torture instruments

Garrotte Chair

Very common in all the world, the Garrotte received its Spanish name due to its popularity in the area. The Spanish also perfected this instrument to cause a painful and decisive death.

The victim was tied to the instrument and his or her neck forced inside the iron collar. With the handle that can be seen in the picture, the executioner slowly crushed the victim’s neck causing death from asphyxia.

The garrote was widely used during the Spanish Inquisition in order to kill heretics who confessed to their crime. If he didn’t confess, he was burned at the stake alive instead. The reason is that being killed by the garrote takes a few minutes at most, while being burned alive takes much longer.

This device was used in Spain until 1975, when a student was executed. He was later found innocent.


The Heretics Fork

The heretic’s fork was used in the Middles Ages mainly during the Spanish Inquisition.

The instrument consists of two forks set against each other that penetrated the flesh under the chin in one end and the upper chest in the other. As usual, this instrument didn’t harm any vital points; thus avoiding death and prolonging pain.

The victim’s hands were tied behind his back to prevent any chance of escape. The Heretics Fork made speech and neck movement almost impossible and was used after a confession to avoid hearing the victim any further. As can be seen in the picture, a small collar supported the fork forcing the victim to hold his head erect.

Sometimes the victim was incarcerated and subject to this instrument as well. This instrument often harmed the neck of the victim, as well as potentially spreading an infection or disease.


Knee Splitter

The knee splitter, a terrible torture, was mostly used during the Inquisition. What this instrument accomplished was to permanently render the knees useless.

Even though the name implies that this instrument was only used for “splitting” knees, it was also used in other body parts including: the elbows, arms and even the lower legs.

As the torturer turned the handle, the claws slowly slammed against each other mutilating any skin in between. The number of spikes the knee splitter contained varied from three to more than twenty.

There were many variants to this instrument. Some claws were heated beforehand to maximize pain – others had dozens of small claws that penetrated the flesh slowly and painfully.

Even though this method very seldom provoked direct death, it was often followed by other more painful methods if the victim refused to cooperate.


The Pear of Anguish

The Pear of Anguish was used during the Middle Ages as a way to torture women who conducted a miscarriage, liars, blasphemers and homosexuals.

A pear-shaped instrument was inserted into one of the victim’s orifices: the vagina for women, the anus for homosexuals and the mouth for liars and blasphemers.

The instrument consisted of four leaves that slowly separated from each other as the torturer turned the screw at the top. It was the torturer’s decision to simply tear the skin or expand the “pear” to its maximum and mutilate the victim.

The Pear of Anguish was usually very adorned to differentiate between the anal, vaginal and oral pears. They also varied in size accordingly.

This torture very rarely provoked death, but was often followed by other torture methods.

torture instruments

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