25 Most Brutal Torture Techniques Ever Devised

Posted by on May 22, 2013

Ever since man has been in the business of seeking vengeance, torture has been a reality for war criminals, prisoners, and other less than fortunate individuals. In fact, the most unsettling thing about torture isn’t its existence, but the way people have injected a perverted sense of creativity into the creation of devices designed to create pain. To prove our point here are the 25 most brutal torture techniques ever devised.

25

The Tub

The TubKnown as the punishment of ‘sitting in the tub,’ the convicted person would be placed in a wooden tub with only their head sticking out. After that, the executioner would paint their faces with milk and honey; and soon, flies would begin to feed on them. The victim was also fed regularly and would end up swimming in their excrement.  After a few days, maggots and worms would devour their body as they decayed alive.
24

The Brazen Bull

The Brazen BullAlso known as the Sicilian Bull, it was designed in ancient Greece. A solid piece of brass was cast with a door on the side that could be opened and latched. The victim would be placed inside the bull and a fire set underneath it until the metal became literally yellow as it was heated. The victim would then be slowly roasted to death all while screaming in agonizing pain.  The bull was purposely designed to amplify these screams and make them sound like the bellowing of a bull.
23

Impalement

ImpalementGiven his name, it should come as no surprise that this was the most favored method of execution by Vlad the Impaler. In 15th century Romania; the victim was forced to sit on a sharp and thick pole. When the pole was then raised upright, the victim was left to slide down the pole with their own weight. It could take the victim 3 days to die using this method and it has been said that Vlad once did this to 20,000 people all while enjoying a meal.
22

Heretics Fork

Heretics ForkThis torture device consisted of a metal piece with two opposed bi-pronged forks attached to a belt or strap. One end of the device was pushed under the chin, the other to the sternum, and the strap was used to secure the victim’s neck to the tool while the victim hung from the ceiling or was somehow suspended so that they could not sleep. If their heads dropped, the prongs would pierce their throat and chest.
21

Neck Torture

Neck TortureHumiliating and painful, this punishment was something of an endurance test where the victim would be hooked into a neck device, either made of metal or wood, which prevented the victim from adjusting into a comfortable position. The cruelty of this punishment lie within the fact that they were unable to lie down, eat, or lower their head for days!
20

Crucifixion

CrucifixionPrincipally practiced in antiquity, though it remains practiced in some countries today; it is one of the  most well-known execution methods due to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a deliberately slow and painful execution where the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until they die, which usually takes days.
19

The Judas Cradle

The Judas CradleClosely related to impalement, this gruesome punishment entailed having the victim sit on the pyramid-shaped cradle, after which they would be forced down on it by ropes with the intent of stretching the victim’s orifice over a long period of time, slowly impaling them. To add to the overall humiliation, the victim was usually naked and the device was rarely washed.  So if the torture did not kill you, the infection contracted from it would.
18

Lead Sprinkler

Lead SprinklerUsually filled with molten lead, tar, boiling water or boiling oil, it was used to torture victims by dripping the contents onto their stomach or other body parts like the eyes. Using this device the torturer would proceed to pour molten silver on the victim’s eyes which resulted in agonizing pain and eventual death.
17

Iron Maiden

Iron MaidenThis torture device consisted of an iron cabinet with a hinged front and spike-covered interior, sufficient enough to enclose a human being. Once inside its conical frame, the victim would be unable to move due to the great number of steel spikes impaling them from every direction. The interrogator would scream questions at the victim while poking them with jagged edges.
16

Coffin Torture

Coffin TortureThe most preferred torture technique in the Middle Ages was known as coffin torture.  This method involved placing the victim inside a metal cage roughly the size of the human body; hence the name. The torturers also forced overweight victims into smaller cages to heighten their discomfort as they hung from a tree or gallows.  Generally, they would be left there until the crows came to feed on their remains.
15

Thumbscrew

ThumbscrewThough there are many variations of this torture device, the thumbscrew or ‘pilliwinks’ all function the same. They were designed to slowly crush not only the fingers and toes, but larger devices were also used to crush knees and elbows. There is also the Head Crusher, which could do the same for heads. It’s primary intention was to extract confessions from victims and it was first used in medieval times.
14

Rope Torture

Rope TortureA rope is the easiest to use of all the torture devices since it is easy to find and can easily be fashioned to inflict a number of terrible retributions. For example, it could be used to tie the victim to a tree leaving the victim exposed with no way of defending himself from animals or other humans;  it could be used to hang victims at the gallows for entertainment purposes while ultimately inflicting death; and it could be fashioned to restrain the victim’s limbs while attaching the other end to horses who would them be made to run, consequently severing the limbs.
13

Guillotine

GuillotineOne of the most notorious forms of executions, the guillotine was made of a razor sharp blade attached to a rope. The victim’s head was placed in the middle of the frame as the blade dropped, severing the victim’s head from the body. Since the decapitation was considered to be an instant and painless event (at least less painful than the other torture methods), it was often considered the most humane method of execution.
12

The Rack

The RackDesigned to dislocate every joint of the victim’s body, it was believed to be the most painful form of medieval torture. This torture device was made out of a wooden frame with two ropes fixed to the bottom and the other two tied into the handle on top. Once the victim was bound and placed on top of the rack,  the torturer would proceed to turn the handle.  Eventually, the victim would be stretched till his limbs where dislocated.  The torturers, however, (just to make sure those limbs where indeed dislocated) would continue to turn the wheel until the limbs where completely torn off the victim’s body.
11

Tongue Tearer

Tongue TearerLooking like an oversized pair of scissors, it could effortlessly cut the victim’s tongue. Their mouth would be forced opened with a device called a mouth opener, and then the iron tongue tearer would uncomfortably twitch the tongue with its rough grippers. Once a firm hold was maintained, the screw would be firmly tightened and the victim’s tongue would roughly be torn out.
David Pegg

About

After helping found the United Nations, the United States, and United Airlines, David consigned himself to a transient life of writing lists and sleeping on park benches.

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  • douglasawillinger

    Most or all of these torture methods came out of the Roman catholic Church or its twin whore of Moscow’s ‘Orthodox’ church, yet people continue to follow such filthy religions.

  • truetolife

    Obama at least used the Democrats in Congress to inflict Obamacare in the country

  • Morgan Witt

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned before but I don’t believe any record of the Iron Maiden being used as a torture device exists — it didn’t turn up until it appeared in 19th century museums that housed torture devices. Same goes for the “Judas Chair”.

  • Joy

    Guillotine not torture, Just simply death. Going without sleep for multiple days however…. Or being told that your wife is being raped in the next room…. Much more effective way less mess

  • Bill

    The Apache had a torture where they would bury you up to your neck in a ant mound. Then they would cut off your eyelids and lips and pour cactus juice over your head. The ants would have a field day with you unable to stop them.

  • 1DireWolf

    I read that The Brazen Bull was invented by Perilaus of Athens (a Brass worker) in the 6th Century BC and offered to Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, as a gift it so disgusted Phalaris that he tricked Perilaus into getting inside and make groaning noises to see if it really sounded like a bull. Once Perilaus was inside Phalaris locked him in and lit the fire. Perilaus was removed from the bull before he died and Phalaris had him thrown off of a cliff.

  • RustyNail88

    #8 seems hardly brutal. Just drowning. Can’t imagine that being nearly as tortuous as everything else.

  • Josh Daniel

    no Chinese water torture?

  • Silly Lily

    oh my god! thats disgusting!!! who would leave someone to be eaten by crows!?! NO JUST NO!!!!!!!!

  • Jim

    The vaginal, rectal and oral pear was also not shown. These were particulary cruel and infamos mechanical devices that either killed or caused infections that killed when gradually twisted open inside e particular oriface. A sharp claw at the end of each leg slowly ripped the tissues of the vagina, rectum or throat of the victim. Particularly gruesome.

  • Mr1Man

    In what universe is the guilettine worse than impalement?

  • jZhang1029

    *cough*
    Uh, I just came here to get some ideas for a fanfiction I’m writing, and…uh…
    Wow.

  • jar3 jar3

    wow!!! i would really like to hear an explanation behind that comment. there are days that i hate people but i dont think there should be a mass genocide. but please explain.

  • tiedtotheair2

    I posted the following several times in response to the debate about what was the worst torture. Apparently my suggestion is the worst since the “Post Control” on this site finds it too torturous to even allow it to be posted. However I will try again, as mine is a true story based on the direct conversation with an eye witness to the worst torture that man has ever applied and received.

    “My grandmother used to
    make my cousins and I scratch her back with combs. I remember her taking a
    piece of sand paper from me and impatiently handing it to my older cousin
    because I was not scrubbing her back hard enough. I asked my Dad why we had to
    do this and he said “It makes her forget”… Forget what? I asked my
    grandmother herself, several times and she would only say “it eases the
    pain”, it takes away the hurt”. It was my great aunt, my
    Grandmother’s younger sister who told me that their mother “Carol”
    who was born a slave, was beaten until the skin was ripped off her back in thick long
    chunks. My grandmother was three years old and made to watch…. Obviously this
    was some kind of psychological thing going on. I was eight years old when my
    great aunt told me that while she raked Mama’s back with her fingernails. My
    grandmother at that time was 96 years old…. So, I surmise that SLAVERY itself
    is the very worst form of torture, for it lasts a lifetime instead of mere
    hours or days…”

    • jar3 jar3

      thats a real bummer i think that that is the reason why most places have got rid of slavery

  • tiedtotheair2

    My grandmother used to make my cousins and I scratch her back with combs. I remember her taking a piece of sand paper from me and impatiently handing it to my older cousin because I was not scrubbing her back hard enough. I asked my Dad why we had to do this and he said “It makes her forget”… Forget what? I asked my grandmother herself, several times and she would only say “it eases the pain”, it takes away the hurt”. It was my great aunt, my Grandmother’s younger sister who told me that their mother “Carol” who was born a slave, was beaten until the skin was ripped off her back in long chunks. My grandmother was three years old and made to watch…. Obviously this was some kind of psychological thing going on. I was eight years old when my great aunt told me that while she raked Mama’s back with her fingernails. My grandmother at that time was 96 years old…. So, I surmise that slavery itself is the very worst form of torture, for it lasts a lifetime instead of mere hours or days…

  • Diego Canale

    water-boarding is missing…used by intelligence agencies and very effective for interrogations.

    • jar3 jar3

      thanks to our “wonderful” president its now a lot harder to get info from terrible people doing terrible things.

  • Calous Mihai

    Empaling was invented by the otomans, not by Vlad the Impaler. Vlad grew up at the otoman court and learned it from them only to use it on the same people that thought it up :D

  • Dan

    It should be obvious that Republican Marriage is the worst..

  • Pamala Camm

    They should use thease methods when it come to people hurting and raping kids and other people.

    • jar3 jar3

      not according to all the bleeding hearts who say that rapist and murders still have rights

  • Arnie Stimpleton

    Terry Anderson: Yes, you should elect yourself to die as soon as possible. Get to it.

    • Terry Anderson

      I elect YOU to die. With a queer assed name like “Arnie”, you should be the first to go…

      • Tylek T’sarran

        Wait.. did Terry just call Arnie’s name gay?

  • Aidan Harper

    The iron maiden has never been used.

  • Jürgen Erhard

    Yeah, at that point I stopped bothering with the rest. Hurt the credibility of the whole piece.

  • Tiago Duke

    This executions must be performed in some,assassins and rapers.

  • Tessa Shillabeer

    I find the stupidity and ignorance in these comments both staggering and entertaining.

    • jar3 jar3

      are you for or against death penalty?