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5 Horrific Torture Methods And Devices

Throughout history, man has been inventing new ways to punish each other. Some examples are the guillotine, crucifixion, hanging, or burning at the stake. The following is 5 more of these painful, damaging, and in most cases, deadly, forms of cruelty.

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1. Flaying


This torture-execution method involved slowly and painfully removing an offender's skin with a small knife, usually starting with the face. Most victims died before the torturer reached their waist, and the typical causes of death from this process were shock, critical blood loss, or infections. Hypothermia was also a possibility, as skin is important to maintaining a person's body temperature. Although used in various continents and time periods around the world (such as the Aztecs, Native Americans, Medieval Europe, and China) the same basic process was the same. Additionally, sometimes the victims were left in the sun until his skin burned, and sometimes they were placed in boiled water for a few minutes prior to the flaying. Flaying dates back to the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which existed between 911 and 612 BC.

2. Heretic's Fork


The Heretic's Fork was a simple form of torture, and potential execution, in which a leather strap with a sharp, double-ended fork was tied around the victim's neck. One end of the fork was placed underneath the offender's chin, the other end positioned just above the sternum. The victim was then hung in an upright position, or otherwise, a position in which they could not lie down. Because this torture was usually given to people who blasphemed, or otherwise took the lord's name in vain, The Fork prohibited the offender from speaking. The point of this torture is that the person could not fall asleep. The reason for this was simple: if they fell asleep, their head would droop forward and impale on the fork, pushing both ends deep into the body. People were usually awake for days, making confessions more likely during the various Inquisitions.

3. Keelhauling


Introduced as punishment by the Royal Navy in the 11th century, and permitted as a legal punishment in the Dutch Navy by a Dutch ordinance of 1560, Keelhauling was the act of dragging an offending sailor across a ship's keel via a rope looped under the ship. Because the ship's keel was usually adorned by barnacles and other aquatic life, hauling them briskly could result in major cuts, heavy bleeding, limb severance, and occasionally decapitation. Drowning was, of course, one of the main forms of eventual death. The first known mention of keelhauling is from the Greeks in the Rhodian Maritime Code, of c. 800 BC, which touches on punishment for piracy.

4. Scaphism


A relatively simple torture-execution, Scaphism (also known as The Tub, or The Boat) was an ancient Persian method, and is the process of placing an offender into a boat, hollowed out tree trunk, bathtub, or similar object, and force feeding them honey and milk. The torturer would then douse the victim with honey and milk and set them on a stagnant pond, or in the hot sun. The mixture would attract flies and other insects, which would feed on the victim over the course of days. Eventually, the boat would fill with urine and feces, further attracting insects and causing even more discomfort and infection. The victim would be continually fed and hydrated so as to keep them alive for as long as possible amid the torment. The offenders would die of toxic shock, blood loss, or dehydration.

5. The Breast Ripper


Also known as The Iron Spider, or just The Spider, this late-15th-century German torture method was used to punish women accused of heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, or directing their own miscarriage. The operation of this device was fairly straight forward: it would be heated up, and used to slowly tear the woman's breasts away from her body. Many victims who underwent this torture died because of, although some lived and were permanently scarred for life. This method of torture was used right up until the 19th century, and the modern terrorist group ISIS has recently put a similar device into practice.

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