The Deadly Heretic’s Fork

 | Grace Higgins

An invention that was made by the inquisition that was created to deliver what they saw as sanctioned torture to witches or heretics. It was a two plug with pointy forks on each end, attached to the neck by a collar. Of course always visible on inscribed on the fork was written:

“I renounce”

The simple tool’s design was brutal, the person would be bound to the heretic’s fork would suffer from continuous pain as they were unable to move their head or lower jaw. The four sharp spikes were always piercing into their neck: two near the chin and two near the sternum. Any attempt to move or speak would cause immense pain. The Church noted that even the toughest would repent and confess if made to stay in the heretic’s fork for a long period of time.

And often once a confession was made, they were burned at the stake in public view. Such executions were even dramatized and seen as a cause for celebration during the medieval times. Historians who have studied the contraption today believe that it was the sleep deprivation that would cause anyone to confess to any sort of crime. As one of the parts of the torture was to ensure the victim could not lay down.

One interesting fact of the torture method is that the victim tends to try to throw their head back as far as possible, maybe an instinct of self-preservation or just an attempt to end their suffering. However, the length of the teeth and the fork’s design were made in such a way that even if the victim was to tilt themselves forward: death was never instantaneous.

Luckily today the Inquisition no longer exists, people are free to be able to follow their beliefs and make their own choices without having to fear being controlled by religious fanatics.