Weird History 15 Historical Torture Methods Designed To Make The Pain Last As Long As Possible  

Katie Mach
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In the rich tapestry that is human history, humankind sure has come up with some imaginative and time-consuming ways to kill people. And not just kill people, but torture them very, very slowly. The most agonizing forms of torture known to man come from all over the globe and all eras of history. The slowest methods include being skinned alive, "Death by 1,000 Cuts," and being dragged underneath a boat. Perhaps the only things they have in common (aside from their general depravity, of course) is that you really, really, don't want to go out in any of these ways. Check out this list of torture methods that took the longest to actually kill people, and learn about a whole category of things you didn't know you were terrified of.

Keelhauling Used Barnacles To Pull The Skin From A Body


Keelhauling Used Barnacles To ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Historical Torture Methods Designed To Make The Pain Last As Long As Possible
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Surprising no one, pirates were not afraid to dole out some truly horrendous punishments to seamen behaving badly while at sea. Keelhauling was one of the more gruesome of pirate punishment practices. 

While this drawing makes keelhauling look like an awesome pirate game, it was actually the opposite of fun. The crueler alternative to walking the plank, keelhauling involved throwing a victim off of a boat with a rope attached to him. As the boat moved, the victim would be pulled underneath it, and his body would scrape against the rough, barnacle-covered bottom of the ship. After a little while of this, he would be pulled back out of the water, and the process was repeated, until the person's skin was fully scraped off. This was, as you might imagine, often fatal.

The Blood Eagle Suffocated A Victim With The Appearance Of Flight


The Blood Eagle Suffocated A V... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Historical Torture Methods Designed To Make The Pain Last As Long As Possible
Photo: History

As brutally demonstrated on an episode of the show Vikings, the "Blood Eagle" is an incredibly tortuous method of execution used by Vikings. A victim's back would be cut open and their ribs would be pulled through the open skin and bent outwards, exposing their lungs and creating "wings." The lungs would then be taken out, one at a time, until the victim eventually suffocated. It may not have taken years to die, but however long it was, it probably felt like an eternity.

Lingchi Cutting Made A Victim Slowly Bleed Out


Lingchi Cutting Made A Victim ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Historical Torture Methods Designed To Make The Pain Last As Long As Possible
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Lingchi is a traditional Chinese method of execution that also goes by the snappy nickname of "Death by 1000 Cuts." In use for 1000 years, a lingchi recipient would be tied to a pole and then gashed all over his body, and the cuts would just keep coming until he finally bled to death. In some cases, the cuts would number over 3,000, and death would take three days. Lingchi was used in China throughout the twentieth century, and it didn't always involve simply slashing a victim. It also took the form of live dismemberment.


Scaphism is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Historical Torture Methods Designed To Make The Pain Last As Long As Possible
Photo:  Jimmy McIntyre/Flickr

Scaphism is a brutal ancient Persian method of execution. Also known as "the boats," a victim would be strapped into a narrow boat or hollowed out tree trunk. They would then be forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of sickness - with the goal of actually giving them diarrhea - and extra honey would be poured onto their orifices. The milk, honey, and human excrement attracted bugs while keeping the victims alive and prolonging their suffering. Sometimes, even as their flesh turned gangrenous, victims would be fed for many days, forcing them to live on and suffer. Eventually, though, a victim would die, usually the result of blood sepsis or gangrenous infection.

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