Museum of Historic Torture Devices is fun for the whole family

Nothing spending an hour or so thinking about suffering, death, and how humans can be really awful to one another!

If you ever find yourself in Dells, Wisconsin with a spare hour or two, a stop by the Museum of Historic Torture Devices is the perfect way to kill some time...and a few other things. The museum features over 40 different devices designed and used by governments, armies, and even religious institutions to humiliate, inflict pain, and kill. Looking at the more disturbing exhibits, it's pretty hard to image that all of these forms of torture were once totally legal.

You'll see all kinds of messed up stuff, from the brag (a cage that goes over a person's head and has a bar to hold the victim's tongue in place-- it was generally used on wives who nagged or scolded their husbands too much) and the classic pillory, to more intense torture tools like the rack and the dreaded Chinese death cage. And, in case you still aren't convinced that humans are intrinsically horrible creatures, they've got displays on th guillotine, the iron maiden and the electric chair for good measure.

The more grusome exhibits include the breaking wheel, where criminals were tied and beaten, since the spaces between the spokes allowed limbs to give way and break more cleanly (!), the heretic's fork, a two-pronged metal device strapped to the victim's chest that prevented them from putting their head down or falling asleep, forcing them to stay awake for days on end (!!) and thumbscrews (also known as 'the pillywinks'), which slowly crushed the poor, unlucky chump's fingers, toes, or even ears with sharp spikes for added pain (!!!). You'll definitely leave feeling thankful that you weren't alive back then.


Looking for other "fun for the whole familiy" museums? Check out these offbeat exhibits!

Comb through Leila's Hair Museum


Get weird at the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices


Get turned on at the Antique Vibrator Museum


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This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
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