Breast ripper

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Fifteenth-century Breast Ripper in a torture museum, Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The Breast Ripper, known in another form as the Iron Spider or simply The Spider, was a torture instrument[1] mainly used on women who were accused of adultery or self-performed abortion.[2][3] The instrument was designed to rip the breasts from a woman and was made from iron, which was usually heated.


The Breast Ripper was often used heated during torture and it contained four claws, which were used to slowly rip the breasts from women for various crimes.[3] The instrument would be imposed onto a single breast of the woman. They were designed to shred, or tear off the breasts of the victim. If the woman did not die, she would be horribly disfigured for the rest of her life.[4][2][5]


The Spider, also known as the Iron Spider, was a torture device similar to the Breast Ripper. The Iron Spider would have been attached to the wall, and the woman's breasts were fixed onto the claws of the tool. The victim was then pulled away from the wall, tearing off her breasts.[2] Another variant of this included spiked bars affixed slightly away from the wall. The victim would have been pulled along the bars until her breasts were ripped off.[6]


  1. ^ Amato, Joseph A., II (1990). Victims and Values: A History and a Theory of Suffering. New York: Greenwood Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-275-93690-7. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Breast Ripper". Medieval Times and Castles. 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b Luis Munoz (8 November 2012). Birth, Criminal History and Judgment of the Roman C. Church. Balboa Press. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-1-4525-6059-5.
  4. ^ "Worst Medieval Torture Devices & Methods". TopTenz. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  5. ^ Diehl, Daniel; Donnelly, Mark P. (2008). The Big Book of Pain: Torture & Punishment Through History. Stroud: History Press. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-0-7509-4583-7. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  6. ^ Frater, J. (20 July 2009). "Gruesome Medieval Torture Devices". Retrieved 7 December 2012.