24 Of The Most Brutal And Cringeworthy Torture Methods Ever Used In Real Life.

This article is based on "25 Most Brutal Torture Techniques Ever Devised in History". If you're interested in reading more, check out the link at the bottom of the article.


1. Breast ripper

This method is specifically designed for women. Metal claws are heated and placed on naked breasts. The spikes at the end of the claw slide in and around the breast tissue and pull the breast right off the chest.

2. Republican marriage

During the French Revolution the most popular way to execute nuns and priests was to bind males and females together and throw them into icy water to drown.

3. Crucifixion

Probably one of the most well-known torture methods on this list, crucifixion involves being tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to die. This particular method lasts longer than most as dehydration can take upwards of three days.

4. Coffin method

Victims are placed in a metal cage slightly smaller than the size of a human coffin to make the victim feel cramped and uncomfortable. Then they are hung from a tree or gallow. The goal is for the victim to die of dehydration and starvation but with the added bonus of crows feeding on the body, regardless of whether or not the victim has died yet.

5. Brazen bull

In Ancient Greece this brass bull was used as a particularly entertaining method of torture. The victim is inside a large bull-shaped brass statue. A fire is set underneath until the metal becomes hot enough to roast the victim to death. The bull is acoustically designed so that the victim's screaming sounds like a bellowing bull.

6. Neck torture

In this method a torture device made of metal or wood is designed to fit around the victim's neck. The victim can't lie down, eat, or lower their head without spikes poking into their neck making the entire experience very uncomfortable or fatal at it's worst.

7. Crocodile Shears

These are shears shaped like a crocodile's jaw. The shears are heated before being used to clamp down on a limb and tear it from the body.

8. Hanged, drawn, quartered

As you probably saw in Braveheart, being hung, drawn, and quartered is the worst. During the Middle Ages victims were dragged to their execution and then there were three phases to the execution. First the victim was hung until they nearly died, then disemboweled and castrated. The intestines and genitals were burned in front of the victim and then the victim was quartered: divided into four separate parts and finally beheaded.

9. The Iron Chair

Otherwise known as as the Chair of Torture, this chair has 500-1500 spikes all over it with straps to restrain the victim from moving around too much. A heating element is placed underneath to make the experience extra uncomfortable.

10. Tub

The victim is fed a lot of food and then placed in a covered wooden tub with only their feet sticking out. Milk and honey are poured on their head and then the tub is put out on water or left on land. The milk and honey attract flies to feed and some even find their way into the tub where the food beforehand has resulted in lots of excrement. The victim is eventually devoured by maggots and worms.

11. Heretics Fork

The Heretics Fork consists of a strip of metal with a fork-like prong on either end. The Fork is attached to the victims neck with a strip as one fork points up to the chin, the other down to the chest. The victim is hung from the ceiling and if they fall asleep or lte their hand drop, the fork pierces through their skull.

12. Catherine Wheel

Round and round we go! All four limbs are tied to spokes of a large wooden wheel and the victim is spun around on a spoke. As the victim is spun the torturer hammers the victim's limbs to break them in various places. After all the limbs are smashed the victim is left on the wheel but placed on a tall pole so birds can feed on it's flesh. As with many of the other longer torture methods on this list, dehydration is a long process so it takes a while for the victim to die.

13. Impalement

Popularized by Vlad the Impaler, this vertical impalement starts with the victim being laid down horizontally and having a stake shoved up their anus. The stake is then planted vertically in the ground causing the victim's body weight to slowly slide the body down the stake until the top of the stake pokes through the body.

14. Lead sprinkler

The lead sprinkler is a proper torture device as opposed to a death machine. The sprinkler is filled with lead, tar, boiling water, molten silver, or boiling oil and then the contents are sprinkled over the stomach or eyes to burn and disfigure the victim.

15. Thumbscrew

The title of this torture method speaks for itself. The torturer places the victim's fingers or toes inside the instrument, which could also be lined with spikes, and then turns the handle on top until the appendages are crushed or broken.

16. The Rack

Considered to be one of the most painful torture methods on the list, the rack consists of a wooden frame with two handles: one at the top of the frame and one at the bottom. The victim's limbs are attached to the top and bottom of the frame using rope and the the torturer turns the handle on the frame to shorten the ropes until the limbs are dislocated. This doesn't actually cause death however, so the torturer continues to turn the handle until the limbs are torn clean from the body and the victim bleeds to death.

17. Judas Cradle

The victim sits on a pyramid-shaped chair and their four limbs are pulled down with ropes. Eventually the pulling causes the anus to split open and since the victim is usually naked, infection from previous victims' bodily fluids left on the chair usually causes the death.

18. Spanish Donkey

From the Spanish Inquisition, the Spanish Donkey resembles a donkey in the sense that the victim is placed on the sharp, triangular chair as if they are riding a horse. The chair is off the ground so the victim's feet can't touch the floor but if the torturer adds weights to the feet, the body eventually splits in half.

19. Guillotine

One of the most well-known torture methods in the world, the guillotine was actually considered quite humane because death is so quick. The victim's head is placed on the bottom of a vertical wooden frame with a sharp blade at the top of the frame. The torturer releases a rope holding the blade at the top and the blade comes down to swiftly decapitate the victim.

20. Iron Maiden

You may recognize this device from the movie Matilda. The victim is placed in body-sized chamber but when the door is closed, spikes on the inside of the door impale the victim from every angle. The goal is to scare or slightly injure the victim as the spikes do not protrude enough to go right through the person.

21. Tongue tearer

A mouth opener is used to force open the mouth and then the tongue tearer tightly clamps down on the tongue. A screw on the handle end ensures that the tearer has a tight grip before ripping the tongue out of the mouth.

22. Cement stones

Mostly used by the American mafia, this technique is used by placing the victim's feet into cinder blocks and filling them with wet cement. Once the cement dries the victim is dropped into a body of water and drowned.

23. Saw

The victim is simply hung upside down by the feet and sawed in half from the genitals to the head.

24. Rat torture

The victim is laid on a bed or plank with a 3-sided cage on top of them, the open side facing their stomach. The lid on top is opened and large rodents are placed in the cage. A heating element is then placed on the lid, forcing the rodents to flee the heat by burrowing into the victims body, killing them.


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