The brutal 'Judas Cradle' torture device used to extract confessions
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A brutal form of torture was used to extract confessions - either true or false - from people back in medieval times, and it’s seriously f***ed up.
Honestly, here’s a WARNING – this article contains some messed-up discussion about torture that could be upsetting.
Thankfully, torture is way less legal than it used to be these days, and therefore it’s a thing of the past in most places.
Of course, it still goes on in some places and that is still disgusting, but the days where the tools of medieval tortures chambers could be used to thrash out information from suspects one way or the other are largely gone.
The other day we told you about the ‘Brazen Bull’ which was horrendous enough when it was used in pre-Christian times, but now we’re leaping forward a bit to the time of the Spanish Inquisition and a torture method that was known as the ‘Judas Cradle’ or the ‘Judas Chair’.
The premise is quite simple really, it’s a wooden or metal triangular spike suspended off the floor on stilts, above which the criminal, suspect, or just about whoever really, would be hung up with some ropes.
Believed to have been invented in Italy by Ippolito Marsilli, who was a bit of a student of torture, documenting water torture and the use of sleep deprivation as a torture device, the Judas Cradle - sometimes also called the Cradle of Judah - is thought to have been used extensively during the Spanish Inquisition of the 16th century.
While it was used to extract religious confessions, that’s obviously not the only think it could - and probably would - have been used for.
The pointed tip of the spike would be inserted into an orifice or area, which could be the anus, the vagina or the scrotum, before weights were attached.
As you can no doubt imagine, the pain would have been excruciating.
The victim could then be shaken by interrogators, lifted up and put back down, or have their legs moved.
Honestly, it sounds like the most horrendous experience that anyone could have.
If you were being asked to confess to heresy, this is likely the way they’d get you to admit it.
What’s more, the device was never cleaned, meaning that even survivors could catch horrible infections and die afterwards anyway.
Most people didn’t survive though, as you can probably imagine.
Even if they did, the interrogators probably managed to get a confession out of them, meaning that they’d be punished anyway.
What was that punishment?
You’ve guessed it - usually, death.