A Nerd’s Menagerie: October’s Darkest Week of Terror

Greetings nerdy mortals and immortals to the final week of October. This month has been full of spooky themes and this final week we have chosen a gruesome one full of terror.

Welcome to… Torture Week!

torture week terror

Fair warning, this post is not for younger viewers and more for gruesome horror fans.
We obviously don’t condone of any of these practices.

There is nothing more frightening than people and how horrible they can be to each other. History offers the ultimate proof that fear and hatred inspire people to create nightmarish terrors. The makers of Saw used history to inspire the torture techniques used in the series. That’s right, all of those torture devices and stomach churning moments are real.

Though this ugly side of humanity causes me discomfort, as a curious nerd, history nerd I had to research the worst examples of torture. Jenine decided to join me in the fray. Here are four of the worst torture devices from history.

Rat Torture

Popular during the Elizabethan era, this punishment featured you guessed it, rats. The rats would be enclosed in a cage with one open side which would be strapped against the victim’s midsection. It would then be filled with large rodents and a heating element like hot coals which would be placed on the other side of the cage or on top of the cage. Trying to flee the heat, the rodent(s) would burrow through the victim’s body with fatal results. I can’t even imagine the painfully slow death these people had to endure.

The Brazen Bull

Devised in ancient Greece, the Brazen Bull was a form to execute criminals. The bull was made entirely of bronze or brass, hollow, and with a latch on the side. The victim would be placed inside the bull and a fire set underneath it until it was heated. The victim would then be slowly roasted to death all while screaming in agonizing pain. The head of the bull was designed with a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner’s screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an infuriated bull. According to legend, the victim’s scorched bones “shone like jewels and were made into bracelets.”[4]

Perillos of Athens invented and proposed this horrible invention to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily. Perillos said to Phalaris: “His screams will come to you through the pipes as the tenderest, most pathetic, most melodious of bellowings.” Disgusted by these words, Phalaris ordered its horn sound system to be tested on Perillos himself. When Perillos entered, he was immediately locked in, and the fire was set, so that Phalaris could hear the sound of his screams. Before Perillos could die, Phalaris opened the door and took him away. Perillos believed he would receive a reward for his invention; instead, after freeing him from the bull, Phalaris threw him from the top of a hill, killing him. Phalaris himself is said to have been killed in the brazen bull when he was overthrown by Telemachus. If that isn’t a quick example of karma, I don’t know what is.

supernatural terror

The Spanish Donkey

Also, known as the wooden horse, this torture device was mainly used during Medieval times and the American colonial days. Made out of wood, it is shaped into a triangular shaped plank with wooden legs on either side of the plank to hold it steady. The victim is then placed onto the sharp edge of the triangular plank, straddling it. Weights are then placed around the victim’s ankles, pulling their body weight down further into the sharp edge of the wooden plank.

The Judas Cradle

Most popular during the Spanish Inquisition, the Judas Cradle was similar to the Spanish Donkey. Instead of having the victim straddling a triangular wooden plank, victims were bound with rope and lowered onto a small, but super sharp wooden pyramid. They were lowered down until the tip of the pyramid hits the entrance of the victim’s anus. And then they are lowered further down the pyramid so more internal damage is done to the victim’s body from the bottom up.

If you want to learn of more gruesome devices watch the informative video below.

We’ll be back to our normal happier programming next month, but for now, scream on!

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