Cold or red-hot, the four claws slowly ripped to formless masses the breasts of countless women condemned for heresy, blasphemy, adultery and many other “libidinous acts”, self-induced abortion, erotic white magic and other crimes. In various places at various times –in some regions of France and Germany until the early nineteenth century– a “bite” with a red-hot ripper was inflicted upon one breast of unmarried mothers, often whilst their creatures, splattered with maternal blood, writhed on the ground at their feet.
Cat's Paw (also Spanish Tickler)
About as large as four fingers of a man’s hand, these devices, usually attached to a short handle, served to rip the victim’s flesh to shreds and to strip it off the bones, in any part: face, abdomen, back, limbs, breasts.
This torture was known under different names and came in different designs . In the Roman Empire it was called "equileus " or "cavalettus" . The device had a rudimentary resemblance with a horse and had a sharp wedge-shaped upper part on which the victim was lowered .Heavy weights were then attached to the feet to increase the pressure . The inquisitioners refined these torture by using a pyramid-shaped construction , which caused even more pain to the tortured victim.
Other names for this torture : "judas cradle" or "witch's cradle" in english , "veglia" in italian . It was intensively used at the court of the Popes in Rome and Avignon , where it was also called " the mirrors of Venice" : this torture was applied in a room whose walls were covered with mirrors to increase the victims despair as they could see themselves writhing in pain .
Recorded in sources dating as early as the Middle Ages, head crushers enjoy the esteem of the authorities in many parts of the world today. The victim’s chin is placed on the lower bar, and the cap forced down by the screw.
All comment seems superfluous. First the teeth are crushed into their sockets and smash the surrounding bone, then the eyes are forced out of their sockets, and finally the brain squirts through the fragmented skull.
Although nowadays no longer a means of capital punishment, head crushers are still used for interrogation. The modern caps and chin rests are padded with soft materials so as to leave no mark on the victim.
Examples of headcrushers can be seen in the Tower of London and at the Tijuana, Mexico Cultural Center.
This device was a very important accessory for every torturer .
The wooden or iron spikes inflicted heavy pain to the victim
Frequently the chair was built of iron and could be heated up from the back side .
(Modern torture chairs are equipped with electrical current)
The oral, rectal and vaginal Pear
These instruments were used –and still are, no longer ornamented but otherwise not much changed– in oral and rectal formats, like the present specimen, and in the larger vaginal one. They are forced into the mouth, rectum or vagina of the victim and there expanded by force of the screw to the maximum aperture of the segments. The inside of the cavity in question is irremediably mutilated, nearly always fatally so. The pointed prongs at the end of the segments serve better to rip into the throat, the intestines or the cervix. The oral pear was often inflicted on heretical preachers, but also on lay persons guilty of unorthodox tendencies; the rectal pear awaited passive male homosexuals, and the vaginal one women guilty of sexual union with Satan or his familiars.
Mutilation of breasts and female genitalia has been an omnipresent and constant usage throughout history. In so much as the soul of torture is male, male organs have always enjoyed the benefit of a species of immunity. Inotwithstanding certain exceptions, a fact that leads to the hypothesis of a fraternal understanding between male victim and male judge-torturer, an understanding that must have been welded into the nascent primordial mind aeons ago. And since the soul of torture is male, and in the tenebrosity of his unilluminable nature the male is terrified by the mysteries of the female's cycles and fecundity, but above all by her inherent intellectual, emotional and sexual superiority, those organs that define her essence have forever been subjected to his most savage ferocity, he being superior only in physical strength. Hence centuries of witch hunts, with unspeakable methods.
The torture cross
Very brutal torture instrument where the delinquent was fixed with iron shackles at the wrists and the knees and had his neck enclosed in an iron collar . By turning the screw, sharp spikes ( 4.5 cm long) transperced his bowels just underneath the chest , then he had his belly crushed by the descending beam
"Now that ceasless exposure has calloused us to the lewd and the vulgar, it is intructive to see what still seems wicked to us. What still slaps the clammy flab of our submissive consciousness hard enough to get our attention?"...
"...the essence of the worst, the asafoetida of the human spirit is not found in the Iron Maiden or the whetted edge; Elemental Ugliness is found in the faces of the crowd."
-Thomas Harris, Hannibal
Couldn't say it better myself....
Happiness is a moveable feast.
[This message has been edited by bowmore (edited 12-16-2000).]