he screams and cries in agony which provides entertainment to spectators as they seem like noise of a bull and thus brings the sculpture to life. This was known to have been created by the Greeks and the most ironic part is that the creator of the device, Perillius was killed in his own torture device because he demanded to be rewarded heavily for his creativity.


Coffin Torture


The Coffin Torture was feared in the Middle Ages, and is often seen in films depicting the time (see Monty Python’s Holy Grail). The victim was placed inside a metal cage roughly made in the shape of the human body. Torturers could force overweight victims into a smaller device, or even make the “coffin” slightly larger than a victim’s body to make him more uncomfortable. The cage was frequently hung from a tree or a gallows.


Serious crimes, such as heresy or blasphemy, were punished by death inside the coffin where the victim was placed under the sun allowing birds or animals to eat his or her flesh. Sometimes onlookers would throw rocks and other objects to further increase the pain.




It was one of the most horrific inventions of the middle ages. It was a wooden frame with a pulley, wheel and ropes. The ropes would be used to tie down the arms and legs of the victim in opposite directions of the body and with the help of the wheel, the body of the person would be stretched until his limbs were dislocated from the joints.




To make this worse, sometimes a fire was also lit below the victim so that he also burnt during this gruesome process. Also since the victim could hear his own ligaments tearing and joints snapping, he would go through high stages of psychological trauma. Variants of this device included one which had spikes that would pierce and cut through the flesh of the victim’s back while his limbs were being pulled apart.


Breast ripper


It comes as a shock to many that none of the torturers really had­ any reservations about torturing women to death. In contrast, they were special devices created in order to destroy the feminine body parts. The breast ripper was used to torture women who carried accusations such as black magic, adultery, abortion, heresy etc. This device consisted of 2 metal claws which would initially be heated up. Then it was used on a women’s breast, while she is tied to the wall, till they became horrifically disfigured chunks of skin and would eventually fall off if left on for longer. “The spider” was a variant of the same device but the only difference was that this was attached to a wall instead of being handled by the torturer.


Head crusher


This torture device was in the form of a metal cap with a bar that would fall below the chin of a person. This was mostly used in order to extract information out of people because the control was in the hands of the torturer with the help of a screw which would be situated at the top of the hat. He would then turn this screw which would slowly compress and eventually crush the head of the person.




Crushing the teeth, popping the eyeballs out of the socket and finally completely displacing the contents of a human head scattered around the floor. For the complete sadistic pleasure of the torturer, he would also hit the cap at stages which would send jolts of pain across the body of the victim. Some also say that containers were kept in front of the victim to hold the eyeballs when they popped out of the sockets.


Scavenger’s daughter


This device was an A shaped metal frame within which a person would be placed in such a way that his body would be compressed and his head would near his knees. The torturer would further use a screw in order to tighten the device and crush the victim furthermore into his forceful crouch position this would force the blood to flow to the nose and ears eventually causing it to gush out. It was invented during Henry viii’s rule and its main purpose was to extract information out of the person who was put through such torture. If this torture prolonged, the victim’s ribs and breastbone would give way, eventually crack and the spine could end up being dislocated.




This torture device was used to punish thieves, burglars and other outlaws by tying their limbs to a large wheel and attacking his joints and limbs with a weapon such as a hammer or club to break them. Sometimes they were tied to a wheel and pushed from a great height.




Apart from this, there was another procedure wherein they would be put over fire, nails etc whilst they were tied on the wheel. After all this , they are hoisted on a wooden pole in their utterly horrific deplorable state where they were left to die and their flesh served as food for ravens and crows.


Source: Wikipedia & inf.


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