Torture used to be considered a legitimate way to punish, instil fear, extract confessions and execute a human being. Some methods considerably harsher than others, here are 10 torture methods that cause almost certain death.
THE LEAD SPRINKLER
Looking like an innocent sprinkler, the lead sprinkler was Usually filled with molten lead and was used to torture victims by dripping the contents onto their body. A common way to execute a victim was by pouring molten silver on his eyes. This caused a great deal of pain and eventually provoked death.
THE BREAKING WHEEL
The breaking wheel was used to torture and kill prisoners for public executions. The victim’s limbs were tied to the spokes of a large wooden wheel which would then be slowly revolved as the torturer simultaneously smashed the victim’s limbs with an iron hammer to break them in numerous places. The victim would be left so the birds could feed on their flesh while still alive.
The rack is a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one or both ends. The victim’s ankles are fastened to one roller and the wrists to the other. Once the victim was bound the torturer would proceed to turn the handle. Eventually, the victim would be stretched till his limbs where dislocated.
THE SPANISH DONKEY
The Spanish donkey involves the victim being put astride a donkey-like apparatus, which is actually a vertical wooden board. Weights would often be added to the victim’s feet until finally the wedge sliced through the victim’s body.
THE BRAZEN BULL
Also known as the Sicilian bull or bronze bull, the brazen bull was a hollow brass statue crafted to resemble a real bull. The victim would be placed inside and 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.
HANGED, DRAWN AND QUARTERED
Convicts were fastened to a wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution. They would then be hanged almost to the point of death (hanged), followed by disembowelment and castration where the entrails and genitalia are burned in front of the victim (drawn). The victim would then be chopped into four separate parts and beheaded (quartered).
Lingchi, also known as slow slicing or “death by a thousand cuts” reserved for the most severe of crimes. Slices of flesh were systematically removed from the body of the condemned, while the executioners were to make as many cuts as possible without killing the victim.
In this method, the victim is hung upside down, so blood rushes to their heads and keeps them conscious during the long torture. The torturer would then saw through the victims’ bodies until they were completely sawed in half.
The victim would be smeared on their skin with a large quantity of milk and honey, with some accounts suggesting that it would especially be applied around the genitals, anus, eyes, nose and mouth. They would then be sandwiched between two boats with their head and legs protruding. The entire contraption would then be left in the sun or floated on a stagnant pond, attracting insects which would eat and breed within the victim’s exposed flesh, which. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation, and septic shock.
The most favoured method of execution by Vlad the Impaler in 15th century Romania. The victim would be forced to sit on a sharp and thick pole. The pole as raised upright and the victim was left to slide down the pole with own weight. It could take the victim up to three days to die using this method.