BeliefThe Moravian Brothers, an evangelical Christian sect that originated in fifteenth-century Bohemia, believed in nonviolence and had a great abhorrence of bloodshed. Members of this community, however, were at times unavoidably called on to execute offenders. Their merciful way of doing so was to tickle their victims to death.
HangingAt the moment of being hanged, many observers have noted the victim, if male, often has an erection and may even ejaculate.
SanbenitoDuring the Inquisition in fifteenth-century Spain, prisoners condemned to burn were forced to walk to their doom wearing a special frock called a Sanbenito. On it were painted pictures of the fiery mouth of hell. After the accused died, his name was written on the Sanbenito and it was hung in his parish church, where it remained until it fell apart. Occasionally an old Sanbenito would be replaced by a fresh one so that the infamy of the heretic who had worn it would be perpetuated through the ages.
TortureRobert Damiens, an assassin and member of the Paris underworld in the eighteenth century, was hired by unknown conspirators to take the life of King Louis XV. The attempt failed, Damiens was apprehended, and the greatest torturers of the time were brought to Paris to try to get him to divulge the names of his associates. Damiens' skin was torn from his body, his hair, eyelids, and elbows were singed to shreds, his teeth and finger joints were wrenched out. He was dragged about at the end of a rope tied to a team of horses. He was sprinkled from head to foot with acid and seething oil. Throughout all this horror, Damiens, who finally died from his wounds, never revealed the names of his employers Historians still argue both questions Who was it that hired Damiens? And, more mysterious, why did he so steadfastly refuse to divulge their names?