You’ve likely heard of the infamous “death by 1,000 paper cuts” concept before, right? This was actually kind of a thing, where a person would cut someone in small ways all over the body. Each was specifically targeted, but it could easily seem as if it’s random. A person could end up bleeding to death as a result of it. However, similar to this, one torture method once used was the art of “flaying” a human being.
Normally, when we think of this term, we think of its use in animals. When you flay an animal, you’re often skinning it to either use the skin/hair for something or to begin the process of cutting the animal up to eat it. While flaying in this case also means removing organs, that is not the concept for human flaying. In torture, the person will be held down while their skin is slowly cut off, in the attempt to keep it completely intact. Obviously, this is one of the most painful experiences you could deal with.
Potentially the most gruesome thing you could ever do to a person, the Blood Eagle was used pretty rarely. Usually done as a ritual method of execution, it was mostly seen in Nordic societies centuries ago. There are only a few documented cases of this occurring, both happening to members of a royal family. The person is usually held down in a prone position. They will be cut open, then their ribs will be cut from their spine.
From here, their lungs will be pulled through the opening. Ideally, that would create what appeared to be a pair of “wings.” Of course, that is what gives the method its name. Due to the horrific nature of the execution, many believe it only could have existed in literature. Yet if it really did occur, it is not even a question. This would have to be one of the most painful experiences you could have. One would likely hope they’d be gone from the Earthly plane before the bulk of it took place.
While some incorrectly assume this is more of an issue men go through, it can also happen to women. Gonadal Torsion, by name alone, sounds horrible. For men, testicular torsion happens when the spermatic cord twists, thus cutting off blood supply to the testicle. It is more likely for young boys or even newborn boys to experience this. Men might get it if they have previously had a testicular tumor or have a congenital malformation. To fix the problem, you surgically untwist the testicle.
Ovarian torsion is pretty similar and fixed the same way. An ovary twists, decreasing blood flow. It’s most common in women of reproductive age. Women can develop this issue if they have ovarian cysts or tumors, on top of pregnancy, fertility treatment, or tubal ligation. Due to this, the risk is potentially higher for women to experience gonadal torsion than men. Yet it only affects 6 in 100,000 women annually. Both involve horrific pain, making it one of the most painful experiences one can have.
While uncertain if the story of this torture device was real, it is certainly compelling. Invented by Perillos of Athens, the Brazen Bull was a new torture and execution device. He presented his invention to the known tyrant ruler of Sicily at the time, Phalaris. It was meant to be used on those that harmed others or did the worst crimes possible. Of course, the device appeared to be a bull made of bronze. It worked by putting a person inside the opening, then locking it behind them.
You’d then place a fire underneath it, thus heating the bull made of bronze. Essentially, the person would be roasted to death and likely scream from the pain until their passing breathe. Phalaris liked the idea of the machine but needed an example to see if he truly wanted it. Therefore, he put Perillos inside and roasted him alive. It is uncertain how many were executed via Brazen Bull. Yet one would have to assume it would be one of the most painful experiences ever!
Relatively rare, Irukandji Syndrome occurs when a person is envenomated by the box jellyfish. Specifically, the Irukandji jellyfish. While not all stings from this jellyfish will be deadly, they can cause severe issues beyond the obvious pain. This includes things like cardiac arrest. Everyone who is stung goes through one of the most painful experiences one could ever deal with.
The syndrome was coined by Hugo Flecker in 1952 when he came across aboriginal Irukandji people around the Palm Cove in Queensland, Australia. They had been stung often, along with visitors to the area. Thus, the term was born. Some are stung by jellyfish so often in the Australian region that they develop a form of immunity and can withstand the pain or not experience any. Of course, you have to think about how many stings and painful experiences they had to go through to get the immunity.
While Jesus Christ’s notable crucifixion is referenced in an absolutely horrible form, he actually experienced a very different form of crucifixion. His hands and feet were nailed to a wooden cross, yet that is not how it normally happened. Plus, the Romans rarely ever used it. When they did, the wooden beams they used were rarely perfectly. They might be logs strapped together, and these beams might never be used again. Most were strapped to a cross or single beam, just being tied up with rope.
Nails seem to only be referenced with Jesus, and very few others in history. Other times, they wouldn’t be strapped to a cross structure, but just a single beam. Often, a platform was used for them to stand on where they’d be strapped in. Other times, they wouldn’t and would have their legs strapped up. The idea was that the person would slowly starve to death. Yet they could pass for many reasons. Weather and temperature could end them, along with possibly acidosis, asphyxia, dehydration, hypovolemic shock, heart failure, and much more.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a relatively rare condition that is directly tied to the trigeminal nerve within the face. While most will never have to experience any problems with this nerve, others will for a multitude of reasons. Those who suffer from this condition complain about sudden, severe facial pain that can feel like you’re being shocked. The pain can last anywhere between a few seconds to as long as 2 minutes. It can be one of the most painful experiences a person could go through.
The nerve disorder might only affect the jaw area, but it can also happen at random to the gums or teeth too. Most common in women over 50, there are some triggers those with the disorder need to look out for. Chewing, speaking, or even brushing your teeth can cause this shocking sensation. This means that the nerves are being aggravated, and could likely be tamed by nerve medications. However, some have had great success with injections and even surgeries.
Possibly one of the most famous torture devices, “The Rack” was used to get answers out of people by stretching them. Most racks tend to work the same way. One is placed on a wooden slab where their ankles are strapped along with their arms via the wrist. The ties were usually made of tough leather and attached to chains or ropes. The device had rollers at the end that would pull on these areas to stretch out the victim. The device would work via pulley or lever, while the roller would be on its own axis. This made the process easy for the torturer as they did not need to be incredibly strong to pull the body.
The goal is to put stress on the person’s shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows. Pretty much anyone could end up with separated shoulders as well as sometimes severe ligament damage in the legs. Once dislocations happened to a person, pulling no longer could work. On top of this, if muscle fibers are stretched too much, they don’t contract, making them ineffective. Thus, those that could hold on and deal with the pain would regret trying to do so. They along with the torturer would hear bones, cartilage, or ligaments popping. Sometimes, bones could break too. The loudness of all of this is just sickening.
Possessing possibly the most painful sting one could ever take, the Warrior Wasp understands its power and does not randomly go around stinging. Yet their name is fitting, as they can be quite aggressive when needed. Found in tropical areas of South America, the wasps are known to guard their nests with extreme Roman-like precision. Any threat will be attacked by several wasps. What’s worse is that their stinger is barbed, causing them to often lose their stinger, killing the wasp.
This means these wasps believe in protecting their home so much they attack like a Kamikaze pilot. They know it is a suicide mission to sting and do it anyway. Before attacking, they actually create a drumming noise in their nest as a way to warn predators, similar to rattlesnakes using their rattles. The Warrior Wasp sting will cause horrific pain in humans that lasts for around 2 hours. Those stung claim it is a feeling of torture as lava from a volcano flows through your arm. That clearly makes it one of the most painful experiences one could go through.
While both men and women can get kidney stones, it seems that men tend to go through it more and often report having the most pain from them. There are many reasons why one can get kidney stones. It could be related to your diet, medications you’re using, or potentially other medical conditions. Kidney stones themselves are just hard deposits made of minerals and salts from your concentrated urine that form inside your kidneys. They look like little balls, but it’s not that simple.
These little balls are often barbed and hurt like hell coming out. While trying to pass one alone is painful, it comes with severe abdominal pain and nausea. It is said that this pain is possibly the most pain a man can experience from natural body-caused issues. That clearly makes it one of the most painful experiences anyone could go through. Luckily, if passed in enough time, there is no risk for long-term damage. Yet some might get them frequently and require specific medication or surgery.
While it might seem pretty obvious, being boiled alive is pretty painful. It is not as if you’re in some spa or something. Rather, you’re being put in water that will typically be so hot that burns could be immediate upon your placement inside. The thing is, you’re not going to experience the exact same issue as you would with lava. Since lava is a few thousand degrees, it can melt skin upon impact. Yet boiling water will burn you, yet take a long time to melt you to your bones.
The average campfire can be between 600 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, yet larger versions can get to as high as 900 to 2,000 degrees. Of course, since you’re boiling someone here, it’ll likely be on a smaller fire. Human skin burns and starts melting beginning at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, not only are you being burned, but you’re having to experience it for a long period of time that only gets more and more painful. The very fact that it is seemingly endless burn torture makes it horrific.
Did we really need to tell you this is one of the most painful experiences of all time? It is said to be so painful that there is not a true equal pain rate for men. The closest men can get to childbirth pain is a kidney stone combined with pulling your bottom lip over your head. The pain women have to deal with during childbirth is absolutely horrific. However, birthing the child is not the only issue. Contraction pain comes first. A woman could experience them separated by 30 minutes then 20, then 10, and so on. The closer the pains get to one another, the closer it will be to the birth.
While most women tend to have their child naturally through the vagina, some can’t for various reasons. That requires a C-section, where a women’s organs are removed just enough to get the child out and put back in. When the child is born naturally, the cervix will be opened, the child comes out, and then the placenta. During birth, a vagina could stretch up to three times its normal stretch capacity. Imagine men trying to birth out of their penis and having it stretch three times its normal size like that. This is why we believe childbirth is likely the most painful natural human pain experience ever.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources: