This week: TORTURE AND HORROR Edited by: W.D.Wilcox
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|THE HORROR OF TORTURE|
Just the thought of torture makes most people squimish, so you can only imagine how the people actually being tortured must feel. Still, there is a place for torture in the Horror Genre, and let's face it folks, it's been around for a very long time and there's no reason to avoid it.
The origins of torture date back to 530AD, when the great Roman jurists espoused the virtues of torture as the highest form of truth. Greek legal orator Demosthenes believed that no statements made as a result of torture have ever been proved untrue. In the 12th Century, Roman Law was revived by officials in Italy and France, to become a source of authority in civil law systems. In criminal proceedings, the accusatorial process was replaced with a structure of prosecution, which required the testimony of two witnesses or the confession of the accused as proof for a conviction. In this way interrogation and torture to extract such confessions became enshrined in the civil law system (the law of the United States incorporates civil procedure).
The practice of torture did have its critics. In the 4th Century, philosophers like Aristotle recognized the true nature of torture that, those under compulsion are as likely to give false evidence as true, some being ready to endure everything rather than tell the truth, while others are really ready to make false charges against others, in the hope of being sooner released from torture. In 1644, Dutch lawyer Atonius Matthaeus II saw past the inherent dangers of mutilation and death to the danger that torture could be used against the innocent. His objections included the affront to natural justice by torturing an innocent and the possibility that the accused persons perception of truth would be skewed under torture.
Don't ask me why, but the whole thing of torture kind of fascinates me a little bit. So, I checked out some sites and found the leading Top Methods of Torture.
Here is the list of the most used torture methods throughout history.....
Chinese Water Torture
Although not painful or destructive in nature, Chinese water torture is often deemed one of the most debilitating torture methods ever conceived. This type of torture was also often used by Spanish Inquisition, as one of the first 'humane' torture methods.
Victims were restrained to a wooden table, and cold or warm water was then dripped slowly onto their forehead, allegedly driving them insane. On a Mythbusters episode, this idea was tried out, and they found out that the combination of restrainment, cold water, and the uncertainty when the next drop will fall, could become maddening after just few hours. Victims could be easily driven insane as they soon started to perceive a hollow space being gradually formed at the center of their forehead.
The Judas Cradle
The Judas Cradle, also known as Judas chair, was a torture device invented in 16.th century Spain. During this torture, the criminal was first positioned in the waist harness above the sharp, pyramid-shaped seat. The point was then inserted into the person, and then the person was slowly lowered by a system of ropes.
The victims were usually naked, adding to the overall humiliation of the torture, and tortured by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice. Sometimes, various weights were tied to the legs, to dramatically increase the pain, and eventually tear muscular tissues of the orifice.
This torture could last from a few hours to several days. The device was never washed, so the torture could often lead to painful infection or even death.
Somebody was really sick when they invented this.
The Thumbscrew was one of the most prevalent interrogatory torture devices of the Medieval Europe. It was a simple vice, with its crushing bars often lined with a sharp metal tooth. It was used to slowly crush the victim's thumbs or other fingers.
The crushing of the fingers was achieved by turning the handle on the top, slowly pushing its toothed crushing bars together. This torture method was primarily used to extract confessions from the prisoners, as it was both extremely painful and very lasting.
In the next stages of the torture, a similar device, called 'the Boot' was often used to slowly crush the person's feet. An affectionate squeeze from this baby was unforgettable.
Similar to Judas's Cradle, but much worse, Spanish donkey (also known as wooden horse) was mostly used by the Spanish Inquisition during the Late Middle Ages. It was a sharply angled wooden device of triangular shape, pointing upward, mounted on a horse-leg like support poles.
The naked victim was then made to sit on the the main board as if riding a horse, and various weights were attached to his or her feet, to increase the agony and prevent the victim from falling off.
According to historical sources, the wedge occasionally sliced entirely through the victim as a result of too much weight being attached to his or her feet.
This device was allegedly used during the American Civil War by Union soldiers, against their Confederate prisoners, who were forced to sit on the donkey until they passed out.
During the Middle Ages, the coffin was one of the most prevalent torture and execution methods, often seen in various movies set in the .medieval Europe The victims were stripped naked, and placed inside a metal cage, roughly made in the shape of the human body. Overweight victims were often forced into the smaller 'coffin',for increased discomfort. The cage was then hung from a tree, gallows or city walls.
Serious crimes, such as heresy or murder, were punishable by death inside the coffin. Victim usually died from thirst, hunger or hypothermia during the course of the next few days. Sometimes, onlookers would throw rocks and spoiled food to the victims, to further increase the humiliation and pain. After the person died, his flesh was devoured by birds and insects, leaving only a skeleton.
However, the coffin was not used only for execution, but also as a temporary punishment for minor offenders, who were placed in the coffin only for few days.
The lead sprinkler was a torture device often used to shower victims with molten lead, boiling oil, boiling water, tar, or acid. It was essentially a ladle placed at the end of a long, iron handle. At first, the upper half of the sphere was removed, and the lower half was subsequently filled with the liquid of the executioner's choice. The perforated upper half was then re-attached, and shaking of the sprinkler showered the victim with the hot liquid inside the ladle.
Another variations of this torture method included pouring molten metal to victim's mouth causing a great deal of pain, serious inner burns, and eventual death. In Mongol Empire, the worst criminals were sometimes punished by pouring molten silver in their eyes.
Who could forget the rack, commonly considered one of the most painful forms of medieval torture?
The Rack consisted of a large rectangular wooden frame, with a roller at one or both ends. Victim was positioned on the frame, his ankles were fastened to one roller and the wrists to the other. As the interrogation process progressed, a handle attached to the top roller was used to gradually stretch the limbs away from the body, resulting in excruciating pain.
The ropes would pull the victim's arms and legs, eventually dislocating his joints with loud popping noises, snapping his muscles and ligaments, and sometimes even ripping the person's upper limbs right off his body.
Even forcing the prisoners to watch someone else being tortured on the rack was often enough to extract confessions.
In the later Middle Ages, a new, even more gruesome design of the rack appeared. Spikes penetrating victim's back were also added, so as the limbs as they pulled apart, also ripped the spinal cord.
The crocodile shears were a torture instrument used in late medieval Europe and usually reserved for men who tried to assassinate the king. These shears were made of metal, based on the concept of pincers. The insides of their hemicylindrical blades were lined with a great amount of spikes.
After being heated to an excruciatingly hot temperature, the crocodile shears were applied to victims. Sounds like a device from hell, if there is one.
You feel queasy yet? Well, here's the #1 torture device.
The Head Crusher
The head crusher was a brutal torture device commonly used only by the Spanish Inquisition. The person's chin was placed over a bottom bar and the head under a uppermetal cap. The executioner then slowly turned the screw, gradually compressing the head between the bar and cap.
At first, the teeth were smashed and disintegrated into the jaw, then the eyes followed. Some variants of the head crusher even included a small containers that received the eyeballs squeezed out of the person's eye sockets. The agony could last several hours, until the victim's brain was finally crushed.
This horrendous instrument was an effective way to extract confessions from the victims, as the suffering could be prolonged to indefinite time, if the executioner chose to. However, even if the torture was stopped midway, the person, although still alive, often had irreversibly damaged brain, eyes or jaw.
In medieval India and Persia, trained elephants were often used to crush the heads of criminals. This practice continued well into the 19th century. The last execution by elephant in Persia was (Louis Rousselet, 1868)
The wickedness of Man has always been with us, and I'm sure that the brainiacs who invented this stuff have their own special place in Hell. But it is fascinating, isn't it?
Until next time,
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This is a great NL as I am struggling to devise the end of my new project. When the FMC changes what does she do with what she learned? What ending will satisfy the reader. I don't want it BLAH I want the SIGH the satisfaction that she got what she wanted but so much more. More what I ask myself. I don't have an answer yet. It isn't a Horror or Mystery either. *Smile*
LJPC - the tortoise
So true, Bill, so true. In fact, sometimes it seems the more famous a novelist gets, the more their quality suffers.
BBWOLF is Armor Monster
There's always trouble out there.
"The Reptilian Chronicles"
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