Top History’s Worst Torture Methods


Torture methods

7. Iron Maiden

Invented in Europe in the 14th century, the Iron Maiden was a very popular torture device. The Iron Maiden is more like a coffin or a cabinet in which the victim is to be locked. Added to this, there are extremely sharp spikes on its inside. Once the victim was locked it, they would be left there till their death. If they didn't die immediately from the injuries from the sharp spikes, they would eventually die of bleeding or suffocation. It was used to punish prisoners and those disloyal to the king.

6. Chair Torture

"Chair Torture" encompasses all torture methods that employ a chair as its major instrument. Judas Cradle, Chinese Chair, Electric Chair, Dunking and the Iron Chair are examples of Chair Torture.

There are many variants of the iron chair but one thing common to them is that about 500-1000 spikes cover the back, arm-rests, seat, leg-rests, and foot-rests. It was mostly used to obtain confessions from criminals. The criminals were usually forced to watch another criminal die from it. If they didn't still confess, then they would be bound to it. It takes hours to a few days before the individual dies. This is because, the spikes were not long enough to pierce any vital organ and the wounds were closed by the spikes themselves which delayed blood loss drastically.

5. Impalement

Emperor Dracula was responsible for the popularity of this method. He impaled anyone he didn't like or anyone who disrespected him. It's a very painful way to die. Victims were made to sit on a sharp pole which would then be raised. The pole will eventually pierce and pass through the body of the victim.

4. Breast ripper

Another brutal torture device is the breast ripper.  It was usually used as an interrogational device on female criminals accused of adultery, self-induced abortion, blasphemy, heresy or witchcraft.

The metal device was heated until red hot and then used to pull off the victim's breast. The victim would later die due to excessive blood loss or infection.

3. Boiling

In the past, many people were tortured to death by putting them in boiling water or oil. Death by boiling was slowed down by putting the individual in cold water then heating it up to boiling. It was a terrible way to die.

2. Brazen bull

One could argue that the brazen bull is the most innovative yet brutal torture device in man's history. It was invented in ancient Greece by Perillos the Anthenian. The tyrant, Pharalis whom he proposed the device to had it tested on him before throwing him off a hill.

The bull was made of brass only, it was hollow and only a door at one side. The victim was locked inside the bull and the fire under the bull would be lit. The brass would become heated causing death to the individual. The brazen bull was so brutally engineered that the screams of the victim would be heard as the sound of an angry bull.

1. Crucifixion

The image of Jesus Christ on the cross is the one of the most popular symbols in the world and fairly deserved considering how painful crucifixion is. Therefore, the symbol of Christ’s crucifix is a reminder of his sacrifices for us.

This method can be traced to ancient Rome and was used to punish prisoners and the enemies of the state. Victims would be nailed to the cross and left there for days in continuous pain until their death.

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