By M. W. Byrne

26 Medieval Torture Devices That Suck

While medieval torture devices were no fun on the receiving end, it can be morbidly entertaining to read about them from the comforts of home. Strap yourselves in, because this ride gets painful, fast!

For those of the macabre mindset, here are 26 fascinating medieval torture devices.

Pear of Anguish

The kindest use was in a person’s mouth where it would ultimately shatter the skull, causing death.


Judas Cradle

The Judas Cradle (also known as Judas’ Chair) is a massive pyramid that would be inserted into the anus or vagina of the victim, who would then be lowered onto it, stretching them out grotesquely.


Iron Maiden

It was an enclosed structure lined with spikes that would entirely surround a person. They would be left inside for interminable amounts of time, unable to do anything but stand, lest they be pierced by the metal protrusions. 


Spanish Donkey

Similar to the Judas Cradle, the Spanish Donkey is a triangular board that a person is forced to straddle, putting their full weight right on the crotch. Weights are then added to their feet until it splits them up the middle.


The Rack

Easily the most famous of medieval torture devices, the rack was used to stretch heretics by pulling on their ankles and wrists, in theory until they rent in half while torturers made a wish.


Spanish Tickler

This is a set of claws meant to dig into the skin and penetrate down to the bone. It is then yanked away, pulling flesh and muscle with it in great chunks.


Iron Chair

The iron torture chair pierced a person’s body at every point of contact. These points would go in deep enough to break the skin, but not far enough to damage any vital organs or major arteries.