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.