Sawing a Woman in Half Wasn’t Out of the Question.
“I want to play a game.” Let’s hang you upside-down and cut you in half starting at your genitals. Unlike the Saw movies, there is no way to get out of this nightmare. This method of torture was used during the middle Ages as an economical way to bring about the greatest amount of pain with the least amount of effort. All you needed was two-person saw, no moral compass, and a very strong stomach. Women who were accused of witchcraft, adultery, or blasphemy would be hung upside-down with their legs spread apart. Because the all the blood rushed to the victim’s head, they would typically be conscious as the saw ripped through their body. Sometimes the process lasted hours before the executioners eventually cut the entire body in half. Or, they stopped at the abdomen to prolong the excruciating death.
The Pear of Anguish Was Used on Women Accused of Abortion
This torture device’s name speaks for itself. The pear of anguish, named for its resemblance to the fruit, was a grisly torture device used during medieval times and into the 17th century. The metal instrument was divided into four petal-shaped segments that opened when a corkscrew lever was turned at the opposite end. The primary victims of this device were women accused of witchcraft and abortion. The pear of anguish was inserted into the vagina and would be gradually cranked opened, tearing apart the woman’s reproductive organs. The instrument was also used on suspected homosexuals. It was later modified to be forced into the mouth of people accused of heresy. It would be expanded till it broke the jaw bones of the victim.
Chastity Belts Were a Method of Control Used by Overbearing Husbands and Fathers
Although chastity belts weren’t necessarily meant as devices of torture, they were meant to place a lot of discomfort on girls and women. These women were usually the victims of overbearing fathers or husbands. The belts are thought to date back to the Crusades when they were used as a rape preventative. The first known recorded usage of the belt dates to 1405 in Florence, and its various forms were used until 1930. Chastity belts were meant to prevent not only sex but to keep the woman from masturbating. The metal belt was attached to the woman’s pelvis and could only be removed by another person. Sometimes, the openings covering the genital orifices would have inward-facing spikes. These spikes would rip apart the unwelcome penis of a man who was dumb enough to try to have sex with a woman wearing one of these things.
The Iron Chair Was a Hot Seat for Women
The Iron Chair is probably the most uncomfortable piece of furniture you can own. The victim would be strapped to a chair covered in hundreds of razor-sharp spikes. They would be forced to sit there for hours until they eventually bled out. The device was primarily used during medieval times and was used by both sexes. However, women were more likely to be subjected to a particularly atrocious aspect of this chair. Medieval executioners took the expression “lighting a fire under someone’s a**” literally. Underneath the metal seat, there was a compartment meant for kindling a fire. Women were slowly roasted to death as blood spurted from every pore in their body. Yikes.
Catherine’s Wheel Couldn’t Kill St. Catherine
Catherine’s Wheel is a ghastly form of capital punishment from medieval times. It was a large wagon wheel sometimes covered in spikes. The unfortunate victim would have their backs strapped to the device and was then bludgeoned to death. It is associated with the execution of Saint Catherine of Alexandria (circa 305 B.C.). During the persecution of Christians under emperor Maxentius, Catherine, a devout follower, was imprisoned and sentenced to die on a breaking wheel. According to legend, when Catherine touched the wheel it broke in half. Running out of fancy execution methods, Maxentius had Catherine beheaded. Nearly 1,000 years later, Joan of Arc claimed to have heard voices from Catherine, who inspired her on her own path to martyrdom. The iconography of Saint Catherine usually features the broken wheel.