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Sati – the macabre sacrifice of the widows

The rites linked to death have been one of the most intriguing aspects of the vast anthropological universe for thousands of years. These rituals...

Nsala and Boali and the atrocities of Congo Free State

The photo you see above dates back to 1904 and portrays Nsala, a Congolese man. But what is he looking at with such a...

Scaphism–the torture method

After the article about the mellified man, I could not help but talk about scaphism: an ancient Persian method of death sentence by torture.This method...

The methods of execution by crucifixion

The crucifixion was a widely used method of execution in ancient times, and it is definitely one of the most painful ones especially because...

Death by burning at the stake

When you think about thedeath by burning, the thought should go immediately to the witch hunts of the '500 and '600. Am I right? However,...

The Poena cullei, penalty of the sack

Poena cullei comes from Latin and means "penalty of the sack." It was used in ancient Rome to punish the murderers of fathers and...

The Hot Water Ordeal

Ordeals – ‘the judgments of God’ – are usually related to the Inquisition and to the tortures imposed to those accused of heresy and...

Rope torture: the queen of all torments

In torture, the rope is called the queen of torments: that is because it was economical, readily available and could inflict a lot of...

Water cure and waterboarding

The most terrible tortures are often perpetuated with simple means and elements, available everywhere. This is the case of the water cure and waterboarding,...

The cold water ordeal – water cure

The ordeals were physical tests, in the past, which those accused of various crimes, mostly witchcraft and adultery, had to overcome so they might...

The true story of Blanche Monnier, kidnapped for 25 years

Stories of kidnappings are always terrible, but they are even more so if the perpetrators are family members of the victim. In recent times we...

The persecution of albinos in Africa

In Africa albinos are not considered human. They are seen as ghosts or demons and they are often killed because they are considered bearers of...