Medieval Torture: Impaling & More

During his reign, Vlad the Impaler (the man who is often referred to as Dracula) is known for the torturous impaling method of death , taking thousands of lives. In this article, you will learn about other methods of medieval torture, including whippings and the dunk stool.


Vlad the Impaler is responsible for impaling thousands of people. Since Vlad was known as a hero and decent ruler, the intensity of his punishments created an infamous persona that all feared. For instance, if a thief was accused of stealing bread , he was impaled even if the crime seemed simple. To strike fear into his opponents, he would impale thousands of soldiers that had been captured , just to make a point.

Impaling involved a stick that was positioned into the ground. With hands tied to prevent escape, the victim was placed upon the stick without their feet being able to touch the ground. Hours would pass and in some cases, days, before the strength and weight of the victim would cause the stick to pierce a major organ.

This method of torture was considered one of the worst and was quite common during the Dark Ages. Most commonly, impalement involved the anus, but many other variations were employed. Vlad preferred using the chest, legs, arms, and the skulls. He was known to take pleasure in the decorative qualities of impalement by choosing different body parts.

To add insult to injury, Vlad imposed extremely cruel ways of punishing his victims. For instance, he impaled children in front of their mothers and forced them to eat their remains. Sometimes, he would enjoy his own feast while watching victims being impaled as entertainment. Impalement certainly added to the practice of calling Vlad , Dracula , a bloodthirsty man.


In the majority of ancient cultures, the whip was a torture device feared for many centuries , used by the likes of Egyptians to the French. A lot of civilizations have used the whip to strike fear into the hearts of slaves, but in some countries, such as the Netherlands , they used it on different specific groups. In their case, it was children who received this kind of punishment. It was said that the practice would create better executioners in the future. This is one form of punishment that has survived over the years and can still be seen used in foreign countries to this day.

Dunk Stool

You’ll never look at a stool the same after hearing about the dunk stool method of torture. When the fear of witches began to spread, people needed to find new and inventive ways to make the accused confess their heresy and evil ways. The dunk stool was a simple chair that was tied to a tree or a stick. On and off, the victim was submerged in a pond or river. In the beginning of the punishment, they would stay under the water for less than a minute. However, if they had nothing to reveal or kept denying their charges, they were meant to stay in the water for longer periods of time , up to two minutes or more. Eventually, the victim would drown.