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Torture has been around for nearly as long as humans have. Torture has been used as punishment, methods of execution, and as a means of obtaining information.

Here are some painful and creative ways people have been tortured in the past.


33. Fork Me

The Heretic Forks were a two pronged, double sided fork with a collar strapped to the middle. The collar was placed around a victim’s neck, with one end of the fork pressed under the chin, and the other above the collarbone. The torture forced the victim to keep their chin up, or risk piercing their chin and throat.  It was only removed when the wearer spoke the words “I recant.” We recant even.

Ancient Torture Facts

32. Necking

Neck torture often involved a collar with spikes on the inside that was placed around a victim’s neck, rendering them unable to move their necks or risk being pricked.  The victim was made to wear the collar for days on end, enduring unbearable cruelty.

Ancient Torture Facts

31. Tight Lipped

The Scold’s Bridal was an iron masked used to punish those accused of infidelity, prostitution, or witchcraft. The mask would wrap around parts of the head, with a spiked mouthpiece that would prevent the wearer from speaking. Best to just keep your mouth shut with this one.

Ancient Torture Facts

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30. All Thumbs

The Thumb Screw was a vice like device used to crush the fingers and toes of torture victims. Though the device has not stood the test of time, the name has. Thumb screws are now screws with wide, flat, horn like protrusions on the head, resembling the letter Y. They’re called thumb screws because you can tighten and loosen them with your thumb and index finger.

Ancient Torture Facts

29. Been A While

Crocodile shears were crocodile shaped pliers that were heated and used to tear appendages from their victims. The shears were reserved specifically for those caught trying to assassinate the king. The name is likely a play on words, rhyming closely with crocodile tears, which are used to describe a false expression of remorse.

Ancient Torture Facts

28. Chest Pain

One particular torture method was devised specifically for women, called the breast ripper. The pronged tongs would be used to pierce the mammary glands on a woman, and tear the flesh away. If the victim didn’t die of blood loss or infection, they would be horrifically scarred.

Ancient Torture Facts

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