Back in the 15th century, during Europe’s Medieval times, torture was considered legitimate. Back then, torture was used for many purposes: to extract confessions, to punish the convicted, or a not-so-direct way to execute them.

During this time, laws didn’t regulate the treatment of prisoners, for this reason, torture was subject to the person who performed it. Many types of torture were used. It often depended on the crime committed, the gender, the age, and in some cases the social status of the convicted. In most cases, the torture ended or even was part of, the execution process. So, I’m sorry to tell you but once you were captured, the probabilities of getting out alive were almost null.

Okay, things are getting dark. From the previous article about the 10 most painful deaths in history, I bring you the 10 most gruesome Medieval tortures.


10. Knee Splitter

via Pinterest

The Knee Splitter was a device that had two spiked woodblocks that were placed in front and behind each knee. The number of spikes would be from three to twenty spikes. The number used depended especially on the social status of the victim. The device would destroy the knee underneath, leaving them completely useless. This torture was used by the Inquisition.


9. Rat Torture

via Medium

Rats have always had a special place in performing tortures. This is because rats can eat anything when they’re hungry. And I mean, anything. The most common way to use rat torture was to tie up the prisoner on any horizontal surface and place a rat on his stomach. Then cover it with a metallic container which would be then heated. The rat, in order to find a way out, would start eating the victim’s body. This “digging” would usually take hours, resulting in a very painful death.


8. Head Crusher

via Arts Station

Well, you might imagine what this one did for its name is pretty self-explanatory. So victims’ heads were put in this vise that would slowly be pressed, cruising the skull and the facial bones. This will cause the person to die, but even if the torturer stopped before death, irreversible permanent damage to the skull was already made.


7. Iron Chair

via Pinterest

As its name states, it was the Iron Chair was a chair made of iron but what made it different from any other chair is that it had hundreds of sharp spikes. It was used by sitting the victims and tieing them up to it. The spikes would break through the flesh. Even though the spikes didn’t penetrate vital organs, a lot of blood was lost, resulting in a slow and painful death that would last hours, sometimes even days.


6. Saw Torture

via Torture Museum

The Saw Torture was more an execution form since it was impossible for the victim to live after being subjected to it. The saw torture consisted of a very large saw which was used by two people on each side while cutting in half the body of the victim. It could be done longitudinally or transversely.


5. Pear Of Anguish

via All That’s Interesting

The Pear of Anguish was a device shaped like a pear made of metal. How it was that made it worse. The torturer would put this device into the victim’s hole, say their mouth, anus, or vagina, and once inside it would open causing severe pain. Sometimes, spikes were inserted at the end of the pear so it would cause worse pain.


4. Breaking Wheel

via Wikipedia

Pretty sure you’ve heard or seen this one in a movie or a book. The Breaking Wheel was used to execute prisoners and it was often used in public, so people would “enjoy” the execution. It consisted of a wagon wheel where prisoners would be tied up and then beaten to death with a club or an iron cudgel.


3. Coffin Torture

via The Coolist

The prisoner was placed inside a caged coffin, completely immobile. They were often put on public display, so people could do whatever they wanted to the immobile accused. The time left inside this coffin was determined by the crime they committed. It could be a day or two, or even a week.


2. Breast Ripper

via Ancient History

The Breast Ripper consisted of four claws whose main objective was to rip the breast of the accused. The claws would be previously heated before used. This was mainly used on women who were convicted for adultery, blasphemy, heresy, or self-abortion. Sometimes the woman didn’t die from this, and would be freed to live her life, but completely disfigured as a reminder of the crime she committed.


1. Judas Cradle

via History Rundown

Okay, this one is the most dread -not that the rest on this list isn’t. The Judas Cradle was a pyramid-shaped seat that would be used by sitting the victim on the pointy top. This means they were forced to rest their entire body weight on the point of the angle. The muscles around the orifice would eventually tear impaling the victim.