Probably our most gruesome and squeamish topic of the Middle Ages we will talk about, Medieval Torture methods remind most people of the most brutal are hard to imagine ways of dieing. What a rather grim subject matter, but at least acknowledging these methods will make us appreciate and see how far we have come in the West compared to just a few hundred years ago where life was so much grimmer.
For many criminals and those unlucky enough to be falsely accused and convicted punishment wasn’t like today where you end up in a comfortable prison with a TV and Playstation. In fact many convicts received barbaric ways of being tortured as punishment. Here we will explore some of the most surreal and disgusting ways people endured:
Rat in a Cage
This takes me back to my child hood where some may say I was unfortunate to get a close up of this in York Dungeon. They have a rather gruesome depiction of a rat in a cage pulling at the guts of a poor man. In actual fact the rat and the man are partially moving in an interactive display with the man moaning in pain. It’s a rather disturbing sight.
The idea is the rat is kept prisoner in some sort of container (typically a cage) attached to a human and then is encouraged to chew it’s way through the human by something like the container getting heated.
Another cringe worthy device to show how despicable people were back then people would be put on a table and then their hands and legs were tied down. The tortures would then turn the levers and stretch the poor soul until it broke many things in their body, bones, cartilage and more.
The person who wrote this list must have had more of a stomach than I do to write in detail about what happened with each torture device. It’s certainly more than I wish to imagine.
Iron Maiden – More Novelty Than Provably Used
The Iron Maiden was the size of an average person and was made with spikes on the inside of the casket. There is no clear evidence this was actually used as a torture device though it’s design has captured the imagination of some.
If someone was encased in this spiked casket, they would have surely endured a slow and incredibly painful death bleeding out gradually.
Death by Sawing
I mean who would want a job where you had to saw someone in half? There we some sick people in Medieval times. Especially the two guys who took a giant saw to someone hung upside down who had to literally cut that person in half. To think some of the people having to endure this were innocent too and you would have to think they were dealt and incredibly unlucky hand in life.
Burning at the Stake
There are many versions of this torture method covered here. Enough to say that being alive for up to two hours while being burnt to death would be an incredibly cruel way to die. The fact that people were burned alive whether they confessed or not to nonsense like Witchcraft meant that this must have been used as a political weapon or form of revenge by many a person. Certainly the guy in the Wickerman or the police offer in Silent Hill both on the receiving end of rather brutal variations of this torture method.
The Judas Cradle
Face in palm for this one, I mean who came up with this idea? The person who was unlucky enough to take a seat on the Judas Cradle would have to cope being dumped on a rather sharp pyramid like object. If your sick enough to want to read in detail about it, go on over to the Medieval Chronicles to do so.
This super sharp wooden triangle was designed to go up the you know what on either the man or the lady who had to sit there for hours at a time. Sometimes the poor souls even had weights attached to their ankles!