The Judas Cradle, also known as the Judas chair and The Guided Cradle, was a torture device. In Italian it is the culla di Giuda; in German the Judaswiege; and in French the la veille - "the wake" or "nightwatch" (because when certain muscles are contracted, the victim could not fall asleep).
The victim would presumably be placed in the waist harness above the pyramid-shaped seat, with the point inserted into their anus or vagina, then very slowly lowered by ropes. The subject is tortured by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice, eventually succumbing to tears in muscle tissue that could turn septic and kill from infection, or simply being impaled.
Depictions in popular culture
In the first episode of Season 2 of The Borgias, the character of Prince Alfonso of Naples is required by the King of France to give a tour of the torture chambers of his father, King Ferrante. This device is among those featured. Whether this is simply artistic license or the device was actually one of those kept by the ruling family of Naples in the late 1400s/early 1500s (the time period in which the series is set) is unknown.
It is shown in one of the torture rooms in the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
The Judas cradle is one of several medieval torture devices used by the transgender psychopath in the first episode of season one of Wire in the Blood.
A Judas chair is employed as a means to extract information from several characters in Michael Slade's novel Crucified.
It is noted, conjecturally, as a possible torture device in season 8, episode 3 of Weeds.
A modified version of the Judas Cradle is referenced in the song, "Forced Gender Reassignment", by Cattle Decapitation.
- "80 Acres of Hell", The History Channel.