Ancient torture devices have a way of striking fear into any heart. Today, of course, we have laws protecting people from cruel and unusual punishment, but back then, it was all fair game. Kings, Queens, tyrants, and priests all had a hand in torturing those they believed were criminals, heretics, witches, and traitors. To extract information from them, pull out a confession, or just to inflict pain, they creatively invented some demented and twisted devices to do it, making modern torture methods look pretty tame in comparison. The poor souls back in those days unlikely lasted long under such pressure, but we likely would confess whatever they wanted in a heartbeat. Here are 25 Ancient Torture Devices That Would Make Anyone Confess.
Widely used in medieval times, the Stocks were made out of two hinged wooden boards with three holes cut out to fit the head and two arms. Sometimes the feet would also be bound. The torture victim would often be left out in public to be humiliated. On rare occasions, they would die from the elements after being left for days.
Used during the Spanish Inquisition, water torture isn’t painful so much as psychologically damaging. The victim would be strapped to a chair where tiny droplets of water would fall on their forehead. Over a long period of time, the anxiety and stress would break the strongest person. MythBusters tested it out and concluded its effectiveness.
The Strappado was also used during the Spanish Inquisition and a unique way of torturing people. Priests would tie the victim’s hands behind their back and then, using the Strappado, lift and hang them in the air. This would pull their arms up behind their back, likely dislocating them. As you might imagine, this was painful, but the priests also had two ways to make it worse. The first was to slightly drop the victim and then stop them, making the rope snap a bit. The other way was to hang weights from their ankles.
Used during the middle ages, The Rack was a wooden bed with four ropes, two for tying the legs and two others for the arms. The victim would slowly have their arms and legs pulled until they dislocated, the bones broke, and sometimes the limb came off entirely. It was used to try to extract confessions from heretics or traitors.
Tean Zu was a form of Chinese torture. It used a device that tied sticks and strings to the victim’s fingers. If the victim didn’t confess or give the information needed, the device would slowly crush and break the fingers.