PDA

View Full Version : I need to torture someone-- any ideas?



Rachael
08-24-2005, 05:08 AM
I'm writing a spy thriller in which at least three people (maybe more) get tortured. What are some modern ways to torture someone? I've thought about electric shock and the squeezing of certain muscles (the Trapezius, for instance), but I'm looking for something more realistic.

I've been thinking about emotional torture, too. Since the main character is a world-class violinist when she's not helping to save the world, I might have the antagonist threaten to break/mutilate the fingers on her left hand.

This has been the biggest stumbling stone I've run across so far, and I think my work would flow a lot more easily if I could just figure this one issue out. Help will be greatly appreciated.

Mac H.
08-24-2005, 12:35 PM
One thing that was done in Zimbabwe was cutting of someone's hand, cooking it and forcing them to eat it.

I think it would be the ultimate sadness if someone was starved to the point that they would eat it willingly.

(It wouldn't have to be the hero - it could be the person imprisoned next to them)

Mac

scfirenice
08-24-2005, 06:11 PM
Let's take a page from Guantanamo bay. How about sleep depriation, facing someone with their worst fears (Dogs, Snakes, Bugs, Broken violins.) Using lbright lights constantly 24/7, Ruination of a treasured item. These are employes by the military, so they must work.

Rachael
08-24-2005, 06:20 PM
Hmm... Some of those sound like they might work. As far as worst fears go, the MC is deathly afraid of fish, and I had already made the antagonist push her into a fish pond (and then 'rescue' her, so she thinks he's on her side. Logic isn't really her first priority after being swarmed by fish.)

I like the bright lights and sleep deprivation, but I think I might also include the electric shock idea I had already come up with. It might speed things up, don't you think?

Thanks for the ideas!

Cathy C
08-24-2005, 10:55 PM
Torture him for fun, or for information? If for information, screw up his knees first so he has something to look forward to with the elbows and wrists. If for fun, then any of the others would be fine too.

PattiTheWicked
08-24-2005, 11:05 PM
I'm writing a spy thriller in which at least three people (maybe more) get tortured. What are some modern ways to torture someone?

Tie them to a chair and make them watch endless hours of Americal Idol while Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton have a celebrity death match in the background?

StoryG27
08-24-2005, 11:20 PM
Tie them to a chair and make them watch endless hours of Americal Idol while Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton have a celebrity death match in the background?
C'mon Patti, would any one really be THAT cruel????

aadams73
08-25-2005, 02:08 AM
Tie them to a chair and make them watch endless hours of Americal Idol while Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton have a celebrity death match in the background?

Wow, that's way harsh! ;) Add some of Lindsay Lohan's "music" and a few rats and you'd have the perfect torture chamber.

Carlene
08-25-2005, 03:45 AM
Oh, Patti - you are evil! Actually you're all pretty sick. Thanks goodness I found this site!!!! I know some cook ways to kill folks and no one would know....

Carlene

brainstrains
08-25-2005, 04:28 PM
Watch "Man on Fire" for some interesting ideas. Yick.

alleycat
08-26-2005, 05:23 PM
I've been thinking about emotional torture, too. Since the main character is a world-class violinist when she's not helping to save the world, I might have the antagonist threaten to break/mutilate the fingers on her left hand.

Or have the antagonist threaten to destroy the MC's priceless, 16th century Italian violin.

As for torture, an interesting one that I've heard that is actually used in the "third world" is bending someone's head over and spraying a shakened-up Coke or Ginger Ale into their nose. Apparently it burns like hell (and leaves no marks).

Another one is putting someone in a coffin and threatening to bury then alive. The idea of that always freaked me out as a kid.

ac

JAlpha
08-26-2005, 05:28 PM
Ad nauseam exposure to smilies http://www.ummah.org.uk/forum/images/smilies/torture.gif, just sayin--it could happen.

Euan H.
08-31-2005, 02:22 PM
You might find these useful:

http://www.channel4.com/news/microsites/T/torture/methods.html

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture#Torture_devices_and_methods

Which lists the following methods:

Torture methods


Bastinado (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastinado)
Beatings and physical violence
Boiling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling)
"The boats": see Scaphism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaphism)
The boot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_%28torture%29)
The Brazen bull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazen_bull)
Denailing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denailing)
Disfigurement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disfigurement)
Drowning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drowning) or Water cure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cure)
Flagellation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellation)
Flaying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaying)
Foot roasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_roasting)
Solitary confinement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitary_confinement)
Mock executions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_execution)
Peine forte et dure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peine_forte_et_dure) (Pressing)
Pitchcapping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitchcapping)
Rape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape)
Scaphism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaphism)
Sensory deprivation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_deprivation)
Shabach technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabach_technique)
Sleep deprivation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_deprivation)
Sound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound) (Extremely high volumes, dynamic range (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range), low frequency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequency) or noise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise) intended to interfere with rest, cognition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognition) and concentration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration))
The Spanish boot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_boot)
Squassation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squassation)
Strappado (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strappado) (also known as "reverse hanging" and "American hanging")
Water boarding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_boarding)
The water cure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cure): see Drowning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drowning)
Whipping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellation)

alleycat
08-31-2005, 03:34 PM
Ahh, peine forte et dure, such a pleasant sounding phrase for being pressed to death with stones....

Gabriele
09-03-2005, 11:51 PM
Strappado is still used today.

All you need is a rope and a hook in the ceiling or a tree branch. If you tie the victim's hands behind his back, the shoulders will dislocate, which is really painful. You can add flogging, like in the smiley above. :)

And don't forget rape as a torture method.

Uncletrunx
09-06-2005, 06:56 PM
One of the most commonly used torture methods these days is one of the most simple: Holding someone's head underwater. It's very popular with terrorist groups and undercover agents: one simply runs a bath of cold water and forces the victim's head under. Then, once you've finished, pull the plug out and the incriminating evidence vanishes. So the floor's a bit wet? Someone had a bath at some point recently.

Apparently, it's one of the most terrifying feelings, being choked with water repeatedly. It's what I used in a torture scene in a book I wrote, and I was told that it was far too realistic and unpleasant!

Jaycinth
09-10-2005, 12:39 AM
Do you want them to live or to die? If you want them to die, how long do you want them to live before they die? If you want them to live, how long do you want them to live? What kind of life do you want them to be able to live? A hopeless cripple and an example or a recovering victim? How long or what do you want it to take to make them recover?

Do you want them to escape from the torture on their own?

What kind of constitution does your victim have?

lmcguire
09-10-2005, 12:43 AM
Sorry to come late to the party. I also write spy stories (have several shorts and am working on a novel). How to write a torture scene, including the method used, really depends on a lot of details - who is being tortured, by whom (not just characters, but their relationship), why (possibly most important) and what further plans do you have for the characters later in the story? Also, from whose point of view are you writing? Are you doing first person from the victim's POV or third-person torturer?

Anywho, if it's not too late, please reply with some of these details and I'll share my opinions (otherwise, I'd have to go on at length :)).

Best Regards,

Liz

Rachael
09-12-2005, 03:40 AM
Two of the people we aren't really introduced to. They're tortured for information, then immediately killed.

The MC's ex-boyfriend is the leader of a world crime organization. He's a little neurotic, and he kidnapped her a) because he's obsessed with her and b) to upset her current fiance. I had him rape her, then repeatedly tell her her fiance wouldn't want her anymore because of it. Mostly he was trying to brainwash her using torture, etc.

Thanks for the great links! I'll have to check them out as soon as I get a free moment.

lmcguire
09-13-2005, 04:26 AM
The MC's ex-boyfriend is the leader of a world crime organization. He's a little neurotic, and he kidnapped her a) because he's obsessed with her and b) to upset her current fiance. I had him rape her, then repeatedly tell her her fiance wouldn't want her anymore because of it. Mostly he was trying to brainwash her using torture, etc.

Ah, well, this makes a big difference. The leader of a criminal organization is going to behave very differently than an official intelligence agency - a criminal organization isn't going to give two hoots about the techniques used; an intelligence agency is going to be more selective, more subtle in its techniques (depending on the situation, of course).

And of course, the prior relationship will impact things.... Most certainly he'll want to cause her pain, which pretty much any technique will do. If he hopes to get her back, he won't likely use a technique that would disfigure her; if he wants to ensure no one else will ever have her, the exact opposite would be true.

For brainwashing, it's key that the technique he use include a lot more than pain - do some internet / library research on brainwashing. The first step is to take away the victim's identity - sense of self. Don't let him use her name when she can hear it - not even to others when talking about her. He should immediately take away anything which she might use to maintain her identity - clothing, jewelry, etc. - and replace those that need replacing with something generic, uniform-like. In serious cases, a standard haircut is even used (think military - there's a lot of brainwashing techniques used in bootcamp, just not to the same ends / extremes). Using her violin (wasn't it?) doesn't fit with this, though it does fit with increasing her level of stress (you'll have to decide how consistent his techniques will be and toward what end). Sensory deprivation can also be a part of brainwashing.

For techniques which don't involve disfiguring the victim, look into sleep deprivation and torture involving extremely loud music or other noise (both are more effective than one might believe without having done research). When sleep deprivation is used, it is generally in conjunction with forcing the victim to stay in a single, uncomfortable position for long periods of time - sitting on a stool with no back, standing facing a wall with one knee bent awkwardly and the arms folded at forehead level, leaning against the wall (for example). Also consider hooding (which can be used both for torture and for brainwashing (sensory deprivation)). All of these techniques are good when you want to extract information and have the time for them to take effect as they don't risk injuries which would prevent the victim from answering questions, but do mess up the victim's head to the point where they make mistakes. And I agree with what's been said about drowning.

For more physical techniques or for disfiguring techniques, the links provided and/or a google search should give you lots of ideas - use whatever fits the torturer's personality...

FWIW,

Liz

Cathy C
09-13-2005, 04:41 AM
I like you Liz... :D

lmcguire
09-13-2005, 05:01 AM
I like you Liz... :D

Gee, thanks. :)

Liz

RumBucuresti
09-13-2005, 06:47 PM
Depends very much on the reason for the torture. If its for punishment, to teach a lesson or make an example, or to gain information the techniques would vary. Timescale of the need for information also would vary the torture methods. I think its almost universally known now that the use of pain to gain information, except in the most pressing instances, is not the best way to get accurate information. Anyone cutting pieces off me would hear whatever i thought would get them to stop. If i know this then even terrorist bully-boys would.

Uncletrunx
09-14-2005, 07:14 PM
If you're wanting to go for maximum shock value for the reader, try scaphism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaphism

edit: same link that was posted above, but it may get lost in the shuffle there.

BradyH1861
09-15-2005, 03:11 AM
You people are a bunch of freaks!

No wonder I fit in.

:whip:

Brady

lmcguire
09-15-2005, 04:38 AM
I think its almost universally known now that the use of pain to gain information, except in the most pressing instances, is not the best way to get accurate information.

I think this is very important when considering using torture of some sort in a book. People after information aren't interested in pain or getting even, or such - they want the information and they want _correct_ information. It's a professional task, not a personal one.

Torturing someone to cause physical pain is generally going to have other motivations...

Not saying the two never fit, just that one should consider the differences, the characters and what-not carefully and not just beat a character into a pulp for the shock value...

IMO.

Liz

Rachael
09-18-2005, 04:51 AM
Re: Brainwashing

Well, I don't really want her to forget who she is, just how much her fiance (who happens to be the current leader of the opposing Intelligence Agency) loved her.

The 'torturer' destroyed her violin more or less indirectly, but then ground the pieces into the floor with his heel. Later, he purchased her a 1739 Guarnerius to try to win her to him (I suppose it worked; she was really upset about losing her violin).

Rape is more effective with this particular character than you might think. She and her fiance are both Christians, and her fiance had told her a few times how much he liked it that she had saved herself from him. Even though her fiance is still depserate to get her back and wants to marry her, she thinks that because her ex-boyfriend 'had her first', he'll break up with her or worse, put her in jail for consorting with criminals.

He did take away everything that was familiar from her, including her clothes. She only had the clothes on her back with her (that happens sometimes when you're kidnapped!), so it was necessary for her to get new clothes, anyway. The new clothes are quite different than what she normally wears, and her kidnapper makes her get her hair cut and then style it differently.

He takes her to New York (to flee her fiance, who's searching frantically for her) and, under the facade of giving her freedom, lets her wander the city and take the subway. Since the MC is extremely directionally challenged, he knows she'll get lost, and when she does, he comes and 'rescues' her.

I think a lot of the brainwashing has more to do with Stockholm's than with actual brainwashing. He plays lots of 'games' with her, like exposing her to her worst fears, and then rescuing her from them, until she thinks she's totally dependent on him, so that probably plays a huge role in it, too.

goatpiper
10-26-2005, 10:16 PM
Dosing someone with a hallucinogen (such as LSD or Psilocybin) then locking them in a small room or coffin-like box
I think an old-school method of torture that was particularly brutal was trapping a hungry rodent under a box on top of the victim's bare stomach. You can imagine the rest.
The old 'head in a bench vise' seems pretty good.
For the violinist - light a Stradavarius on fire in front of her
Paint them head to toe with Latex paint so their pores can't 'breathe', then put them in a sauna
Make them eat twenty bowls of Cap'n Crunch and I guarantee their mouths will never recover from the lacerations they receive.

emeraldcite
10-27-2005, 06:04 AM
A weekend with the in-laws gets them every time...

MissShazArtificial
11-12-2008, 01:42 AM
Hey, I am also writing a horror/suspense/thriller and torture ideas from this thread has helps me a great deal =D
Thanks guys

One I used though is suspending the victim from the ceiling by chains and hooks into their skin, when the torturer pushes them it rips their skin. I think thats torture in itself really haha

xx

JJ Cooper
11-12-2008, 06:04 AM
Be mindful that torture is not an effective way of obtaining reliable information.

Sensory deprivation techniques are your best bet if you have time on your side.

If it's information you want, psychological ploys are your best bet. And you can be creative when it comes down to the type of ploy to use.

JJ

MissShazArtificial
11-12-2008, 09:17 PM
Oh my gosh you have same surname as me lol

Sorry, anyway

What sort of torture can I use in an abandoned barn, just for the hell of torturing them in a sick game.

HeronW
11-12-2008, 10:06 PM
For what reason is your character to be tortured and by whom? Is it in a casual place--victim's home, or a prepared place: more items available to do damage?

Torture is done for 2 main reasons:
for information, or as a punishment. Each requires different techniques.

1--information-gathering:
--usually most people will say anything to stop personal suffering: lie or name innocents, think Salem witch trials
--most people will be truthful or act per the torturer's instructions to protect loved ones who are threatened with future or immediate retribution.

2--punishment: mental or physical, temporary or permanent damage, or death.

Drugs and cravings for drugs can be extremely effective for causing panic states and horrible sensations. Ex: ergotamine poisoning from bad rye flour often led to accusations of witches for causing pain, flying sensations, bugs under the skin feelings, hallucinations, etc.

Modern physical torture:
--Pliers are useful for squeezing, breaking, ripping
--Electrodes attached anywhere
--Hot metal or corrosive chemicals can be used for localized burns
--using trained or not, animals to bite or eat exposed body parts.

Alphabeter
11-25-2008, 02:32 PM
Make 'em read everything Publish America has ever printed.

Ruv Draba
12-01-2008, 12:35 AM
I'm writing a spy thriller in which at least three people (maybe more) get tortured.In many nations, torture is now a science -- in the very literal sense, because it has been based on repeated experimentation in support of incrementally refined hypotheses.

The KUBARK manual is the CIA's torture handbook and was recently declassified. It can be found here (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122/Kubark%2082-104.pdf). The results of torture-experiments undertaken by the CIA, or funded by the CIA but undertaken in countries like Canada have been adopted in many countries, including those with opressive regimes that have been supported by the CIA. In consequence, KUBARK techniques have been adopted by many developed and developing nations.

The basic idea is to induce regression in the victims -- to the point where they are child-like in their acceptance of suggestions. This encourages them to reveal information, or to agree to things that they would previously not have agreed to.

Key techniques adopted by KUBARK include messing with a subject's sense of time, sense of place and sense of self. Isolation, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation all cause great disorientation. Nudity and other forms of humiliation (e.g. shaving, rape, smearing with excrement) break down dignity and pride. Desecration of deeply-held beliefs break down faith. Loading up a sensory-deprived system with drugs (often LSD or PCP) exacerbates disorientation and anxiety. Alternating sensory deprivation with intense pain (inflicted through electric shocks, beatings, hot and cold baths) or fear (attacks by dogs, waterboarding) then overcomes remaining resistance.

In the case of waterboarding, the longest someone has ever lasted under clinical conditions without begging to stop was recorded at 14 seconds.

Long-term effects of torture include microfractures through the skeleton (leading to arthritis and chronic pain), split teeth, post-traumatic stress disorders, flashbacks, damage to internal organs, incontinence, eating disorders, drug dependence, short- or long-term memory loss and dissociative personality disorders.

Because of scandals associated with Abu Ghraib and other sites, there is now some political tap-dancing to redefine torture as being associated with physical pain 'similar to that of organ failure'. In practice though, what makes torture effective is not the pain and anguish it inflicts, but the destruction of mind that causes the victim to regress -- such destruction is frequently long-term and often irreversible. The important thing to understand is that the object of torture is not just compliance (which subjects can feign) but regression (in which victims can no longer choose).

There's nothing entertaining, noble, heroic or titillating about torture. It's systematic and irresistible destruction of the very thing that makes us human. Most of the real scars of torture can't be seen by physical examination.

My suggestion: do not lightly inflict torture on your main characters, and not for a very long time unless you're writing a tragedy or horror story. Or let the people who inflict it be amateurs.

gothicangel
12-01-2008, 03:58 AM
I would just like to echo the previous thread. I am writing a kidnap novel and earlier drafts contained scenes of torture that can only be described as sensationlist and gratitous.

Now, I do read a lot of gothic horror (big fan of the late Richard Laymon) but I think torture is only really suitable for horror. Seeing as the lead is female, then the audience is female and will be turned off from graphic scenes of torture.

Also, don't mistake torture/violence for tension and suspense.

Finally, psychological torture is always more effective.

Cassiopeia
12-01-2008, 04:06 AM
Hmm... Some of those sound like they might work. As far as worst fears go, the MC is deathly afraid of fish, and I had already made the antagonist push her into a fish pond (and then 'rescue' her, so she thinks he's on her side. Logic isn't really her first priority after being swarmed by fish.)

I like the bright lights and sleep deprivation, but I think I might also include the electric shock idea I had already come up with. It might speed things up, don't you think?

Thanks for the ideas!How realistic is it that someone would be deathly afraid of fish? My first reaction was to giggle.

Chase
12-01-2008, 04:23 AM
How realistic is it that someone would be deathly afraid of fish? My first reaction was to giggle.

Icthophopia (fear fof fish) and its close cousin, hydrophobia (fear of water) were big after Jaws was published, then made into a series of movies.

Few phobias are "realistic." I suffer from ophidiophobia (fear of snakes). It's not only cobras and rattlers. A little girl with a garter snake can run me all over the countryside.

In this section, another torture comes to mind: Limit all discussion to how many words were written. Aarrgghh! I give! Uncle! I'll tell!

gothicangel
12-02-2008, 02:11 AM
Just being read sections of Eat, Shoots and Leaves would have me screaming for Mommy!

Tepelus
12-02-2008, 04:29 AM
Needles shoved under the fingernails.

WackAMole
12-02-2008, 04:55 AM
How realistic is it that someone would be deathly afraid of fish? My first reaction was to giggle.

*Raises hand sheepishly*

No idea why, though I did see JAWS when it was released in the theater years ago. Yarp, I'm getting up there in years. And yeah, I'm still freaking scared of fish.

Yvettesgonefishing
12-17-2008, 05:46 PM
The best way to torture someone into submission is by duct taping them to a chair and subjecting them to a viewing of The Mangler. If you can't get your hands on that movie, just check sci-fi channels listings for the next airing of Harpies. Show both movies in succession, and there isn't an agent or mercenary in the world who wouldn't readily give up both the launch codes and George Bush's home phone number.

Gregg
12-30-2008, 12:00 AM
You can find some tortures if you Google "worst tortures of history". Most end up killing the subject, so you need to decide if the object is to kill them or get information.
Just remember to be sadistic.
I tortured a character by placing a wooden clamp on his knees and tightening it until his bones shattered.

scarletpeaches
12-30-2008, 12:14 AM
Westlife's Greatest Hits.

Banned under the Geneva convention as cruel and unusual. Even the Gitmo guards won't use it.

Chase
12-30-2008, 03:24 AM
Westlife's Greatest Hits. Banned under the Geneva convention as cruel and unusual. Even the Gitmo guards won't use it.

Actually, the international ban on Westlife is only for clogging to their ballads Irish-style, with corpse-like upper bodies.

Gitmo guards still use the worst, including reading aloud posts from The Decadent December 500 Delicious Words a Day Thread.

Threats of reading The Jocular January 500 Juicy Words a Day Thread have caused more Gitmo suicides, two by guards.

LC030308
01-15-2009, 02:44 AM
Okay, I will add my two cents to this thread... My killer tortures a victim by using a stun gun on the private parts... (I think we can safely say, this would be the very UNCOMFORTABLE)

blacbird
01-15-2009, 03:00 AM
Often less is more, and suggestion stronger than explicit narration. The great British thriller writer Geoffrey Household has a scene in his novel Watcher in the Shadows in which an ex-spy, now being hunted by a former Nazi assassin, comes across another victim of the guy, described only as having "been kept alive for three days with great ingenuity."

Let the reader fill in whatever blank needed.

caw

johnnycannuk
01-15-2009, 04:14 AM
Find a thick metropolitan yellow pages. Hold it over the part of the body you wish to inflict injury. Hit repeatedly with your fists or a blunt object. Using it on the bottom of the feet is a middle eastern torture know as falaq.

Its an old cop trick for beating a suspect - it can inflict as much severed injury as a regular beating but doesn't cause contusions and bruising like straight fists do. You can, essential, beat the tar out of someone without leaving a mark.

Snowstorm
01-15-2009, 09:18 AM
For mental torture, the thought or expectation of torture might do it. Where the victims can't see what's happening but can hear what's happening. The sounds can be made up or of real torture of a victim. The bad guys tell the victims, "you're next."

Or, for real mental torture, on a loop recording on a TV, interviews and speeches of Sarah Palin.

Kate Thornton
01-15-2009, 07:44 PM
There is actually a "sleep deprivation pillow" in use.

Kate Thornton
01-15-2009, 07:46 PM
Oh, and keep in mind, information obtained through torture is unreliable. Use torture if you just want to hurt someone - but use more sophisticated methods of elicitation if you want information.

heyjude
03-29-2011, 02:38 PM
:welcome: Joel, and thanks for your thoughts. I think. :D

I'm going to lock this, as it's a very old thread.

Soccer Mom
03-29-2011, 05:27 PM
Sorry, but I unapproved that posts. This is an open forum and there are limits as to how graphic we want to be, especially without a warning.