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H is for...

... Heretic's Fork

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
---Edgar Allan Poe

The Bishop

Ahhhh, nothing says morbid and macabre better than a bit of torture....

Heretic's Fork
Today's morbid lovely dates back to the Middle Ages. Used during the Spanish Inquisition (of course) and in
other "confessional" scenarios, this double-ended, two-pronged "fork" was attached to its victim's neck with a leather strap and positioned so that one end of the fork pressed under the chin and the other end pressed into the breast bone.

The victims were then suspended from the ceiling, or perhaps just chained against the wall. They were always left upright, however, which meant they often suffered injury if they allowed their heads to droop forward by falling asleep.

The purpose of the Heretic's Fork wasn't death--though death would sometimes follow because of latent infections and shock and sleep deprivation, etc. No, the purpose of the Heretic's Fork was to extract confessions and convince heretics to recant so they could be welcomed back into the loving arms of the Church. Many of the devilish devices were engraved with the Latin word abiuro (I recant).

Wax Inquisition Victim at Museum of
Medieval Torture Instruments, Amsterdam
I'm pretty sure the level of increasing pain and neck strain would be more than any sane individual could hope to handle---at least for no more than a day or two, surely.The level of sleep deprivation alone would have convinced me to confess to being a purple martian and would have me,willingly and eagerly, knocking on the doors of the nearest holy house.


  1. That looks like some elaborate S&M toy. Not something i would want to mess with!

    1. Yeah, it really doesn't look like it would be any fun, lol :-)

  2. That is one horrible device. I can feel the nightmares creeping up already.

    1. I know...just thinking about it gives me the shivers...and a neck ache!

  3. is that a wax transvestite?

    1. Aw, it's bad form to insult torture victims, lol....he can't help what his captors, er sculptors dressed him in ;-P


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