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J is for...

... Judas Cradle

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

Sometimes called the Judas Chair, this instrument was another one of those dastardly devices of the Middle Ages---though unlike the Iron Maiden, this device actually belonged to the Middle Ages and wasn't just "accused" of belonging.

Judas Cradle/Judas Chair with harness
and ropes present
The mechanism for the Judas Cradle or Judas Chair was simple. The victim/accused/heretic/whatever was lifted by a series of ropes, after being strapped into a leather waist-belt, then lifted above a pyramid-shaped block of wood. Once positioned appropriately, the victim/accused/heretic/whatever was then lowered until they were "sitting" atop the apex of the pyramid.

Most often their legs were tied together and stretched forward, though there were some interrogators who felt that letting the legs of their captives hang free--with the addition of strapped-on weights--was the only way to convince their captives to cooperate.

Obviously if the impaling didn't kill the victim/accused/heretic/whatever outright, they would most assuredly succumb to infection later, as I doubt the interrogators/executioners were concerned with sterilizing their instruments between guests.

Oh, and pay no attention to the comfy chair in the foreground of the picture---that's not the Judas "Chair", it's the comfy seat for the interrogator. Questioning and extracting confessions is quite tiring, you know...


  1. I get the shakes just reading about these horrors of the past. No water boarding, though. Ah, how far we've come.

    1. And yet, how far we still have to go.... :-)

  2. I love the morbid take of your blog this year! I have never heard of the Judas chair, crazy things torture devices are.

    1. Thanks, girlie! And, yeah..."crazy" is only the half of it!

  3. This is one for the top ten of slow and agonizing death category. I've seen this pic before, and a drawing of a person on it.

    And I'd hate to burst cleemckenzie's bubble, but cloth with knots with water were a lovely (insert sarcasm) torture. Destroyed the throat and nearly drowns the victim . . .

    A very epic post in your series.

    1. Thanks, much!
      And, yes, you're right---death by water is a most horrific way to go... Strange how something as life-giving and necessary as water can also be used to destroy. It never ceases to amaze me, the depths of human depravity :-(

  4. I think they have one of these in Prague. I saw it and the brief description didn't provide enough detail but I think I understand how it works now. *gulp* Thanks for sharing the background on this, very intriguing, instrument of torture. - Shelina

    1. Yeah, it was a none-too-pleasant way to :-)


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