In graphic detail, the following book presents some of the instruments used to deliberately inflict as much pain as possible on human beings.

Extract from: INQUISITION- TORTURE INSTRUMENTS from the middle ages to the industrial era presented in various European cities in 1983-1987. By: Qua D'Arno , Publishers & Editorial Florence, Italy Phone number: [055] 296.595 Photographs by: Marcello Bertoni ISBN 88-85035-07-8 Distributed in the USA by Barnes and Nobel From: pages 17 & 18.

....... It is neither the Holy Inquisition nor the secular arm of Justice that generates the ecstatic applause for the spectacles on the execution docks, that arouses frenzy in the mass when it smells roasting human flesh, when the aether is rent by the screams that reverberate across the centuries.

The cause-and-effect relationship works in reality the other way: it is the congenital thirst for blood and man's capacity to rejoice in the agony of others that generate and perpetuate those social structures that institutionalize and express in physical action the satisfaction that the collective desire seeks. Only on this premise can one set the nature and history of torture into a proper perspective. It has always been obvious that by the infliction of pain one can extract any confession, testimony, conversion. The heretic mutilated on the rack will not return to the bosom of Mother Church, even if in extremis he professes to do so. Extortion by torture of confessions to crimes ensures the safety of the real criminals, so that not only is all pretence of the law's social efficacy set to naught, but crime is actually favoured and abetted. Everyone has always known this, the pope and the pauper, the knave and the king, and every responsible pillar of power; intrepid people said it, philosophers wrote it, common sense confirmed it daily. Why, then, torture, universal and eternal institution? For only one reason: because it gives pleasure to the torturer. [------------]

Therefore torture has always had its apologists, learned doctors who over the centuries have thought up, mostly in the name of Christ, juridical, moral and doctrinal justifications and rationalizations.

It was proven early on that a mere flicker of penitence and desire to embrace the true faith, even a flicker stimulated by rack and stake, saved the souls of Jews, heretics and apostates from otherwise ineluctable hellfire, while at the same time preventing others weak of faith from falling into the same peril.

Therefore the giant spectacles in which dozens of not-true-believers were burnt at a time, merry feasts with music, parades and ceremonial dancing in the square, were known as an auto da fe, an act of faith, held to be delectable to the Holy Trinity and the Virgin.

Judges were pleased to argue that in many cases the confessions extracted by torture were subsequently confirmed by external evidence; that slow and hideous executions served as deterrents (more of this in a moment, a propos of the death penalty); that all convicts had to be permanently mutilated in some manner because imprisonment alone was not sufficient retribution; and so on. But in his heart of hearts, every apologist knew the truth. And savoured paradise.

Our conventional notions of history almost never take any of this into account. Schools never mention it - at most a few textbooks give it a nod, but without indictment of the [Roman] Catholic Church, the fountainhead and chief perpetuator of torture in the West.

We nourish our minds with brief glimpses of the past, disinfected and tricked out for safe home consumption; television, the cinema, school books, historical novels, paintings, prints, the oral tradition: these conjure up uncountable scenes that coalesce into one superficial, incomplete and mendacious image.

But they do not show that ubiquitous and eternal basalt on which all was built, that algosphere, so to speak, that enveloped the world and is still so largely intact today: the flesh and bones mangled and crushed, sliced and sawn, roasted and boiled in countless dungeons but more still in the squares of every town and city of Christendom; the putrefying cadavers hung up everywhere; the earth at the base of the walls near the sinners' gate a swamp of rotten blood that in summertime stank like the public slaughter-house, which is the real odour of history.