Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Inquisition Museum...or the Medieval Torture Museum of your Nightmares

As we continued through Cordoba, Spain and after the Sephardic Jewish history museum (which I will discuss in my next blog. There's just some reading I want to do about it first) we stumbled upon the Galeria de la Inquisicion. Thinking it might be a gallery of art, we decided to go in. It was open late and had a cheap entrance fee.

Little did we know, it was basically the Museum of Horrors. Practically the Victoria Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors, without the wax people. Or things that were fake. Or things that were not actually used to torture people.

Oh yeah, it was a museum of torture devices used during the Inquisition (not recreations, they were actually used), complete with pictures and explanations on how and why they were used.

And actually, some of these methods were used as late as the 1800s, so some of them aren't even technically Medieval! That is rather terrifying..

So here we go, the torture museum.

Or as this person put it, it was "The Killing Museum."

This blog is not for the weak stomached.  But it's kind of a "I saw this, so now you have to see it too" situation.
This is a chastity belt. These were not used during the Crusades, as legend would say, but began being used in the 1400's.

They had outwardly pointed teeth...
There's Adrienne's reflection, looking horrified at the chastity belt.
This is the Branks, which was an "artistic" form of torture, used to make the accused look fantastical, used from 1500-1800. These were usually used on women, using the phrase, "Let the Women be Silent in Church" as guidance for the punishment. They were women who went against the known traditions and conventions and were punished by wearing these and usually by having their tongues mutilated. They were then walked through angry crowds and eventually beaten to death.

This is the Iron Gag. It was placed around the neck and tightly secured, then that small hole allowed air for the person to breathe but muffled any of the screams. It was used so the accused would not interrupt any of the ceremony with cries of distress.

The interrogation chair.

Something that has been pointed out to me since publishing this blog is that most of the people depicted in the pictures are women.

It does make sense since women were considered carriers of evil (Darn you, Eve!) and were definitely chattel, so apparently they spent a lot of time being tortured. Also women were almost always the ones accused of witchcraft. Poor, poor women.

Women were considered evil because Eve tempted Adam, though as my mother said, "I would call the Adam/Eve incident a case of "Satan just happened to talk to her first."
This is the interrogation chair. It was a normal chair with 2000 spikes. The naked victim would be strapped to the chair with leather straps and then interrogated. If the interrogator was not happy with the answer to a question, he could push down on the accused person to increase the pain.
 This is sideways for some reason, but those are obviously whips.
Something that is clearly horrible. I know that it is horrible because there is a skull placed above it.

This is the head crusher.

The accused, aka the victim's chin was placed on the lower bar and the head shaped part was placed on top of the head.

Stop reading if you get squeamish.

According to the terrifying description on the sign, the teeth were crushed first into their sockets, followed by the surrounding bone. Then the eyes would pop out of their sockets, then the brain would squirt out of all the broken pieces of bone.

Luckily, according to the sign, this is no longer used as a means of capital punishment, but a softer version complete with cap and bar is still used to interrogate people, but is padded so it doesn't leave a mark on the person being interrogated. Good heavens, this is still being used!?!!!?! This is completely horrifying.

To quote "Ever After," "That is positively medieval!"

To the right is the guillotine.

This is the "Barrel of Shame," which people were placed in as a form of shame. Some were closed, so they had to sit in it for forever. Or it was open at the bottom and they would walk in shame around and be insulted and stoned.

It was used on people who drank too much alcohol.

Much more gruesome than the cone of shame.
The Garrotte, where the poor victim was placed in, with the metal ring around their neck. The ring was placed on a crank, which would be turned to slowly suffocate the person in the chair.

 A depiction of the Barrel of Shame.
The Strappado, which I don't think this one is, was just a rope that they threw over the rafters, then they would drop the victim down to dislocate or break all their bones.  Yikes
The real life version of Matilda's Chokey. It makes the Trunchbull look kind and lenient.

The axe was reserved for killing noblemen and kings, since it was a painless way of killing.
Judas' Cradle. Even the sign said it was a terrible form of torture. I don't even want to go into detail. Just look at the picture before to realize how terrible it was. And realize that feet were tied together to make sure the person could be easily moved around circles with that horrible pyramid in unthinkable places. They would be there for hours to days, depending on the person.

Another spiked chair, but this time they would place 2 dead corpses next to the chair to increase the torture.
Umm, yeah so this happened until the 1800's. According to the sign, this needs no explanation, except that people didn't lose consciousness until it reached the navel, or sometimes as high as the breast, because the brain got plenty of oxygen with the person upside down. The sign also said that it was worse than being slowly burned at the stake or being dipped in boiling oil.
There it is. The horrific saw. Remember that these devices have all been used.
This was the Straw Plait, used for women who had gotten pregnant before they were married. Their hair was chopped off and they were condemned to wear the straw hair at the doors of the main churches on holy days.
This is the Ladder Rack. It was used to stretch the person until their shoulders were dislocated. They were then burned with torches on their trunk and armpits. If the person still did not confess, then they were considered innocent.
 Saint Elmo's Belt, which was fastened around the stomach, which caused great injury to the person each time they breathed. It caused gangrene and other infections. Sometimes they would add carnivorous worms to the wounds.

Yes, worms.

Carnivorous worms.
It's another one of those horrible chairs!

Below the horrible pitchfork things is the Spiked Collar, originally intended just for torture, but eventually, due to inevitable infection, began being used as a capital punishment tool. A very slow and agonizing capital punishment tool

There is one that I will not put on here, because I refused to take a picture of it because it's horrible. It's called the Pear of Anguish. I can't even write what this was used for, because it's terrible. You can look it up for yourself if you are interested.

And that's the end of the horror museum. It will haunt you forever. I couldn't have it haunting only me, so this is for all of you. Just remember, all of these were used at some point during the Inquisition. They were not fake pieces.

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