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Top 10 Worst Medieval Torture Devices

Updated on September 13, 2015

I am always stunned by how creative we humans are at inflicting devastating and unbearable pain on another fellow human being. Most of these devices serve no other purpose but to torment victims and in some cases, to entertain the torturer and the audience.

So, here are Top 10 Worst Medieval Torture Devices ever created.

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The Top 10 Worst Medieval Torture Devices

The Tongue Tearer
The Tongue Tearer
The Tongue Tearer
The Tongue Tearer

10. The Tongue Tearer

Imagine the best way to silence a person and sent a strong message at the same time. The tongue tearer was a torture device widely used to silence people who committed blasphemy or heresy.

The victim’s mouth would first be forced open and the tongue tearer would be clamped on to the victim’s tongue, the screw at the back would be tighten to make sure the grip on the tongue was firm.

With all his might, the torturer would then yanked the tongue out of the victim’s head. Silencing him for good.

The tongue tearer reaches number 10 as even though the pain is excruciating, it doesn’t kill the victims.

9. The Choke Pear

The Choke Pear
The Choke Pear

Referenced as the Choke Pear, the Pear Of Anguish or the Pear Of The Pope, this torture device was used to humiliate and torment victims who lied, committed blasphemy or homosexuality.

For people who committed homosexuality, the pear would be inserted into the anus or vagina of the victim, the screw at the back would be turned, causing the Pear Of Anguish to expand, tearing open the victim’s… private part.

For people who lied or committed blasphemy, the mouth would be forced open and the choke pear would be placed inside, the same process would occur but in this case, the victims jaw would be dislocated and the cheeks would be ripped open.

The Choke Pear is number 9, as humiliating and painful as it is, killing the victim is very unlikely.

8. Crucifixion


Crucifixion is well known around the world as Christ himself and many others were executed this way.

The victim’s hands and feet would first be nailed on to the wooden cross, gravity would then slowly dragged the victims down the cross, ripping open the hands and feet, causing the wound to widen.

The victim would usually bleed to death or starve. After that, the body would be left on the cross to be served as a warning and a reminder.

The crucifixion is number 8 as the torment can last for hours even days before the victims die. Other than tormenting and killing the victims, it was also used to shame the victims and warn others at the same time.

Judas Cradle
Judas Cradle
Judas Cradle
Judas Cradle

7. The Judas Cradle

The Judas Cradle was created to disgrace and torture victims by slowly impaling them...

The tip of the pyramid of the Judas Cradle would first be inserted into the victim’s private part, usually the anus. The victim would then be slowly lowered down the pyramid. Causing the victim’s rear to be slowly teared open. The victim would be further lowered, causing the tip to pierce through organs and impale the the person.

The Judas Cradle reaches number 7 as it was used to slowly tear open the victims’ private parts, slowly piece through their organs and finally impale them. I think you would have an idea how painful that would be.

6. The Rack

The Rack
The Rack

The Rack was an extremely popular torture device and was commonly used to extract information from victims.

The victims' ankles would firstly be tied on to roller below and the wrists on to the roller above. The torturer would then turn the wheel on the side of The Rack, slowly increasing the tension on the victim’s joint until…*snap*.

And in some cases, the torturer would continue turning the wheel, and literally ripped the limbs out of the victim’s body.

The Rack is number 6 as it not only dislocates joints but it allows the torturer to literally tear the limbs off a victim.

5. The Iron Maiden

Imagine spikes penetrating every inch of your body. Your thighs, arms, throat, eyes… however, the spikes won’t be long enough to cause any fatal injury, allowing the torturer to... have his fun, numerous times.

The Iron Maiden was built for exactly this. The victims would first be forced inside the Iron Maiden and the door would be slammed behind him/her, causing the spikes to penetrate every inch of his/her body, causing intense pain EVERYWHERE.

The Iron Maiden is number 5 because it is able to cause intense pain pretty much eveywhere, not to mention the design is just brilliant.

The Spanish Horse
The Spanish Horse
The Spanish Horse
The Spanish Horse

4. The Spanish Horse

The Spanish Horse is best known for humiliating, crippling and slicing open victims.

The victim would be forced to mount on this simple yet effective torture device. Weights would then be added to both legs to prevent them from falling over and to increase the pressure on the crotch.

The victim would scream in agony as more weights were added to both legs by the torturer, causing the sharp edge to slowly cut into their crotch.

There were even cases where The Spanish Horse actually sliced open the victim when too much weights were added by the torturer.

The Spanish Horse reaches number 4 as it gives the torturer the ability to just cripple the victim, or slowly slice them open.

3. The Brazen Bull

The Brazen Bull
The Brazen Bull

Have you ever had the thought of being roasted alive, horrific isn’t it?

The Brazen Bull was used as a new form of torture and entertainment, the Brazen Bull was made of copper with a horn at the mouth piece to make the victims' scream sound like a bull in distressed.

Spices and herbs are even added to the Brazen Bull to give the roasted corpse a more… pleasant smell. People would gather around the bull and chant as the victim inside the bull slowly gets roasted alive.

Being roasted alive and the fact that this was a form of entertainment secures a place at number 3 for this notorious torture device.

2. The Head Crusher

The Head Crusher
The Head Crusher

Whether it was a fast, painless death or a torture session that can last for hours all depended on the torturer for the next horrendous torture device.

The Head Crusher was widely used in the Middle Ages as it was very effective in abstracting information and it gave the torturer total control of the torture sessions.

The torturer would turn the wheel on top of the Head Crusher, causing the top piece of the head crusher to be slowly lowered, increasing the pressure on the skull with every turn.

In the first few turns, the victims' teeth would be forced into the jaw. Further turning of the wheel would cause the eyeballs to pop out from the victim’s socket as... spinal fluid or brain juice start to leak out of the nose, ears and eye sockets.

Further twisting would result in a badly crushed skull, allowing the ‘contents’ of the head to spill out.

The Head Crusher is number 2 as the torment can last as long as the torturer wants it to last. Simple, effective and brilliant (in a bad way of course).

The Saw
The Saw
The Saw
The Saw

1. The Saw

So simple yet so effective, the saw was used to saw victims in half bit by bit.

It all started from the head slowly sawing through but the torturer noticed the victims died too fast. So they decided to hang the victims upside down instead and started sawing the victims from the bottom, making sure the victim was alive for most part of the sawing and being able to witness his/her own blood and organs slowly spilling out of his/her body.

Giving the torturer full control of the torture sessions, being able to saw victims in half and the fact that it is so simple, secures the saw a place at number 1.


Author's Last Thought

Sometimes it is rather disturbing that one can obtain such pleasure from the suffering of another human being.

I guess the world can be cruel, violent and full of disturbing facts.

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