Worst Punishments In The History of Mankind #3


Back by popular demand, we are once again
going to talk about some of the most brutal things humans have done to each other in the
name of punishment. It’s quite hard to believe that in the past
we sawed our prisoners in half, crushed their heads, removed their internal organs, burned
them at the stake and sometimes just strapped them to a wheel and pulverized them until
they were broken beyond repair. These specters of violence, as some writers
have called them, were not only there to deter crime and punish crime, but served as a reminder
that the public should stay in its place. In the end, such cruel and inhumane acts just
turned the people against the establishment and gradually things changed. 12. The Scavenger’s Daughter
This was also sometimes called Skevington’s Daughter, named after a British man called
Sir William Skeffington. It was basically an A-frame device made out
of iron. It had hinges so the frame could be moved
around. The victim’s head was fastened to the top
part of the A, with his arms and legs being fastened to the bottom parts. The torturer could then bend the person into
an excruciatingly painful position, breaking the body. Some say it was like the rack in reverse,
as the rack pulled the person apart this device crushed the person. It was created during the reign of Henry VIII
but there are also documented cases of it being used during the reign of Elizabeth I. 11. Flaying with a difference
We’ve talked about flaying before, which is having your skin peeled off. This horrific form of torture was seen all
over the world, from Europe, to China to Africa to the Aztec Empire. But according to the website Medieval Times
and Castles, this practise was performed in various ways. We are told that sometimes people would be
left out in the sun for a very long time until the meat on their bodies was burned and tenderized. This way the flaying could be done with ease. In other cultures people would be lightly
boiled first, then taken out of the pot and peeled. One source tells us that the torturers would
often try and remove the skin in large sheets. This was so it could later be displayed as
a warning to others. You can still see a preserved skin at Worchester
Cathedral in the UK. This was the skin of a Viking who had tried
to steal the church bell. It’s hard to believe humans could do such
a thing, but as you’ll see, we’ve done worse. 10. Stoning to death
This is what you might call an execution by torture, and it differs from most other forms
of brutal execution as the public can get in on the horror. Stoning goes back ages and takes its roots
in Judeo-Christianity, but unfortunately for some individuals the practice can be found
in parts of the world today. This brutal practice usually meant burying
a person up to their head in the ground, and then stones would be thrown at the victim
until they died. It is still legal in some countries today,
mostly in parts of the Muslim world. In Iran, for instance, Sharia Law states what
size the stones must be so the execution doesn’t go on for too long. NBC tells us that stoning as a punishment
is still a thing in the countries of Iran, Afghanistan, parts of Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan,
and the United Arab Emirates. What also occasionally happens around some
parts of the world is people are stoned to death as part of tribal justice. We can hardly imagine what it must be like
to leave this life surrounded by an angry mob throwing stones at your head, and to some
extent we can say humanity hasn’t fully extricated itself from its brutal past. Perhaps even worse, is stoning often comes
after what most of us rational and compassionate people might see as paltry crimes – or not
even a crime at all. Take the stoning to death of a man in the
USA in 2011. Yep, that happened. A 28-year old stoned a 70-year old to death
because he said the Old Testament demanded that was the punishment for homosexual men. Such gruesome punishments don’t happen often
these days, but in the past as you will see, such a thing wasn’t thought of as being
utterly horrific. 9. The Stretching Ladder
This form of punishment in medieval Europe was quite similar to the rack. As you might know, rack 1.0 usually consisted
of tying a person to a rack with a bunch of ropes attached to pulleys. The person would then slowly be pulled apart,
or at least have their joints busted, as someone stretched them by turning a wheel attached
to this contraption. But it seems this wasn’t painful enough
for some sadistic creatures of Europe, and so a similar machine was invented in which
the person would be laid on spikes and then pulled apart. You can actually see this spiked-rack at the
Medieval Crime Museum (the Kriminalmuseum) in Germany. 8. The knee splitter
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” the thinker and
philosopher George Santayana once said. We must stay close to our misdemeanors, even
recent ones. And so, it’s a good thing we have the Medieval
Criminal Museum in San Gimignano, Italy. On its website it writes, “Our commitment,
which we share with all who are interested in combating violence, is to show how throughout
the centuries human beings have been tortured.” If you visit that website you can find a lot
of information and pictures on evil medieval contraptions. We chose the knee splitter for you, as just
the name is enough to make you grimace. Imagine two blocks of wood lying horizontal
to each other, attached to two vertical iron bars. The pieces of wood have huge spikes sticking
out of them, so the entire thing looks something like a rather dangerous mouth. A person’s legs would be put into this mouth,
with the knees positioned where the teeth are. The mouth is then slowly closed, and it’s
goodbye knees. What you must remember, too, is in those days
such a grievous injury would almost always lead to a slow, painful death. People were not exactly rushed to ER and then
operated on under a haze of opiates and anesthetic. 7. The Branks
Unlike the knee splitter, branks is a name that doesn’t exactly describe the punishment. It has gone by other names, though, such as
Scold’s Bridle and Witches Bridle. It was basically an iron muzzle that would
be fastened to a person’s head, usually a woman. A piece of metal in the bridle would also
force the tongue down, so that person couldn’t speak. Ok, so it was uncomfortable, but it doesn’t
sound too bad. Maybe some parents out there wouldn’t mind
using a branks on their kids. But the thing was, if you were wearing one
of these things it gave the public impunity to do what they wanted to you. This meant people would often be urinated
on, covered in feces, and sometimes just beaten to death. You could see these things from around 1500
to 1800 in Europe. You can probably guess that this punishment
was usually a result of a commoner speaking out of turn. There are some cases of these being used as
a punishment to women for gossiping. It was to some extent the medieval version
of having your social media account suspended. 6. Impaled
People might have been impaled after they were killed using other means, but that certainly
wasn’t always the case. The good news is, this punishment was fast
and furious, rather than a long drawn-out experience. It was long enough, though. Usually a large stick would be sharpened into
a spike. It would be put into the ground with the sharp
side pointing up. The pole was then greased. After this, a person would be lowered onto
this spike starting at the rectum. They would be pulled down as the stick traveled
through the body while hitting organs. This usually killed the people fast, but if
the pole didn’t hit any major organs people would writhe and scream for hours. The Washington Post and many other sources
tell us people were impaled during the Armenian Genocide which was as late as the early 20th
century. 5. Keelhauling
This was one for the sailors, and it makes the plank seem quite reasonable. As the name suggests, people suffering this
ignominy would be hauled under the ship’s keel. The keel is like the spine or backbone of
the ship, the part that’s usually built first. As punishment, sailors would be tied to a
rope while the ship was moving and lowered into the water. They would be dragged under the keel, which
was always in those days covered with very sharp barnacles. On top of nearly drowning, the person’s
skin and flesh would be ripped apart. Some reports tell us sailors might even lose
a body part. The outcome was often death. The modern equivalent of this could be a roasting
in the comments section of YouTube when no one agrees with you. Be smart, don’t get keelhauled. 4. Bamboo Torture
People in parts of Asia love their bamboo. How could they not, you can eat it, you can
use it as a cup, it makes a great scaffold and you can build lots of things out of it. Add to this, that the stuff grows at an incredible
speed – in some species almost 35 inches (91 centimeters) a day. It’s also very, very strong. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Yes, it’s said sometimes people would be
forced atop a growing plant and fastened rectum-first. The thing would grow quickly and grow though
the body of the victim. It was a very slow form of execution. Some reports state this might not have happened,
but various media and other sources say the Siamese (the Thais) executed their enemies
this way in the 19th century. 3. Animal stuff
If you saw our show on the Roman Coliseum of the past you’ll know all about “damnatio
ad bestias.” This was execution by animal, and it took
various forms. You might be sat on by a trained elephant,
and the crowd would roar as your guts spilled. You might be thrown to the lions or be pitted
against a bear. Later, over in China you might been torn into
two parts by horses, while in the Middle East one form of punishment was just being trampled
to death by horses. The absolute craziest of animal-related punishments
was a Roman one called “Poena cullei.” It sounds a bit like one of those old Japanese
game shows where people had to endure some nasty things to get a prize. It was worse, though, as it ended with death. The process was simple. Put a person in a large leather sack. Fill that sack with animals, such as a monkey,
a snake, a dog, and maybe throw in a couple of chickens to spice things up. Tie the sack and throw it into the water. Maybe the modern equivalent of this has to
be arguing about politics on Facebook and expecting a positive outcome. 2. Crushing in general
Countries all over the world, and well past the days on the Roman Empire, would have a
form of punishment called crushing. If being drowned with animals is a strange
concept, this one is as simple as it gets. You get crushed by something, mainly stones. In Britain and France people might be pressed
to death for not pleading anything in court. If you stood mute, you got pressed. They basically just wanted you to admit your
guilt, which in many courses would have been untrue. In Britain, one person described crushing
like this, “He has a great Weight of Iron and Stone laid upon him. His Diet, till he dies, is of three Morsels
of Barley bread without Drink the next Day; and if he lives beyond it, he has nothing
daily.” It might take a week to crush the life out
of someone. Still, there were people that just wouldn’t
enter a guilty plea. 1. The Blood Eagle
This has to go down as the most creative way to die, a kind of macabre illustrated poem. Many of you know what it is already because
you watched the show Vikings, but we’ll expand for those of you that have never heard
of the glorious blood eagle. This ritualistic form of execution takes the
biscuit really, and we think we’d rather take our chances with sack full of angry animals
drowning in a lake. This is how it is explained in the Viking
Sagas. “Earl Einar went to Halfdan and carved blood-eagle
on his back in this wise, that he thrust a sword into his trunk by the backbone and cut
all the ribs away, from the backbone down to the loins, and drew the lungs out there.” Basically, your ribs are pulled through your
back in the shape of wings, along with whatever else, and you become a bloody eagle. Which one of these is the worst? If you had to die one way, what would it be
and why? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other show
Worst Punishments In The History of Mankind Part 1 Thanks for watching, and don’t forget
to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

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