22 Truly Horrifying Forms Of Real Torture
If you needed anymore proof that man is cruel, take a look at these ten classic torture devices that were created to inflict the worst deaths imaginable.
The Garrote is a torture device that kills by strangling the victim to death. It also has enough power to break the victim’s neck. It was used in Spain until it was outlawed in 1978 along with the death penalty.
The victim is inserted inside two back-to-back rowing boats or a hollowed out tree trunk. Victims would be forced to ingest milk and honey to the point where they would develop diarrhea. More honey would be rubbed all over the body to attract insects which would feed off the victim’s flesh and feces. The victim was continually fed to ensure their death wasn’t quick.
Ever been into a kebab shop and watched the guys scrape the meat off the spit? Yeah, this is like that. The victim would have their skin removed before they died.
This punishment involves the removal of chunks of skin over long periods of time. This execution method was used in China for over 1,000 years until its abolition in 1905.
5. Breaking Wheel.
The breaking wheel was used as a tool to break prisoners’ bones and ultimately bludgeon them to death.
6. Brazen Bull.
Actually used in ancient Greece, the brazen bull was a hollow bull statue that served as a confined space to lock up criminals sentenced to death. A fire would be lit under the hollow bull, causing the victim inside to roast to death.
Disembowelment involves the removal of some or all of the vital human organs. This was done when the victim was still alive and the heart and lungs were usually left until last to keep the victim alive for as long as possible.
Death by boiling was a horrifying death sentence where the victim was boiled alive in either water or oil. The method was used in Russia and other parts of Europe around 3,000 years ago.
This was an extremely painful method of execution. The victim could be impaled in many different areas including through the anus, vagina or side. The executioner would make sure not to pierce vital organs in order to keep the victim alive for longer.
10. Hung, drawn and quartered.
In this three-part punishment, the victim was dragged by a horse to the wooden frame where they would be publicly put to death. There, they were hanged by the neck for a short time. After the hanging, the victim was placed on a table and cut open. After removing the prisoner’s intestines and sex organs, their head was cut off and the rest of the body was hacked into four pieces.
11. Heretic’s Fork.
This torture device consisted of two metal forks, placed between the breast bone and throat, secured with a leather strap around the neck. The victim couldn’t move their neck or get any sleep. This led to fatigue, which usually ended in confession.
12. Hanged, drawn and quartered.
In this three-part punishment, the victim was dragged by a horse to the wooden frame where they were to be publicly put to death. There, they were hanged by the neck for a short time. After the hanging, the victim was placed on a table and had their abdomen cut open. After removing the prisoner’s intestines and sex organs, their head was cut off and the rest of the body was hacked into four pieces.
13. Rat torture.
Rat torture (as shown on Game of Thrones) was a horrific technique that required a cage with one side open to be strapped to the victim’s body and filled with rats. By applying heat to the other side of the cage, the rats would try to escape by digging their way out, basically eating the victim alive.
14. The Rack.
Maybe the cruelest of all medieval torture devices, the rack was a rectangular wooden frame with rollers on both ends. During interrogation, the victim’s ankles and wrists were chained to the top and bottom of the rack and the tension on the chains was gradually increased. It caused joints to dislocate, muscle fibres to stretch excessively and cartilage and ligaments to snap, resulting in loud popping noises. As if this punishment wasn’t gruesome enough, it was often combined with additional torture like tearing out nails.
15. Spanish Tickler.
This torture device was used to shred through human flesh. A cleverly designed, sharp object: it would cut so deep the victim didn’t die from the actual wounds inflicted, but the infection that would set in afterwards.
16. Tongue Tearer.
Primarily used on blasphemers, the tongue tearer was used to grab the prisoner’s tongue, and brutally tear it out by tightening the screw.
17. The Tub.
The most innocent looking, but one of the cruelest: the tub was pretty much a death bath designed to make the prisoner suffer for as long as possible. With faces painted with milk and honey, the tortured would attract flies. Meanwhile, they would sit in their own faeces until maggots and worms would eventually eat their flesh and their bodies would decay as they were still alive.
18. The Breast Ripper.
Yes, it was as awful as it sounds. The breast ripper, or Iron Spider, was mostly used on women who were accused of adultery or self-abortion. The iron was heated, placed on the female victim’s exposed breast, and the flesh was ripped off her chest.
The thumbscrew was feared all over medieval Europe. The torture device was designed to crush thumbs or toes. The crushing bars were sometimes lined with sharp metal points for extra pain.
20. Death by sawing.
This horrific torturing technique didn’t consist out of much more than just sawing prisoners in two with a big saw. Still though, ouch.
21. The Wooden Horse.
During the Spanish Inquisition, female blasphemers were put naked on top of a wooden “horse”. The vertical wooden board with a sharp V-wedge would slice through the victim’s body as the torturer attached weights to the victim’s feet.
22. Cement Shoes.
Designed to drown prisoners, the cement shoes were simply two cinder blocks that were filled up with cement. Once the cement had dried, the prisoner was thrown into the water to sink and eventually drown. To this day, some gangs still use this technique.