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The pear of anguish – also known as poire d’angoisser, the spanish mouth pear, the pope’s pears, the choke pear, the anal pear and oral pear – was an iron torture instrument shaped like a pear, which was inserted in the victim’s mouth, anus or vagina. It was used to rupture the sensitive membranes and tissues of these areas. Because it damaged the body only inside body cavities, it was sometimes used to extract “confessions” when there was a need to pass them off as freely given. Used during Medieval Times, the pear of anguish was an extremely painful device used to punish homosexuals, witches and women accused of inducing a miscarriage. The insertion of the pear depended on the crime the victim was accused of, while slanderers and blasphemers would have their mouths mutilated, homosexuals would suffer the same fate on their anus, and women who had induced a miscarriage, or been accused of witchcraft and carnal knowledge of demons would see their vaginas torn apart by it.

Mutilation of breasts and female genitalia has been an omnipresent and constant usage throughout history. Insomuch as the soul of torture is male, male organs have always enjoyed the benefit of a species of immunity notwithstanding certain exceptions, a fact that leads to the hypothesis of a fraternal understanding between male victim and male judge-torturer, an understanding that must have been welded into the nascent primordial mind eons ago. And since the soul of torture is male, and in the tenebrosity of his unilluminable nature the male is terrified by the mysteries of the female’s cycles and fecundity, but above all by her inherent intellectual, emotional and sexual superiority, those organs that define her essence have forever been subjected to his most savage ferocity, he being superior only in physical strength. Hence centuries of witch hunts, with torture methods.
The pear of anguish Medieval torture

Click here to see more photos with insertion of the pear of anguish >

To see more photos of Medieval Inquisition – torture of the witches click on Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Gallery 4.

Fundamentalist ignorance and superstition reached a peak in the 1600′s, instigated by the church, who taught that the Devil was everywhere, and that any undesirable manifestation was the result of witchcraft and devils. Torture was the other form of bringing the convicted closer to God by accepting his sins, and this increased during the Spanish Inquisition. The accused were imprisoned without hearing the charges against them, and kept in stinking dungeons. Once convicted the prisoner was to be shown the instruments of torture and urged to confess in front of the inquisitor and the bishop. It was during this period that such torture device as the pear of anguish became very common.

But despite modern speculation that the device might have been used by the Spanish Inquisition, there is no historical context for the claims. There is no contemporary first-hand account of those devices or their use. The earliest mention is in F. de Calvi’s L’Inventaire general de l’histoire des larrons (“General inventary of the history of thieves”), written in 1639. This mention is referring specifically to the use of the choke-pear in the mouth by robbers. Further mentions of the device appear in the 19th century. The 1811 Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable refers to ‘choke-pear’ as being a tool formerly used in Holland. They were also discussed in a book by Eldridge and Watts, superintendent of police and chief inspector of the detective bureau in Boston, Massachusetts (1897). A vaginal pear appears in Ken Russell’s 1971 film The Devils, where a few implements similar to the vaginal pear are used on an accused witch.

The pear of anguish is a hideously cruel device. As its name suggests, it’s a pear-shaped unit. It has four, two or three segments which opened and closed at the turn of a screw at the top, like a flower opening its petals. A screw inserted between the leaves could be turned to slowly separate the four lobes of the ‘pear’, expanding the orifice into which it had been inserted. Often, the ends of the pear’s segments were fitted with sharp tines. The pronged ends of each lobe ensured maximum damage as they tore into the throat, cervix or rupturing other tissues. The pointed prongs at the end of the segments serve better to rip into the throat, the intestines or the cervix.

This torture very rarely provoked death, but was often followed by other torture methods. It was the torturer’s decision to simply tear the skin or expand the “pear” to its maximum and mutilate the victim. This torture has in itself the implicit idea of inflicting punishment that was opposite to the kind of crime one had been charged with. Causing severe pain, after torture was employed on the mouth, the victim’s teeth would get destroyed, making blood pour out of the victim’s mouth often causing death. If introduced in the anus or vagina, death was a step away. When applied vaginally, the spikes wreaked havoc on the woman’s cervix.

The pear of anguish was rarely washed, thus causing infections very frequently. If the victim didn’t die by an infection however, he would die by other diseases caused by the severe damage of his or her intestines.

Several European towns have “torture museums” where the pear of anguish is put on display. These devices were much more intricately decorated than many other tools of the trade, bordering on works of art. For instance, the pear of anguish from Venice (late 1500′s) consists of bronze segments and key, iron screw. The face of Satan was etched on the screw. It is doubtful, however, that the embellishments made much difference to anyone who experienced the torture of the pear of anguish.

Although the original pear was a destructive torture device, there are fictional accounts of similar devices being used for erotic purposes. The pear of anguish was used and still are in some BDSM play. It is no longer ornamented but otherwise not much changed.


Inquisition World – torture of witches!

To see photos with witches tortured in basements and dungeons click on Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Gallery 4, more >

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