A torture chamber is a room where torture is inflicted. The medieval torture chamber was windowless and often built underground, was lit by a few candles and was specifically designed to induce "horror, dread and despair" to anyone but those possessing a strong mind and "nerves of steel".
Historically, torture chambers were located in royal palaces, in castles of the nobility and even buildings belonging to the church. They featured secret trap-doors which could be activated to throw victims into dark dungeons where they remained and eventually died. The skeletal remains of people who disappeared were strewn on the floor of the hidden dungeons. Other times the dungeons under the trap-doors included pits of water where the victim was thrown to drown after a lengthy torture session in the chamber above.
In Peru, the torture chambers of the Inquisition were specifically constructed with thick walls so that the screams of the victims could not penetrate them and no sound could be heard from the outside. Other more sophisticated designs used principles of acoustics to muffle the screams of the tortured and included walls which recessed and protruded in such a fashion as to reflect the screams of the victims so that the sounds would not be carried to the exterior.
The mere presence of the torture chamber was used as a form of intimidation and coercion. The victims were first shown the chamber and if they confessed they would not be tortured inside it. Other times the torture chamber was used as the final destination in a series of prison cells where the victims would gradually be moved from one type of cell to another, under progressively worsening conditions of incarceration, and if they did not recant in the earlier stages they would finally reach the torture chamber. The final stage of actually going to the torture chamber itself, just prior to the initiation of torture, was euphemistically called the "Question".
- 1 History
- 2 Modern times
- 3 Culture
- 4 See also
- 5 Books
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Throughout history torture chambers have been used in a multiplicity of ways starting from Roman times. Torture chamber use during the Middle Ages was frequent. Religious, social and political persecution led to the widespread use of torture during that time. Torture chambers were also used during the Spanish Inquisition and at the Tower of London.
Another example of a torture chamber, not known by many, is "The Thieves Tower" in the Alsace region of France. Once a tower used for torture, it is now a small museum displaying instruments used upon the prisoners to get them to confess crimes.
In Venice, the Palazzo Ducale had its own torture chamber, which was deemed to be of such importance that renovations started in 1507 so that the chamber walls could be kept strong and secure: "considerata la grandissima importantia de j cameroti di la Camera del tormento che siano forti e securi".
According to the narrations of Ashokavadana, King Ashoka, prior to his conversion to Buddhism, was a fierce and sadistic ruler, known as Ashoka the Fierce, who built a palatial torture chamber known as Ashoka's Hell. The legend of the torture palace is detailed in the writings of the Ashokavadana.
According to Ashokavadana, Ashoka asked Girika, who was the official executioner of his kingdom, to design an elaborate torture chamber disguised as a beautiful and "enticing" palace adorned with all kinds of decorations and full of amenities such as exclusive baths decorated with flowers, fruit trees and many ornaments. It was artfully designed to make people long to just look at it.
According to legend, beneath the veneer of beauty deep inside the exclusive mansion, torture chambers were constructed which were full of the most sadistic and cruel instruments of torture including furnaces producing molten metal.
According to the accounts contained in the Ashokavadana, Girika, the architect of the chamber, was inspired by descriptions of the five tortures of the Buddhist hell for the design of the torture chamber and of the torture methods he inflicted upon his victims. The torture chamber was so terrifying, that King Ashoka himself was thought to have visited hell so that he could perfect its evil design.
Ashoka made Girika promise that he would never allow anyone who entered the palace to exit alive, including Ashoka himself. In the Biographical Sutra of King Ashoka the palace is described by the sentence: 'King Ashoka constructed a hell'.
Sometime later a Buddhist monk by the name of Samudra happened to visit the palace and upon entering he was informed by Girika that he would be tortured to death, and was subsequently led into the torture chamber. His torturers however failed to injure him and he appeared able to neutralise their torture methods by performing miracles.
Ashoka converted to Buddhism when he witnessed Samudra's miracles inside the torture chamber. He also ordered Girika burnt alive and ordered the demolition of the torture palace. According to the Ashokavadana, "the beautiful jail was then torn down and a guarantee of security was extended to all beings".
Xuanzang in his writings mentions that in the 7th century AD he had visited the place where Ashoka's Hell once was. In India the palace is known as "Ashoka's Hell" and its location near Pataliputra became a popular destination for pilgrims. Faxian also reports visiting it and his account of the story of the palace differs slightly from that of Xuanzang's.
Methods of coercion
According to Frederick Howard Wines in his book Punishment and Reformation: A Study Of The Penitentiary System there were three main types of coercion employed in the torture chamber: Coercion by the cord, by water and by fire. There were five stages of torture that could have been applied to the accused: he could have been threatened with torture, he could have been taken to the torture chamber and been shown the instruments, he could have been undressed as if in preparation to be tied to the instrument, without actually being tied, he could have been tied to the instrument of torture but not actually getting tortured and finally he could have been tied to the instrument and tortured.
In the book Crime and criminal justice in Europe and Canada it is mentioned that fear was a factor in the process of torture and that there was a form of torture known as La présentation de la question or simply the "Question", where the prisoner was led to the torture chamber and was shown the implements of torture. While at the chamber, sentence to full torture was pronounced but, immediately after, the prisoner was taken back to the prison cell, without actually having been tortured.
The torture chamber was specifically designed to evoke fear in the victims. It was usually built underground and only dimly lit. Inside the chamber waited the executioner, his face completely covered apart from two holes in the garment to enable him to peer through and wearing a black hood; his menacing appearance being described as "most diabolical" and "satanic".
When during the Question, the view of the chamber, the torture implements and the executioner did not cause the victim to confess, a full-scale torture session was planned. To prepare for torture, the victim was stripped naked with hands tied. The penultimate step to torture included a repetition of the questions asked earlier of the victims. If the victims still proclaimed their innocence, full torture was initiated.
The most common instrument of torture was the strappado, which was a simple rope and pulley system. With the pulley attached to ceiling of the chamber, the lifting rope was tied to the wrist of the victim, whose hands were tied behind their back. Subsequently, the victim was raised to the ceiling and then lowered using a jerking motion causing dislocation of the shoulder joints. To increase the suffering caused by the strappado, weights were attached to the feet of the victim.
Church doctrine protected human life so it was problematic if a victim were to die, especially before they confessed. In difficult cases, when a victim would not readily confess or was too weak to continue in an uninterrupted torture session, breaks were allowed between torture sessions because Inquisition regulations only allowed one torture session per victim. That way, a torture session could resume after a break to allow time for the victim to recover or reconsider their opposition to confessing, and it was considered to have been the continuation of the previous torture session and not a new one.
Because confession under torture was not acceptable, the victim had to sign a written confession after they had made their oral confession under torture. Typically, during confession, the inquisitors demanded that the prisoner implicate as many people as possible and not only themselves. If the prisoner resisted signing, the inquisitors could always resume the torture by claiming that they had just halted the session, just for the signing, but did not really put an end to it.
The method of construction of the torture chamber of the papal palace at Avignon, used during the Inquisition, has been described as ingenious. The construction of some of the torture chambers at Avignon was based on principles of Acoustics, specifically designed to muffle the screams and cries of the tortured. The walls of the torture chamber recessed and protruded in a complementary fashion to the walls on the opposite side so as to reflect the screams of the victims locally, ensuring that their shrieks would not be carried to the exterior. A chamber located above the main torture chamber had a dungeon with a hole near the middle of the floor through which, according to accounts, the tortured bodies of the prisoners were thrown into a cavity. The chamber where the victims were being burnt was of circular construction and resembled the furnace of a glass-house with a funnel-like chimney at the top.
There were secret staircases and hidden spaces which were used to overhear the discussions in the prison cells. The ceiling of the torture chamber was especially designed to muffle the cries of the victims. Inside the torture chamber, furnaces and grates were also present. Up to 1850 the chambers were shown to visitors after which time the ecclesiastical authorities of Avignon decided to shut them down. In a similar vein the torture chamber of the Spanish Inquisition in Lima, Peru had one metre thick walls so that the screams of the victims could not penetrate them.
In Nuremberg and Salzburg the torture chambers featured trapdoors on their floors. In Nuremberg the room underneath the main torture chamber featured torture machinery while in Salzburg, the room under the trapdoor, functioned like a waiting room for prisoners. When the time came the prisoner was pulled up and into the upper torture chamber. Other times, deep water pits could be found under the trapdoor, where the victims of the torture chamber could be thrown, after a torture session, to drown.
Palace of the Inquisition
The torture chamber was the final destination in a progression of four cell types during incarceration at the Palace of the Inquisition. The palace contained the Judgement Hall, the offices of the employees, the private apartments of the Grand Inquisitor and the detention cells adjacent to the apartments. The detention cell gradations started with the cells of mercy reserved mainly for rich transgressors who upon bequeathing all their property to the Inquisition were normally let go after a time of detention in the cells.
For more difficult prisoners the next cell stage was the cell of penitence. These were situated in small round towers of about 3 metres (ten feet) in diameter. They were painted white and included rudimentary furniture such as a stool and a bed. Very little light was allowed in. If the prisoner did not cooperate, the next step in the detention process was the dungeon. The dungeon had walls 1.5 metres (five feet) thick, double doors and was in complete darkness. No conversation of any type was allowed in the dungeon. The food allowance for prisoners was less than a penny a day including the profit of the warden while any human refuse was removed every four days. After a stay in the dungeon, uncooperative prisoners were moved to their final destination: the torture chamber.
Palace of Inquisition in Cartagena
The Palace of Inquisition was a torture chamber in Cartagena, Colombia, built under orders of Philip III, which served as headquarters for the Spanish Inquisition. It was used to torture Jews, and other non-Catholics. Approximately 800 individuals were put to death there.
Nazi Germany and North and South America
The traditional torture users of modern times have been dictatorship governments e.g. the Nazis, Argentine military junta (at the Navy School of Mechanics), and the Chilean dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet as well as other South American regimes. These regimes have also used torture chambers. The isolation felt inside the Nazi torture chambers was so strong that author, and victim, K. Zetnik, during his testimony at the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961, has described them as another galaxy.
Use of torture chambers was also reported in Europe during the Greek military junta years. Alexandros Panagoulis and Army Major Spyros Moustaklis are examples of persons tortured at the EAT/ESA (Greek Military Police) interrogation cell units.
Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, he reportedly tortured those whom he deemed as a threat. After the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces, pictures of dead Iraqis, with their necks slashed, their eyes gouged out and their genitals blackened, were located in many torture chambers. Jail cells, with dried blood on the floor and rusted shackles bolted to the walls, lined the corridors.
In November 2004, U.S. Marines found a number of torture rooms in Fallujah by following trails of dried blood, or the smell of dead bodies. Some rooms were hidden behind fake walls, or concealed in basements. Marines believe they found the place where British hostage Kenneth Bigley was caged before being beheaded.
Libyans have entered abandoned torture chambers and found devices that have been used against opposition members in the past.
In Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera, Erik (the Phantom's) chamber of torture consisted of a hexagonal room lined with mirrors on each wall. Temperatures vary inside the room, and soon, without food or water, people trapped in there begin having hallucinations. There is an iron tree in there with a lasso under it with which one can commit suicide, which is the only way out.
In the September 1929 issue of Popular Mechanics an article by Harold T. Wilkins titled "Secrets of Ancient Torture Chambers" describes the [fictitious] shrinking torture chamber at the Tolfi castle in Sicily as an example of an ancient torture chamber and proposes a mechanical model to account for the contracting action of the chamber.
The shrinking torture chamber at Tolfi castle is described in the short story "The Iron Shroud" by William Mudford. The "Iron Shroud" is a classic predicament story about a noble Italian hero who is confined in a continuously and imperceptibly contracting iron torture chamber. In the story, the chamber walls and ceiling are slowly contracting, day by day, through mechanical means, to the point of eventually crushing and enveloping the victim, thus metaphorically becoming his iron shroud. The story is considered to have provided Edgar Allan Poe with the idea of the shrinking cell in his short story "The Pit and the Pendulum" and it is viewed as Mudford's most famous tale.
In film the torture chamber is also known as the chamber of horrors with the word horror implying torture as well as murder or a combination of both. Classic films focusing on the torture chamber include
- The Pit and the Pendulum (1961).
- Chamber of Horrors (1966).
- The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (1983). Directed by Jan Švankmajer
- Hostel (2005)
- The Cell Zero A movie about the Greek Military Police torture chambers
- The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel). A German adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's novel "The Pit and the Pendulum".
Aside from its dictionary definition the term has great cultural resonance, because it transforms an abstract concept (Torture) into a real place (Torture chamber), and is an integral part of pop culture. Related exhibits can also be found in places such as Niagara Falls, Las Vegas etc., attracting millions of tourists each year.
In technology, at Ryerson University, the laboratory used for testing aircraft components has been described as a high-tech torture chamber. Wired Magazine has referred to the laboratory NASA uses to test the next generation of spacecraft as a torture chamber. The McKinley Climatic Laboratory has been described as the world’s largest torture chamber for aircraft undergoing FAA or military certification.
- Palace of Inquisition
- Black site
- Extraordinary rendition
- Medieval instruments of torture
- Psychology of torture
- Psychological warfare
- The Box (torture)
- Torture museums
- Joseph Anthony Amato; David Monge (November 1990). Victims and values: a history and a theory of suffering. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-25903-6. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Guida Billingue all mostra di Strumenti di Tortura Chamber dal Medioeve all Epoca Industriale. By Roberto Held. Florence, Qua d' Arno 1983.
- "The Iron Shroud" by William Mudford, a short story, published also as a chapbook, about an iron torture chamber which shrinks through mechanical action and eventually crushes the victim inside. Edgar Allan Poe is considered to have been influenced by Mudford's story when he wrote The Pit and the Pendulum.
- James Maxwell Anderson (2002). Daily life during the Spanish Inquisition. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-0-313-31667-8. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- A. L. Maycock; Ronald Knox (July 2003). Inquisition from Its Establishment to the Great Schism: An Introductory Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7661-7290-6. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Torture chamber. Dictionary.com. WordNet 3.0. Princeton University. (accessed: July 29, 2009).
- Princeton Wordnet definition of Torture chamber. Wordnetweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- George Ryley Scott (2003). History of Torture Throughout the Ages. Kessinger Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 9780766140639. ISBN 0-7661-4063-6. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- William Rounseville Alger (1889). The destiny of the soul: a critical history of the doctrine of a future life. Roberts. p. 425. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition:Chapter 3. The water cure. by Anthony Bruno. From Crime Library.com. Crimelibrary.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- The White Tower once held torture chambers within its crypt From Mysterious Britain website. Retrieved 5 March 2007
- There was no permanent torture-chamber. The basement of the White Tower was used. But prisoners could also be tortured in their cells From Tudor website. Retrieved 5 March 2007
- Overseas Military Portal website. quote:The Thieves Tower wasn’t a hideout for medieval criminals, but a place where they would pay for their crimes. This museum is home to an authentic torture chamber on the tower’s first floor, which highlights the different methods of punishing criminals, and the tools of the trade, which made this torture so agonizing such as the infamous Rack. (article by Michael J. Meese 1/26/2005), retrieved 6-07-2007
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- A History Of Ancient And Early Medieval India: From The Stone Age To The 12Th Century. Pearson Education India. 1 September 2008. p. 332. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
He was so given to sadistic pleasure that he built a hell on earth — an elaborate and horrific torture chamber, where he amused himself by watching the agony of his unfortunate victims.
- Mishi Saran; Mishi (1 July 2012). Chasing the Monk's Shadow. Penguin Books India. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-14-306439-8. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
By Xuanzang's account, King Ashoka was at first a horrid man. He had custom-built torture chambers that he enclosed in high walls. There were furnaces of molten metal, ugly sharp instruments. Every criminal in the land was consigned to this compound, all who crossed its threshold had to die.
- Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1995). Amoral Politics: The Persistent Truth of Machiavellism. SUNY Press. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-1-4384-1886-5. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
The executioner persuades Ashoka to build a prison in which the tortures imitate those suffered in Buddhist hell [...] In response the executioner wants to kill Ashoka-on the grounds that the king has promised that no one who has entered the prison will leave it alive-...
- Gananath Obeyesekere (2002). Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. University of California Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 978-0-520-23243-3. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Nury Vittachi (13 April 2007). The Kama Sutra of Business: Management Principles from Indian Classics. John Wiley & Sons. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-470-82223-4. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
He apparently built a torture chamber that was so horrible that people said he had descended to Hell itself to pick up design ideas. This room was a ...
- Bruce Rich (1 March 2010). To Uphold the World: A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India. Beacon Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8070-9553-9. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
When Ashoka offers him his new job and his parents hesitate to grant him permission to leave, Girika promptly murders them both. Faxian tells us that Ashoka instructed his state torturer to camouflage the torture chambers as an enticing ...
- David Brazier (1 June 2002). The New Buddhism. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-312-29518-9. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
There is, for instance, the account in the Biographical Sutra of King Ashoka of how the king, like any good tyrant, had a secret police force and this was backed up by a singularly sinister torture chamber. In the text, it simply refers to this place by saying that 'King Ashoka constructed a hell'
- Indian Society for Buddhist Studies. Conference; Satya Prakash Sharma; Baidyanath Labh; Vijay Kumar Singh, Anita K. Billawaria (2008). The ocean of Buddhist wisdom 3. New Bharatiya Book Corporation. p. 135. ISBN 978-81-8315-104-7. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
One day he arrived at Pataliputra and entered the torture chamber built by Asoka which was beautiful from outside. As soon as he entered he was seized by Candagirika, the chief executive who told him that he would be executed by the ...
- The Legend of King Asoka: A Study and Translation of the Asokavadana. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 1989. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-81-208-0616-0. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
Asoka is impressed by this, and enquires as to Samudra's identity. The monk tells him he is a disciple of the Buddha and a follower of Dharma, and reprimands him for having built the torture chamber. Instead, Asoka should guarantee the ...
- Neil Schlager; Josh Lauer (2001). Science and its times: understanding the social significance of scientific discovery. Gale Group. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7876-3933-4. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
It appears that Asoka maintained a prison, with an extensive network of torture chambers, for dealing with his enemies. Certainly it is clear that he fought a number of wars, and spilled plenty of blood, in the course of securing his empire ...
- Will Durant (7 June 2011). Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization. Simon & Schuster. p. 707. ISBN 978-1-4516-4668-9. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
Yuan Chwang, a Chinese traveler who spent many years in India in the seventh century a.d., tells us that the prison maintained by Ashoka north of the capital was still remembered in Hindu tradition as "Ashoka's Hell." There, said his ...
- Frederick Howard Wines. Punishment and Reformation. A Study of the Penitentiary System. New Edition, Revised and Enlarged by Winthrop D. Lane. Elibron.com. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-4212-3460-1. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
In the torture chamber, the three principal forms of coercion were by the cord, by water, and by fire. In the second of these, which has not been described..
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The next move of the prisoner was to the torture chamber. The torture chamber in the papal palace at Avignon was constructed with diabolical ingenuity. To cause the shrieks and groans of those tortured to remain confined within the hall, each wall projects and recedes in such a manner as to exhibit a face in a different direction to that of the wall on the opposite side, and in this way the solid mass of masonry of each wall is carried upwards, the result of which peculiar structure is that shrieks were thrown back from wall to wall, and thus never could reach the outside, nor disturb the pope, toying with his concubines in the adjoining palace.
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- From Torture Victim to President Britannica online Quote:"Lucrecia Brito shared the cramped cell with Bachelet. We could hear the screams from the torture chamber opposite our cell," Brito tells me.
alternate from Freelibrary
- "Détournement as Civil Disobedience: Mash-ups, Re-Mixes and the Recontextualization of Sound and Images as Political Statements" A Parapolitical-Cultural Essay by James L. Cypher Presented to the MIT Media in Transition Conference “Disruptive Practices” Session April 28, 2007 quote: The Sexy Blindfold” based on the 1970s Chilean secret police torture chamber underneath a discotheque, where the loud dance music drowned out he screams of the sexual chamber of horrors below.
- Fort Breendonk (Nazi Camp): Pictorial essay. Mentions local torture chamber via Internet Archive
- Kenneth P. Serbin Torture chamber: behind Pinochet's reign of terror. Christian Century, January 11, 2005
- Nuremberg Trials Opening Address for the United States Robert Jackson statement: (Nazi) Germany became one vast torture chamber. Fcit.usf.edu. Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- Athens news on ESA torture chambers 2 May 2003 quote: After weeks of gruesome interrogation in the infamous military police (ESA) torture chambers, Panagoulis was sentenced to death by a court martial on November 17, 1968.
- V. International Symposium Against Isolation Greece / Athens, 15-18 December 2006 Political prisoners network quote: 12.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.: Commemoration and press conference at the EAT-ESA (EAT-ESA is a museum today, and it was used as a torture center of the gendarmery during the military junta)
- Reportage without frontiers from ET (Greek National TV) Interview with Vice Admiral Konstantinos Dimitriadis Quote: The fai was filled with salt. Απειλές. Threats. Ορισμένοι μάλιστα υπέστησαν κι απειλές ηθικής τάξεως. Some even suffered threats and Ethic. Ότι οι γυναίκες τους και τα λοιπά και κάτι μονταρισμένες φωτογραφίες με σκάνδαλα να το πούμε έτσι. That women and the other something mounted photos with scandals to say. Με απειλές, με τέτοια πράγματα και υβρεολόγιο. With threats, with such things and profanity. Νυχθημερόν να παίζει κάποιο ραδιόφωνο. Nychthimeron to play a radio. Ένα ραδιόφωνο με διάφορα τραγούδια εκείνης της εποχής και τα λοιπά. A radio with various songs of the time and so on. Και μαγνητόφωνα με κραυγές για να σπάσει το ηθικό, ας πούμε. And tape with cries to break the morale, say. Αυτά και βέβαια ορισμένοι, δεν υπέστησαν όλοι με τον ίδιο τρόπο την μείωση αυτή. Those are certainly some, not all were in the same way to reduce this. Είχανε κάτι ζωστήρες. Eichane zostires something. Το κορύφωμα βέβαια ήταν του Μουστακλή ο οποίος χτυπήθηκε άσχημα και βγήκε εκτός ο άνθρωπος. The culmination of the course was Moustakli who severely beaten and got out of the man.[sic] (Translation by Google)
Original Greek interview through Internet Archive
- Report: Iraq torture chamber found. CNN (2003-04-02). Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- Kelley, Jack. (2003-04-13) Iraqis pour out tales of Saddam's torture chambers. Usatoday.Com. Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- Fallujah's Houses Of Horror. CBS News. Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
- Evidence of Libya torture emerges – Africa. Al Jazeera English (2011-03-01). Retrieved on 2011-08-30.
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- John Robert Colombo (1 September 1995). Ghost Stories of Ontario. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-0-88882-176-8. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Ryerson University Torture Chamber Quote: "Ryerson research engineer Zouheir Fawaz does bad things to aircraft components, so they won’t do bad things to us." and "If the cavernous room at Ryerson University looks a little scary…well, that’s because it is. This is a high-tech torture chamber, complete with loops of heavy chain, bone-crushing presses, fiery furnaces and thick electrical cables that snake ominously across the floor. The good news is that all of these cruel devices are used solely on…aircraft components."
- WIRED MAGAZINE: Torture Chamber: NASA Tests Next-Gen Craft for Space Blast
- Torture Chamber: Article. Quote: "Because airplanes must fly in the real world, the Air Force built a fake one." and "The reason that didn’t happen is just one of the technological marvels of the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, the world’s largest torture chamber for aircraft in search of FAA or military certification." By Ed Regis Air & Space Magazine, 1 May 2006
- Joseph Anthony Amato; David Monge (30 November 1990). Victims and values: a history and a theory of suffering. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-93690-7. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- The Iron Shroud from Project Gutenberg
- Online Biography of William Mudford from the Dictionary of Literary Biography hosted by BookRags p. 2
- Oxford Journals Critique of William Mudford Notes and Queries July 31, 1943 p. 83
- Edgar Allan Poe (1 May 1998). The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, and Related Tales. Oxford University Press. p. 298 (note). ISBN 978-0-19-283771-4. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
Poe apparently got the idea for his shrinking chamber from an 1830 Blackwood's story titled the 'Iron Shroud'