25 Most Brutal Torture Techniques Ever Devised in History

Posted by on May 22, 2013

Torture has been a brutal reality for many unfortunate people. But the most unsettling fact about torture’s brutality isn’t its existence, but the way people have injected a perverted sense of creativity (and even pleasure) into the creation of devices designed to inflict pain. To prove our point here are the 25 most brutal torture techniques ever devised.



Though 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.


Rope Torture

A 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.



One 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.


The Rack

Designed 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.


Tongue Tearer

Looking 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.