“Cat’s Paw” or “Spanish Tickler” Torture Device


Out of stock


The “Cat’s Paw” was a terrible instrument of slow torture used in most of Europe and
during the Spanish Inquisition from the Middle Ages and beyond. Described in Robert
Held’s book “Inquisition” : “About as large as four fingers of a man’s hand, these
devices, usually attached to a short handle, served to rip the victim’s flesh to shreds and
to strip it off the bones, in any part: face, abdomen, back, limbs, breasts.” Also called the
“Flesh Rake”, during the Spanish Inquisition it was often heated to red-hot because the
rules of the Inquisition forbade the shedding of blood. Victims were naked, hung up, or
stretched out on the torture rack. Most didn’t die directly from this torture, but could die
days later from hideous infection. Some had sharpened paws, but others were dull and
used red-hot. This rare device was brought out of Germany and shows hand forging and
great age, though it’s date of manufacture cannot be accurately determined. Overall
length 15 1/4″, including the short wooden handle.