Crocodile Shears – Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind


Welcome back to our series of shows on brutal
punishments that authorities meted out in the past. Today we are going to talk about an instrument
that would not only cause significant pain, but that would leave terrible scars on the
victim. While you could say some of the punishments
we have mentioned in this series are worse, we think you’ll agree that these nasty shears
take the biscuit when it comes to downright sadism. After hearing this short history of the pain-inflicting
instrument you no doubt will be left asking, who on earth came up with this stuff? Prepare to be very disturbed. The people writing about crocodile shears
agree that this instrument was one of the most appalling things ever to be invented. Right now if we asked you to imagine the worst
kind of thing you could do to another man, well, you might come up with something similar
to these shears. They were called crocodile shears because
the tool was supposed to act something like a crocodile’s mouth. As you will know from some of our other shows,
crocodiles have the hardest bite of any animal. They also have a lot of very sharp teeth. So, just imagine a small tool supposed to
look a bit like a crocodile’s mouth. The tool itself was kind of like an iron pincer,
maybe about one foot (30 cm) long. The blades of the pincers where hemicylindrical,
which means they were contained within a tube that when opened would be halved, somewhat
like a crocodile’s mouth. Imagine a pair of scissors except the blades
are two half cylinders filled with sharp teeth. You might ask, what would you do with that? Well, someone’s finger could be put inside
these blades and the torturer could close it tight and then drive the blades though
the finger. If he wanted to cause more pain he could thrust
the tool back and tear off all the flesh on that finger. Well, what was left of it. Except from what we can see, fingers were
not the body part of choice. Now, maybe you can think of another body part
that might fit in this cylinder? Yes, you guessed it. The thing that would be clamped in this mouth
was a man’s penis. One website writing about Medieval Times said
fingers might be the object of choice for lesser crimes, but for grave crimes, such
as against the state, it was a man’s life-giving organ that was the victim. The thing would first be clamped in the object
and torn to pieces, but then the shears could be manipulated to cause more damage. The shears might also have been heated up
before the operation. We are told that this mutilation could be
so bad the person might die slowly from loss of blood. In the end, the penis would be removed from
the man. But with any instruments of torture from the
past, it’s sometimes hard to find records of when they were used. We know for sure that some people were brutally
tortured and killed because there are plenty of records, but with some torture instruments
records are scarce. A lot of media write about these shears, but
they don’t state where the source of the information is. We think it might be the book, “The Book
of Torture and Execution”, which mentions these shears. That book states these things were indeed
used for people accused of regicide, which means a person who tries to or actually does
kill a king. We have seen a picture of these monstrous
things, but it’s still hard to say when or even if they were used. While the shears appear on just about every
list of torture devices from the past, we cannot find any names as to who might have
been on the wrong end of them. We found another book called “The Wrong
View of History”, which added some more details to the tale. It said before the man was held inside these
shears his torturers would find a way to get him aroused; perhaps a woman was called in
to help with this. It was when his manhood changed in size that
it would be held and cooked and shredded and torn off. Yet another book called “Dictionary of Torture”
has these things in it, saying the Italians called the device, “Il Castrator”. More sources tell us that these things might
not have always been used for people accused of regicide, but during the Spanish Inquisition
the inquisitors might just have used them to extract information. In these cases they might have merely ripped
off fingers and toes. That’s about all we can tell you, because
while crocodile shears seem to have existed we are told that few records of them being
used have survived. We did attempt to find those “few records”
but to no avail. So, do you think they were used? If you do believe that, how do you think it
would feel to be victim of these shears? Can you think of anything worse? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
from the Worst Punishments In History of Mankind series – Eaten Alive – Scaphism. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

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