10 Of The Most Brutal Torture Methods In History

By Elliot for Creepy

Torturing people has always been a part of History. Luckily it's something that doesn't really happen anymore in modern society, but the different ways people were tortured in the past is always interesting to study. There are thousands of different torture methods throughout history, so we decided to compile a small list of the most brutal torture methods we came across.

1.The Heretic's Fork

The device was placed between the breast bone and throat, just under the chin and secured with a leather strap around the neck. The victim was hung in an upright position from the ceiling or otherwise suspended in a way that they could not lie down.

Usually the Heretic's fork was used on blasphermers, liars or people who spoke the Lord's name in vain. This method of torture made it nearly impossible for them to talk. The victim could also not fall asleep, which meant that the second their head dropped with fatigure, the prongs would pierce their throat and chest. This caused unimaginable pain.

This method of torture forced the victim to stay awake for several days, which led to confessions a lot quicker than normally.

Traditionally the fork was engraved with the Latin word "Abiuro" (meaning "I recant") and was used by various Inquisitions.

2.The Judas Cradle


The Judas Cradle, also known as Judas Chair, was a torture device invented in the 16th century Spain.

During this torture, the criminal was positioned in the waist harness above the sharp, pyramid-shaped seat. The point was then inserted into the criminals anus or vagina and the person was then slowly lowered by a pulley system.

The victims were normally naked, which added humiliation to the already existing torture. The torture itself was caused by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice. Sometimes weights were tied to the legs of the victim, to increase the pain and achieve the tearing of the muscular tissue of the orifice quicker.

This torture method could last from a couple hours to several days. The device itself was also never washed, which could lead to victims getting infections and dying from those infections if they didn't die during torture.

3.Rat Torture


While Game of Thrones is completely fictional, one scene you may remember is straight out of a historical medieval dungeon.

There have been many different forms of rat torture throughout history, but they all included two things: The human body and a rat's ability to chew through almost anything.

One of the most popular rat torture devices entailed placing a rat-filled bucket or container over a victim's stomach, chest or genitals. The container was then heated up, forcing the rats to find an escape. The only escape the rats would have was through the human body and their ability to chew through anything would help them fight their way through the victim to freedom. 

Other versions of rat torture involved bounding the victim and releasing a mischief of starved rats to their exposed face or genitals. The rats would then "feast" on the food provided to them.

4. The Brazen Bull


The Brazen Bull was invented by Perillos of Athens in the 6th century BC. He suggested Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, to use the Brazen Bull torture device as a new method of executing criminals.

It is believed that Phalaris was distgusted by the description of the device and its working, that he ordered Perillos to enter the Brazen Bull and show him how the screams would actually sound.

Once Perillos entered the Brazen Bull, Phalaris ordered that the Bull should be locked and a fire set under it. Perillos screamed and suffered inside the Bull and when he was about to die, he was taken out.

He thought that Phalaris would reward him for this invention, but instead he was thrown from the hull and was eventually killed.

The history of the Brazen Bull torture device was repeated when Phalaris was overthrown by the Telemachus as it was believed that he also died inside the Brazen Bull torture device.

5. Flaying


Flaying actually means skinning. As an execution and torture method, flaying humans was done. When the victim was only meant to be tortured, less skin was removed. This caused incredible pain, but ensured that the victim did not die.

However, if the person was sentenced to death or was captured during war, the victim was nearly skinned completely and kept alive during the process for as long as physically possible.

Apparently Assyrians were even more inventive and they captured the children of their enemies which where flayed before the eyes of their parents.

Flaying was also very popular in China, being used by Sun Hao, Fu Sheng and Gao Heng. These leaders preferred to remove the victim's facial skin and nothing else.

6. The Iron Maiden


Associated predominantly  with the inquisition, the iron maiden was a coffin-like device that was lined on the inside with spikes. The victim would be placed inside the chamber and the executioner would close the door behind them.Â

While many have expressed doubt that it was ever used, it's easy to imagine the fear that this device would have instilled in prisoners.

7. Lingchi


Otherwise known as "Death by a thousand cuts", Lingchi rose to popularity during the 14th century Ming Dynasty. It was reserved for the most severe of crimes and was characterized as the slow and methodological slicing of the body over a long period of time.

This method was slow and painful, because the victim was cut in none vital places to ensure that the torture extended for as long as possible.

8. Scaphism


Scaphism was a method of execution that was designed to inflict a lingering, painful and humiliating death to those who were unfortunate enough to experience it.

The victim would be trapped between two boats or other hollow objects. The victims head, arms and legs were exposed and covered in honey. The victim was then left in the sun or in a stagnant pool. Flies, other insects and rodents would be attracted by the honey on the victims arms, head and legs. The creatures would then proceed to slowly eat the victim over an extended period of time.

The victim would experience unbearable pain and would only die once flies, bugs or rodents caused them to bleed out or eat their brain/heart.

9. The Rack


The Rack is easily one of the most recognizable torture methods from medieval Europe. The victim would have their ankles and wrists tied to the device while two executioners cranked the rack's gears.

The machine would slowly rip the victim apart by stretching their limbs to the maximum they can handle and beyond. The victim would die a painful death.

10. Chinese Water Torture


In Chinese Water Torture, the victim is placed under a slow and continuous stream of water droplets over a long period of time. Eventually the slow and repetitive tapping of water on the victims forehead would be enough to drive them completely insane.

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