Torture to gain information from someone or to instil fear or discipline is a technique used even today. While medieval and ancient history methods may have been more brutal, these modern day methods are still absolutely terrifying. In no particular order, Wicked Horror takes a look at 10 terrifying modern day torture methods.
Cement shoes are a usually associated with criminals such as the Mafia or gangs. It involves weighting down the victim with concrete and throwing them into the water in the hope the body will never be found. In the US, the term has become tongue-in-cheek for a threat of death by criminals.
The Tucker Telephone
Originating at Arkansas’ Tucker State Prison Farm in the 1960s, the Tucker Telephone was a torture device constructed from an old fashioned crank shaft telephone. Used on the unrulier prisoners, the telephone was modified to produce electricity when cranked. The ground wire would be connected to the prisoner’s toe, while the hot end of the wire would be applied to the prisoner’s genitals. Prison staff would then crank the phone generator, which would send electrical currents shooting through the inmate’s body. The Tucker telephone was finally banned in the 1970s.
Cat O’nine Tails
The cat o’ nine tails, commonly shortened to the cat, is still used all over the world. Here a person is flogged with a nine tail flogging device in which the tails are taken from barbed wire or sharp twisted wires. Essentially a multi-tailed whip, its “claws” can inflict vicious parallel wounds. The phrase “letting the cat of the bag” gets its origins from pulling the cat o’ nine tails out of its bag before whipping someone.
The Tiger Bench
China really hates the practitioners of Falun Gong, a sort of spiritual discipline first introduced in 1992. One form of torture methods used on Falun Gong practitioners is the tiger bench. The person being tortured is placed on a bench with a board against their back and head. The perpetrators typically use several leather straps to bind the victim’s legs tightly to the tiger bench and gradually lift the ankles. This goes on until the knees give way and snaps leaving the person disabled for life.
Waterboarding is a simple yet effective form of water torture. Here the victim is tied to a table with their legs elevated and a cloth covering their face. Water is then poured over the cloth for up to a 60 seconds at a time with the person only being allowed to breathe for a few seconds in between. The torture causes suffocation and a sense of drowning.
Also known as “death board”, hell confinement includes a pair of handcuffs and a pair of foot shackles. A steel or iron rod, or thick wooden plank, links them together preventing the victim from being able to bend their back. Such instruments make it very difficult and sometimes impossible for victims to walk, sit down, use the toilet, or feed themselves.
While the strappado was used heavily during the Renaissance, it has been used within the last century. Many people may now know it as Palestinian hanging. The victim’s hands are tied behind their back and then suspended from a bar for hours at a time, causing the arms to be slowly wrenched from the shoulder sockets by the weight of the body. One of the last known cases of the United States using this form of torture was on Mandel al-Jamadi in 2003. He was arrested for allegedly being involved in making explosives and was sent to Abu Ghraib, where died while being tortured.
The CIA has six interrogation techniques they are authorized to use, and one of them is the cold cell. A form of “enhanced interrogation technique” where the prisoner is placed in front of an air conditioner unit for hours, days, and even years at a time. Vhuen Van Tai was the highest-ranking Viet Cong officer captured during the Vietnam War. The CIA placed him in a tiny, white, windowless room and turned the AC on full blast for four straight years.
A form of emotional and psychological torture, white torture might be one of the worst. The victim is placed into a room that is completely white. They are clothed in white, meals are white rice on white paper plates, and they are forbidden to speak. Sensory deprivation soon makes a person start to hallucinate and eventually may drive them mad.
The German Chair
The German chair is also known as the flying carpet, or simply the tyre. The prisoners are often tied to a metal chair in such a way that the upper and lower part of the body is pushed towards the ground to unbendable positions. This causes severe stress to the detainee’s back, neck and spine, and often causes permanent damages to the body.
*Updated February 3, 2020