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I is for...

... Iron Maiden

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 Duke
---and not the English heavy metal band from East London...

Day 2 in the realm of morbid/macabre torture devices finds us back in the Middle Ages (there was definitely a fashionable trend of imaginative torture devices during this time). Though, the Middle Ages isn't really when we should be turning our attention when we discuss the Iron Maiden. In fact, there has been some debate as to the exact appearance of this monstrous creation.

Inside Replica of Iron
Maiden of Nuermberg
It's probably easiest to relocate such a torturous thing back to a time when it seemed everyone was as skilled at exacting a confession as they were at creating the tools to exact those confessions. It's easier to blame ancestors from several hundred years ago than to accept that anyone of civilized disposition would be capable of doing such horrible things with such terrifying instruments....

No, the "accepted" history has long been proved to be a hoax. One Johann Philipp Siebenkees, German professor, theologian, and professor, claimed, in a 1793 history book that an Iron Maiden had first been used in 1515 to execute a coin forger. This led to the production, during the 19th century, of a collection of Iron Maidens---mostly used in tourist attractions or as castle decor---trying to feed off the morbid imagination of paying visitors who were willing to shell out valuable coin to see a "former" torture device.

Original Iron Maiden of
Nuremberg, destroyed in 1944 air raid
Who needs a used Iron Maiden when the fabricated story of a German professor is enough to solidify the innocent device's place in history?

This isn't to say that Iron Maidens haven't been used since their creation to execute/torture people---just, that it wasn't the Medieval device that it's often claimed to be. Nope, there's plenty of recent torture devices that we're quite capable of using---this one being far more disturbingly morbid as it didn't even exist until someone made mention of it in a fabricated story from history.

The most famous of Iron Maidens was the Iron Maiden of Nuremberg. The sarcophagus having been constructed with the refined feminine face, giving the device its "Maiden" name. The spikes were positioned to avoid hitting the vital organs of the victim so that outright death was avoided. In fact, the spikes, once having pierced the victim, would effectively close off the wound, prolonging the torture for days as it would take that long for the victim to slowly succumb.

Oh, and the "Maidens" were designed so that the bottoms would drop out, letting all that nasty gore and blood fall away into whatever canister/pit was positioned beneath it--- wasn't that a handy clean-up tool!


  1. Stopped by for the A-Z challenge. I love discovering new blogs through this experience. Happy Writing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Writing to you as well :-)

  2. Okay, now I'm guaranteed a few nightmares after reading about this prolonged death torture device! Very interesting history on this Iron Maiden.

    1. Iron Maidens and nightmares, yeah...there was no way that was not going to happen, lol :-)

  3. Shudder. The whole idea of torture is disturbing. I was watching some show set in the Renaissance that was naming some torture devices. I'm not clear on what they did, but am sure I don't want to know. :) Untethered Realms

    1. Torture was the favorite past-time for folks back then... well, for a lot of folks anyway---
      Some of those devices were really creative in their methods of torturing too... *double shudder*

  4. whoa, that gives me chills. i knew about the iron maiden, but not the bit about the drainage. that was funky.

    i'm totally over-imagining and it has stereo sound and technicolor. ew!

    1. LOL...yeah, the drainage thing was an added bonus to the gory details when I was researching...sorry about the nasty visual :-)

  5. poor misunderstood iron maiden, nobody believed her innocence after that Johann chap, so she did what any other torture device would do and went on a killing spree.

    1. Without a doubt!
      As would any of us, given the same situation--- too bad she couldn't exact a bit of revenge while she was at it :-)


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