A torture chamber is uncovered by arson

A torture chamber is uncovered by arson

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On April 10, 1834, a fire at the LaLaurie mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana, leads to the discovery of a torture chamber where enslaved workers are routinely brutalized by Delphine LaLaurie. Rescuers found a 70-year-old black woman trapped in the kitchen during the fire because she was chained up while LaLaurie was busy saving her furniture. The woman later revealed that she had set the fire in an attempt to escape LaLaurie’s torture. She led authorities up to the attic, where seven slaves were tied with spiked iron collars.

After Delphine LaLaurie married her third husband, Louis LaLaurie, and moved into his estate on Royal Street, she immediately took control of the large number of slaves used as servants. LaLaurie was a well-known sadist, but the mistreatment of enslaved workers by the wealthy and socially connected was not a matter for the police at the time.

However, in 1833, Delphine chased a small enslaved girl with a whip until the girl fell off the roof of the house and died. LaLaurie tried to cover up the incident, but police found the body hidden in a well. Authorities decided to fine LaLaurie and force the sale of the other enslaved people on the estate.

LaLaurie foiled this plan by secretly arranging for her relatives and friends to buy the enslaved workers. She then sneaked them back into the mansion, where she continued to torture them until the night of the fire in April 1834.

Apparently her Southern neighbors had some standards when it came to the treatment of enslaved people, because a mob gathered in protest after learning about LaLaurie’s torture chamber. She and her husband fled by boat, leaving the butler (who had also participated in the torture) to face the wrath of the crowd.

Although charges were never filed against LaLaurie, her reputation in upper-class society was destroyed. It is believed that she died in Paris in December 1842.

After the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the camp was taken over by elite American special operations forces. The main purpose of the camp was to interrogate prisoners for information about Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The New York Times reported on 19 March 2006, the three-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion, that the elite unit, known as Task Force 6-26, used the facility to interrogate prisoners both before and after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. [1] Some of the interrogation took place in "The Black Room," which used to be a torture chamber when Saddam's government ran the facility. The camp was the target of repeated warnings and investigations from U.S. officials since August 2003. There were placards around the camp that read "No Blood No Foul," a reference to the notion, described by a Pentagon official, that "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it."

Allegations of abuse were first reported in the mainstream U.S. media in 2005. [2] After the more extensive New York Times report in 2006, which was "based on documents and interviews with more than a dozen people," the independent organization Human Rights Watch issued a report documenting detainee abuse in Iraq. The report confirmed the charges about Camp Nama uncovered by The New York Times, noting that "from 2003 to the present, numerous U.S. personnel and Iraqi detainees have reported serious mistreatment of detainees by the special task force, including beatings, exposure to extreme cold, threats of death, humiliation, and various forms of heavy interrogation. Many of these allegations have been contained in documents released to the American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights groups pursuant to Freedom of Information Act litigation." [3]

The report included an extensive interview with one Sergeant, using the pseudonym "Jeff Perry", who worked as an interrogator with the task force running the detention center. Sergeant "Perry" indicated that written authorizations were required for most abusive techniques, indicating that the use of these tactics was approved up the chain of command:

There was an authorization template on a computer, a sheet that you would print out, or actually just type it in. And it was a checklist. And it was all already typed out for you, environmental controls, hot and cold, you know, strobe lights, music, so forth. Working dogs, which, when I was there, wasn’t being used. But you would just check what you want to use off, and if you planned on using a harsh interrogation you’d just get it signed off.

I never saw a sheet that wasn’t signed. It would be signed off by the commander, whoever that was, whether it was O3 [captain] or O6 [colonel], whoever was in charge at the time. . When the O6 was there, yeah, he would sign off on that. . He would sign off on that every time it was done.

Some interrogators would go and use these techniques without typing up one of those things just because it was a hassle, or he didn’t want to do it and knew it was going to be approved anyway, and you’re not gonna get in that much trouble if you get caught doing one of these things without a signature.

Techniques involving outright assault—hitting, slapping, and beating—were apparently not on the list, but were regularly used at Nama, indicating that the harsh methods that were approved often degenerated into even harsher treatment in practice.

Human Rights Watch's senior researcher on terrorism and counterterrorism commented, "These accounts rebut U.S. government claims that torture and abuse in Iraq was unauthorized and exceptional – on the contrary, it was condoned and commonly used." [4]

Investigation and inter-agency conflict Edit

The reports of abuses inside Camp Nama were said to have outraged even seasoned CIA, FBI and DIA investigators accustomed to dealing with non-cooperative and hostile detainees, and to have provoked a culture clash between agencies and groups involved with the facility. By early 2004, one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's top aides, Under-Secretary for Defense Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone, ordered a subordinate, DIA head Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby to "get to the bottom" of any misconduct.

By June 25, 2004, Admiral Jacoby wrote a two-page memo to Cambone, in which he described a series of complaints, including a May 2004 incident in which a DIA interrogator said he witnessed task force soldiers punch a detainee hard enough to require medical help. The DIA officer took photos of the injuries, but a supervisor confiscated them, the memo said. The memo provoked an angry reaction from Mr. Cambone. "Get to the bottom of this immediately. This is not acceptable," Mr. Cambone said in a handwritten note on June 26, 2004, to his top deputy, Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin. "In particular, I want to know if this is part of a pattern of behavior by TF 6-26."

According to The New York Times article, General Boykin had earlier said (on March 17) through a spokesman that he told Mr. Cambone he had found no pattern of misconduct with the task force. The article does not provide further detail on Boykin's response to the investigation after Cambone's and Jacoby's intervention in June, 2004.

Transfer to LSA Anaconda Edit

According to The New York Times article, in the summer of 2004, Camp Nama closed and the unit moved to "a new headquarters in Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad." This would probably refer to Balad AB, also known as Logistics Support Area Anaconda and later as Joint Base Balad.

Since the transfer the unit's operations are said to have been shrouded in even tighter secrecy. According to Thomas E. Ricks of The Washington Post, a new "detainee center" has indeed been established at Camp Balad, under the auspices of a new unit, the Joint Special Operations Task Force entry is not permitted to normal Army Rangers personnel. [5]

Prisoner abuse Edit

British soldiers testified that: [6]

  • Iraqi prisoners being held for prolonged periods in cells the size of large dog kennels.
  • Prisoners being subjected to electric shocks.
  • Prisoners being routinely hooded.
  • Inmates being taken into a sound-proofed shipping container for interrogation, and emerging in a state of physical distress.

The Black Room Edit

Detainees at the camp that were considered "high-value" were interrogated in "The Black Room," a dark mostly bare room with large metal hooks hanging from the ceiling. The guards often used loud rock 'n' roll or rap music to torment prisoners during interrogations. [1]

Motel 6 and Hotel California Edit

The New York Times mentions other whimsically named sections of Camp Nama, including Motel 6, "a group of securely constructed wooden holding cells constructed by the United States Navy Seabees of Charlie Company NMCB-1 Air-Det. Conditions were cramped, forcing many prisoners to squat or crouch", in a block of 6-by-8 cubicles known as Hotel California. These holding cells were constructed to hold the leaders and Individuals responsible for terrorist acts and murders. [1]

10 The Cheshire Family Murders

In 2007, the Petit family&mdashJennifer Hawke-Petit and her two teenage daughters&mdashwere assaulted and murdered in their Connecticut home. The father Dr. William Petit was injured but managed to escape with his life before the perpetrators burned the house to the ground.

Two paroled burglars Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes targeted the family when Jennifer and her 17-year-old daughter Hayley were at a grocery store. They followed them home and subjected them to brutal torture before killing them. Hayley and her 11-year-old sister Michaela died through smoke inhalation as they were tied to their beds and Jennifer died through strangulation. Details of the crime are shockingly unbearable as it was revealed police were aware that the family were held as hostages but had spent too long securing the street rather than entering the home to help the family.

The killers were sentenced to death which was later changed to life imprisonment as Connecticut abolished capital punishment in 2012. [1]

Cops uncover secret torture shipping container sound-proofed to stifle screams

A &apostorture chamber&apos has been uncovered by Dutch detectives who say it is linked to a criminal underworld encrypted chat network.

Authorities tipped off by Encrochat messages raided a Netherlands warehouse and found a chilling makeshift prison equipped with a dentist chair.

Detectives opened the containers to find they had been converted into cells sound-proofed to stifle prisoners&apos screams, authorities said.

They also found handcuffs attached to the ceilings and floors, which could be watched remotely via a video feed.

Six of the containers had been converted into makeshift prison cells.

"Suspects called the seventh container the &apostreatment room&apos,
which was very clearly meant for and prepared to torture
people," the police statement said.

According to Sky News, when police searched the room they found bags containing hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers "likely intended to torture victims or at least put them under pressure", along with the identities of potential victims.

The discovery was made in a warehouse on June 22 in the town of Wouwse Plantage, near the Netherlands&apos southern border with Belgium.

The chilling discovery was made after international investigators broke into the EncroChat network, in a bust that has sent shockwaves through the British and European organised crime world.

Six people were detained on suspicion of kidnapping and
hostage taking following the discovery at the warehouse, the Dutch national police said in a statement.

The site was found during a investigation into a 40-year-old man from The Hague suspected of drug trafficking and
plotting an execution.

Police were able to read texts sent on the encrypted
messaging app EncroChat, enabling them to follow real time
conversations between the criminals, who swapped pictures of the dental chair, the police statement said.

Officers also confiscated 24 kilograms of the drug MDMA,
police clothing, stolen vehicles and weapons, the statement added.

The far-reaching EncroChat investigation has led to masses of arrests throughout the UK and Europe.

The service - thought to charge users £1,500 for six-month contracts - had claimed its networks were impenetrable to investigators.

But international police forces broke into the networks and shared the data through Europol, setting into motion one of the biggest infiltrations into organised crime in recent history.

The UK&aposs National Crime Agency (NCA) operation started in 2016 but it was only two months ago that French and Dutch law enforcement officers cracked into the furtive phone system.

Invsetigators were able to access the chats, secretly monitoring criminals&apos moves unbeknownst to them, then busting alleged murder plots and suspected drug networks.

The UK&aposs arm of the probe, dubbed Operation Venetic, has seen 746 arrests so far over the past month, with £54 million in criminal cash seized along with 77 firearms and more than two tonnes of drugs.

Forces say hundreds of people set to be targeted with violence have been made safe because of the breakthrough.

The NCA estimated EncroChat had around 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK.

The agency said last week the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals.

On June 14, EncroChat realised the platform had been penetrated and sent a message to its users urging them to throw away their handsets.

According to the NCA, one message from a UK user of the network wrote: “The police are having a field day.”

When the agency announced the breakthrough last week, they said police up and down the country had seized weapons including an AK47 assault rifle, sub machine guns, and hand grenades.

13 Caught By Elevator Cam

Back in 2014, NFL player Ray Rice was arrested for simple assault charges and given a two game suspension. However, when a video surfaced of the "simple assault" people were shocked. The video depicted Rice and his fiancee (now wife) in an elevator when he punched her, knocking her out. She falls to the floor, and when the door opens, he carelessly drags her lifeless body out of the elevator.

Once the video surfaced, Rice was suspended indefinitely from the Ravens NFL team, and his charges were increased to aggravated assault. The altercation exposed the couple to a barrage of questions from the public and the media. Rice publicly apologized, and his wife also apologized for the role she played in the incident which was a bit baffling to everyone. It was a shocking incident that drew attention to the problem of domestic violence that often plagues professional athletes but isn't often punished accordingly.


In the process of being burned to death, a body experiences burns to exposed tissue, changes in content and distribution of body fluid, fixation of tissue, and shrinkage (especially of the skin). [1] Internal organs may be shrunken due to fluid loss. Shrinkage and contraction of the muscles may cause joints to flex and the body to adopt the "pugilistic stance" (boxer stance), with the elbows and knees flexed and the fists clenched. [2] [3] Shrinkage of the skin around the neck may be severe enough to strangle a victim. [4] Fluid shifts, especially in the skull and in the hollow organs of the abdomen, can cause pseudo-hemorrhages in the form of heat hematomas. The organic matter of the body may be consumed as fuel by a fire. The cause of death is frequently determined by the respiratory tract, where edema or bleeding of mucous membranes and patchy or vesicular detachment of the mucosa may be indicative of inhalation of hot gases. Complete cremation is only achieved under extreme circumstances.

The amount of pain experienced is greatest at the beginning of the burning process before the flame burns the nerves, after which the skin does not hurt. [5] Many victims die quickly from suffocation as hot gases damage the respiratory tract. Those who survive the burning frequently die within days as the lungs' alveoli fill with fluid and the victim dies of pulmonary edema.

Antiquity Edit

Ancient Near East Edit

Old Babylonia Edit

The 18th-century BC law code promulgated by Babylonian King Hammurabi specifies several crimes in which death by burning was thought appropriate. Looters of houses on fire could be cast into the flames, and priestesses who abandoned cloisters and began frequenting inns and taverns could also be punished by being burnt alive. Furthermore, a man who began committing incest with his mother after the death of his father could be ordered to be burned alive. [6]

Ancient Egypt Edit

In Ancient Egypt, several incidents of burning alive perceived rebels are attested to. Senusret I (r. 1971–1926 BC) is said to have rounded up the rebels in campaign, and burnt them as human torches. Under the civil war flaring under Takelot II more than a thousand years later, the Crown Prince Osorkon showed no mercy, and burned several rebels alive. [7] On the statute books, at least, women committing adultery might be burned to death. Jon Manchip White, however, did not think capital judicial punishments were often carried out, pointing to the fact that the pharaoh had to personally ratify each verdict. [8] Professor Susan Redford speculates that after the harem conspiracy in which pharaoh Ramesses III was assassinated, the non-nobles who had participated in the plot were burned alive, because the Egyptians believed that without a physical body, one could not enter the afterlife. This would explain why Pentawere, the prince whose mother instigated the would-be coup, was most likely strangled or hanged himself as a royal, he would have been spared this ultimate fate. [9]

Assyria Edit

In the Middle Assyrian period, paragraph 40 in a preserved law text concerns the obligatory unveiled face for the professional prostitute, and the concomitant punishment if she violated that by veiling herself (the way wives were to dress in public):

A prostitute shall not be veiled. Whoever sees a veiled prostitute shall seize her . and bring her to the palace entrance. . they shall pour hot pitch over her head. [10]

For the Neo-Assyrians, mass executions seem to have been not only designed to instill terror and to enforce obedience, but also as proof of their might. Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883–859 BC) was evidently proud enough of his bloody work that he committed it to monument and eternal memory as follows: [11]

I cut off their hands, I burned them with fire, a pile of the living men and of heads over against the city gate I set up, men I impaled on stakes, the city I destroyed and devastated, I turned it into mounds and ruin heaps, the young men and the maidens in the fire I burned.

Hebraic tradition Edit

In Genesis 38, Judah orders Tamar—the widow of his son, living in her father's household—to be burned when she is believed to have become pregnant by an extramarital sexual relation. Tamar saves herself by proving that Judah is himself the father of her child. In the Book of Jubilees, the same story is told, with some intriguing differences, according to Caryn A. Reeder. In Genesis, Judah is exercising his patriarchal power at a distance, whereas he and the relatives seem more actively involved in Tamar's impending execution. [12]

In Hebraic law, death by burning was prescribed for ten forms of sexual crimes: The imputed crime of Tamar, namely that a married daughter of a priest commits adultery, and nine versions of relationships considered as incestuous, such as having sex with one's own daughter, or granddaughter, but also having sex with one's mother-in-law or with one's wife's daughter. [13]

In the Mishnah, the following manner of burning the criminal is described:

The obligatory procedure for execution by burning: They immersed him in dung up to his knees, rolled a rough cloth into a soft one and wound it about his neck. One pulled it one way, one the other until he opened his mouth. Thereupon one ignites the (lead) wick and throws it in his mouth, and it descends to his bowels and sears his bowels.

That is, the person dies from being fed molten lead. [14] The Mishnah is, however, a fairly late collections of laws, from about the 3rd century AD, and scholars believe it replaced the actual punishment of burning in the old biblical texts. [15]

Ancient Rome Edit

According to ancient reports, Roman authorities executed many of the early Christian martyrs by burning. An example of this is the earliest chronicle of a martyrdom, that of Polycarp. [16] Sometimes this was by means of the tunica molesta, [17] a flammable tunic: [18]

. the Christian, stripped naked, was forced to put on a garment called the tunica molesta, made of papyrus, smeared on both sides with wax, and was then fastened to a high pole, from the top of which they continued to pour down burning pitch and lard, a spike fastened under the chin preventing the excruciated victim from turning the head to either side, so as to escape the liquid fire, until the whole body, and every part of it, was literally clad and cased in flame.

In 326, Constantine the Great promulgated a law that increased the penalties for parentally non-sanctioned "abduction" of their girls, and concomitant sexual intercourse/rape. The man would be burnt alive without the possibility of appeal, and the girl would receive the same treatment if she had participated willingly. Nurses who had corrupted their female wards and led them to sexual encounters would have molten lead poured down their throats. [19] In the same year, Constantine also passed a law that said if a woman had sexual relations with her own slave, both would be subjected to capital punishment, the slave by burning (if the slave himself reported the offense- presumably having been raped- he was to be set free.) [20] In AD 390, Emperor Theodosius issued an edict against male prostitutes and brothels offering such services those found guilty should be burned alive. [21]

In the 6th-century collection of the sayings and rulings of the pre-eminent jurists from earlier ages, the Digest, a number of crimes are regarded as punishable by death by burning. The 3rd-century jurist Ulpian said that enemies of the state and deserters to the enemy were to be burned alive. His rough contemporary, the juristical writer Callistratus, mentions that arsonists are typically burnt, as well as slaves who have conspired against the well-being of their masters (this last also, on occasion, being meted out to free persons of "low rank"). [22] The punishment of burning alive arsonists (and traitors) seems to have been particularly ancient it was included in the Twelve Tables, a mid-5th-century BC law code, that is, about 700 years prior to the times of Ulpian and Callistratus. [23]

Ritual child sacrifice in Carthage Edit

Beginning in the early 3rd century BC, Greek and Roman writers commented on the purported institutionalized child sacrifice the North African Carthaginians are said to have performed in honour of the gods Baal Hammon and Tanit. The earliest writer, Cleitarchus is among the most explicit. He says live infants were placed in the arms of a bronze statue, the statue's hands over a brazier, so that the infant slowly rolled into the fire. As it did so, the limbs of the infant contracted and the face was distorted into a sort of laughing grimace, hence called "the act of laughing". Other, later authors such as Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch say the throats of the infants were generally cut, before they were placed in the statue's embrace [24] In the vicinity of ancient Carthage, large scale grave yards containing the incinerated remains of infants, typically up to the age of 3, have been found such graves are called "tophets". However, some scholars have argued that these findings are not evidence of systematic child sacrifice, and that estimated figures of ancient natural infant mortality (with cremation afterwards and reverent separate burial) might be the real historical basis behind the hostile reporting from non-Carthaginians. A late charge of the imputed sacrifice is found by the North African bishop Tertullian, who says that child sacrifices were still carried out, in secret, in the countryside at his time, 3rd century AD. [25]

Celtic traditions Edit

According to Julius Caesar, the ancient Celts practised the burning alive of humans in a number of settings. In Book 6, chapter 16, he writes of the Druidic sacrifice of criminals within huge wicker frames shaped as men:

Others have figures of vast size, the limbs of which formed of osiers they fill with living men, which being set on fire, the men perish enveloped in the flames. They consider that the oblation of such as have been taken in theft, or in robbery, or any other offence, is more acceptable to the immortal gods but when a supply of that class is wanting, they have recourse to the oblation of even the innocent.

Slightly later, in Book 6, chapter 19, Caesar also says the Celts perform, on the occasion of death of great men, the funeral sacrifice on the pyre of living slaves and dependants ascertained to have been "beloved by them". Earlier on, in Book 1, chapter 4, he relates of the conspiracy of the nobleman Orgetorix, charged by the Celts for having planned a coup d'état, for which the customary penalty would be burning to death. It is said Orgetorix committed suicide to avoid that fate. [26]

Human sacrifice around the Eastern Baltic Edit

Throughout the 12th–14th centuries, a number of non-Christian peoples living around the Eastern Baltic Sea, such as Old Prussians and Lithuanians, were charged by Christian writers with performing human sacrifice. Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull denouncing an alleged practice among the Prussians, that girls were dressed in fresh flowers and wreaths and were then burned alive as offerings to evil spirits. [27]

Christian states Edit

Eastern Roman Empire Edit

Under 6th-century emperor Justinian I, the death penalty had been decreed for impenitent Manicheans, but a specific punishment was not made explicit. By the 7th century, however, those found guilty of "dualist heresy" could risk being burned at the stake. [28] Those found guilty of performing magical rites, and corrupting sacred objects in the process, might face death by burning, as evidenced in a 7th-century case. [29] In the 10th century AD, the Byzantines instituted death by burning for parricides, i.e. those who had killed their own relatives, replacing the older punishment of poena cullei, the stuffing of the convict in a leather sack along with a rooster, a viper, a dog and a monkey, and then throwing the sack into the sea. [30]

Medieval Inquisition and the burning of heretics Edit

Civil authorities burned persons judged to be heretics under the medieval Inquisition. Burning heretics had become customary practice in the latter half of the twelfth century in continental Europe, and death by burning became statutory punishment from the early 13th century. Death by burning for heretics was made positive law by Pedro II of Aragon in 1197. In 1224, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, made burning a legal alternative, and in 1238, it became the principal punishment in the Empire. In Sicily, the punishment was made law in 1231, whereas in France, Louis IX made it binding law in 1270. [31]

As some in England at the start of the 15th century grew weary of the teachings of John Wycliffe and the Lollards, kings, priests, and parliaments reacted with fire. In 1401, Parliament passed the De heretico comburendo act, which can be loosely translated as "Regarding the burning of heretics." Lollard persecution would continue for over a hundred years in England. The Fire and Faggot Parliament met in May 1414 at Grey Friars Priory in Leicester to lay out the notorious Suppression of Heresy Act 1414, enabling the burning of heretics by making the crime enforceable by the Justices of the peace. John Oldcastle, a prominent Lollard leader, was not saved from the gallows by his old friend King Henry V. Oldcastle was hanged and his gallows burned in 1417. Jan Hus was burned at the stake after being accused at the Roman Catholic Council of Constance (1414–18) of heresy. The ecumenical council also decreed that the remains of John Wycliffe, dead for 30 years, should be exhumed and burned. (This posthumous execution was carried out in 1428.)

Burnings of Jews Edit

Several incidents are recorded of massacres on Jews from the 12th through 16th centuries in which they were burned alive, often on account of the blood libel. In 1171 in Blois 51 Jews were burned alive (the entire adult community). In 1191, King Philip Augustus ordered around 100 Jews burnt alive. [32] That Jews purportedly performed host desecration also led to mass burnings In 1243 in Beelitz, the entire Jewish community was burnt alive, and in 1510 in Berlin, some 26 Jews were burnt alive for the same crime. [33] During the "Black Death" in the mid-14th century a spate of large-scale massacres occurred. One libel was that the Jews had poisoned the wells. In 1349, as panic grew along with the increasing death toll from the plague, general massacres, but also specifically mass burnings, began to occur. Six hundred (600) Jews were burnt alive in Basel alone. A large mass burning occurred in Strasbourg, where several hundred Jews were burnt alive in what became known as the Strasbourg massacre. [34]

A Jewish man, Johannes Pfefferkorn, met a particularly gruesome death in 1514 in Halle. He had been charged with a number of crimes, such as having impersonated a priest for twenty years, performing host desecration, stealing Christian children to be tortured and killed by other Jews, poisoning 13 people and poisoning wells. He was lashed to a pillar in such a way that he could run about it. Then, a ring of glowing coal was made around him, a fiery ring that was gradually pushed ever closer to him, until he was roasted to death. [35]

Lepers' Plot of 1321 Edit

Not only Jews could be victims of mass hysteria on charges like that of poisoning wells. This particular charge, well-poisoning, was the basis for a large scale hunt of lepers in 1321 France. In the spring of 1321, in Périgueux, people became convinced that the local lepers had poisoned the wells, causing ill-health among the normal populace. The lepers were rounded up and burned alive. The action against the lepers didn't stay local, though, but had repercussions throughout France, not least because King Philip V issued an order to arrest all lepers, those found guilty to be burnt alive. Jews became tangentially included as well at Chinon alone, 160 Jews were burnt alive. [36] All in all, around 5000 lepers and Jews are recorded in one tradition to have been killed during the Lepers' Plot hysteria. [37]

The charge of the lepers' plot was not wholly confined to France extant records from England show that on Jersey the same year, at least one family of lepers was burnt alive for having poisoned others. [38]

Spanish Inquisition against Moriscos and Marranos Edit

The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478, with the aim of preserving Catholic orthodoxy some of its principal targets were "Marranos", formally converted Jews thought to have relapsed into Judaism, or the Moriscos, formally converted Muslims thought to have relapsed into Islam. The public executions of the Spanish Inquisition were called autos-da-fé convicts were "released" (handed over) to secular authorities in order to be burnt.

Estimates of how many were executed on behest of the Spanish Inquisition have been offered from early on historian Hernando del Pulgar (1436–c. 1492) estimated that 2000 people were burned at the stake between 1478 and 1490. [39] Estimates ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 burnt at the stake (alive or not) at the behest of the Spanish Inquisition during its 300 years of activity have previously been given and are still to be found in popular books. [40]

In February 1481, in what is said to be the first auto-da-fé, six Marranos were burnt alive in Seville. In November 1481, 298 Marranos were burnt publicly at the same place, their property confiscated by the Church. [ citation needed ] Not all Maranos executed by being burnt at the stake seem to have been burnt alive. If the Jew "confessed his heresy", the Church would show mercy, and he would be strangled prior to the burning. Autos-da-fé against Maranos extended beyond the Spanish heartland. In Sicily, in 1511–15, 79 were burnt at the stake, while from 1511 to 1560, 441 Maranos were condemned to be burned alive. [41] In Spanish American colonies, autos-da-fé were held as well. In 1664, a man and his wife were burned alive in Río de la Plata, and in 1699, a Jew was burnt alive in Mexico City. [42]

In 1535, five Moriscos were burned at the stake on Majorca, the images of a further four were also burnt in effigy, since the actual individuals had managed to flee. During the 1540s, some 232 Moriscos were paraded in autos-da-fé in Zaragoza five of those were burnt at the stake. [43] The claim that out of 917 Moriscos appearing in autos of the Inquisition in Granada between 1550 and 1595, just 20 were executed [44] seems at odds with the English government's state papers which claim that, while at war with Spain, they received a report from Seville of 17 June 1593 that over 70 of the richest men of Granada were burnt. [45] As late as 1728 as many as 45 Moriscos were recorded burned for heresy. [46] In the May 1691 "bonfire of the Jews", Rafael Valls, Rafael Benito Terongi and Catalina Terongi were burned alive. [47] [48]

Portuguese Inquisition at Goa Edit

In 1560, the Portuguese Inquisition opened offices in the Indian colony Goa, known as Goa Inquisition. Its aim was to protect Catholic orthodoxy among new converts to Christianity, and retain hold on the old, particularly against "Judaizing" deviancy. From the 17th century, Europeans were shocked at the tales of how brutal and extensive the activities of the Inquisition were. [ citation needed ] Modern scholars have established that some 4046 individuals in the time 1560–1773 received some sort of punishment from the Portuguese Inquisition, whereof 121 persons were condemned to be burned alive of those 57 actually suffered that fate, while the rest escaped it, and were burnt in effigy instead. [49] For the Portuguese Inquisition in total, not just at Goa, modern estimates of persons actually executed on its behest is about 1200, whether burnt alive or not. [50]

Legislation concerning "crimes against nature" Edit

From the 12th to the 18th centuries, various European authorities legislated (and held judicial proceedings) against sexual crimes such as sodomy or bestiality often, the prescribed punishment was that of death by burning. Many scholars think that the first time death by burning appeared within explicit codes of law for the crime of sodomy was at the ecclesiastical 1120 Council of Nablus in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Here, if public repentance were done, the death penalty might be avoided. [51] In Spain, the earliest records for executions for the crime of sodomy are from the 13th–14th centuries, and it is noted there that the preferred mode of execution was death by burning. The Partidas of King Alfonso "El Sabio" condemned sodomites to be castrated and hung upside down to die from the bleeding, following the old testament phrase "their blood shall be upon them". [52] At Geneva, the first recorded burning of sodomites occurred in 1555, and up to 1678, some two dozen met the same fate. In Venice, the first burning took place in 1492, and a monk was burnt as late as 1771. [53] The last case in France where two men were condemned by court to be burned alive for engaging in consensual homosexual sex was in 1750 (although, it seems, they were actually strangled prior to being burned). The last case in France where a man was condemned to be burned for a murderous rape of a boy occurred in 1784. [54]

Crackdowns and the public burning of a couple of homosexuals might lead to local panic, and persons thus inclined fleeing from the place. The traveller William Lithgow witnessed such a dynamic when he visited Malta in 1616 :

The fifth day of my staying here, I saw a Spanish soldier and a Maltezen boy burnt in ashes, for the public profession of sodomy and long before night, there were above an hundred bardassoes, whorish boys, that fled away to Sicily in a galliot, for fear of fire but never one bugeron stirred, being few or none there free of it. [55]

In 1532 and 1409 in Augsburg two pederasts were burned alive for their offenses. [56]

Penal code of Charles V Edit

In 1532, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V promulgated his penal code Constitutio Criminalis Carolina. A number of crimes were punishable with death by burning, such as coin forgery, arson, and sexual acts "contrary to nature". [57] Also, those guilty of aggravated theft of sacred objects from a church could be condemned to be burnt alive. [58] Only those found guilty of malevolent witchcraft [59] could be punished by death by fire. [60]

Last burnings from 1804 and 1813 Edit

According to the jurist Eduard Osenbrüggen [de] , the last case he knew of where a person had been judicially burned alive on account of arson in Germany happened in 1804, in Hötzelsroda, close by Eisenach. [61] The manner in which Johannes Thomas [62] was executed on 13 July that year is described as follows: Some feet above the actual pyre, attached to a stake, a wooden chamber had been constructed, into which the delinquent was placed. Pipes or chimneys filled with sulphuric material led up to the chamber, and that was first lit, so that Thomas died from inhaling the sulphuric smoke, rather than being strictly burnt alive, before his body was consumed by the general fire. Some 20,000 people had gathered to watch Thomas' execution. [63]

Although Thomas is regarded as the last to have been actually executed by means of fire (in this case, through suffocation), the couple Johann Christoph Peter Horst and his lover Friederike Louise Christiane Delitz, who had made a career of robberies in the confusion made by their acts of arson, were condemned to be burnt alive in Berlin 28 May 1813. They were, however, according to Gustav Radbruch, secretly strangled just prior to being burnt, namely when their arms and legs were tied fast to the stake. [64]

Although these two cases are the last where execution by burning might be said to have been carried out in some degree, Eduard Osenbrüggen mentions that verdicts to be burned alive were given in several cases in different German states afterwards, such as in cases from 1814, 1821, 1823, 1829 and finally in a case from 1835. [65]

Witch-hunts Edit

Burning was used during the witch-hunts of Europe, although hanging was the preferred style of execution in England and Wales. The penal code known as the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina (1532) decreed that sorcery throughout the Holy Roman Empire should be treated as a criminal offence, and if it purported to inflict injury upon any person the witch was to be burnt at the stake. In 1572, Augustus, Elector of Saxony imposed the penalty of burning for witchcraft of every kind, including simple fortunetelling. [66] From the latter half of the 18th century, the number of "nine million witches burned in Europe" has been bandied about in popular accounts and media, but has never had a following among specialist researchers. [67] Today, based on meticulous study of trial records, ecclesiastical and inquisitorial registers and so on, as well as on the utilization of modern statistical methods, the specialist research community on witchcraft has reached an agreement for roughly 40,000–50,000 people executed for witchcraft in Europe in total, and by no means all of them executed by being burned alive. Furthermore, it is solidly established that the peak period of witch-hunts was the century 1550–1650, with a slow increase preceding it, from the 15th century onward, as well as a sharp drop following it, with "witch-hunts" having basically fizzled out by the first half of the 18th century. [68]

Famous cases Edit

Denmark Edit

In Denmark, after the 1536 reformation, Christian IV of Denmark (r. 1588–1648) encouraged the practice of burning witches, in particular by the law against witchcraft in 1617. In Jutland, the mainland part of Denmark, more than half the recorded cases of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries occurred after 1617. Rough estimates says about a thousand persons were executed due to convictions for witchcraft in the 1500–1600s, but it is not wholly clear if all of the transgressors were burned to death. [82]

England Edit

Mary I ordered hundreds of Protestants burnt at the stake during her reign (1553–58) in what would be known as the "Marian Persecutions" earning her the epithet of "Bloody" Mary. [83] Many of those executed by Mary and the Roman Catholic Church are listed in Actes and Monuments, written by Foxe in 1563 and 1570.

Edward Wightman, a Baptist from Burton on Trent, was the last person burned at the stake for heresy in England in Lichfield, Staffordshire on 11 April 1612. [84] Although cases can be found of burning heretics in the 16th and 17th centuries in England, that penalty for heretics was historically relatively new. It did not exist in 14th-century England, and when the bishops in England petitioned King Richard II to institute death by burning for heretics in 1397, he flatly refused, and no one was burnt for heresy during his reign. [85] Just one year after his death, however, in 1401, William Sawtrey was burnt alive for heresy. [86] Death by burning for heresy was formally abolished by King Charles II in 1676. [87]

The traditional punishment for women found guilty of treason was to be burned at the stake, where they did not need to be publicly displayed naked, whereas men were hanged, drawn and quartered. The jurist William Blackstone argued as follows for the differential punishment of females vs. males:

For as the decency due to sex forbids the exposing and public mangling of their bodies, their sentence (which is to the full as terrible to sensation as the other) is to be drawn to the gallows and there be burned alive [88]

However, as described in Camille Naish's "Death Comes to the Maiden", in practice, the woman's clothing would burn away at the beginning, and she would be left naked anyway. [ citation needed ] There were two types of treason: high treason, for crimes against the sovereign and petty treason, for the murder of one's lawful superior, including that of a husband by his wife. Commenting on the 18th-century execution practice, Frank McLynn says that most convicts condemned to burning were not burnt alive, and that the executioners made sure the women were dead before consigning them to the flames. [89]

The last person to have been condemned to death for "petty treason" was Mary Bailey, whose body was burned in 1784. The last woman to be convicted for "high treason", and have her body burnt, in this case for the crime of coin forgery, was Catherine Murphy in 1789. [90] The last case where a woman was actually burnt alive in England is that of Catherine Hayes in 1726, for the murder of her husband. In this case, one account says this happened because the executioner accidentally set fire to the pyre before he had hanged Hayes properly. [91] The historian Rictor Norton has assembled a number of contemporary newspaper reports on the actual death of Mrs. Hayes, internally somewhat divergent. The following excerpt is one example:

The fuel being placed round her, and lighted with a torch, she begg’d for the sake of Jesus, to be strangled first: whereupon the Executioner drew tight the halter, but the flame coming to his hand in the space of a second, he let it go, when she gave three dreadful shrieks but the flames taking her on all sides, she was heard no more and the Executioner throwing a piece of timber into the Fire, it broke her skull, when her brains came plentifully out and in about an hour more she was entirely reduced to ashes. [92]

Scotland Edit

James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) shared the Danish king's interest in witch trials. This special interest of the king resulted in the North Berwick witch trials, which led more than seventy people to be accused of witchcraft. James sailed in 1590 to Denmark to meet his betrothed, Anne of Denmark, who, ironically, is believed by some to have secretly converted to Roman Catholicism herself from Lutheranism around 1598, although historians are divided on whether she ever was received into the Roman Catholic faith. [93]

The last to be executed as a witch in Scotland was Janet Horne in 1727, condemned to death for using her own daughter as a flying horse in order to travel. Janet Horne was burnt alive in a tar barrel. [94]

Ireland Edit

Petronilla de Meath (c. 1300–1324) was the maidservant of Dame Alice Kyteler, a 14th-century Hiberno-Norman noblewoman. After the death of Kyteler's fourth husband, the widow was accused of practicing witchcraft and Petronilla of being her accomplice. Petronilla was tortured and forced to proclaim that she and Kyteler were guilty of witchcraft. Petronilla was then flogged and eventually burnt at the stake on 3 November 1324, in Kilkenny, Ireland. [95] [96] Hers was the first known case in the history of the British Isles of death by fire for the crime of heresy. Kyteler was charged by the Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, with a wide slate of crimes, from sorcery and demonism to the murders of several husbands. She was accused of having illegally acquired her wealth through witchcraft, which accusations came principally from her stepchildren, the children of her late husbands by their previous marriages. The trial predated any formal witchcraft statute in Ireland, thus relying on ecclesiastical law (which treated witchcraft as heresy) rather than common law (which treated it as a felony). Under torture, Petronilla claimed she and her mistress applied a magical ointment to a wooden beam, which enabled both women to fly. She was then forced to proclaim publicly that Lady Alice and her followers were guilty of witchcraft. [95] Some were convicted and whipped, but others, Petronilla included, were burnt at the stake. With the help of relatives, Alice Kyteler fled, taking with her Petronilla's daughter, Basilia. [97]

In 1327 or 1328, Adam Duff O'Toole was burned at the stake in Dublin for heresy after branding Christian scripture a fable and denying the resurrection of Jesus. [98] [99] [100]

The brothel madam Darkey Kelly was convicted of murdering shoemaker John Dowling in 1760 and burned at the stake in Dublin on 7 January 1761. Later legends claimed that she was a serial killer and/or witch. [101] [102] [103]

In 1895, Bridget Cleary (née Boland), a County Tipperary woman, was burnt by her husband and others, the stated motive for the crime being the belief that the real Bridget had been abducted by fairies with a changeling left in her place. Her husband claimed to have slain only the changeling. The gruesome nature of the case prompted extensive press coverage. The trial was closely followed by newspapers in both Ireland and Britain. [104] As one reviewer commented, nobody, with the possible exception of the presiding judge, thought it was an ordinary murder case. [104]

Colonial Americas Edit

North America Edit

Indigenous North Americans often used burning as a form of execution, against members of other tribes or white settlers during the 18th and 19th centuries. Roasting over a slow fire was a customary method. [105] (See Captives in American Indian Wars)

In Massachusetts, there are two known cases of burning at the stake. First, in 1681, a slave named Maria tried to kill her owner by setting his house on fire. She was convicted of arson and burned at the stake in Roxbury. [106] Concurrently, a slave named Jack, convicted in a separate arson case, was hanged at a nearby gallows, and after death his body was thrown into the fire with that of Maria. Second, in 1755, a group of slaves had conspired and killed their owner, with servants Mark and Phillis executed for his murder. Mark was hanged and his body gibbeted, and Phillis burned at the stake, at Cambridge. [107]

In Montreal, then part of New France, Marie-Joseph Angélique, a black slave, was sentenced to being burned alive for an arson which destroyed 45 homes and a hospital in 1734. The sentence was commuted on appeal to burning after death by strangulation. [108] [ circular reference ]

In New York, several burnings at the stake are recorded, particularly following suspected slave revolt plots. In 1708, one woman was burnt and one man hanged. In the aftermath of the New York Slave Revolt of 1712, 20 people were burnt (one of the leaders slowly roasted, before he died after 10 hours of torture [109] ) and during the alleged slave conspiracy of 1741, at least 13 slaves were burnt at the stake. [110]

South America Edit

The last known burning by the Spanish colonial government in Latin America was of Mariana de Castro, during the Peruvian Inquisition in Lima on 22 December 1736 [111] after she had been convicted on 4 February 1732 of being a judaizante (a person who was privately practicing the Jewish faith after having publicly converted to Roman Catholicism).

In 1855 the Dutch abolitionist and historian Julien Wolbers spoke to the Anti Slavery Society in Amsterdam. Painting a dark picture of the condition of slaves in Suriname, he mentions in particular that as late as in 1853, just two years previously, "three Negroes were burnt alive". [112]

West Indies Edit

In 1760, the slave rebellion known as Tacky's War broke out in Jamaica. Apparently, some of the defeated rebels were burned alive, while others were gibbeted alive, left to die of thirst and starvation. [113]

In 1774, nine enslaved Africans in Tobago were found complicit of murdering a white man. Eight of them had first their right arms chopped off, and were then burned alive bound to stakes, according to the report of an eyewitness. [114]

In Saint-Domingue, enslaved Africans found guilty of committing crimes were sometimes punished by being burnt at the stake, particularly if the crime was attempting to foment a slave rebellion. [115]

Greek War of Independence Edit

The Greek War of Independence in the 1820s contained several instances of death by burning. When the Greeks in April 1821 captured a corvette near Hydra, the Greeks chose to roast to death the 57 Ottoman crew members. After the fall of Tripolitsa in September 1821, European officers were horrified to note that not only were Muslims suspected of hiding money being slowly roasted after having had their arms and legs cut off but, in one instance, three Muslim children were roasted over a fire while their parents were forced to watch. On their part, the Ottomans committed many similar acts. In retaliation they gathered up Greeks in Constantinople, throwing several of them into huge ovens, baking them to death. [116]

Islamic countries Edit

Followers of a false claimant of prophethood Edit

The Arab chieftain Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid ibn Nawfal al-Asad set himself up as a prophet in AD 630. Tulayha had a strong following which was, however, soon quashed in the so-called Ridda Wars. He himself escaped, though, and later was reconverted to Islam, but many of his rebel followers were burnt to death his mother chose to embrace the same fate. [117] [ citation needed ]

Catholic monks in 13th-century Tunis and Morocco Edit

A number of monks are said to have been burnt alive in Tunis and Morocco in the 13th century. In 1243, two English monks, Brothers Rodulph and Berengarius, after having secured the release of some 60 captives, were charged with being spies for the English Crown, and were burnt alive on 9 September. In 1262, Brothers Patrick and William, again having freed captives, but also sought to proselytize among Muslims, were burnt alive in Morocco. In 1271, 11 Catholic monks were burnt alive in Tunis. Several other cases are reported. [118]

Converts to Christianity Edit

Apostasy, i.e. the act of converting to another religion, was (and remains so in a few countries) punishable with death.

The French traveller Jean de Thevenot, traveling the East in the 1650s, says: "Those that turn Christians, they burn alive, hanging a bag of Powder about their neck, and putting a pitched Cap upon their Head." [119] Travelling the same regions some 60 years earlier, Fynes Moryson writes:

A Turke forsaking his Fayth and a Christian speaking or doing anything against the law of Mahomett are burnt with fyer. [120]

Muslim heretics Edit

Certain accursed ones of no significance is the term used by Taş Köprü Zade in the Şakaiki Numaniye to describe some members of the Hurufiyya who became intimate with the Sultan Mehmed II to the extent of initiating him as a follower. This alarmed members of the Ulema, particularly Mahmut Paşa, who then consulted Mevlana Fahreddin. Fahreddin hid in the Sultan's palace and heard the Hurufis propound their doctrines. Considering these heretical, he reviled them with curses. The Hurufis fled to the Sultan, but Fahreddin's denunciation of them was so virulent that Mehmed II was unable to defend them. Farhreddin then took them in front of the Üç Şerefeli Mosque, Edirne, where he publicly condemned them to death. While preparing the fire for their execution, Fahreddin accidentally set fire to his beard. However the Hurufis were burnt to death.

Barbary States, 18th century Edit

John Braithwaite, staying in Morocco in the late 1720s, says that apostates from Islam would be burnt alive:

THOSE that can be proved after Circumcision to have revolted, are stripped quite naked, then anointed with Tallow, and with a Chain about the Body, brought to the Place of Execution, where they are burnt.

Similarly, he notes that non-Muslims entering mosques or being blasphemous against Islam will be burnt, unless they convert to Islam. [121] The chaplain for the English in Algiers at the same time, Thomas Shaw, wrote that whenever capital crimes were committed either by Christian slaves or Jews, the Christian or Jew was to be burnt alive. [122] Several generations later, in Morocco in 1772, a Jewish interpreter for the British, and a merchant in his own right, sought from the Emperor of Morocco restitution for some goods confiscated, and was burnt alive for his impertinence. His widow made her woes clear in a letter to the British government. [123]

In 1792 in Ifrane, Morocco, 50 Jews preferred to be burned alive, rather than convert to Islam. [124] In 1794 in Algiers, the Jewish Rabbi Mordecai Narboni was accused of having maligned Islam in a quarrel with his neighbour. He was ordered to be burnt alive unless he converted to Islam, but he refused and was therefore executed on 14 July 1794. [125]

In 1793, Ali Pasha made a short-lived coup d'état in Tripoli, deposing the ruling Karamanli dynasty. During his short, violent reign he seized the two interpreters for the Dutch and English consuls, both of them Jews, and roasted them over a slow fire, on charges of conspiracy and espionage. [126]

Persia Edit

During a famine in Persia in 1668, the government took severe measures against those trying to profiteer from the misfortune of the populace. Restaurant owners found guilty of profiteering were slowly roasted on spits, and greedy bakers were baked in their own ovens. [127]

A physician, Dr C.J. Wills, traveling through Persia in 1866–81 wrote that: [128]

Just prior to my first arrival in Persia, the "Hissam-u-Sultaneh", another uncle of the king, had burned a priest to death for a horrible crime and murder the priest was chained to a stake, and the matting from the mosques piled on him to a great height, the pile of mats was lighted and burnt freely, but when the mats were consumed the priest was found groaning, but still alive. The executioner went to Hissam-u-Sultaneh who ordered him to obtain more mats, pour naphtha on them, and apply a light, which 'after some hours' he did.

Roasting by means of heated metal Edit

The previous cases concern primarily death by burning through contact with open fire or burning material a slightly different principle is to enclose an individual within, or attach him to, a metal contraption which is subsequently heated. In the following, some reports of such incidents, or anecdotes about such are included.

The brazen bull Edit

Perhaps the most infamous example of a brazen bull, which is a hollow metal structure shaped like a bull within which the condemned is put, and then roasted alive as the metal bull is gradually heated up, is the one allegedly constructed by Perillos of Athens for the 6th-century BC tyrant Phalaris at Agrigentum, Sicily. As the story goes, the first victim of the bull was its constructor Perillos himself. The historian George Grote was among those regarding this story as having sufficient evidence behind it to be true, and points particularly to that the Greek poet Pindar, working just one or two generations after the times of Phalaris, refers to the brazen bull. A bronze bull was, in fact, one of the spoils of victory when the Carthaginians conquered Agrigentum. [129] The story of a brazen bull as an execution device is not wholly unique. About 1000 years later in AD 497, it can be read in an old chronicle about the Visigoths on the Iberian Peninsula and the south of France:

Burdunellus became a tyrant in Spain and a year later was . handed over by his own men and having been sent to Toulouse, he was placed inside a bronze bull and burnt to death. [130]

Fate of a Scottish regicide Edit

Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl was a Scottish nobleman complicit in the murder of King James I of Scotland. On 26 March 1437 Stewart had a red hot iron crown placed upon his head, was cut in pieces alive, his heart was taken out, and then thrown in a fire. A papal nuncio, the later Pope Pius II witnessed the execution of Stewart and his associate Sir Robert Graham, and, reportedly, said he was at a loss to determine whether the crime committed by the regicides, or the punishment of them was the greater. [131]

György Dózsa on the iron throne Edit

György Dózsa led a peasants' revolt in Hungary, and was captured in 1514. He was bound to a glowing iron throne and a likewise hot iron crown was placed on his head, and he was roasted to death. [132]

The tale of the murderous midwife Edit

In a few English 18th- and 19th-century newspapers and magazines, a tale was circulated about the particularly brutal manner in which a French midwife was put to death on 28 May 1673 in Paris. No fewer than 62 infant skeletons were found buried on her premises, and she was condemned on multiple accounts of abortion/infanticide. One detailed account of her supposed execution runs as follows:

A gibbet was erected, under which a fire was made, and the prisoner being brought to the place of execution, was hung up in a large iron cage, in which were also placed sixteen wild cats, which had been catched in the woods for the purpose.—When the heat of the fire became too great to be endured with patience, the cats flew upon the woman, as the cause of the intense pain they felt.—In about fifteen minutes they had pulled out her entrails, though she continued yet alive, and sensible, imploring, as the greatest favour, an immediate death from the hands of some charitable spectator. No one however dared to afford her the least assistance and she continued in this wretched situation for the space of thirty-five minutes, and then expired in unspeakable torture. At the time of her death, twelve of the cats were expired, and the other four were all dead in less than two minutes afterwards.

The English commentator adds his own view on the matter:

However cruel this execution may appear with regard to the poor animals, it certainly cannot be thought too severe a punishment for such a monster of iniquity, as could calmly proceed in acquiring a fortune by the deliberate murder of such numbers of unoffending, harmless innocents. And if a method of executing murderers, in a manner somewhat similar to this was adapted in England, perhaps the horrid crime of murder might not so frequently disgrace the annals of the present times. [133]

The English story is derived from a pamphlet published in 1673. [134]

Pouring molten metal down the throat or ears Edit

Molten gold poured down the throat Edit

In 88 BC, Mithridates VI of Pontus captured the Roman general Manius Aquillius, and executed him by pouring molten gold down his throat. [135] A popular but unsubstantiated rumor also had the Parthians executing the famously greedy Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus in this manner in 53 BC. [136]

Genghis Khan is said to have ordered the execution of Inalchuq, the perfidious Khwarazmian governor of Otrar, by pouring molten gold or silver down his throat in c. 1220, [137] and an early 14th-century chronicle mentions that his grandson Hulagu Khan did likewise to the sultan Al-Musta'sim after the fall of Baghdad in 1258 to the Mongol army. [138] (Marco Polo's version is that Al-Musta'sim was locked without food or water to starve in his treasure room)

The Spanish in 16th-century Americas gave horrified reports that the Spanish who had been captured by the natives (who had learnt of the Spanish thirst for gold) had their feet and hands bound, and then molten gold poured down their throats as the victims were mocked: "Eat, eat gold, Christians". [139]

From the 19th-century reports from the Kingdom of Siam (present day Thailand) stated that those who have defrauded the public treasury could have either molten gold or silver poured down their throat. [140]

As punishment for inebriation and tobacco smoking Edit

The 16th-/early 17th-century prime minister Malik Ambar in the Deccan Ahmadnagar Sultanate would not tolerate inebriation among his subjects, and would pour molten lead down the mouths of those caught in that condition. [141] Similarly, in the 17th-century Sultanate of Aceh, Sultan Iskandar Muda (r. 1607–36) is said to have poured molten lead into the mouths of at least two drunken subjects. [142] Military discipline in 19th-century Burma was reportedly harsh, with strict prohibition of smoking opium or drinking arrack. Some monarchs had ordained pouring molten lead down the throats of those who drank, "but it has been found necessary to relax this severity, in order to conciliate the army" [143]

Shah Safi I of Persia is said to have abhorred tobacco, and apparently in 1634, he prescribed the punishment of pouring molten lead into the throats of smokers. [144]

Mongol punishment for horse thieves Edit

According to historian Pushpa Sharma, stealing a horse was considered the most heinous offence within the Mongol army, and the culprit would either have molten lead poured into his ears, or alternatively, his punishment would be the breaking of the spinal cord or beheading. [145]

Chinese tradition of Buddhist self-immolation Edit

Apparently, for many centuries, a tradition of devotional self-immolation existed among Buddhist monks in China. One monk who immolated himself in AD 527, explained his intent a year before, in the following manner:

The body is like a poisonous plant it would really be right to burn it and extinguish its life. I have been weary of this physical frame for many a long day. I vow to worship the buddhas, just like Xijian. [146]

A severe critic in the 16th century wrote the following comment on this practice:

There are demonic people . who pour on oil, stack up firewood, and burn their bodies while still alive. Those who look on are overawed and consider it the attainment of enlightenment. This is erroneous. [147]

Japanese persecution of Christians Edit

In the first half of the 17th century, Japanese authorities sporadically persecuted Christians, with some executions seeing persons being burnt alive. At Nagasaki in 1622 some 25 monks were burnt alive, [148] and in Edo in 1624, 50 Christians were burnt alive. [149]

Stories of cannibalism Edit

Americas Edit

Even fateful encounters with cannibals are recorded: in 1514, in the Americas, Francis of Córdoba and five companions were, reportedly, caught, impaled on spits, roasted and eaten by the natives. In 1543, such was also the end of a previous bishop, Vincent de Valle Viridi. [150]

Fiji Edit

In 1844, the missionary John Watsford wrote a letter about the internecine wars on Fiji, and how captives could be eaten, after being roasted alive:

At Mbau, perhaps, more human beings are eaten than anywhere else. A few weeks ago they ate twenty-eight in one day. They had seized their wretched victims while fishing, and brought them alive to Mbau, and there half-killed them, and then put them into their ovens. Some of them made several vain attempts to escape from the scorching flame. [151]

The actual manner of the roasting process was described by the missionary pioneer David Cargill, in 1838:

When about to be immolated, he is made to sit on the ground with his feet under his thighs and his hands placed before him. He is then bound so that he cannot move a limb or a joint. In this posture he is placed on stones heated for the occasion (and some of them are red-hot), and then covered with leaves and earth, to be roasted alive. When cooked, he is taken out of the oven and, his face and other parts being painted black, that he may resemble a living man ornamented for a feast or for war, he is carried to the temple of the gods and, being still retained in a sitting posture, is offered as a propitiatory sacrifice. [152]

Immolation of widows Edit

Indian subcontinent Edit

Sati refers to a funeral practice among some communities of Indian subcontinent in which a recently widowed woman immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The first reliable evidence for the practice of sati appears from the time of the Gupta Empire (AD 400), when instances of sati began to be marked by inscribed memorial stones. [153]

According to one model of history thinking, the practice of sati only became really widespread with the Muslim invasions of India, and the practice of sati now acquired a new meaning as a means to preserve the honour of women whose men had been slain. As S.S. Sashi lays out the argument, "The argument is that the practice came into effect during the Islamic invasion of India, to protect their honor from Muslims who were known to commit mass rape on the women of cities that they could capture successfully." [154] It is also said that according to the memorial stone evidence, the practice was carried out in appreciable numbers in western and southern parts of India, and even in some areas, before pre-Islamic times. [155] Some of the rulers and activist of the time sought actively to suppress the practice of sati. [156]

The East India Company began to compile statistics of the incidences of sati for all their domains from 1815 and onwards. The official statistics for Bengal represents that the practice was much more common here than elsewhere, recorded numbers typically in the range 500–600 per year, up to the year 1829, when Company authorities banned the practice. [157] Since 19th – 20th Century, the practice remains outlawed in Indian subcontinent.

Jauhar was a practice among royal Hindu women to prevent capture by Muslim conquerors.

Bali and Nepal Edit

The practice of burning widows has not been restricted to the Indian subcontinent at Bali, the practice was called masatia and, apparently, restricted to the burning of royal widows. Although the Dutch colonial authorities had banned the practice, one such occasion is attested as late as in 1903, probably for the last time. [158] In Nepal, the practice was not banned until 1920. [159]

Traditions in sub-Saharan African cultures Edit

C.H.L. Hahn [160] wrote that within the O-ndnonga tribe among the Ovambo people in modern-day Namibia, abortion was not used at all (in contrast to among the other tribes), and that furthermore, if two young unwed individuals had sex resulting in pregnancy, then both the girl and the boy were "taken out to the bush, bound up in bundles of grass and . burnt alive." [161]

Legislation against the practice Edit

In 1790, Sir Benjamin Hammett introduced a bill into Parliament to end the practice of judicial burning. He explained that the year before, as Sheriff of London, he had been responsible for the burning of Catherine Murphy, found guilty of counterfeiting, but that he had allowed her to be hanged first. He pointed out that as the law stood, he himself could have been found guilty of a crime in not carrying out the lawful punishment and, as no woman had been burnt alive in the kingdom for more than half a century, so could all those still alive who had held an official position at all of the previous burnings. The Treason Act 1790 was duly passed by Parliament and given royal assent by King George III (30 George III. C. 48). [162] The Parliament of Ireland subsequently passed the similar Treason by Women Act (Ireland) 1796.

In the modern era, deaths by burning are largely extrajudicial in nature. These killings may be committed by mobs, small numbers of criminals, or paramilitary groups.

Revenge against Nazis Edit

Benjamin B. Ferencz, one of the prosecutors in the Nuremberg trials after the end of World War II who, in May 1945, investigated occurrences at the Ebensee concentration camp, narrated them to Tom Hofmann, a family member and biographer. Ferencz was outraged at what the Nazis had done there. When people discovered an SS guard who attempted to flee, they tied him to one of the metal trays used to transport bodies into the crematorium. They then proceeded to light the oven and slowly roast the SS guard to death, taking him in and out of the oven several times. Ferencz said to Hofmann that at the time, he was in no position to stop the proceedings of the mob, and frankly admitted that he had not been inclined to try. Hofmann adds, "There seemed to be no limit to human brutality in wartime." [163]

Lynching of Germans in Czechoslovakia Edit

During the post-World War II expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia, a number of attacks against the German minority occurred. In one case in Prague in May 1945, a Czech mob hanged several Germans upside down on lampposts, doused them in fuel and set them on fire, burning them alive. [164] [165] [166] The future literature scholar Peter Demetz, who grew up in Prague, later reported on this. [166]

Extrajudicial burnings in Latin America Edit

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, burning people standing inside a pile of tires is a common form of murder used by drug dealers to punish those who have supposedly collaborated with the police. This form of burning is called micro-ondas (microwave oven). [167] [168] [169] The film Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad) and the video game Max Payne 3 contain scenes depicting this practice. [170]

During the Guatemalan Civil War the Guatemalan Army and security forces carried out an unknown number of extrajudicial killings by burning. In one instance in March 1967, Guatemalan guerrilla and poet Otto René Castillo was captured by Guatemalan government forces and taken to Zacapa army barracks alongside one of his comrades, Nora Paíz Cárcamo. The two were interrogated, tortured for four days, and burned alive. [171] Other reported instances of immolation by Guatemalan government forces occurred in the Guatemalan government's rural counterinsurgency operations in the Guatemalan Altiplano in the 1980s. In April 1982, 13 members of a Quanjobal Pentecostal congregation in Xalbal, Ixcan, were burnt alive in their church by the Guatemalan Army. [172]

On 31 August 1996, a Mexican man, Rodolfo Soler Hernandez, was burned to death in Playa Vicente, Mexico, after he was accused of raping and strangling a local woman to death. Local residents tied Hernandez to a tree, doused him in a flammable liquid and then set him ablaze. His death was also filmed by residents of the village. Shots taken before the killing showed that he had been badly beaten. On 5 September 1996, Mexican television stations broadcast footage of the murder. Locals carried out the killing because they were fed up with crime and believed that the police and courts were both incompetent. Footage was also shown in the 1998 shockumentary film, Banned from Television. [173]

A young Guatemalan woman, Alejandra María Torres, was attacked by a mob in Guatemala City on 15 December 2009. The mob alleged that Torres had attempted to rob passengers on a bus. Torres was beaten, doused with gasoline, and set on fire, but was able to put the fire out before sustaining life-threatening burns. Police intervened and arrested Torres. Torres was forced to go topless throughout the ordeal and subsequent arrest, and many photographs were taken and published. [174] Approximately 219 people were lynched in Guatemala in 2009, of whom 45 died.

In May 2015, a sixteen-year-old girl was allegedly burned to death in Rio Bravo, Guatemala, by a vigilante mob after being accused by some of involvement in the killing of a taxi driver earlier in the month. [175]

In Chile during public mass protests held against the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet on 2 July 1986, engineering student Carmen Gloria Quintana, 18, and Chilean-American photographer Rodrigo Rojas DeNegri, 19, were arrested by a Chilean Army patrol in the Los Nogales neighborhood of Santiago. The two were searched and beaten before being doused in gasoline and burned alive by Chilean troops. Rojas was killed, while Quintana survived but with severe burns. [176]

Lynchings and killings by burning in the United States Edit

Burnings continued as a method of lynching in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in the South. One of the most notorious extrajudicial burnings in modern history occurred in Waco, Texas on 15 May 1916. Jesse Washington, an African-American farmhand, after having been convicted of the rape and subsequent murder of a white woman, was taken by a mob to a bonfire, castrated, doused in coal oil, and hanged by the neck from a chain over the bonfire, slowly burning to death. A postcard from the event still exists, showing a crowd standing next to Washington's charred corpse with the words on the back "This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe". This attracted international condemnation and is remembered as the "Waco Horror". [177] [178]

More recently, during the 1980 New Mexico State Penitentiary riot, a number of inmates were burnt to death by fellow prisoners, who used blowtorches. [ citation needed ]

African cases Edit

In South Africa, extrajudicial executions by burning were carried out via "necklacing", wherein rubber tires filled with kerosene (or gasoline) are placed around the neck of a live individual. The fuel is then ignited, the rubber melts, and the victim is burnt to death. [179] [180]

It was reported that in Kenya, on 21 May 2008, a mob had burned to death at least 11 accused witches. [181]

Cases from the Middle East and Indian subcontinent Edit

Dr Graham Stuart Staines, an Australian Christian missionary, and his two sons Philip (aged ten) and Timothy (aged six), were burnt to death by a gang while the three slept in the family car (a station wagon), at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar District, Odisha, India on 22 January 1999. Four years later, in 2003, a Bajrang Dal activist, Dara Singh, was convicted of leading the gang that murdered Staines and his sons, and was sentenced to life in prison. Staines had worked in Odisha with the tribal poor and lepers since 1965. Some Hindu groups made allegations that Staines had forcibly converted or lured many Hindus into Christianity. [182] [183]

On 19 June 2008, the Taliban, at Sadda, Lower Kurram, Pakistan, burned three truck drivers of the Turi tribe alive after attacking a convoy of trucks en route from Kohat to Parachinar, possibly for supplying the Pakistan Armed Forces. [184]

In January 2015, Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was burned in a cage by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The pilot was captured when his plane crashed near Raqqa, Syria, during a mission against IS in December 2014. [185]

In August 2015, ISIS burned to death four Iraqi Shia prisoners. [186]

In December 2016, ISIS burned to death two Turkish soldiers, [187] publishing high quality video of the atrocity. [188]

Bride-burning Edit

On 20 January 2011, a 28-year-old woman, Ranjeeta Sharma, was found burning to death on a road in rural New Zealand. The police confirmed the woman was alive before being covered in an accelerant and set on fire. [189] Sharma's husband, Davesh Sharma, was charged with her murder. [190]


The torture chamber had not yet been used, said police, who alerted potential victims to go into hiding after messages revealed the existence of such a room.

Inside the container they found tools including pliers, scalpels and handcuffs ready for use.

Six other containers were set up to hold prisoners, all lined with foil in an effort to deter the victims being spotted on thermal imaging cameras and some equipped with a chemical toilet.

Threatening messages found on the infiltrated communications network, run by a mysterious Dutch firm, found that gang members had refereed to the container as the 'treatment room'.

The 'dentist chair', where prisoners would have been strapped in and tortured

The chair had belts attached to the arm and foot supports. Police saw photos of the 'treatment room' on encrypted chats before the raid

Hammers, wire cutters, pliers and even a hedge trimmer were set up for use on victims

A video of the raid taken by Dutch authorities shows a container with handcuffs and a single chemical toilet

Another container appears to have police uniforms and a chemical toilet

What is the 'EncroChat' smartphone system?

EncroChat was a secret platform where users were able to communicate privately between specially-designed handsets - often to run drugs, traffick people and even order murders.

These devices, costing £1,500, are usually Android-based smartphones that had their GPS sensors, microphones, and cameras stripped out, encrypted chat apps installed by default to allow people to sent private messages. It is now emerging that criminal syndicates across the world had one - with one in six of the 60,000 users in the UK.

Marketed as the electronic equivalent of two people having a conversation in an empty room, it enabled users to send written messages or make voice calls through an encrypted system.

There were thought to be 60,000 users internationally, including 10,000 in the UK, with prices at £1,500 for a six-month contract.

Investigators say that the platform, which was not in itself illegal, was designed to be secure against unwanted outside access, and in the UK was used purely for criminal purposes. Since the breach, the Encrochat platform has shut down.

According to the Encrochat website, customers had access to features such as self-destructing messages, that deleted from the recipient's device after a certain length of time. There was also panic wipe, where all the data on the device could be deleted by entering a four-digit code from the lock-screen.

The National Crime Agency said the handset could also be wiped remotely.

A series of messages referenced the torture room and prisons, with one criminal stating: 'If I have him on the chair more will come', then adding 'but that dog is missing'.

Police were able to conduct the raid after the French police cracked their communications network and encrypted criminals' phones to read millions of messages in a mass investigation named 26Lemont.

The messages from an EncroChat phone tipped police off about warehouse, called the 'treatment room' and the 'ebi,' a reference to a top security Dutch prison.

After putting the warehouse under surveillance police spotted several men working to kit out the prison cells from mid-April, who they were able to identify from the messages - a 44-year-old man from Nieuwegein, a prime suspect from The Hague and his 43-year-old accomplice from Rotterdam.

Dutch authorities arrested six men on June 22 on suspicion of crimes including preparing kidnappings and serious assault.

Another armed team detained a suspect in Rotterdam.

The messages, which were being intercepted live, also included photos of the container and dentist's chair with belts attached to the arm and foot supports.

Video released by the police showed a heavily armed arrest team blasting open a door at the warehouse and discovering the improvised prison.

'Six of the containers were intended as cells in which people could be tied up and one container was intended as a torture chamber,' Andy Kraag, head of the police's National Investigation Service, said in a video released by police.

A search of the containers uncovered bags containing tools including hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers.

The tools 'were likely intended to torture victims or at least put them under pressure,' the police statement said.

The whole investigation has lead to more than 100 suspects, seized more than 8,000 kilograms of cocaine, seized over 1,200 kilograms of crystal meth, dismantled 19 synthetic drug labs and seized dozens of firearms.

Andy Kraag said that the police operation 'prevented a number of violent crimes.'

In searches of other properties, including what police described as a base for the criminals near the port city of Rotterdam, officers found police uniforms and body armour, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs.

A court in Amsterdam ordered the six suspects held for 90 days as investigations continue.

'This is a great result of the 26Lemont investigation,' Kraag said. 'And, take it from me, many more results will follow.'

The company EncroChat is shrouded in mystery, but is based in the Netherlands, and says it has addresses there as well as in Turkey and Latin America.

British police found that the handsets, bought by criminals for £1,500 each, had also been central to the planning of two gangland hits in Manchester.

Dutch police use explosives to enter a building where a torture chamber is hidden in a shipping container in Wouwse Plantage, Netherlands

A heavily armes arrest team blasted open a door at the warehouse and arrested over 100 suspects

When they searched the containers they found tools including ncluding hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers

Gangland boss Mark Fellows used the secret network when he assassinated rivals, Salford's 'Mr Big' Paul Massey and another underworld rival, John Kinsella.

Fellows, nicknamed 'Iceman' for his ruthlessness, executed Massey with an Uzi machine gun, hitting him five times on the doorstep of his Salford home in July 2015.

Three years later he executed mob enforcer and fixer Kinsella was in a hail of bullets.

During his trial it emerged that Fellows had been tipped off by an accomplice via the encrypted phone service when Kinsella was coming into range.

When he was questioned about the unusual handset, he flippantly declared 'No one even owns a normal phone these days'.

How police smashed criminal gangs in the UK, Europe and the UAE by hacking their phones

Police dismantled huge chunks of a criminal drugs, guns and people trafficking network spanning the globe after four years of trying.

After two months of planning officers in major cities across the UK simultaneously struck kingpins all over the country.

In April, at the height of lockdown in Europe, police in France and the Netherlands finally infiltrated the EncroChat platform.

The phone system, similar to a walkie talkie system allowed users to send encrypted communications and offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service believing that they were safe from detection.

There were 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK – the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals.

But detectives infiltrated the system - and the crime syndicate collapsed like a house of cards in June.

5 Ararat Lunatic Asylum Australia

Today it is known as Aradale, but when it opened in 1867 it was called Ararat Lunatic Asylum, and it was the largest in all of Australia, featuring some bizarre and horrifying methods of treatment. Throughout its time as a functioning mental health &ldquocare&rdquo facility, Ararat housed tens of thousands of patients. It was also reportedly home to some of the most dangerous and violent psychotics in the world.

It remained open for 130 years, during which time a staggering 13,000 patients died there&ndashprobably why it is known as one of the most haunted places in all of Australia. The facility closed in 1998, but it was shockingly reopened three years later by the Northern Melbourne Institute of Technical and Further Education as a campus for the Australian College of Wine. Ghost sightings are still frequent, and haunted tours are given through various parts of the facility including the morgue. We&rsquore sure that probably isn&rsquot the slightest bit terrifying.

Second Serbian torture chamber discovered in Kosovo

British soldiers in Kosovo have discovered a second torture chamber used by Serbian paramilitary police. The discovery was made as the first United Nations forensic teams arrived in the province to start examining some of the mass graves which have been uncovered. British military sources say that a prison was found with a soundproofed room inside. It is understood that blood was spattered around the chamber and the room contained lists of Albanian names.

Further evidence of atrocities committed by the Serb forces has been unearthed as NATO troops advance into the province. French troops have discovered substantial evidence of mass graves in North Kosovo, while British soldiers found torture implements in a police station near Pristina. British troops have been fully deployed in their sector armoured units moved into northern Kosovo overnight, ahead of the scheduled deadline for the departure of Yugoslavian troops from the whole of the province on Sunday. As NATO consolidates its hold, the first United Nations forensic teams have been arriving to start examining some of the mass graves so far uncovered.

A senior NATO officer in Kosovo has said that soldiers of the Kosovo Liberation Army will be barred from carrying their weapons openly in Prizren from midnight tonight. The United Nations says that many refugee camps in Albanian could be almost completely cleared, although it has appealed to Kosovars to stay in the camps until the area is made safe.

A NATO truck has been destroyed in a blast in the Macedonian capital, Skopje. There were no injuries. NATO is using Macedonia as the springboard for its advance into neighbouring Kosovo. The Macedonian government has given strong support to NATO's mission in Kosovo, but sympathy for Serbia runs deep among the country's small Serbian minority.

The American government and international organisations have appealed to the Serb population of Kosovo not to flee the province. It is estimated that forty thousand Serbs have fled north to Serbia and west to Montenegro fearing retaliation from ethnic Albanians for atrocities committed by Serb forces. The United Nations Refugee Agency now estimates that some 30,000 refugees have arrived in Serbia. The UNHCR special envoy, Denis McNamara, said that it would be a tragedy if the exodus could not be stopped but conceded that many Serbs were just too afraid to stay.

Dutch police arrest 6 men, uncover makeshift torture chamber

In this grab taken from video made available by the Netherlands Police on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, a view of a sea container equipped as a torture chamber, in Wouwse Plantage, Netherlands. Dutch police say they have arrested six men after discovering sea containers that had been converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed “torture chamber” complete with a dentist’s chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs. (Netherlands Police via AP)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch police arrested six men after discovering sea containers that had been converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed “torture chamber” complete with a dentist’s chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs, a high ranking officer announced Tuesday.

Authorities said police conducted the raid before the torture chamber could be used and alerted potential victims, who went into hiding.

The grisly discovery was made last month by officers investigating leads generated by data from encrypted phones used by criminals. The communications network was cracked recently by French police. Detectives in Britain and the Netherlands have already arrested hundreds of suspects based on the encrypted messages.

Tuesday’s announcement gave a chilling insight into the increasingly violent Dutch criminal underworld, which is involved in the large scale production and trafficking of drugs.

Dutch police said last week that their investigations, code-named 26Lemont, based on millions of messages from the EncroChat phones, had led to the arrest of more than 100 suspects and seizure of more than 8,000 kilograms (17,600 pounds) of cocaine and 1,200 kilograms (2,600 pounds) of crystal meth as well as the dismantling of 19 synthetic drugs labs and seizure of dozens of firearms.

On June 22, Dutch national police force officers arrested six men on suspicion of crimes including preparing kidnappings and serious assault. Detectives also discovered the seven converted sea containers in a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage, a small village in the southwestern Netherlands, close to the border with Belgium, according to a statement released Tuesday.

They were tipped off by messages from an EncroChat phone including photos of the container and dentist’s chair with belts attached to the arm and foot supports. The messages called the warehouse the “treatment room” and the “ebi,” a reference to a top security Dutch prison. The messages also reaveled identities of potential victims, who were warned and went into hiding, police said.

Video released by the police showed a heavily armed arrest team blasting open a door at the warehouse and discovering the improvised prison. Another armed team detained a suspect in Rotterdam.

“Six of the containers were intended as cells in which people could be tied up and one container was intended as a torture chamber,” Andy Kraag, head of the police’s National Investigation Service, said in a video released by police, adding that the police operation “prevented a number of violent crimes.”

A search of the containers uncovered bags containing tools including hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers. The tools “were likely intended to torture victims or at least put them under pressure,” the police statement said.

In searches of other properties, including what police described as a base for the criminals near the port city of Rotterdam, officers found police uniforms and body armor, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs.

A court in Amsterdam ordered the six suspects held for 90 days as investigations continue.

“This is a great result of the 26Lemont investigation,” Kraag said. “And, take it from me, many more results will follow.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

3. Amelia Dyer

Wikipedia has given Amelia Dyer the very dubious superlative "most prolific baby farm murderer of Victorian England." Confirmed killer of six babies, Dyer is the attributed killer of between 200 and 400. Dyer provided lodging for women who became pregnant "illegitimately" in exchange for a fee. Early on, like other baby farmers, Dyer either procured adoptions for the babies or allowed them to die of malnutrition. At some point she began murdering them. Dyer was caught in 1879, sentenced to six months of hard labor on the charge of "neglect," and released — at which point she resumed murdering babies. She was caught again in 1896, pled guilty, and was hanged.