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The chair of torture, also known as the witch’s chair, the chair of spikes, the interrogation chair – a commonly used torture device from the Middle Ages contained a lot of spikes or needles that would pierce the skin of the victim everywhere their skin touched the chair. There was no rest, for the wicked or anyone else who sat in this thing. The chair of torture dates back to the Middle Ages but may have been used till the late 19th Century. These implements were used in Germany up until the 19th century, in Italy and in Spain up until the end of the 1700s, in France and in other central European countries, according to certain sources, up until the end of 1800.

This instrument of torture comes in different versions. These chairs have different shapes and sizes, but they were all equipped with spines and immobilization of the victim. All of them have common characteristics, in that they are covered with spikes on the back, on the arm-rests, on the seat, on the leg-rests, and on the foot-rests. The chair itself contains up to 2000 metal spikes in addition to a means of fixing the victim into the chair, and applying pressure to force the person’s body, or appendages more firmly against the spikes. The bars, either made of iron or wood, fastened the victim around the waist, around the wrists, and around the chest or bust. It’s easy to comprehend the effect of the spikes piercing the victim’s body made even more effective by a screw bar system to immobilize the victim and make the pins penetrate more deeply. The seat was often made of iron that could be heated. Some spiked seat had holes to allow the victim’s bottom to be ‘heated’ by hot coals placed under the seat, causing painful burns, but still keeping the victim conscious.

Click here to see full gallery with the different types of the chairs of torture

The victim, always naked, was strapped within the chair using tight leather straps. The initial pain of hundreds of sharp rusty spikes penetrating the flesh could always be increased by the torturer forcibly pressing the prisoner down or back against the spikes. Variations (without spikes) were used to bind the victim so that the torturer could easily baste his or her feet with lard or oil heated by nearby braziers. The victim’s wrists were strapped in to prevent movement, while bars and other movable parts pressed against the limbs ensuring the tips penetrated the flesh deeper.

Click here to see full gallery with Medieval torture of witch on the interrogation chair

While quite painful, the chair itself was not always immediately fatal. A quick death was far from guaranteed. The purpose was to perforate the flesh with a great deal of pain but without immediately damaging critical organs. No vital organs were pierced and the pressure of the spikes themselves plugged wounds, slowing blood loss and often keeping victims alive for a day or more. The victim would be alive until his blood slowly drained out of his body. If the victim has been released, an infection and tetanus killed her in a week or two after their ordeal.

But the strength of this instrument lies mainly in the psychological terror it causes and the threat that the torture will get increasingly worse, conforming to a model where the pain starts off easy and then gets progressively worse. The idea is that the Inquisitors can interrupt it at any stage, upon visual inspection of the damages that have been inflicted. The psychological fear these torture devices aroused was often enough to extract a confession, and victims were frequently forced to watch others subjected to the treatment and witness the pain they too could soon be facing. There are records of people committing suicide before actually being subject to this torture.

A modern ‘improvement’ of this torture device features sending an electric current through the chair – the electric chair ;)
You can see more Medieval Inquisition torture pictures here >


Inquisition World – Medieval torture of witches!


3 Responses to The Chair Of Torture

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  • Stephen Shenfield says:

    Historians are generally agreed that there were never any real witches. These were completely innocent people (mostly women but also some men) accused of absurd offenses in a society soaked in superstitious ignorance and fear. I urge all of you who gain perverse pleasure from the contemplation of such horrors to torture one another to death as soon as possible and thereby eliminate the threat you pose to the rest of us.

  • kevin says:

    I would love to see a girl go therw that so much. As she screams and crys. watch as the nails go deeper in to her soft young skin.

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