It's unlikely, but if there could be anything worse than the Breast Ripper, it is surely the Pear of Anguish. This was a pear-shaped device, with the body of the pear made up of four metal "leaves" joined by a hinge at its top, and a key or crank on one end. The pear was inserted into the vagina, anus or throat, depending on the nature of the crime committed: The oral device was reserved for heretics, while the anal and vaginal pears were used on homosexuals and witches, respectively. Turning the key opened the leaves, causing massive internal damage [source: Medieval Times & Castles]. The device was rarely fatal, but other methods of torture would usually follow.
For more information on medieval torture devices, please see the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Bachrach, Deborah. The Inquisition. Lucent Books, 1995.
- Beccaria, Cesare. Of Crimes and Punishments. (Ingraham, Edward D., trans.) Philip H. Nicklin, Philadelphia, 1819 (original work published in 1764).
- Farrington, Karen. History of Punishment and Torture. Octopus Publishing Group, 2000.
- Gallonio, Antonio. Trattato Degli Instrumenti di Delle Varie Maniere di Martirizare (Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs). ( A. R. Allinson, trans.) The Fortune Press, Paris, 1903 (original work published in 1605).
- Goldberg, Enid A. & Itzkowitz, Norman. Tomas de Torquemada: Architect of Torture During the Spanish Inquisition. Franklin Watts, 2007.
- Hunt, Lynn. Inventing Human Rights. W.W. Norton and Company. 2007.
- Innes, Brian. The History of Torture. St. Martin's Press, 1998.
- Kellaway, Jean. The History of Torture and Execution. Mercury Books, 2003.
- Medieval Times & Castles. "The Breast Ripper."http://www.medievality.com/breast-ripper.html
- Medieval Times & Castles. "The Pear of Anguish."http://www.medievality.com/pear-of-anguish.html
- Parry, L.A. The History of Torture in England. Patterson Smith, 1975.
HowStuffWorks looks at the Night Witches, an all-female unit of Soviet bomber pilots during World War II.