Festival Of Fear: Day 9 ~ Terrible Tortures, Part 2
Welcome to part two of Terrible Tortures, in which we are taking a look at the most horrific methods of torture that were used on victims over the centuries. It's hard to believe some of these modes of misery and execution existed. Let's continue....
12) THE JUDAS CRADLE - Perhaps one of the most painful deaths, certainly the most degrading. The naked victim was put into a neck harness and lowered onto the pyramid shaped "seat", forcing the point into the person's rectum (or sometimes vagina, if female), causing eventual tearing and probable death if not from the act itself, then from the sepsis the victim most certainly contracted from being impaled. Apparently the "cradle" was known to have been cleaned very infrequently. Sometimes, the executioner would add weights to the victim's legs, to hurry the process along.
13) SCOLD'S BRIDLE (a.k.a. THE BRANK) - Devised for the humiliation of its victim, the Scold's Bridle was frequently used on women whose continual gossip eventually had her locked up in this device that fits over the head like a muzzle, preventing her from speaking. Many times the bridle also had spikes on it, so if the victim attempted to talk she would be impaled by the spike on her tongue. It is said that many an offender died while still wearing the bridle, so it would seem that folks in medieval times were pretty unforgiving.
14) SHOWER BATH - Used frequently in the American prison system, this torture involved showering the convict to death. Simple tactic, extremely effective. The prisoner would be placed in a stall (in some cases with a wooden box around him, like a stockade) with a shower overhead and basically would be doused by very cold water over his head over and over and over until either confession or death.
15) CHINESE TEAN ZU - Similar to the thumb screw, this Chinese contraption tortured all the fingers. Essentially, it was a set of six wooden sticks between the fingers and connected by strings. When a prisoner would not confess to a crime, the strings would be pulled, causing excruciating pain. It would snap the bones eventually, which as you can imagine was a great ___ to help the victim confess, whether they committed the crime or not. The Chinese were famous for all kinds of horrific finger torture - with one of the more ghastly ones being shoving various items under the fingernails.
16) THE GARROTE - Popular world-wide, the Garrote (garrotte) was perfected by the Spanish, the victim was tied to the chair with his neck placed into a metal collar which had screws on it. The executioner would then turn the screws, killing the victim by a crushing suffocation. Newer versions had a wire or cord that effectively asphyxiates the criminal.
17) THE WHIRLIGIG - This method involved a cage-like contraption suspended above ground. The victim would be placed inside and the torturer would spin the cage round and round forcefully in order to make the victim violently nauseous. This would be one of my worst fears, I'm not kidding.
18) TONGUE TEARER - Torture in its most basic form. This implement was placed in the mouth of the victim and grabbed onto the tongue then twisted, ripping the tongue out of the mouth. It was used for blasphemers, gossips, and the like. It could also be used to tear off other parts of the body, as you can imagine.
19) CROCODILE SHEARS - Speaking of tearing... this device was used most often in the Middle Ages when someone attempted to assassinate the king. Sometimes it was used on the fingers, but usually it was inserted onto the penis to mutilate the victim's member. Frequently, the accused would bleed to death from arterial damage. Who thinks of these things?
20) WHIPPING (CAT O' NINE TAILS) - Slavery in the USA during the Civil War brought whipping to the attention of the public, but it's been around long before that travesty. And while "the cat" wasn't the only type of whip used in flagellation, it was one of the worst tools of the trade. A long leather handle that had nine cords attached would cause intense pain when used to strike the victim, most times on the back. It was quite popular with the British Army, and usually involved the accused being tied up to a pole in public and whipped until the lacerations were so deep they usually became infected, and most certainly caused both physical and psychological pain to the highest degree.
21) SCAVENGER'S DAUGHTER - This method was a metal frame that would force the body into a compressed - and entirely painful - position. With all the blood rushing to the victim's head and out the ears or nose, they were left for hours, days or even months at a time, until they either went mad or expired. This device was most popular in the days when torture ran rampant at the Tower of London.
22) BARREL PILLORY (a.k.a. SPANISH MANTLE, a.k.a DRUNKARD'S CLOAK) -Used mostly to humiliate and degrade its victims, the extremely uncomfortable Pillory was essentially a barrel with a top cut out for the head and holes for the arms. Criminals were paraded through town in the ridiculous item and townsfolk would throw rotten fruits or vegetables, sometimes going as far as to hurl feces or even stones at the victim. The idea was to make an utter fool of the person, or worse.