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Medieval Devices of Torture I

When it came to some of the most gruesome, creative methods of torture, the Middle Ages is known for putting criminals through excruciating pain and humiliation. From squeezing body parts until they burst or inserting sharp objects into the skin, there is no end to the different kinds of torture devices they came up with. In this article, you will learn more about the medieval methods of torture that includes some with seemingly harmless names, such as the Cat’s Paw and Scavenger’s Daughter.

Cat’s Paw

Also known as the Spanish tickler, the cat’s paw was a torture device that resembled a garden rake that had the ends sharpened and curved. Oftentimes, it was attached to a handle so that it was easier to use. The person in charge of using the device would rake the body of a victim with the claw, which was so sharp that it would strip the skin and flesh clean off of the bones.

Scavenger’s Daughter

Thanks to King Henry VIII, he requested the design of this torture device, which was created by the Lieutenant of the Tower of London ”“ William Skevington. With an A-shaped frame, the tool would completely encircle a man in the kneeling position. He was then squashed with the device until he bled from the nose and ears. It had the opposite effect of the rack, which was a wooden frame with rollers on it that excessively stretched the joints of a victim.

Choke Pear

If you take a look at the forceps used during child birth, then you’ll get an idea of what the choke pear looked like. This device was expanded with the twist of a screw and often inserted into the mouth or anus of a victim. Women had the tool put inside of their vagina. Spikes were found at the tips of each segment of the device, which enhanced the pain of the practice by ripping and cutting inside the body. The device was used in different ways ”“ according to the crime committed. If someone was accused of being a heretic, the device was placed inside the mouth. Women guilty of having sexual relations with the devil had the device inserted into their vagina.

Judas Chair

Instead of having a seat on the tall stool, the Judas chair is equipped with a very sharp tip shaped like a pyramid. The device was used to gain confessions by lowering a victim onto the stool to the point that their anus or vagina would make contact first with the sharp point. The torturer would apply increased pressure (the body weight of the victim) onto the point to reach the results they wanted.

The Spanish Donkey

Similar to the Judas chair, the Spanish donkey was a long board that had been shaved to create a razor-sharp spike where victims were lowered onto. The legs of the victim would have weights tied to them to increase the pain. Some peole were actually cut in two when this method was used.