Posts Tagged ‘Torture’

800 years ago the castle was built to stop the Scottish invading England and anyone caught would be subjected to torture in its dungeon. The floor there slopes away in order to drain the blood away and prisoners made marks on the walls, counting down the days until the would finally die and be mercifully released.

John Sage was a cruel and sadistic torturer who took pride in his work. He invented new methods of causing pain and in his three years of working there saw around 7,500 that he tortured to death. 7 deaths a day does seem like a lot to me, including the fact I didn’t give him a day off at all but that’s the figure apparently…

He is said to have rounded up the Scottish at the castle one day and burnt them in the forecourt. Not sufficiently happy with that he then took and axe and culled the smaller children in the Edward Room. The axe is reportedly still at the castle too.

Reports have been made that in the room the chandelier swings of its own accord, foul smells have been reported and a sense of a strange atmosphere about it have been mentioned. Sage’s tales also extend to the fact that he accidentally strangled his girlfriend whilst making love to her on the torture rack, quite the romantic too eh? The father of the woman threatened to gather up his army and sack the castle if Sage was not killed, he was hanged in a tree near the Edward room and the enthusiastic crowd took pieces off his corpse as he died for souvenirs.

There are other stories linked to the place but those ones seems the juiciest.

Chillingham Castle.jpg
By Glen Bowman from Newcastle, England – My Best of 2005 29-08-2005 16-11-39, CC BY 2.0, Link

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For some reason this rather grim character is still quite fascinating. We are filled with the tales of Vlad and Bathory, this chap seems to fit in rather well in a list of evil figures of the past.

In 1404 the wife of Guy de Laval gave birth to his son, as she lay exhausted with the child in her arms I doubt she would have known what he was going to grow up to be. He was an orphan by aged 11 and heir to a vast fortune. By 16 years old he had increased his wealth by abducting and then secretly marrying his cousin, Catherine of Thouars. It was only one of many scandals he was due to cause.

A period of decadence was brought to a halt with a call to arms by the King of France (then Charles VII) and Gilles De Rais was appointed Marshall of France and also the Protector of Joan of Arc in 1429. He fought loyally for a woman who claimed that God had called her to lead the French Army and when she was burnt at the stake by the English in 143, it is said that he went into a state of self-destructive madness.

He then retreated to his castle at Tiffauges where he turned to the practise of alchemy, he wanted his fortune back and thought that it might give him the answer.  He imported sorcerers from around Europe, he was under the influence of a sadistic one named Francesco Prelati and was told to get the Devil to help him succeed he needed to carry out the worst and most abominable crimes.

Because of this Gilles De Rais went from a Marshall of France that could have been a hero in the annals to a sadist and villain. For the rest of his life his time was spent with torture, sexual abuse and murder of young children who were mostly boys.  In 1440 he was taken to the city of Nantes where he was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

Ersebet or Elizabeth Bathory lived in barbaric times, but her crimes still stand out as some of the most horrific and excessive of histories many characters. In the 16th century the uses and the nature of blood was relatively limited. Bathing in blood was supposed to have great healing powers for those afflicted with anything from leprosy, hysteria or epilepsy. Elizabeth was told that bathing in blood spilt from virgins would keep her youthful looks. Elizabeth was desperate to remain good looking after her husbands’ death, and it appears that she would go to any lengths.

Her catalogue of crimes revolves around four main areas of torture: Beating, cutting, freezing and burning. In most cases the servants did the work but Elizabeth took on some of the torturing herself.

The most common form of beating seems to have been beating the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, sometimes up to 500 times. On occasions the victims’ mouths were pulled apart by fingers or pincers and torn until they bled. The most commonly reported form of torture was cutting, piercing or otherwise using knives and needles to inflict pain. Lips were pierced with needles and then sewn together. One girls’ lips and tongue were sewn to one another. Needles were forced under fingernails, into faces, shoulders and arms. Noses and lips were cut apart so wide that they could never be sewn up, one girl had her belly pierced with a rusty needle. Another girl was lashed with stinging nettles. On one occasion two girls were taken together, while one had the flesh stripped from her bottom, the other was made to eat it raw; one of these girls also had a breast stripped clean away. Sometimes girls were made to eat their own flesh after it had been cooked in front of her.

The most frequent use of freezing was to stand a girl naked in a bucket of freezing water and pour more water over her until she died. Others were buried in frost and snow; those who did not die were forced to work in the castle. Some were deprived of food and water until they were on the verge of collapse, if they complained they were made to drink their own urine.

Burning was common in two forms, being burnt with hot instruments or being forced to eat extremely hot food. Heated iron rods were applied to hands, feet, noses, lips and breasts. Hot keys were pressed into the flesh; one bar was put into a girl’s vagina. When a girl stole a cake it was heated as high as possible before she was forced to eat it. The countess was reputed to have stood on the girl’s throat to prevent her from vomiting it back up. Candles were used to burn the genitals of some girls and to burn their hair and faces.

Three girls were buried in one coffin, and it is reputed that up to five girls could be buried at any one time. They were usually buried in the neighbouring cemeteries; sometimes the local priests would be called in to help with many excuses being given each time.

Marie Delphine Lalaurie, 1775-1842 is a famous name because of her torture of black slaves. She married three times in her life and was a prominent socialite with lavish parties.

The couple (Doctor Lalaurie and Delphine) had their atrocities brought to light when a fire broke out at their home April 10th 1834. A room was found with horrifically mutilated slaves and news went around New Orleans bringing an angry mob that sacked the house. It is thought she fled to Paris where she then lived out the remainder of her life.

How much has been exaggerated over time is not possible to say but there were reports of male and female slaves bound to operating tables, and some in cages alongside body parts and heads on the floor.

Numerous reports have been made (and I am sure still are) about ghostly screams, ghostly images of slaves and even reports of Madame Lalaurie being seen herself.

In the 1930’s the building was converted into apartments and the workmen found 16 skeletons, the victims of Delphine, the owner then marketed it as a Haunted Saloon. Then later it was a furniture store but was closed as the owned reported the furniture would be ruined by a dark inexplicable stinking liquid. He waited there one night to try and catch the vandals, they never showed up but the furniture suffered as well.

As of 2012 the mansion remains standing and is a popular spot on the ghost tours.

Newspaper Article