The ruins of a castle and prison built by Alfonso of Aragon in 1441, up there on top of the rock at Ischia Ponte, are nice to vist on a sunny afternoon. But be prepared. In a museum, in which photographs are not permitted to be taken, you may see things that are unpleasant. Verrrry unpleasant.
Here are some excerpts in English from the museum’s brochure:
“Coming down in the torture chamber on the right side there are exposed: a nailed collar that pretended from sleep, a pale of death, a leg screw, a chest clamp and a guillotine which is a French execution tool, proposed of I.F. Guillotin and used in France from 1791 until the end of the French Revolution.
“There is also a ‘stand with enjoying rat’ and a Spanish garotte that was invented in 1850 and brought a rather slowly death because the strangling was done step by step.
“Directly in front you see now a pillory, in that the condemned was locked up for mockery of all others for 7 days. At the ceiling append the cage of death: a metal cage where the condemned was locked up and ws hanged at a tower of the castle, where one let him starve in the focial point of the population.
“Also noteworth are the chastity belts for man and woman.”
“Finally in the showcase are exposed instruments of torture most different like a whip (nine-tail cat), a loop for hanging, a clamp to ear the tongue, a clamp to break fingers, a clamp to dislocate the jaw, crucifixion nails, axes for amputations, iron stamps to add combustion at the plant of the feet, breast or back, a nailed rake so smash the shoulders, a spoon to scratch eyes out.
“The torture was introduced in the term of Middle Age; from 467 AD until the end of the 18th century children under 14 years, old people over 70 years as well as pregnant women may not be tortured. The condemned had to undergo to an hour of torture which the was paused for 24 hours. These rules were always almost disregarded, so that crimes not confessed were inspected in order to escape the torture.
“Even the Tridentina Church during the period of the Inquisition adopted the torture in the comparisons of the heretical. Everything shown here is part of the deplorable but true history.”
After the museum you may go down a staircase to the basement of the Convent of St. Clare, a religious order founded by Clare of Assisi in the 12th century. There you will see carved stone seats upon which the corpses of nuns were placed to rot. The still living brides of Christ were regularly brought into that dark, smelly chamber to witness what fate befalls all mortal human beings.
Now, below the cut are some reproductions of illustrations of various forms of torture that took place in the prison until about 160 years ago. I post them as a reminder that barbaric practices like these remain an officially unacknowledged policy of the US Government under the leadership of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
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