Horrific Torture Devices Throughout History

  • The Rack - Probably the most infamous and widely used instrument of torture was the rack which dates back to the ancient Greeks. There are few records of its use before the Middle Ages but, during the Spanish Inquisition, there was a large increase in its use.
  • The Brazen Bull - This device was designed in Greece by Perillos of Athens. He was a brass founder and cast the shape of a hollow bull with a door on the side. The condemned person was put inside the bull and a fire was lit underneath the device causing the person to roast to death. It was configured with tubes and pipes so the person screaming inside would sound like the bull was raging.
  • Amputation - Even minor crimes in Medieval Europe could send the offenders to the executioner. Varies body parts were amputated or mutilated in lieu of death, although most victims would die from complications from the “procedure”. No body part was off limits.
  • Wooden Torture Chair with Steel Blades - Mainly used in China, this chair was a severe form of punishment. Despite its horrific use, these chairs were often ornately decorated with foliage, scrolls and the heads of mythical sea monsters called Macara.
  • The Breaking Wheel - This wheel of torture was used to kill criminals in an extremely slow and painful way. This device was a large wagon wheel. People were chained to the wheel at their wrists and ankles. They were then beaten with hammers and stuck with hot pokers. After the torture was complete, prisoners were left attached to the wheel while birds would peck at their flesh until death occurred.
  • Punishment of the Wooden Collar - It is composed of two pieces of wood, hollowed out in the middle, which, when put together, leave room for the neck. The weight of the collar ranged from 40 to 200 pounds depending on the severity of the crime. Immobility and public
  • Scold’s Bridle (also known as branks) - A 16th century instrument of punishment used primarily on women. The device was an iron muzzle that enclosed the head with a bridle-bit projected into the mouth and pressed on top of the tongue. The curb-plate was often studded with spikes so if the offender moved her tongue, the pain would be unbearable making speech impossible. Women seen as shrews, nags and even witches were often forced to wear the bridle.

sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6