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Friday, April 9, 2010

Medivial Torture (Part 2) - Stoning & More

By Yona Williams


Used as a form of punishment and death penalty, stoning involved more than just throwing rocks at a criminal. For instance, women were subjected to stoning mainly as humiliation. If a female was accused of being a whore or involved in witchery, she was tied to the end of a horse and groped.

If the community hated the victim, stones and other sharp (and sometimes hot) materials were placed on the floor so that the woman would suffer extra pain as they were paraded around town. If she were sentenced to the death penalty, death would come within more than an hour as villagers were allowed to scream at and yell insults at the accused. Some grabbed stones to throw at the woman, which often painfully sped up the time it took for her to die.

The Keep Torture

Blending pain and embarrassment, the Keep Torture (also known as 'the Keep') involved being placed into a cage with iron nails and enclosed until they suffered a painful, slow death. Small openings in the cage allowed birds to feed off of the victim, who was unable to fight away predators as their arms were tied with rope.

This form of torture was fit for anyone – it didn’t matter if you were a peasant or a noble. The Keep also humiliated anyone who was placed inside, as the cage was positioned on the main square or even on a church. The entire town could witness the punishment of the victim. After many days of pain and agony, the victim would finally pass out, but it was not uncommon to be awakened by the townsfolk who would throw stones and other objects at the cage.

The torture process of the Keep had varying levels of punishments. In the worst cases, the victim was let down and after a week or so had passed – they were placed in it again. Sometimes, the punishment could last three or four rounds until they were sent to endure another form of torture or they had finally succumbed to the heat of the sun or from being picked at by birds.

The Pear of Anguish

During medieval times, the Pear of Anguish was indeed shaped like a pear, which was used to torture witches, homosexuals, and females accused of inducing a miscarriage. With the turn of a handle, lobes in the shape of spoons would open, causing a victim to endure a great deal of pain.

While the Pear was mostly used to inflict oral pain, it was used in other areas of the body. For instance, women had the device attached to their vagina. If used in the mouth, the victim suffered a destruction of their teeth, which caused blood to pour out of the mouth and in many cases. This part of the torture would lead to their death. When used in genital areas, the Pear caused infection, as it was rarely washed. If infection was not the cause of death, then diseases brought on by severe damage of the intestines caused fatal ruin.


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