Darlene Foster's Blog

The Torture Museum of Guadalest

Posted on: November 1, 2020

Guadalest is a great place and only about a little over an hour from our home in Spain. We often take out-of-town guests there for a day trip. I plan to write a post about it soon. But for today, I want to tell you about one of the many museums in this amazing place. The Torture Museum, perfect for Halloween! For those who write horror stories, you may get some ideas.

The museum is housed in a heritage building that feels creepy as soon as you enter.

The buliding consists of eleven small rooms on four levels with displays of more than 70 instruments of torture and execution used by the Inquisition, royalty and governments, not only in Spain but throughout medieval Europe. Some of the detailed descriptions were too gruesome for me to read. But the displays were well done and not too terrible to look at. Here are a few of them.

Hanging cages

The French Bishop who invented the hanging cage ended up in one. How ironic is that? They could be seen hanging in alcoves of the royal castles to warn others what might happen should they disobey the king. Prisoners were often left to starve to death hanging in the cages, like this poor fellow.

The barrel pillory

The barrel was used to humiliate drunkards and people who spoke against the government or king. An iron mask was often put on the subject who would have to walk around town in the barrel while people threw slop and garbage in it.

The rack, used for interrogation since the Roman times
The grill, as old as the Roman Empire or maybe older.
Chastity belts, humiliation for women
Don’t touch or you may lose your fingers, or your head.
The wheel, a nasty means of execution.
I didn’t need to be reminded not to touch the guillotine.
Lots of cool old doors in the building leading to rooms holding more torture devices
Don’t ask. I stopped reading the descriptions by then.

I know these were used a long time ago, but I still couldn’t get over how cruel mankind can be.

We eventually found a friend who seemed harmless enough.

80 Responses to "The Torture Museum of Guadalest"

Oh, my. I am always shocked by the means by which humans make other humans suffer. If all that energy used to create harm and conflict were directed at creating wonderful things, the world would be a better place.

While I write mediaeval fantasy, the only device my characters have ever used for punishment was the pillory (Healing Stones), and that young man was rescued from it without injury.

I’ve never had a stomach for torture and if a movie has it, I don’t watch.

Thank you for sharing. The archaic building and doors are fabulous.

I know, I am the same. I went to Madame Tussaud´s torture museum and had to leave as it was too graphic for me. Those wax figures being tortured looked too real to me. These were just the implements, no people and you didn’t have to read the descriptions of how they were used. I love history but there is so much cruelty and violence in it. They may well say the same of our era in years to come. Loved the doors!

If you go there in baking hot temperatures the walk from the car park up the hill to the entrance will also feel a little tortuous! Lovely place to visit though. 🙂

It is lovely. We once visited in pouring rain, also tortuous.

You showed me more than enough! We saw instruments of torture in a Danish castle, if I remember correctly. I’ll bet I didn’t take any photos in the dungeon.

I visited Madame Tussauds in London and had to leave once we got to the torture part as it was just too graphic for me.

Yes, Madame T would take it too far.

Either you are traveling again, or you’ve found old photos in an album. In these days of restricted travel, it’s nice to get away, if only via armchair. Thanks, Darlene!

Photos from past visits even though this place is in our area and we could go there. We have chosen to stay put until things are better. Armchair travel is OK for now.

Fascinating, Darlene. I’m not sure I would read all the descriptions either!

I decided it was best to just look at the devices and mot know how they were used. Would be great research for horror writers though.

I’m glad I didn’t live during that era, Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

It was nasty times for sure.

Nice Halloween-inspired post. Is Quadalest the same town as Guadalest or are they two different towns?

Oops! Thanks for catching that. I´ve fixed it. Glad you enjoyed the post.

I don’t think I’d like to visit the torture museum. Too horrifying. The things people do to each other!

I know, I´m quite squeamish myself, but I´m also curious and love history. You can´t explore history without the nasty bits, unfortunately. I´d like to think we have evolved from medieval practices though and are kinder, gentler people.

I’d like to think that too. I’m not so sure we’ve moved too far along the evolutionary path though.

Some of those are horrific! But the museum seems a great way to get a glimpse of what our forebears did to each other. Sadly, I suspect that torture will always be there, though the methods might have become more ‘sophisticated’ over time.

I agree, there will always be nasty, mean people around. I do hope we have evolved though. The museum was well put together. I did laugh at the Don´t Touch (No Tocar) signs. As if!!

We probably have evolved, but as long as torture still exists we have some way to go. As for the notices, there is a Museum of Sex in New York, which has several instructions about what not to do with the exhibits 😉

Oh my! That´s funny.

One of my daughters visited it and sent me a photo – the sign is available to view via Google 😉

Thanks, Darlene. We loved Guadeleste and visited a few years ago, but didn’t get to see the torture chambers, It certainly makes the blood run cold! x

We´ve been there a few times and visit a different museum every time. I believe there are 6 or 8 in such a small place. When I asked these particular guests which one they wanted to see, they picked the Torture Museum! I have cool friends.

I read up on some of these delightful torture instruments when doing research for Through the Nethergate. As I’ve said before, there is nothing more scary than real life.

You would have loved this place, Robbie. Perfect fodder for your stories.

Gruesome – but interesting.

Exactly! As long as they aren’t using them anymore.

Fascinating post, Darlene and I’m sure very useful for writers of historical and horror – I’m afraid I skipped over some of your pics. I’m a wuss 🙂

I don’t think you are a wuss at all. Not after reading about your experiences I Afghanastan. XO

What mankind does to each other is amazing. No wonder we’ve evolved into tough folks.

This is true. Do you think that prehistoric man was so cruel? Or were they more interested in just surviving?

Darlene, these are vivid photo reminders of man’s inhumanity to man as well as the paradox of Christian torture. There will never be a rational explanation for the Inquisition that I will understand, but in the meantime, museums like this are a good cue that maybe we shouldn’t be so self-righteous. ~James

I agree. To so strongly believe that one religion is the right one, that people are willing to harm others to prove the point, goes against the grain as far as I´m concerned. Of course, this belief is still around in the 21 century, sadly.

An interesting museum Darlene and the photos too….great place in a small Spanish town…..definitely wouldn’t have wanted to live in those times of torture.

If you kept your head down and minded your manners, you would be OK. LOL.

I saw the first photo and I was hooked.
Torture museum is always an interesting place to visit.
I look forward to your post about this town.

Thanks for stopping by.

*Shudder* I don’t want to know any more details.

It’s terrifying how thin the veneer of civilisation is

I definitely wouldn’t want to know any more details either.

Yup, just looking at the devices was enough.

Scary stuff. It would be comforting to think that torture doesn’t still go on, but sadly in some extremist countries it does. All the more reason for us to practise tolerance and concern for one another.

Exactly! Thanks for commenting, Ruth.

Darlene, Such cruelty that one person can do to another human being. I’d love to visit a museum of kindness or compassion when there is one. #senisal

That would be a great museum. I have never understood cruelty. But history is full of it, unfortunately. Hopefully, we are moving toward a kinder civilization. xo

This is creepy and cruel. To think of the torture methods used to hurt and embarrass others. Can’t help but wonder if the museum is haunted by those who lost lives to the methods. And, that chastity belt – oh, my!

I know and the sad thing is torture was sometimes used in the name of religion. The museum could very well be haunted. A good reminder that we need to be kind, even if others think and believe differently to us.

Oh my goodness I had shivers just reading. A perfect post for Halloween Darlene. I agree one wonders how cruel humans can be.

It does give you shivers. Let´s hope we have moved on. Although there are still cruel people around.

That is not the first place I would want to visit but I understand that many are fascinated. I don’t read horror stories either. Like so many, I have a hard time understanding how we can be so cruel to one another. It is interesting the things people thought of to torture others. Some people can torture others by their very presence. 🙂 Perfect Halloween post though. Quite spooky.

Thanks. I love your statement about some people able to torture others by their presence. I believe we tend to torture verbally nowadays.

Very gruesome, Darlene. I can’t believe how people think up all those things. Toni x

There is no limit to people´s imagination, is there? Evidenced in those who write horror and crime stories.

What an amazingly awful collection, Darlene. Yes, certainly very appropriate for this week. I’m not surprised you didn’t want to read some of the details. This certainly does stretch the imagination. I’ve not yet written a horror story, but if anything might inspire me, this should.

This place was full of material for a horror story. If you write one, I´d like to read it!

I find it so very hard to understand how cruel people could have been back then, especially when so much of the torture was because of religious beliefs.

I find it hard to believe as well. But I have to remember it was a different time. It would be interesting to know what people will say about us in 500 years.

Your last comment says it all…..a great reminder where we come from and what we are capable of.

I like to think we are kinder folks these days but still have a ways to go.

I’ll definitely visit this blog again, thank you 🙂

I’m glad you found a friend at the end, Darlene. I would have had to stop reading too. It is rather astonishing how cruel people can be. I did smile wickedly at this line: “The French Bishop who invented the hanging cage ended up in one.” 😀

Yes, justice was served. Our knight in shining armour was friendly enough, just a bit hollow. At least he let us have his picture taken with us.

These places leave me cold – literally. As you say – how cruel mankind can be. And I say mankind, because I think it less likely that women would come up with these horrendous ways to hurt, maim, kill others. We need museums like this one to remind us of our past, and hopefully make us think how inhumane and wrong it is to hurt others. Thanks for the photos and taking us there, Darlene. And thanks for skipping out on some of the descriptions. ;-0 🙂

Women could do harm too, but it was usually more subtle. Poison seemed to be their method of eliminating people. They were dangerous times, especially in the royal courts. One wrong move and you were out. Yes, you don´t want too much information when it comes to these devices. xo

Ooh-er, I’m glad I didn’t live in those times!

But you would have been good and minded your ps and qs, not saying anything bad about those in charge.

Super post, Darlene. It’s hard to imagine such torture. I love the old doors!

I know. Those old doors were awesome. Xo

[…] The Torture Museum of Guadalest […]

[…] donkeys. I think it is the same path. But it is so worth it when you get there! I wrote about the Museum of Torture we discovered on one visit, but there is much more to see and […]

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