Thursday, October 23, 2014

Festival Of Fear: Day 23 ~ Terrible Tortures, Part 4

Back again with Part 4 of our ongoing series on some of the most horrific forms of torture that the world has used over the centuries.  If this doesn't scare you, nothing will. 

34)  SCAPHISM (a.k.a. THE BOATS) - In ancient Persia this upsetting form of torture and eventual death began by tying the naked victim down in the center of two canoes or hollowed out trees. One boat on top, one on the bottom - with the head and limbs protruding. They were then made to drink a ton of liquid combined of milk and honey that would in turn cause severe diarrhea.  This drew insects by the groves, and the victim would be left to float in a stagnant pond in the sun.  As you can deduce, the victim would be devoured alive by insects drawn to the feast, most times from the inside out - which would take days. 

35) HAMSTRINGING - A method that has been around longer than the bible, Hamstringing is a simple torture method. All that needs done is to sever the hamstring muscles in the thigh.  This cripples the victim, making it impossible for him to walk, hence, impossible to escape.

36) TAR & FEATHERING - While it was probably rare for someone to die from being tarred and feathered, it made it none the less humiliating.  The victim would have hot tar poured on their naked body, which though probably produced first or second degree burns would not kill you.  If that wasn't bad enough, they were then made to roll in chicken feathers and be paraded through town.  The tar would be stuck on the victim for days, sometimes peeling skin with it when an attempt to remove the tar was undertaken.

37)  HEAD CRUSHER- It is exactly what it sounds like.  A device that crushes the victim's head.  It is made of iron/metal and is a cap that fits on the head.  It has screws on it so that when the torturer starts to turn the handle, the cap squeezes tighter and tighter around the victim's head, eventually crushing the skull.  As it tightens, the bones crush and the eyes pop from the sockets.  This was common in Medieval times.

38) THE ELECTRIC CHAIR - Old Sparky has a long, storied history since its early beginnings in the late 1800's.  It was created to replace hanging as the main form of execution, and was acheived by the criminal sitting in a chair, fitted with various straps and caps, and then given jolts of electric current to kill the brain and vital organs. It has been denounced as being cruel and unusual punishment after several botched attempts to end convicts lives resulted in the men suffering various horrors from gasping to seizing to excessive bleeding to flames bursting from the victim's head.  Several states in the US still offer the chair as a form of execution.

39) THE COFFIN (CAGE) - A man-sized iron cage would hold the victim or criminal for whatever time period had been decided upon.  Sometimes, the victim would even be killed or left to die in the cage, and animals and birds would pick at and ingest the victim.  But it would always be displayed publicly, so that the victim could be ridiculed. Many times the crowd would take to throwing things at the victim, like rotten fruit, or even stones. Pirates were killed in this manner, left to hang there and die to be an example for other pirates to be wary.

40) BASTINADO (a.k.a. FOOT WHIPPING/CANING) - This form of torture dates back to before biblical times, so it has been around forever.  Basically the victim is restrained, off the ground, and repetitively beaten on the soles and arches of the feet with a whip, cane, or other implement. It can be used as punishment, just as whipping any part of the body would be, or it can be used to extract a confession out of a prisoner that doesn't want to talk.

41) JOUGS - More of a form of punishment than actual torture, victims were put in iron shackles and a collar and fastened to the outside of a house, so the criminal would be visible for all townsfolk to see (and ridicule) It was popular in Scotland and in several places within the country you can still see the jougs attached to buildings and homes.

42) NECKLACING - One of the "newer" forms of execution allegedly started back in the mid-80's, most likely during the Apartheid uprisings in South Africa. In it, a rubber tire filled with gasoline or other flammable liquid is forced around the victim's chest and arms and then set on fire, essentially burning them to death.  It is said it could take upwards of fifteen to twenty minutes to die - while burning alive.

43)  BOILING - Speaking of burning.... it's really hard to imagine boiling someone to death - could there be anything more ghastly? But it was used in the Middle Ages in Europe and Asia.  As you can imagine, the victim would be stripped naked and then immersed (usually head first) in a boiling hot pot (cauldron) of oil, tar, or similar liquid.  The victim's skin would burn layer upon layer of skin until it started sloughing off and got down to vital arteries.  Gah!

The gas chamber in Auschwitz
44) THE GAS CHAMBER - We could spend an uncomfortable amount of time discussing the horrific methods of torture and death put upon the innocent victims of the Holocaust in WWII.  Nazi Germany employed this method and countless others in their "final solution", and it is terribly distressing knowing how many people thought they were just going in for a shower and then had to inhale poisonous gases and meet their death.  The gas chamber is still a modern form of capital punishment in America, but only three states still employ this type of execution. The victim is contained in a chamber while the gas is released. They are asked to take several deep breaths to speed the process along and prevent undue suffering.  If only the Holocaust victims were afforded that luxury in death.

*We'll be back next week with the last ten in the series!

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