Humans are cruel animals. It’s been proven time and time again throughout history. And nothing shows it better than the horrible and creative ways we have chosen to inflict pain on our fellow human beings.
Here’s a list of the most gruesome torture techniques and contraptions from history that will make you freeze in horror.
1. The Rack
One of the most famous and ubiquitous methods of torture from medieval times, the rack was a rectangular frame where the victims arms and legs were attached at opposite ends and were pulled until you could hear the ligaments or cartilage snap! If they felt that wasn’t enough, they also added a touch of burning the ribs or removing the nails of the victims while the rack was being used.
There’s a reasons why Vlad got the monicker “The Impaler” — he impaled lots of people. There’s also a reason he shares his name with one of the most famous monsters in literature, Dracula — he was not a pleasant man. His idea of a “special” impalement was to insert the spike up the victim’s rectum or vagina, make sure it misses most of the vital organs, and let it come out through the shoulder. The victim will be then put up on the spike in the town square for everyone to see. And death would take a long time to come.
3. Breast Rippers
Misogyny and torture go hand in hand. This horrifying contraption was used from the 14th to the 18th century to punish women who had committed adultery, pregnancy, or witchcraft and does exactly what it sounds like — rip he breasts off of women’s bodies.
4. The Spanish Tickler
The Spanish Inquisition was like the Golden Age of torture. One of the worst and most effective devices to come out of this period was the Spanish Tickler. With an innocuous enough name, the actual device was a roller with metal claws at the end of it. When applied to different parts of the body, the tickler could rip the skin of the victim right out.
5. Goat’s Tongue
Some names are misleading and others yet are quite on the nose. This one is the latter. The victim of this torture technique is laid out in front of a goat and his feet are covered in salt water. The goat begins to lick the sole of his foot and the tongue is so rough that it literally rips layers of skin off. There have been cases of this method of torture exposing the bones of the feet.
6. Catherine Wheel
This method, started in antiquity and used until the 18th century, involved strapping the victim to a large wheel and then breaking every bone in their body. If they were lucky, the beating would start from the head and death would come swiftly after a blow to the neck. If not, the strikers would begin at the legs and go on for days, sometimes not even bothering to kill the victim at the end.
It might sound a bit tame to us who have grown up on tales of Salim and Anaarkali, who was “chinwaaoed in the deewaar“. But if you think about it, it was the most torturous form of execution. Confining someone in narrow walls or a pillar until they either suffocate, or die of thirst or just pass out from exhaustion of endlessly screaming sounds scary AF.
So next time someone tells you their homework’s torture, show them this.