The creation of torture devices has become a perverse creative outlet for many over the centuries. Hundreds of years have shown the brutality of torture devices and torture methods used around the world to punish many unfortunate people.

10 of the Most Brutal Torture Devices Ever Created


The Brazen Bull

The brazen bull is thought to have been invented by the Greeks to provide punishment as well as entertainment. The condemned would be tied up, then be placed inside the belly of the brass bull statue. The fires lit around the outside would seer whomever inside, causing them to scream really loud and make howling noises almost like the noise a bull would make. This gave the appearance that the bull was alive, giving the audience the amusement of watching the bull without witnessing the brutality of the punishment.


The Rack

Used for centuries throughout Europe, the rack used many variations of torture methods. The main gist of the rack was to dislocate or completely separate the limbs from the body. The victim was tied down to a central location while each of their limbs was tied in another direction. The ropes on the four limbs would then be tightened causing excoriating pain until the limbs were dislocated or disembodied. Some versions even use a wooden horse, where the person was tied to the top of the horse while pulleys pulled the limbs down until they were dislocated, then the prisoner was questioned. Many other forms integrated other torture methods alongside this one.


The Iron Maiden

This torture device used to be thought only as a myth, until researchers in the 1800’s discovered proof that it existed. This device was sarcophagus like with double doors that opened so the prisoner could enter. Each door had several spikes protruding that would target specific vital organs, with two spikes directed at the eyes. These spikes were not long enough to cause immediate death; instead the victim would endure hours of excruciating pain while they slowly bled to death.



Speaking of impalement, Vlad the Impaler is notorious for that. It is said that Vlad would enjoy meals while impaling up to 20,000 victims. This was his favorite form of execution and caused endured suffering. After the victim was seated on a sharp, thick pole it was raised upright until the victim began to slide down the pole. Depending on the weight of the victim, this could take up to 3 days to slowly kill them.


The Saw

Today’s saw had its start as one of the most horrid torture devices. This torture method involves hanging the victim upside down and sawing them in half. This was the mainstay for an execution in the early days. Hanging the victim upside down allowed all their blood to rush to their head, keeping them alive and conscious much longer. The executioners would then begin sawing them in half between their legs. Most of the victims remained in and out of consciousness until the saw hit their midsection, then they would die.


The Head Crusher

Just as its name alludes to, this was a torture method for crushing the head. The victim would place their chin on a metal bar at the bottom and their head under a cap. As the executioner turned the screws, the cap would slowly crush the head causing the brain to ooze out and the eyes to explode. It also crushed through teeth and bones.


The Wheel

The wheel was Germany's favorite method of execution during the Middle Ages. The victim was tied to the wheel with each limb and major joint tied to one of the crosspieces. The torturer would then start hammering on each crosspiece with an iron wheel. After the limbs were busted and disjointed, they would be woven into the wheel and the victim would be placed on display until they died.


The German Chair

Prisoners of the civil war in Syria are all too familiar with one of the most horrid torture devices known as the German Chair. Prisoners are placed in a metal chair with their legs and arms secured to the chair. The back of the seat is then pulled down causing severe damage to the spine, neck and limbs. If your back doesn’t break, you are super human. One prisoner, Joseph Hallit who was detained in 1992, still has scars from where his flesh was torn so deep that the nerves could be seen.


The Tucker Telephone

One of the torture methods used in Tucker State Prison Farm during the 1960’s is now known as the Tucker Telephone. When the prisoner was punished, they would have a ground wire tied to their big toe and a hot wire tied to their genitals. Using a modified telephone, electric shocks were sent to the genitals. If the prisoner was to have a long-distance phone call, they would be repeatedly shocked.


Tiger Bench

The prisoner's head and back are tied securely to a board and their legs and feet are tied securely to the bench. After they are snugly tied down, bricks are placed under their legs until the straps or legs snap. The straps are so tight that before this torture method is finished, the prisoner may have visible bones.


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