Most Brutal Torture Techniques Ever Devised in History

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Brutal Torture has happened in every age for a variety of reasons.  The human race has a knack for coming up with a variety of different torture techniques.  These techniques sometimes have been kept through the ages, some of them have been retired and not used for ages. Take a look at these brutal torture techniques but you might not want to eat first.

1. Drawn and Quartered

Drawn and Quartered

There may be no gruesome torture technique more famous than drawing and quartering.  This technique was invented in medieval England but continues to popup throughout history.  It was often used as a punishment for treason against England. 

A prisoner would be fastened to a wooden plank and drawn to their execution by a horse.  At the location of the execution they would be hung until they were almost dead.  After being hung the prisoner would undergo emasculation, disembowelment, then beheaded and quartered (chopped into four pieces).

2. Saw Torture

Saw Torture

Before beginning this brutal torture the subject would be hung upside down, causing the blood to rush to their head.  This allowed the subject to remain conscious during the torture.  Once the torturer determined enough blood had reached the head they would saw the victim in half starting at their groin.  Pausing at the abdomen would prolong the torture as often the victim would still be alive at that point but in excruciating pain.

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3. The Head Crusher

The Head Crusher

The Head Crusher involved a victim’s chin being placed in a strap while their head was forced down by a metal cap.  Subject’s eyes often popped out of their sockets while they were still alive.  Death by this brutal torture device was slow and painful.  It could be stopped half way though to create permanent damage.

4. Rat Torture

the rat torture

A cheap and effective way to torture someone with the use of rats. There were many variants to this brutal torture technique, but the most common was to force a rat through a victim’s body usually the intestines as a way to escape.

Rat torture is still used by some mobs, gangs, and organizations to instill fear and punish those that cross them.  Rat torture involves putting a rat on someone’s stomach than covering it with a metal bucket.  The metal bucket is heated causing the rat to need to escape in order to survive.  This results in the rat eating throw the victim’s body in order to escape.

Gnawing the intestines usually resulted in a few hours of excruciating pain and it always resulted in death of the victim.

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5. Spanish Donkey

spanish donkey

This ugly barbaric torture technique came around during the Spanish Inquisition, it is regarded by some as the most brutal torture method ever.  A subject is made to sit on a spiked saw horse. Weight would be gradually added to the victim’s feet as they sat on the v-shaped apparatus until they were split in half by being pulled down into it.

6. Republican Marriage

Who would’ve guessed that there was a preferred method for executing a priest or nun.  During the French Revolution this brutal torture method was used to kill plenty of people, two at a time.  A man and a woman would be tied back- to-back and thrown in ridged water.  If there wasn’t a big enough body of water they would be run through with swords.

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7. Chair of Torture

chair of torture

The chair of torture is the first device on this list that was not lethal. This torture method had many different varaitions. It also had different names, the Chinese torture chair, the torture chair, and the Iron Chair.

This iron chair was coated in spikes and those sitting in it would be strapped down so that they would have to experience the spikes.  Sometimes heating elements would be added under the surface to make this brutal torture experience even worse.

The iron chair torture method originated from Europe in middle ages, though it was used around the world in different variations as well. The number of spikes ranged from 500 to 1,500. It was mostly used in a psychological way to pressurise people to confess their crimes by watching other people suffer. This torture technique would bring about a very slow and painful death, it was probably used more symbolically.

Crimes that used to be punished by the iron chair included adultery, witchcraft, murder, etc.

8. The Brazen Bull

The Brazen Bull

One of the cruelest torture devices out there the Brazen Bull was designed to turn people’s death screams into the sounds of a bull. The Bull was made wholly of brass, and was hollow with a door in the side. The Brazen Bull was invented in Ancient Greece, by Perillos of Athens. Perillos proposed his idea of a more painful means of execution to Phalaris the of Akraga

The Greek had specially engineered tubes to make the screams of the victims sound like the noise of a bull.

A person would be placed inside the metal bull and a fire underneath would heat the bull until the metal turned yellow.  As the person screamed inside their screams were channeled out of the bull in such a way to create the sounds of a bull.

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9. Guillotine


The guillotine might not have been the most gruesome torture in terms of guts and gory but guillotine executions were commonly public and sometimes mandatory for citizens.  Victims of the guillotine were laid down with their head hanging out over a basket.  A rope would be cut and a blade would come down swiftly, severing the head from the body.

10. The Rack

the rack

The rack was first used in the ancient past and it is unclear exactly from which civilization it originated, though some of the earliest examples are from Greece.

The rack is a torture device that consists of an rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied. The victim’s feet are fastened to one roller, and the wrists are chained to the other.

The rack is a well-known brutal torture method which involves stretching people beyond their normal ability.  Wheels at both the top and bottom of a board would pull a victims arms and legs in opposite directions.  Eventually this would result in muscles and bones being pulled out of their positions and potentially permanent damage.  Some people exposed to this device were never able to use their arms or legs again.

In the late Middle Ages, some new variants of this instrument appeared. They often had spikes that penetrated the victim’s back – as the limbs were pulled apart, so was his or her spinal cord increasing not only in physical pain, but the psychological one of being handicapped at best, too.

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