History

5 Methods Used by the Inquisition to Turn Up the Heat

Nowadays a site like thermostat.com can point you in the direction of a great thermostat to help control the temperature in your home, and will even walk you through the some key things to look for. Controlling the temperatures that human beings are exposed to hasn’t always been so benign, though. Before there were thermostats there were some more dubious methods for controlling body temperature, and, unfortunately, the Catholic Church was at the center of some of these questionable practices in various periods of history. Some of the most controversial methods were used during a forgettable period known as the Spanish Inquisition. Below you’ll find 5 examples of how the Spanish Inquisition turned up the heat on some innocent people, but be warned – you may find this material a little graphic.

Heated Metal Pincers

One of the favorite methods of torture during the Spanish Inquisition was the use of heated metal pincers. These were long pieces of metal that were heated on hot coals until the metal was almost hot enough to melt; then they were applied to the skin of what was, usually, an innocent victim. It’s important to keep in mind that during the time of the Spanish Inquisition anyone who spoke out against the church was putting their lives in serious jeopardy. Those that experienced the agonizing torture of heated metal pincers applied to their skin were normally doing nothing more than expressing a fairly benign opinion.

Witches on the Stake

Most of us are familiar with the Salem witch trials, but this type of persecution had been around a long time before it found its way to the shores of North America. In fact, it was a very popular method of torture and execution used during the Inquisition. On almost all occasions the women that were targeted as witches were nothing more than average people. Some used herbal remedies to cure illness, and some were slightly more promiscuous than was tolerable in those days, but the reasons they were targeted were generally nothing more than that.

Burning the Remains

You might think that when you’re dead you’d no longer be a target of the Inquisition, but you’d be wrong in that assumption. It was not unusual for supposed heretics to be found guilty posthumously, and on these occasions members of the Inquisition would often dig up the remains and then burn them. Apparently you couldn’t escape the fires of the Inquisition in either life or death.

Molten Lead

The torture techniques we’ve discussed so far were horrific enough, but what about having heated metal poured over you? It happened. In fact, pouring molten lead over torture victims was a relatively common practice during the Inquisition. As hard as it is for us to understand today, those responsible for the Inquisition barely blinked an eye at such methods.

Boiling Water

One of the most accessible torture materials during the Inquisition was the use of boiling water. This was a painful way to extract the supposed truth from a sinner, but it didn’t necessarily kill them. In many cases the Inquisition was perfectly content with simply extracting a confession while inflicting a little pain, and eventually allowing their victims to return to their lives.