People have always found creative ways to cause suffering to those they felt deserved physical or psychological torture. That largely explains why many people are fascinated with torture and the devices used to cause it, such as the pear of anguish.
The pear of anguish, which also goes by the name "choke pear" or "mouth pear," is a diabolical medieval torture device that allegedly brought unforgettable horrors to its victims. The metallic device has a pear shape, hence its name. However, it is also split into spoon-like sections that spread out when a key is turned.
The ends of these sections had sharp tips meant to cause even more damage once the pear of anguish was fully extended. In general, the pear of anguish was intended to be inserted into the mouth, rectum, or vagina. After that, the key was turned to make it spread outwards to gag or harm the victim.
Who Invented The Pear Of Anguish?
It is not very clear how the idea of a metallic pear came about. However, it is possible that metal gags were the inspiration behind this diabolical device. Its appeal probably came from the fact that the pear of anguish can change shape, which made it more effective as a way to inflict fear and pain.
The twisted invention is attributed to Capitaine Gaucherou de Palioly, a robber. He would use the pear of anguish to gag his victims at their homes before robbing them. He apparently did this in the 1600s.
In these cases, the device was not typically used for torture. Mainly, it ensured that robbery victims could not call for help as robbers ripped them off.
Given that the device had a key that made it impossible to take it out of the mouth without assistance, robbery victims would pay more to get the key to remove it from their mouths.
After the pear of anguish was first attributed to Capitanine Gaucherou de Palioly, it was later mentioned in the nineteenth century, when it got the name "choke pear." Again, it was described as a device used by criminals to extort people.
In Europe, the scary invention was meant to thrust points of the iron in every direction once inserted in the mouth. It could not be taken out without a key. Most likely, the notion that it could be used as a sexual violation device made it more threatening in the hands of criminals.
Pear Of Anguish As A Torture Device
Without a doubt, getting tortured to death with a pear of anguish has to be one of the most dreadful experiences imaginable.
As you can imagine, getting a cold bulbous metallic contraption forced into your orifice has to be incredibly scary. At the time the pear of anguish and other torture devices were in use, torturing criminals was considered part of the justice system.
Allegedly, during use, the pear of anguish could be expanded to the point of shuttering the skull, leading to death.
Reports also claimed that its use on the lower half of the body was rarely fatal but quite painful and humiliating. The agony the pear of anguish caused could be relieved by screwing the sections back down.
Otherwise, when being tortured with a pear of anguish, the torturer could also ask for the information they needed from the victim. As the device was extended, the mounting pain would make the victim feel like their delicate tissue was about to get ripped apart, which could actually happen.
This discomfort and pain would have been enough to make people give confessions or suffer incredibly for whatever ill they might have committed.
Typically, using the pear of anguish to the point where it caused injuries to the victim would not have been desired, as that could have easily resulted in ruptured blood vessels or injured organs, which might have led to death. So, the device was generally meant to stretch the target area as much as possible, which would cause intense searing pain and a lot of distress.
Obviously, not many people could withstand this form of torture for long. After all, the pear of anguish could be left in an extended position for as long as necessary.
Was The Pear Of Anguish Even Real?
There are some controversies about the use of the pear of anguish as a torture device. Although there's evidence that the pear of anguish did exist, its use as a torture device seems to exist in people's imaginations primarily.
According to experts, the existing versions of these devices prove that the springs on these devices are not strong enough to allow the torture device to open up body orifices. In some cases, it was apparent that the device could not open at all with something around it.
There are rumors that the pear of anguish was never actually used as a torture device. It is believed that people's imaginations about medieval tortures gave it this reputation.
It is even possible that what people call the pear of anguish might actually have been a medical device used by dentists to keep their patients' mouths open as they operated on them. Alternative theories suggest that what we call the pear of anguish was simply a shoe-extender, a sock extender, or even a glove-widener.
Unfortunately, records about torture devices being used on people back then are not that reliable. However, at a time when people seemed keen on finding the most sickening way to make criminals suffer, it makes sense that this kind of device would have existed.
The Pear Of Anguish Today
The idea that the pear of anguish was a torture device has made it very popular in recent times. Today, there are a number of pears of desperation in museums or private hands. That is why many museums throughout Europe feel a need to have one in their collections.
Therefore the pear of anguish has since been considered a medieval torture device, although it was probably only ever used by criminals to extort victims.
So, what do you think? Do you believe the pear of anguish was a more benign device whose purpose was misconstrued or was it an actual torture device that was used to cause pain and suffering? Nobody looks pretty sure that the device was ever used to torture people.
Did you also know that there are claims that the iron maiden is also a made-up torture device attributed to medieval times?
There is no evidence it existed until the eighteenth century, making it likely that the device is also an invention of modern minds.
Apparently, soon after claims of its existence, the iron maiden started appearing in many places, with a model being shown off at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. The device was considered fake, but it is still considered a genuine medieval torture device by many.