It’s crazy to think that these were ever used; I shiver at the idea of torture in any case. To those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, this is definitely right up your alley. The Medieval torture museum is located in St. Augustine, FL, and their “main product is emotion.”

21 Medieval Methods of Torture

#1 – The Brazen Bull

Some say that if left alone and fire stoked long enough, the bones would begin to melt and polish in the heat of the cast iron, creating what looked like opal. The trophys were kept by the Lord’s who conquered the victim.

#2 – The Catherine Wheel

The Catherine Wheel was one of the most commonly used torture devices during the medieval times and was also known as the Breaking Wheel. It was used to crush the limbs and bones of the condemned and often caused prolonged torture spanning multiple days.

#3 – The Chest Cage

The chest of a victim was smeared with some kind of food or fatty grease and an open-bottomed cage was strapped on with a few live rats inside, slowly chewing through the victim’s chest.


#4 – Heretic’s Fork

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.

#5 – The Spanish Boot

The Spanish boot was an iron casing for the leg and foot. Wood or iron wedges were hammered in between the casing and the victim’s flesh. A similar device, commonly referred to as a shin crusher, squeezed the calf between two curved iron plates, studded with spikes, teeth, and knobs, to fracture the tibia and fibula.

#6 – Barrel

The victim would be left in a barrel but still given food and water. Eventually they would urinate and deficate. It would build up under them. Bugs would become attracted to it and eventually start collecting. Leaving maggots, infection, and bacteria to eat away at there legs and bodies. Usually infection would kill them after days and days of rotting away in filth.


#7 – Flagellation

Flagellation, in religion, the disciplinary or devotional practice of beating with whips. Although it has been understood in many ways—as a driving out of evil spirits, as purification, as a form of sadism, and as an incorporation of the animal power residing in the whip—none of these characterizations encompasses the whole range of the custom.

#8 – Impalement

The victim would be stripped, bound with ropes, and suspended above the device. They would then be lowered, usually very slowly, on to the device. Sometimes to prolong torture the victim would be suspended above the device over night, and torture would continue the next morning. The device was rarely, if ever, cleaned. If victims did not die from the device, they almost always died from infection. Torture with the Judas Cradle could last several hours to several days.

#9 – The Torture Table

Tables with limb clamps and various holes were used to immobilize the victims and subject them to further torture.


#10 – Glasgow Smile

This torture method originated in Glasgow, hence, the name. It is also known as the “Chelsea grin”. In this torture method, the victim was given wounds on the corners of their mouth leading up to their ears making the cuts seem like a big, broad smile. Nothing about this method is smile-worthy, but what makes it worse is that the victim was then stabbed so that the wound opens wider and induced more pain.

#11 – Tongue nailing

Tongue nailing was a punishment for spreading gossip, slander, jokes about government officials, etc.

#12 – The Anchor

A metal cylinder, which is open on both sides, with a metal ring bolted to the ground; The convict is forced to stand inside the cylinder, thus immobilizing the lower portion of his body. Then, having been forced to bend over and his hands chained to a metal ring, he’ll spend a few hours in this position. This alone is enough to provoke muscle spasms and other pain. After a very long soothing limb torture, extreme, lingering pain appeared, often leading to injury.

An interesting fact: The “Anchor” is still applied in jails in China. There are even cases of criminals dying from being kept too long in an iron grip.

#13 – Pulling the tongue

The victim is tightly bound and their mouth is forced open (the lower jaw often being fixed by a special hook). The tongues used were burning hot (enough to cause unbearable torture alone). The executioners do not stop when pulling the tongue out – often times, they kill the victim.

#14 – The Spanish Horse

A naked victim is tied up and fixed onto the horse so that his feet can’t touch the ground. To enhance pain at this stage, torturers can pull the ankles in different direction, or tie on additional weights. If that was not enough to make one repent his sins, the victim’s soles were splashed with hot ashes or tickled with fire.


#15 – Judas Cradle

Victims are lowered onto a wooden or metal pyramid shape hang you above it then slowly lower you down with weights.


#16 – Beheading

Beheadings were originally really messy and took several swings. Even skilled headsmen would take at least two or three swings depending on if it was a sword or ax. That’s why the guillotine was built.

#17 – Burning out the Eyes

This one is self explanatory. Bonus: The Scold’s Bridal diagram in the background:
A scold’s bridle, sometimes called brank’s bridle or simply the branks, was a punishment device used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation. It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. The bridle-bit (or curb-plate) was about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue. The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible.


#18 – The Gallows

This was a structure that would normally be built with two vertical pieces and a crosspiece. Commonly reserved for criminals, their hands and occasionally their feet would be bound as a noose was tied around their neck, connecting them to the crosspiece via the same rope the noose was tied from. The criminals would then be suspended only from their necks – which would often break in the process – and left to hang until they died of asphyxiation.

#19 – The Breaking Wheel

Bones were crushed with the wheel, then the person was woven through the wheel (possible to no more intact bones), they were then hoist up to die in the sun.

#20 – Metal Gossiper’s Violla

This device was used in Europe since the inquisition for “soft” penalty (individuals accused of slander and/or spreading gossip)


#21 – Head Vice & Hand Vice

No explanation needed for these…

Stay creepy, friends.