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The Most Terrifying Medieval Executions!

Jana G.Jana G.

During the Middle Ages, torture and executions were used to make examples of people, as well as to get confessions, usually from a woman, that she was a witch. Regardless of whether the tortured person actually confessed or not, they were almost always put to death in the cruelest way possible.

All sorts of torture methods and instruments were invented to make the suffering and executions long and painful. A very popular type of torture in Germany was sleep deprivation. No bones were broken or limbs cut off because the goal was to keep the victim in an awakened state.

There were various methods for carrying out this torture. To prevent the victim from falling asleep, their head was held up by an iron fork with prongs on opposite ends, which bored into the breast and chin. The person would feel agonizing pain and once their head finally slumped from insomnia and exhaustion, the prongs would drive ever deeper into flesh. Usually this inquisition led to death.

Another horrifying device was the stork, also called the Scavenger's daughter, a system of wires tied around the neck, feet and hands of the victim, forcing them to sit with their legs pressed by their bodies and bent at the knees.

After several minutes, this body position led to severe spasms in the stomach, breast, neck and limbs. After about an hour in this position, the victim would fall into a state of insanity from the pain. If the inquisitors still let the victim go free after this torment, they died of gangrene and infections caused by the iron wires cutting into the body.

Many were executed by being buried alive during the Middle Ages. Only their head was left aboveground, where a guard kept watch to make sure no one dug up the victim or gave them food or water. Normally the victims of this monstrous torture died in horrible anguish after about 2 days.


Boiling people alive was another form of abhorrent executions in the Middle Ages. There were 3 ways to boil people who were usually accused of a crime such as poisoning or making counterfeit money.

In the 1st method, where the convicted was thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, they died immediately. Another option was to first pour hot water, then cold water over the victim until they died.

But the most terrifying method was where the victim was hung over a cauldron of boiling water and gradually lowered into it. This way the execution could last for hours.