10 Brutal Torture Techniques Used in History (Part One) - History Key

10 Brutal Torture Techniques Used in History (Part One)

By the time when the “truth serum” didn’t exist, the methods of obtaining information involved much violence and death. Torture was a brutal reality for many people and one of the most disturbing facts is how humans designed torture devices in order to cause pain. We warn you that this article it’s not recommended for those who are white-livered.

1. The Brazen Bull

Phalaris condemning the sculptor Perillus to the Bronze Bull
Phalaris condemning the sculptor Perillus to the Bronze Bull © Pierre Woeiriot/Image Source: Wikipedia

Designed by the Greeks in ancient times, the “Sicilian Bull” was human stove made from brass. It contained a side door that could be locked only from outside of the stove. The victim was placed inside of the bull and underneath it a fire was set until the brass was heated up. The torture instrument was designed on purpose to amplify the screams of the victim when he started to roast slowly until he died. The bull was used even by the Catholic Church in order to execute Christian heretics.

2. The Tub

This technique is also known as the punishment of “sitting in the tub”. The victim was placed in a tub full of water with his head locked outside of it. His head was immobilized so that he can’t escape at all. The torturer poured honey and milk on his head in such a way that attracted flies and other insects that laid their eggs on the victim’s face. Also the victim was fed regularly in such a manner that he would end up swimming in his own excrements. After several days, the victim was devoured by worms and maggots while he was still alive.

3. Spanish Donkey

It was a sort of a bench, but instead of a flat sitting, it had a triangular sitting, with the corner directed upwards. The victim was put on the bench with his legs spread. After that, the torturer added weights constantly on the victim until he was split in two.   

Judas Cradle & Judas Chair
Brutal Torture – Spanish Donkey & Judas Cradle © Image Source: Wikipedia

4. The Judas Cradle

Judas Cradle was not invented by Judas and was he was never tortured by it. This cradle was basically a chair, but instead of having a flat sitting, it was designed with a pyramidal sitting. The victim was placed on the chair and over time he was lowered above the pyramid shape. The top of the pyramid was fixed into the anus or vagina. In many cases, the victims died because of the muscle tissue that became infected. In particular cases on the victim’s body were attached weights, resulting his death by impalement.

5. Heretics Fork

Heretics Fork
Heretics Fork © Image Source: Pinterest

It was a fork with two sharp heads. It was tied to the victim’s neck so that the forks placed between his chin and his chest. This way, the victim couldn’t sleep at all because one of the ends of the fork slowly stabbed him. Usually the fork was used on liars and heretics. This instrument created sleep deprivation and the victim made confessions shortly. Some torturers engraved the fork with “abiuro”, meaning “I recant.”

6. Saw Torture

Death by Sawing Illustration
Death by Sawing Illustration © Image Source: Wikipedia

Death by sawing was mentioned in many historical sources as a method of execution from different parts of the world. This form of torture and execution had more ways to torment the victim. Either case, the most used form was by hanging the victim upside down so his blood would rush to his head and kept him conscious during the torture. The victim was sawed across his body length and sometimes he was cut up only in his abdomen to extend his agony.

7. Breaking Wheel

It was used mostly for public executions, also known as the Catherine wheel. It was used even in 19th century. The victim’s limbs were tied to the spokes of the wheel. His limbs were beaten with an iron hammer. The gasps in the wheel, allowed the limbs to break. After the bones were broken, the victim was left on the wheel until he died.

8. Coffin Torture

One of the most popular techniques in the Middle Ages was the coffin torture, can also be called the death coffin. It was a metallic cage with the size of a human body. The victim was placed inside of it in a public area and he was left there to die. He usually died because of hunger, wound provoked by civilians and crows.

9. Neck Torture

Neck Torture Execution, Philippine, 1901
Neck Torture Execution, Philippine, 1901 © Image Source: Wikipedia

Another brutal form of torture was the device designed as a necklace with sharp spike on the inside. The device was tightly tied around the victim’s neck. The victim was unable to move, eat or sleep. Usually it was used on heretics for several days until he confessed.

10. Rat Torture

Also known as “the rat dungeon”, the rat torture was one of the most sadistic forms. This technique was encouraging rats to attack and eat the victim alive. The victim was tied on a chair with a rat caged in a bucket with the opened side against the victim’s body. The torturer heartened the bucket and the rat started to dig through the victim’s body. Most of the times the victim died because of the wounds.

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