After explaining in certain way how did Spanish Inquisition work, I will start with the funniest part of all this story.
Most ways of getting a confession were sex related. These guys were quite obsessed with that. If you remember this, I said in my latest post that women deserved the worst and most perverted tools and tortures. Not kidding if I say torture chambers look a lot like BSM sessions rooms. Even when it’s only an exhibition, you can feel shivers up and down your spine as you enter those dungeons without windows or just little holes with iron bars. Those black old stone walls and that floor where you know hundreds of people were tortured to death, smashed, kicked, cut in pieces, abused and dismembered.
I bet some of you readers already know these instruments, or maybe just a few of them. Anyway, I’ll show and explain some of my favorite ones. All info I’ve found about Inquisition and torture in English is somehow sweeter than all info you can find in Spain.
Here goes my top 10:
- Cat claws: These were used to tear prisoner’s flesh, sometimes they even teared flesh from bones, producing terrible pain while scratching them. They used to start ripping breasts when it was about women.
- The Saw: This was one of Inquisitors favorite ways of torturing and punishing homosexuals. In France, this was the way of punishing witches, specially those ones who were expecting Satan’s babies.
Lutherans in Germany used the saw against rebel peasants. Way of procedure seems quite obvious, they used to tie victims by binding their ankles and hanging them upside down. This procedure had double purpose: starting from their sinner sexual attributes and avoiding massive blood loose.
This way, victims were alive until saw arrived to navel or even to chest as described on several documents from XIX Century.
- The chair: Once again, victim had to be nude after siting down here. Take a look at those nasty spikes, I bet they were all rusty, dirty, full of dry blood from previous sinners. Just try to imagine yourself sitting down there.
Victims were tied to chair and you can bet they didn’t move an eyebrow. Inquisitor started making questions as a court clerk was writing all the process.
If inquisitor was not happy with victim’s answers, he ordered executor to hit that damn sinner. This way, spikes got deeper into flesh. In some trendy dungeons they even had chairs made completely from iron. Then inquisitor could ask executor to heat the chair and this way, torture was even more painful. Needless to say most prisoners confessed even if they were innocent. Depending on inquisitor’s mood that day, prisoner could be sent to stake or just end his days inside a dirty, cold black hole where they usually died after infections, gangrene and other illnesses invaded their bodies.
- Rat torment: Was specially exquisite. Was popular between inquisitors, but use of this way of torturing is known since Ancient China times.
It was all about putting a rat on victim’s belly and over it, a kind of bottomless cage. Executors used then different ways of getting the rat angry: annoying it with hot sticks or putting hot coals in an special place over the cage, intended specially for that. Of course rat wanted to escape from heat and abusers and started biting and scratching prisoner’s belly until it reached guts or even finding an exit on the other side. I bet it was painful as hell having a rat scratching, biting and ripping your body from the inside.
- Punitive spiked collar: No, I’m not talking about one of those spiked collars for Bulldogs… This torture device was a 12lb collar made of iron. It had sharp spikes all over it as you can see on pictures. It was used putting it around victim’s neck and then closing it.
This device was intended as torture tool, but it also became a way of a slow, painful execution as abrasion provided by those spikes made them get into flesh and bones on neck, sleeves and jaw. Progressive gangrene, infections, fever and bone abrasion, specially over neck disks killed prisoners in a relative short time.
- Water method: Yup! Water… Prisoner was tied to a table or lying on the floor. Then executor, using a funnel, started dropping water inside victim’s mouth. Slowly while inquisitors waited for a confession. The amount of water could easily be about 3 gallons which produced nausea and sometimes, stomach blast.
But hey, they even had a way to make it funnier! Salty water, urine, dirty water were also given to prisoners. But more fun was available: when prisoner was tied up on the floor and belly looked obviously full of water, they started jumping over him.
You can imagine how did these improvised jumping beds end up.
- Crib: This one could easily be an improved version of Judas crib. Victim was tied with heavy chains and forced to sit down on a wooden crib with sharp metallic or wooden edge. Body weight, plus chains and heavy iron balls usually tied to ankles made that edge go deeper and deeper on victim’s body until it caused death by blood loose. There were some versions of the same crib but I’ll picture the one I’ve just described and then another version where victim had to lie down in a very uncomfortable position that not only made sharp edge cut his/her body but also had spikes on one side. Those spikes were big enough and strategically put so they could get stuck into victim’s eyes or mouth causing even more pain.
- Wheel of truth: This device looked a lot like a common barrel. Victim was tied to it facing barrel using those iron devices you can see on picture.
Then executors started to spin the wheel so victim got dizzy and after that, the most common torture was to put hot coals under the barrel to produce pain and flesh burns.
Another version included big nailed wood pieces, so flesh got ripped every time executor made wheel turn.
- Hanging cages: It was very common to see these devices hanging all over European urban locations until late days of XVIII Century.
This method was used to punish and kill criminals found guilty of any offense requiring everybody to see what could happen if they commited same crime.
It was also used to punish criminals whose offenses created commotion between citizens. Prisoners were enclosed there nude or barely dressed. No food, no compassion… just hanging there to die starving and thirsty, frozen during winter and with severe sunburns during summer. Sometimes, cats were introduced into the same cage and annoyed to make them bite and and scratch prisoner.
People was also allowed to stone, hit and throw whatever they pleased.
Cages were designed in a way it was impossible to victim to move, sit down or have any way of releasing joint pain.
- Iron Maiden: These wooden coffins were exquisite pieces of art carved on the outside with rich designs. There were different kinds of Maidens with nails strategically placed to cause more pain and damage to different organs. Some of them even had removable spikes to be placed wherever executer pleased.
Door could be closed slowly or fast and what happened on the inside was a slow and painful agony bleeding and being unable to move due to those metallic sharped spikes.
Some people say Bloody Countess used these iron maidens to get blood from her victims.