The Trail of Blood
by Jim Carroll
The Roman Catholic
Holy Inquisitions?

Holy Bible
Authorized King James
Essential Reading
Real History
Kings of the Earth
Make no mistake what you are looking at on this page is nothing more and nothing less than ritualistic human sacrifice and that is anything but Christian. These same religions exist today under various names with their doctrines intact serving the original purpose. This fact cannot be refuted with any validity without ignoring the whole of human history.

Some would call this Sun Worship but that is only the exoteric meaning that is meant for the profane.  The true object of their worship is the human intellect and as it is through the use of that intellect they believe that man will evolve and become a god.  Just as the serpent said to Eva in the Garden of Eden that with the knowledge of good and evil,  "ye shall be as gods". 
Same old lie.

Doctrines of
Pagan Mystery
Doctrines of
The Roman Catholic

1. The nativity of the Sun, the birth of Tammuz
December 25

The nativity of Jesus, or "Christmas" is held on
December 25

2. The Midsummer festival of the Pagan was held on
June 24 of each year

The Nativity of St. John is held every year on June 24

3. The assumption of Semiramus who became the mother goddess of all Pagans

The assumption of Mary, who became the mother of God to all Catholics

4. The mother goddess was given the title, and worshipped as the Queen of Heaven. Jer. 7:18

The Virgin Mary is given the title, and worshipped as the Queen of Heaven by all Catholics.

4.a "Queen of Heaven" is wrath subduer of the Pagan god

Mary, "Queen of Heaven" subdues the wrath of Christ and His Father against sinners.

5. Cakes decorated to the goddess with a "+" drawn on it. Jer. 44:17,19

Hot cross buns are backed for Mary in most Roman Catholic churches

6. 40 days fasting before Easter for Tammuz, Ezek. 8:14

Catholics fast 40 days (Lent) before Easter

7. Sexual festival of Easter. Ezek 8:16

The Roman Catholic church initiated the sexual festival of Easter first in Christiandom

7a. Gathering at sunrise for worship

Catholic church stated Easter sunrise services first in Christiandom

8. The resurrection of Tammuz on Easter, and the procession of graven images during Easter holy week

All Roman Catholic churches parade partake in processions of graven images of Jesus, Mary, and Peter, and of the saints during Easter week

9. Veneration of graven images of Baal, Ishtar, Tammuz and lesser gods in the heavens

All Roman Catholic churches venerate graven images of Jesus, Mary, Peter, and of the "lesser" saints in the heavens

10. The belief of the constant immortality of the soul, and burning place of eternal torment

Rome teaches the belief of immortality of the soul and a burning place of eternal torment

11. Pagans believed in the doctrine of purgatory

Rome teaches the doctrine of purgatory

12. The belief of the dead visiting the living on a certain day each year. A feast is then held for all the dead on first day of November. (Called all souls day)

Rome teaches they must hold a festival for the dead on all souls day held Nov. 2, and all saints day held Nov. 1 of each year

13. Burning incense and candles Jer 11:17; Ezek 8:11

Rome, as well as every Satanic church burns incense and candles in their "masses"

14. Chants and repetitive prayers. Beaded prayer chains.

Rome as well as Satanists use chants and the beaded prayer chains. (Rome calls the chant "Gregorian chant" and the beaded chained "Rosary")

15. Symbol of the cross as symbol of Sun worship. Mesopotamian cylinder seals of old have been found that depicted the "cross in the sky" as a symbol of sun worship. Ancient carvings of an Assyrian kings have also had huge crosses carved on their chest. The oldest pictures in the world from Mesopotamia has text with it explaining the "cross" in the sky as the symbol for the sun. This particular archaeological find is on display at the University Museum in Philadelphia PA.

The Roman Catholic church displays a plus sign "+" cross symbol not only on the walls, paintings, windows, and roofs of their churches. Their priests also have these crosses on their clothing. Many other churches also use them and even place them inside a circle as a double symbol of Baal. The crucifix itself is an elongated version of the cross of Baal as well. Pagan Rome of old offered human sacrifices to Baal on these crosses as well.

16. Pagans wear amulets and idols to scare away evil spirits

Roman Catholicism teaches the wearing of crucifixes and medals as a method of protection. The scapular is proof of that fact.

17. The round disk "sun" wafer with the IHS symbol for Isis, Horus & Seb, was eaten as food for the soul and worshipped as Baal incarnate

The Roman Catholic Eucharist / wafer also has the IHS carvings on it for Isis, Horus, and Seb. And it is also given as food for the soul, and is worshipped as god incarnate.

18. Pagan's would paint the child Tammuz and his mother Semiramus with the glory of the Sun around their heads

Rome paints the child Jesus and his mother Mary with halos of the Sun around their heads

19. Pagan's performed infant baptism, and the sprinkling of holy water

Rome practices infant baptism, as well as the sprinkling of holy water

20. Pagans taught Necromancy (Talking to the dead)

Rome teaches Mysticism (Novenas/prayers to the dead)

21. The first day of the week kept sacred to honor the Persian sun god Mithra. The name of the day was

changed to "SUN"day

Rome admitted they changed the Sabbath from day 7 to day one in honor of "SUN"day

22. The title Pontifex Maximus was given to the chief head of the pagan Babylonian system of idolatry

The title Pontifex Maximus is the main title of the Popes of Rome

23. Pagan gods (Janus and Cybele) were believed to be holders of the keys to Heaven and Hell

The pope claims to have the keys of Peter within his clutches

24. The highest Pagan priest kings was carried on a throne to the to the Temple of his god in special ceremony

The Pope is carried on a portable throne to the Basilica of St. Peter (Sedia Gestoria) in special ceremony

25. The Pagan high priest king is believed to be the incarnate of the Sun god

The Pope proclaims to be Jesus Christ in the flesh on Earth

26. Pagan are taught to perform offerings of "good works" to appease the gods

Catholics are required to do penance, purchase indulgences, and perform many good works to gain salvation

27. Pagans had special houses for the virgin priestesses to be employed at Pagan temples. Some of these women were used as prostitutes for the heterosexual priests

The Roman Catholic church has Nuns

28. Pagan often had human sacrifices burned by fire as an offering to appease the sun god

Many millions of opposers of Roman Catholic doctrines were burned at the stake

29. Pagans believed that gold was the flesh of the "Sungod" and would fill their temples of worship with as much as possible

The Vatican is literally drenched in gold throughout, as are numerous cathedrals the world over

30. Pagans often placed stone carving of Gargoils upon their roofs as a pagan god of protection

The Vatican as well as thousands of Catholic churches across the globe have gargoils on their roofs

31. Phallic symbol of the male sex organ were placed on the roofs, or in courtyards of pagan temples

The Vatican has the largest phallic symbol in the middle of St Peter's square. Plus all Roman Catholic churches have them on their roofs. Today, we call them steeples.

32. The Solar wheel is a symbol for Baal and was given reverence by the Pagans of old. This wheel can be found carved into ancient as well as modern Buddhist temples and carved into ancient ornamental form representing Osiris.

St Peter's square has largest solar wheel on the planet. ALL Catholic churches have numerous solar wheels in stain glass windows as well as many other areas of the church. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris sports a very huge one on it's face. There is a great one in ceiling as well as the floor tiles of the monastery of St. Ignatius Loyola in Spain. Numerous paintings, statues, ornaments, and letterheads of all Catholic churches have one or more "solar wheels" depicted upon them. And the ONE WORLD CHURCH that started on June 26, 2000 uses the solar wheel as its official logo on their letterhead

33. Archaeologists have found numerous carvings of the serpent on Pagan Rome bath houses

The symbol of serpent can also be found on numerous Catholic churches in door handles, Papal crests, etc.

34. Pagans have depicted "Atlas" as carrying the universe on his shoulders. They would place a large globe upon his shoulders.

Numerous Popes have been depicted in paintings in the exact same manner. There are also some paintings and statues of Mary doing same

35. Pagans used the symbols of the "Unicorn, Peacock, and Phoenix" to signify some of their sun gods

Symbols of the "Unicorn, Peacock, and Phoenix" used to symbolize the "communion" of Christ are found carved in gold in many churches on doors or chapels as well as the small sanctuary buildings housing the Eucharist or wafer god of Rome

36. Crescent moon used to signify moon goddess "Nanna" was depicted in numerous paintings, etchings, carvings and statues. It was also used to cradle the sun god in wafer form before the people for worship

The crescent is also used to cradle Eucharist in the Monstrance of the Roman Catholic church, and is paraded before the people for worship. It is also seen in countless paintings, etchings, carvings, and sculptures

37. The three letters "S.F.S" within a small blaze was used to represent the universal mystery for the number "6" in the Pagan mysteries

S.F.S in a small blaze is boldly carved into the Vatican Monstrance for all to see in the Vatican museum as well as many monstrance's in churches the world over

38. Alternating rays of the sun burst used to represent unity of "man and woman" common in all aspects of Paganism. (Curved ray = female "yonic" Straight ray = male "phallic")

The monstrance of Catholicism, as well as many paintings and sculptures all depict same rays of both the "phallic and yonic" symbol can be found literally all over the Roman Catholic churches.

39. Carvings of "nature spirits" (fauns or satyrs) depicting a horned, hoofed-god were a common feature in all Pagan churches

Carvings of "nature spirits" (fauns or satyrs) depicting a horned, hoofed-god are found all over the Treasury of the Vatican beneath St Peters square as well as many Cathedrals around the world

40. The statues of a "Madonna" can be found in all Pagan churches as well as the Egyptian Madonna, Isis, with her son Horus, or Hindu churches with Divaki and her son Krishna

Mary is found in all Catholic churches holding baby Jesus wearing the same clothing, as well as Jesus making the same hand signals

41. The statue of Zeus holds symbol of thunder and a lightening bolt Pagans taught symbolized his position as a god.

Mary has been depicted in many statues in same manner all throughout the Vatican as well as many churches

42. Pagans have demi-gods holding crooked diving staffs that represent the serpent as well as the lightening bolt

The Pope himself carries the exact same staff today. (serpent crosiers) He is photographed often with it as well

43. In Pagan Rome you would find, Adad, Enlil, Baal, Neptune, Poseidon and other "gods" of storm and sea being depicted as carrying tridents in their hands

Crosses as well as statues of Jesus and Mary in Cathedrals all over the world carved with tridents on them. There is even a gold statue of baby Jesus in the Vatican with three tridents coming out of his head. All three tridents also depict the phallic and yonic symbolism as well in that statue. They even curved the forks to make that fact known.

44. Hand gestures in the form of a trident can be found depicted in Pagan gods such as Jupiter, Buddah, Appollo, and Hindu diety's as well. They are called "votive hands" in pagan temples

Statue of St. Peter (Originally the old Jupiter statue of Rome) as well as millions of other statues, paintings, photos, and videos of everyone from Jesus and Mary to priests, cardinals,bishops, all the Popes, Vatican guards, and even lay people themselves in the Catholic church can be seen holding up the three finger trident salute of pagan Rome. (Now called the salute to the Trinity)

45. Pine cones used to represent the deity of a solar god Osiris, Bacchus, Dionysus, as well as Mexican gods, Hindu gods, and Assyrian gods can be found all throughout Pagan Rome

The largest pine cone sculpture in the world is found in the "Court of the pine cone" at the Vatican. The pine cone is also found carved into the crooked pagan staff (serpent crosier) of the Popes of Rome. In fact the pine cone is found all throughout the Vatican as well as Cathedrals as decoration. The staff the pope holds with the deformed Jesus and crooked cross on it has a pine cone under the base of the cross.

46. Oanne, the Babylonian fish-god (half man half fish) was depicted by Pagan high priests by wearing a fish head mitre (head dress) upon a mans head to symbolize man and fish joining when the "sun god" set into the ocean. (Neptune = case in point. Half man half fish) One particular Biblical deity that confirms this is "Dagon" found in 1Samuel. (Dag=fish On=sun)

Mitres or head dresses that are worn by all Popes of Catholicism are an exact duplicate of these Dagon head dresses.

47. The Roman sun-god face with the alternating yonic and phallic symbols surrounding his head was found carved in excavated Roman bath houses in England. It is also found as "Apollo" on the facade of the Pergamum Museum in East Berlin.

Almost all Catholic churches have the exact same carving above their pulpits, pillars, on statues, as well as carved into ceilings above altars. Some Catholic churches actually have it carved into the Eucharist itself. There is also a statue in Rome of Mary cradling the face within a blaze in her arms as if he is her child. Plus, many Weather reporters use this face inside a solar blaze as a graphic for their weather reports

48. Statues of the Romanized Egyptians Isis with globes in her hand, Hercules as a solar deity carried the very same globe in his hand, and the Persian sun-god Mithra is also depicted with the globe in his hand as a sign he is ruler of the Universe.

The Vatican has a solid gold statue of Jesus with the globe in hand, a black marble statue called "the black virgin of Montserrat" and a statue of a "child Jesus" with globe in hand as well as countless other statues all over the world with Mary and others holding the globe

49. Coptic shells were carved to symbolize the Universe as well. Roman grave stones used them to represent the Heavens. Statues of Atlas can be found carrying the "universe" shell upon his shoulders. Pagan Rome carved Poseidon with the shell as part of his head. Venus was said to be born from within a Coptic shell.

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican has this Pagan symbol within the papal crest upon the wall. The Coptic shell is also found over the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. This cosmic symbol is often used as a font for holding holy water in Catholic churches the world over. They even have statues of angels holding this pagan symbol filled with holy water

50. The large evil eye can be found carved on a Roman sarcophagus in the National Archaeological Museum in Rome Italy. Masonic pendants have them as well. Hathor, the "eye of Osiris" can be found all over Egyptian temple. It was commonly used as protection against evil magic

This very same evil eye within the pyramid is found on Roman Catholic pulpits, ceilings, altars, doors, pendants, medals, etc. It is also on the back of the dollar bill of the USA on the left side floating above an unfinished pyramid.

51. The multi-level crown of the high Pagan priest was first worn by old Babylonian gods in 1800BC. The horned tiara was carved atop Assyrian winged-bull cherubims as well. The Jewish Kabbalistic solar deity wore this very same tiara, as did Krishna.

The bronze tomb of Pope Sixtus depicts his dead body in bronze with this three ringed tiara on his head. On that tiara you can also see 6 serpents upon it. All the Popes have worn the tiara as a symbol of their authority as "gods of the earth, heaven, and hell." Hence, the "three rings" upon it. The Vatican has a solid gold tiara on display in the Vatican treasury at all times. This is the very crown the Pope will hand to Antichrist when he arrives to impersonate Jesus Christ in the days ahead.

52. Quetzalcoatl, "the lord of life and death" in the Aztec and Toltec cultures of 1000 AD had an opened chest with an exposed heart displayed in his statues. This was believed to be nourishment offered to the sun gods.

Literally hundreds of thousands of statues, paintings, posters, lithographs, rings, medals, and icons have Jesus as well as Mary depicted in the exact same manner with what the Catholic church calls "The sacred heart." Notice that these "sacred hearts" also have the symbols of the sun god Mithra glowing rather boldly behind them at all times.

53. Assyrian carvings show eagles as genies hovering over the dead. Their "book of the dead" depicts just such a picture on its cover.

Eagles are used as symbols all over the Roman Catholic church. See Rev 18:2 for it speaks of the Vatican as the "hold of ever foul spirit, and a cage of ever unclean and hateful bird."

Baal is the Catholic God

Here you see a view of the piazza or plaza at the Vatican, also known as St. Peter's square. The papal palace is on the right edge of the photo. The large eight-rayed sun wheel design, symbolic of Ishtar, is immediately noticeable. Look closely in the center of the wheel. What you see there is an obelisk, a genuine Egyptian obelisk shipped from Heliopolis to Rome by the Roman emperor Caligula. The obelisk is, of course, a phallic symbol,* but it also was used in sun worship.  

* It is claimed that the word 'obelisk' literally means 'Baal's shaft' or 'Baal's organ of reproduction'.  Source:
Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated, by Dr. Cathy Burns, pg. 341.

Here is an old photo of the center of St. Peter's square, and note that around the obelisk, at the center of the huge eight-point sun wheel, is a smaller four-pointed sun wheel, the same symbol as found on the altar stone in the temple of Baal in Hatzor!

So in St. Peter's square, the symbol of Baal is within the symbol of Ishtar, and at the center is an Egyptian obelisk, all representing
pagan sun worship.

Here is a close-up of the obelisk in front of St. Peter's. Have you ever given any thought to the origin of the church steeple?
Could it be a modern representation of the pagan obelisk? Indeed!


The top reasons to be declared a heretic and become a victim of the unimaginable tortures described on this page.

1) To refuse the claim that the Pope is god on earth and come under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

2) To proclaim the Word of God to be of higher authority than the Pope and the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and to remain faithful to the teachings of those same Scriptures.

3) To process any physical part of the true Scriptures, the Word of God. 

4) To refuse the eucharist of the mass.

Here is a short excerpt from John A, O'brien's book Faith of Millions 
The Credentials of the Catholic Religion.

"When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens and brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon the (Roman Catholic) altar to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man...Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven and renders Him present on the (Roman Catholic) altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man-not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal, omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest's command...No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially fond of applying to the priest is that of 'altar Christus.' For the priest is and should be another Christ."

Consecration: the act of giving the sacramental character to the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine.

The Catholic Church claims that their priests turn the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ.  The sun shaped wafer (eucharist) is inscribed with IHS which stands for Isis, Horus, and Seb and placed into the sunburst monstrance and paraded before all present.  Every Catholic is obligated to get on their knees or make the sight of the cross in submission to this idolatress representation.

It is easy to see why for the first 169 years of America’s history it was illegal to "celebrate" this mass in public. Our forefathers were very much aware of where all the trouble was coming from.

The “Holy Office of the Inquisition” still exists today with exactly the same purpose but has merely been renamed “The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith”. This should send chills down your spine, now what do you think of the Ecumenical Movement?

The Medieval Tortures

It is an historical fact the Roman Catholic Church supplanted all civil authority of the European Governments for exactly 1,260 years.

The most common means of torture included burning, beating and suffocating, however the techniques below are some of the more extravagant and depraved methods used and allowed by the Roman Catholic Church.


Torture room in the Inquisition cathedral in Nuremberg

Iron Gag or Mute's Bridle

This device stifles the screams so as not to disturb the conversation of torturers. The iron "box" on the inside of the ring is forced into the victim's mouth and the collar fastened behind their neck. A small hole allows the passage of air but this can be stopped up by a touch of the executioner's fingertip, producing suffocation.  Often constructed with a long spike that pierced the tongue and the floor of the mouth, protruding from underneath the chin, while the other end penetrated up through the bony palate of the mouth into the sinuses.

Often those condemned to the stake were thus gagged because their screams would interfere with the sacred pagan music played during the grandiose public festivities in which dozens of heretics were burnt at one time.

The Pendulum

A fundamental torture one that is often just a preparation of the victim for more effective infliction of still more tortu­res. No complex equipment is needed the victim's wrists are tied behind his back then a rope is attached to the wrist restraints and the sufferer is slowly hoisted up ripping the humerus from the sockets and dislocating the scapula and clavicle. The agony can be heighten­ne by means of weights progressively attached to the feet until at last the skeleton is pulled apart as it is by the bench and ladder racks.


The Rack

The Rack was an instrument of torture often used in the Middle Ages, and a popular means of extricating confession. The victim was tied across a board by their ankles and wrists, rollers at either end of the board were turned by pulling the body in opposite directions until dislocation of every joint occurred. According to
Puigblanch, quoted in Mason's History of the Inquisition,

"in this attitude he experienced eight strong contortions in his limbs, namely, two of the fleshy parts of the arms above the elbows, and two below; one on each thigh, and also on the legs."

Bound, the heretic, could then be subjected to other forms of torture.


The Rack was extensively used during the Spanish Inquisition.

Other forms included the detainee being fastened in a groove upon a table on his or her back. Suspended above was a gigantic pendulum, the ball of which had a sharp edge on the lower section, and the pendulum lengthen with every stroke. The victim sees this engine of destruction swinging to and fro only a short distance from ones eyes.

Momentarily the keen edge comes nearer, and at length cuts the skin, and gradually cuts deeper and deeper, until their life has fully expired.

The Ladder Rack

Preparation for the Ladder Rack often started with the crushing of the shins with the screw-activated "Spanish Boots".  


With the arms securely affixed behind the victim’s back the person was then put onto the inclined slope of the Ladder Rack.  Thus load the executioner would push the 2 heels of the feet forward causing the victim to plummet downward so that the shoulders were immediately and violently wrenched out of their sockets. 


The victim is literally stretched by force of the winch with various old sources testify to increases of twelve inches that comes from the dislocation and extrusion of every joint in the arms and legs, of the dismemberment of the spinal column, and of course the ripping and detachment of the muscles of limbs, thorax and abdomen. 

But long before the victim is brought to the final undoing, he or she, even in the initial phases of the enquiry (in the J 'Question of the first degree"), suffers dislocation of the shoulders because his arms are pulled up behind his back, as well as the agony of muscles ripping like any fiber subjected to excessive stress. In the Question of the second degree the knee, hip and elbow joints begin to be forced out of their sockets; with the third degree they separate, very audibly. After only the second degree the interrogatee is maimed for life; after the third he is dismembered and paralyzed, and gradually over hours and days the life functions cease one by one.


The Stocks

The victim with his or her hands and feet locked into the pertinent holes with bracket irons was then  set out in the square where the mob in the mildest of cases poked him, slapped him, and besmirched him with feces and urine or substances supplied by the ubiquitous chamber pots or open jakes.  All of these were smeared into the mouth, ears, nose, and hair. Only the most innocuous transgressors could hope to get away with no more than a few black-and-blue marks and a couple of bumps.

Children's books, cinema, and television generally portray the stock in humorous colors centered on a grumpy victim being cajoled and reviled by an always benevolent rough-and-tumble crowd. Reality was very different.


With their feet in the stocks, two pieces of timber clamped together, over and under, both across each leg above the ankles. The soles of their feet then having been greased with lard, a blazing brazier was applied to them, and they were first blistered and then fried. At intervals a board was interposed between the fire and their feet and removed once they disobeyed the command to confess themselves of guilt for which they had been charged.

Being more painful, but less fatal than racking, this was the torture most in vogue when the subject chanced to be of the female sex. It was also favored in cases where children were to be persuaded to testify against their parents. Slighter tortures consisted of binding a piece of iron to a limb and putting a twister mark to force it inwards, as was pressing the fingers with rods between them, or removing a nail from fingers or toes, which were all highly practiced upon persons of not sufficient strength to survive the pulley, rack, or fire.

The Barrel Pillory

Inflicted for the most part on chronic drunkards who were exposed to public ridicule in this fashion. The barrels could be either of two kinds: those closed on the bottom with the victim immersed in feces and urine or merely putrid water, or open so that the victim could walk and be led about the town with the enormous and very painful weight on thier shoulders.


Water Torture

The victim's nostrils were pinched shut, and eight quarts of fluid were poured down the victim's throat through a funnel. Other techniques included forcing a cloth down the throat, while pouring water, which made a swallowing reflex pushing it further down into the stomach producing all the agonies of suffocation by drowning until the victim lost consciousness. Instead of water, the torture was sometimes conducted with boiling water or vinegar.

The victim did not die quickly from the rupturing of the stomach but very slowly from Peritonitis. This happens when the unclean contents of the stomach combine with the clean organs of the abdominal cavity.

The Heretics Fork

This instrument consisted of two little forks one set against the other, with the four prongs plunged into the flesh, under the chin and above the chest, with hands secured firmly behind their backs. A small collar supported the instrument in such a manner that the victims were usually forced to hold their head erect, thus preventing any movement.

The forks did not penetrate any vital points, and thus suffering was prolonged and death was always nearly avoided. The pointed prongs on each end to crane the persons head made speech or movement near impossible. The Heretics Fork was very common during the height of the Spanish Inquisition.

The Pear

These instruments were used in oral and rectal formats, like the present specimen, and in the larger vaginal one. They are forced into the mouth, rectum or vagina of the victim and there expanded by force of the screw to the maximum aperture of the segments. The inside of the cavity in question is irremediably mutilated, nearly always fatally so. The pointed prongs at the end of the segments serve better to rip into the throat, the intestines or the cervix.

The oral pear was often inflicted on heretical preachers, but also on lay persons guilty of unorthodox tendencies; This item became extensively applied throughout the Spanish Inquisition to force confessions from those accused of Witchcraft.


The Wheel

The wheel was one of the most popular and insidious methods of torture and execution practiced. The giant spiked wheel was able to break bodies as it rolled forward, causing the most agonizing and drawn-out death. Other forms include the "braided" wheel, where the victim would be tied to the execution dock or platform. Their limbs were spread and tied to stakes or iron rings on the ground. Slices of wood were placed under the main joints, wrists, ankles, knees, hips, and elbows. The executioner would then smash every joint with the iron-tyred edge of the wheel--however the executioner would avoid fatal blows to give the victim a painful death.


According to a German chronicler, the victim was transformed into a huge screaming puppet writhing in their own blood. It looked like a sea monster with four tentacles, and raw slimy shapeless flesh, mixed with splinters of bone. After the smashing had taken place the victim would literally be "braided" into the wheel and hung horizontally at the top of the pole.

The Breast Ripper

The name of this device speaks for itself. Cold or red-hot the four claws slowly ripped to formless masses the breasts of countless women. 

This device was highly put into service during the massacre of the Danes.

Hanging cages

These cages were usually hung around the outsides of town halls and ducal palaces, they were also near the town's hall of justice and surprisingly cathedrals. The victim, naked and exposed, would slowly wither from hunger and thirst. The weather would second the victims death by heat stroke and sunburn in the summer and cold in the winter.


The victims and corpses were usually previously mutilated before being put in the cages to make a more edifying example of the punishment. The cadavers were left in the cages until the bones literally fell apart.

The Garotte

Originally, the
garotte was simply hanging by another name. However, during Medieval times, executioners began to refine the use of rope until it became as feared and as vile as any serious punishments. Executioners first used the garotte to end the suffering of heretics broken on the wheel, but by the turn of the 18th century the seed of an idea involving slow strangulation was planted in the minds of lawmakers.


At first, garottes were nothing more than an upright post with a hole bored through. The victim would stand or sit on a seat in front of the post and chanting crowd, and a rope was looped around his or her neck. The ends of the cords were fed through the hole in the post. The executioner would then pull on both ends of the cord, or twist them tourniquet-styled, slowly strangling the victim. Later modifications included a spike fixed into the wood frame at the back of the victim's neck, parting the vertebrae as the rope tighten.

The Head Crusher

With the victim's chin placed on the lower bar, a screw then forces the cap down on the victims cranium. The recipients teeth are crushed and forced into the sockets to smash the surrounding bone. The eyes are compressed from their sockets and brain from the fractured skull.

This device, although not a form of capital punishment, is still used for interrogational purposes. It was to inflict extreme agony and shock and leave the victim in its grasp for hours. Other methods included the head screw (below) which was placed around the forehead and tighten. The accused became so frantic by the extreme panic of having their head crushed that they confessed to anything.

Burnt at the Stake

If the Inquisitor wanted to be sure no relics were left behind by an accused and convicted heretic, he would select death by burning at the stake as the preferred method of execution. With few exceptions, death came from being burned alive. Frequently, burning a victim at the stake was cause for a crowd. Not content to merely learn about the spectacle after it was over, the masses wanted to be entertained.

Reflecting on those facts, and understanding such events occurred "under the law," one can clearly understand how Thomas Hobbes (this is a contemporary biography) came to the conclusions he did about man in a state of nature.

If man is capable of such violence and inhumanity in a state of civilization, of what is he capable when there are no laws and there is no society?
(Carole D. Bos)

The Iron Maiden

The Iron Maiden or
Virgin of Nuremberg was a tomb-sized container with folding doors. The object was to inflict punishment, then death. Upon the inside of the door were vicious spikes. As the prisoner was shut inside he or she would be pierced along the length of their body. The talons were not designed to kill outright.

The pinioned prisoner was left to slowly perish in the utmost pain. Some models included two spikes that were driven into the eyes causing blindness. One of these diabolical machines was exhibited in 1892.

The Strappado

One of the most common torture techniques. All one needed to set up a
strappado was a sturdy rafter and a rope. The victim's wrists were bound behind their back, and the rope would be tossed over the beam.

The victim was repeatedly dropped from a height, so that their arms and shoulders would dislocate. This was a punishment of the Secret Tribunal until 1820.  

The Boots

Also known as the
bootikens. The legs of the patient were usually placed between two planks of wood, which they binded with cords and wedges. The torturer used a large, heavy hammer to pound the wedges, driving them closer together.

Forceful blows were used to squeeze the legs to jelly, lacerating flesh, protruding the shins, and crushing the bones; sometimes so that marrow gushed out. Once unloosed the bones fall to pieces, rendering the legs useless. This torture was most overwhelming, as one can imagine.

Judas Cradle

The victim was stripped, hoisted and hung over this pointed pyramid with iron belts. Their legs were stretched out frontwards, or their ankles pulled down by weights. The tormentor would then drop the accused onto the pyramid penetrating both orifices. With their muscles contracted, they were usually unable to relax and fall asleep.


The Guillotine

It was the French physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, born in Saintes in 1738 and elected to the National Assembly in 1789 who first promoted a law that required that all executions even those of commoners, be carried out by means of a "machine that beheads painlessly". An easy death was no longer to be the prerogative of nobles.  Consciousness survives long enough for the victim to perceive the beheading even when removed by the swift slash of an axe or guillotine. 


After the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on 21 January 1793, the I 'machine' " called only thus until these two events became known also as "lila louisette" or "le loui son", only after 1800 did the term "la guillotine" become established. As such it remained in use in many countries, including the Papal States and the kingdoms of Piedmont and Bourbon Naples until 1860.  

Papal Inquisition (1233)

At the close of the 12th century, heresy was spreading rapidly in Southern France. Papal legates were sent by Pope Innocent III into the disaffected district to increase the severity of repressive measures against the Waldenses. In 1200, Peter of Castelnau was made associate inquisitor for Southern France. The powers of the papal legates were increased so as to bring non-compliant bishops within the net. Diego, bishops of Osma, and Dominec came onto the scene. In 1206, Peter and Raoul went as spies among the Albigenses.


Count Raymond of Toulouse abased himself in 1207, before Peter promised to extirpate the heretics he had defended. Dominec advised a crusade against the Albigenses. The pope's inquisitors tried, condemned, and punished offenders inflicting the death penalty itself with the concurrence of the civil powers.

The Inquisition was also destined to become a permanent institution. The vigor and success of the Papal Legatine Inquisition assured this. The Fourth Lateran Council took the initial steps with Pope Innocent III presiding. The synodal courts were given something of the character of inquisitorial tribunals. Synods were to be held in each province annually, and violations of the Lateran canons rigorously punished.


The condemned were to be left in the hands of the secular power, and their goods were to be confiscated. The secular powers were to be admonished and induced, and, should it prove necessary, were to be compelled to the utmost of their power to exterminate all who were pointed out as heretics by the church. Any prince declining not to purge his land of heresy was to be excommunicated. If he persisted, complaint was to be made to the pope, who was then to absolve his vassals from allegiance and allow the country to be seized by Catholics who should exterminate the heretics. Those who joined in the crusade for the extermination of heretics were to have the some indulgence as the crusaders who went to the Holy Land.

In the face of this inexpugnable record, how futile it is for modern church apologists to pretend that Rome did not shed blood, and was not responsible for the atrocities of the Inquisition. The Council of Toulouse in 1229 adopted a number of canons tending to give permanent character to the Inquisition as an institution.


It made or indicated the machinery for questioning, convicting, and punishing. Heretics were to be excluded from medical practice; the houses in which they were found to be razed to the ground; they were to be delivered to the archbishop, or local authorities; forfeiture or public rights could be removed only by a papal dispensation; any one who allowed a heretic to remain in his country, or who shielded him in the slightest degree, would lose his land, personal property, and official position; the local magistracy joined in the search for heretics; men from the ages of 14, and women from 12, were to make oath and renew it every two years, that they would inform on heretics.


This made every person above those ages a bloodhound to track to torture and kill. Local councils added to these regulations, always in the direction of severity and injustice. The organic development of the Papal Inquisition proceeded rapidly. It was found that bishops, for the various reasons, would not always enforce the cruel canons of the councils.


So Pope Gregory IX in August, 1231, put the Inquisition under the control of the Dominicans, and order especially created for the defense of the church against heresy. Dominican inquisitors were appointed for Aragon, Germany, Austria, Lombardy, and Southern France.

The chronicle of the inquisitor Guilhem Pelhisso shows the most tragic episodes of the reign of terror which wasted Languedoc in France for a century. Guillaume Arnaud, Peter Cella, Bernard of Caux, Jean de St Pierre, Nicholas of Abbeville, Foulques de St Georges, were all the chief inquisitors who played the part of absolute dictatorship, burning at the stake, attacking both the living and the dead.


One of the leading head Inquisitors of Germany was Conrad of Marburg. Stern in temper and narrow in mind, his bigotry was said to be ardent to the pitch of near insanity. Conrad was urged by Pope Gregory IX as to "not to punish the wicked, but as to hurt the innocence with fear." History shows us how far these Inquisitors answered to this ideal. Conrad murdered and terrified countless people in pursuit of his duties, regarding mental and physical torture as a rapid route to salvation. He was given full discretionary powers, and was not required to hear the cases, but to pronounce judgment, which was to be final and without appeal-justice to those suspect of heresy.


He was authorized to command the aid of the secular arm, to excommunicate protectors of heresy, and to lay interdict on whole districts. During his reign, he claimed to have uncovered nests of "Devil worshippers" and adopted the motto "I would gladly burn a hundred innocent if there was one guilty among them.” Stimulated by this shining example, many Dominicans and Franciscans merged with him, and became his eager assistants. He also sentenced the feline cat to be forever viewed as a tool of manifestation for witches and sorcerers.


During the persecution of heresy in the Rhineland's by Conrad, one obstinate culprit actually refused to burn in spite of all the efforts of his zealous executioners. A thoughtful priest brought to the roaring pile a consecrated host. This at once dissolved the spell by a mightier magic, and the luckless heretic was speedily reduced to ashes.

Other inquisitors included
Peter of Verona in Italy, Robert the Bulgar in northeast France, and Bernardus Guidonis in Toulouse. Guidonis, was considered the most experienced inquisitor of his day, condemning roughly 900 heretics, with recorded sentences pronounced after death against 89 persons during a period of 15 years. Not only was their property confiscated and their heirs disinherited, but they were subject to still further penalties. In the north of France, the Inquisition was marked by a series of melancholy events. Robert le Bougre, spent six years going through the Nivernais, Burgundy, Flanders and Champagne, burning at the stake in every place unfortunates whom he condemned without judgment.

Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834)

Tomas de Torquemada                                      Pope Sixtus IV
Inquisitor-General of Spain                         Papacy began August 9, 1471
1420 - September 16, 1498                      Papacy ended August 12, 1484

In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition was established with the papal approval of Pope Sixtus IV. The reform and extension of the ancient tribunal which had existed from the thirteenth century was mainly to discover and eliminate Jews and Muslims secretly taking up their beliefs in private.


The conduct of this holy office greatly weakened the power and diminished the population of Spain. It was considered the most deadliest and notorious of all Inquisitions, as firstly being, it was the most highly organized and secondly, it was far more exposed and open with the death penalty than that of the papal Inquisition. This holy office became veiled by secrecy, unhesitatingly kept back, falsified, concealed, and forged the reports of thousands of trials.

The first two Inquisitors in the districts of Seville were appointed in 1480 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to round up the most wealthiest heretics; the reason for this, was that the property of those accused, were shared equally between the Catholic throne and the Dominicans.


The Catholic Spanish government also directly paid the expenses, and received the net income of the Inquisition itself from the accused. According to civil law, people convicted of religious treason were sentenced to death and their goods confiscated while the Catholic Church feasted on their estate. Additional Inquisitors were named, including Tomas Torquemada, who the following year was appointed Inquisitor General for all of Spain.


Tomas, who's duty was to organize the rules of inquisitorial procedures in Seville, Castille and Aragon. He believed punishment of heretics, was the only way to achieve political and religious unity in Spain. Those refusing to accept Catholicism where lead to the stake and burnt alive in a procession and Catholic ceremony known as "auto-de-fe'" (act of faith).

Roman Inquisition (1542-1700)

In the early 1500's and 1600's, the Catholic Church went through a reformation. It consisted of two related movements:

(1) a defensive reaction against the Reformation, a movement begun by Martin Luther in 1517 that gave birth to Protestantism
(2) a Catholic reform which saw Protestants declare war on Catholics

The Roman Catholic Church called the Council of Trent partly as a defense against Protestantism. In 1542, Pope Paul III (1534-49) established the Holy Office as the final court of appeal in trials of heresy. The Church also published a list of books that were forbidden to read. Heretical books were outlawed, and searched out by domiciliary visits. Every book that came was scrutinized minutely with the express object of finding some passage which might be interpreted as being against the principles or interests of the Catholic faith.


The secular coadjutor were also not allowed to learn to read or write without permission. No man was able to aspire to any rank above that of which he already holded. The church insisted on this regulation as a means to obtaining a perfect knowledge of its subordinates.


The censorship of books took three forms:

(1) complete condemnation and suppression
(2) the expunging of certain objectionable passages or parts
(3) the correction of sentences or the deletion of specific words as mentioned

A list of the various books condemned upon any of these three heads was printed every year, after which anyone found to be in the possession of a volume coming under section (1) or an unexpurgated or uncorrected copy of a volume coming under section (2) or (3) was deemed guilty and liable to serve punishment. The author and the publisher of any such book often spent the remainder of their lives in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Its overall goal was to eradicate Protestant influences in Europe.

A number of wars resulting from religious conflicts broke out as well as the Catholic governments tried to stop the spread of Protestantism in the country. Such attempts led to the civil war in France from 1562 to 1598 and a rebellion in the Netherlands between 1565 and 1648. Religion was a major issue in the fighting between Spain and England from 1585 to 1604.


It was also a cause of the Thirty Years' War 1618 to 1648, which centered in Germany, that eventually involved all of the great nations of Europe halving its population. The estimate of the death toll during the Inquisitions ranged worldwide from 600,000 to as high in the millions covering a span of almost six centuries.


Victor Hugo estimated the number of the victims of the Inquisition at five million, it is said, and certainly the number was much greater than that if we take into account, as we should, the wives and husbands, the parents and children, the brothers and sisters, and other relatives of those tortured and slaughtered by the priestly institution. To these millions should properly be added the others killed in the wars precipitated in the attempt to fasten the Inquisition upon the people of various countries, as the Netherlands and Germany.