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the Museum of Torture: you will witness the cruelty of man through the ages (part 2)

As soon as you set foot in the entrance of the museum, you will smell the blood and feel as if you can hear the voices and screams of the tortured. This feeling will stir in your chest because the first thing that will meet your eyes as soon as you walk in is the logo of the museum which the Egyptian historian placed at the entrance. The logo is designed with its bloody redness, its deformed skull, two axes on the skull’s side, and the chain around said skull to send chills down your spine and prepare you, as a visitor, for what is yet to come.


“With your own eyes, you will witness the cruelty of man through the ages. Brace yourselves.” These were Abdel Wahab’s opening words to initiate the visit in a cinematically thrilling way. The thrill started to kick in as soon as the doors to the huge museum were opened revealing a narrow crypt you would only see in Hollywood horror movies. It was so narrow that we were forced to walk into the museum in single file fashion and then continue to walk sideways.

“The Virgin” is the first torture device you will see as soon as you get into “Bawabet Jahannam” (The Gate to Hell) as its owner likes to call it. This machine was used by the courts of Inquisition in medieval Europe. Its purpose was not to torture people as much as it was to kill them by inflicting torture since the machine was like a box filled with very big sharp nails designed to stab and penetrate each and every part of a person’s body.


Dr. Abdel Wahab bitterly said: “By using the Virgin, they were purposefully murdering people by making them experience sheer terror.” He also added that not only did they kill people with this machine, they also left their dead bodies in there until they decomposed and turned into mere skeletons. When they wanted to kill another person, they would take the skeleton out of the machine while said person was there to relish in their nervous shock and terror.

Aside from the Virgin, there is also a variety of flogging tools. One of these tools, and probably the most famous among them is the whip like the one shown in the film, “The Passion of the Christ.” You will probably remember the scene in which the executioners were flogging actor, Jim Caviezel’s back with the whip and then struggling to pull it out of his skin. You see, back then, they used to put lion’s claws at the ends of the whips to shred the bodies of the tortured. Next to this set of whips, a picture of the person who burned the Holy Quran after the fall of Al-Andalus was placed as a symbol of encouragement to kill Muslims.


Dr. Abdel Wahab, as he was pointing to a painting explaining the methods and steps of torturing women in the detention camps of the Inquisition courts, said: “the executioner examines every part of a man’s and a woman’s bodies to masterfully and creatively torture them.” He explained saying that priests would rape a woman first, then she would be put on the “Spanish Donkey” which is a block of wood with a sharp edge on which the woman would sit and they would attach iron weights to her feet pulling her down and butchering and cutting her all the way from her bottom part up to her rib cage. Another way of torturing them was to cut off their breasts using sharp scissors so that they would die due to nervous breakdowns. Additionally, they would lay them on a tilted bed and pour boiling oil, molten lead or Calcium oxide into their mouths causing them to go through deadly torture that would lead to their inevitable death.

Next to the torture painting, there was a collection of chairs from the Inquisition courts. One of them had sharp nails coming out of it, under which they would set fire so that the nails would get flaming hot, then they would bring the woman, sit her on it, the nails would penetrate her body, and they would leave her there until she ran out of blood then pull her dried body out of it. Moreover, there was another chair with three swords sticking out of it and a rotary knife in its seat that would saw the person who would sit on it and next to them was a picture displaying this whole process.


He continued describing a machine which had a set of rotary knives at its center, saying: “this machine had dogs all fed and full of human intestines.” The knives would be at the victim’s abdominal area tearing and shredding their intestines to pieces causing them to fly out left and right allowing the dogs feed upon the human scraps.

The smells of blood, roasting, and decomposition would rise to fill up the air and stuff people’s noses, and the cries and screams would deafen their ears and that is, in fact, what I felt there. In such a gloomy place, the torn off heads and limbs fill the chambers of the museum and despite them only being mere figures, as soon as you would see them, you would feel as if they were asking for help and crying out for mercy.


“Imagine dead worms falling on you and you are just standing there”, said the professor. There were iron cages hanging from the ceiling in which they would imprison people and leave them until they died and their bodies decomposed. Worms would fall on the heads of those with them in the cells. “Devils are always innovative”; with only three words, Dr. Abdel Wahab summed up the psychology of someone who was always inventing and coming up with new ways to perform this systematic physical and psychological torture on humans.

In the meantime, we arrived at the “Khazouq Room” (Stake Chamber) of which (i.e. the stake) we did not know until the French Campaign used it to kill Soliman Al-Halabi in 1880. For a woman, this stake would have two entrances but for a man, there would only be one and it would have two exits; either through the mouth so they would die on the spot in which case the person would be lucky, or through the right shoulder so the person would not die immediately unless they were given a drink of water. Of course, they made sure to deprive them of water for long hours leaving them to suffer. They could last up to two whole days in this horrible position. In the corner of the chamber, there were things like a statue of an impaled Soliman Al-Halabi, hanging heads, cut-off limbs, cuffs of all sorts for hands and necks, and others for necks, hands and feet altogether, axes, and saws.


“Al-Makhla’a” for torturing kids”: Yes, in spite of their utter cruelty, they showed some ‘mercy’ to the children. That is why they made them the Makhla’a which is a wooden bed to which young boys and girls were tied and in the center a bunch of sharp nails were sticking out that do nothing but tear the flesh off of their backs.

“Al-Jarof” (The Shovel) is a pole to which a person would get tied up and behind his neck there would be a big iron nail that slowly rotates like a screw until it would penetrate the neck from the back to the front. Next to it, there was a casket from the Inquisition courts with nails sticking out of them to which the executioners dragged men and women, throwing them inside and closing it on them for the nails to fully penetrate and stab every living cell of their bodies and tear them apart.


“Draw a palm tree on the wall and climb up to get its dates” is a famous saying in most of the prisons around the world and is considered an insult to prisoners. In the Inquisition courts, they took it to another level as they put a horse puppet and asked the prisoner to ride it and run fast with it.

“Catherine’s Wheel” consists of two big rotary wheels to which they would take the victim and tie them up on top of one the wheels. Once the wheels would spin, their heads would break and their body parts would fly off and get scattered into small pieces as if they were making minced meat for dogs, hence the name, "Crushing Wheel.”


The historian dedicated one of the chambers for the torture victims in Iran, whose executioners tortured the prisoners by raping their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers right in front of their eyes. Then, they would leave them laying there with their undergarments and a bottle of alcohol next to them.


Abdel Wahab, as we were about to enter a new section embodying the psychological torture of rape, said: “Rape does not happen to girls only” as there are boys and grown men who also get raped and “men suffer psychologically from physical abuse just as women do.” That was what the pictures on the walls proved as they showed a man who is an old criminal being punished for taking Samara Bent Salem Rayhan’s virginity and right next to it was a picture that showed a man called Morris Al-Faransawy punished for raping a boy.

Suddenly, I felt like I was in “Haḍra” (a collective supererogatory ritual performed by Sufi orders) and I recalled the tunes and lyrics of “Raya and Sakina” adapted screenplay’s song “Yakhty A’aliha, Yakhty A’aliha, Gat Regleha Ma Gat Regleha” which basically means (Oh God bless her, she got fooled and came to her fate willingly!) At that moment, I thanked God that I was not the kind of guy who would wear gold jewelry as, without any prior notice, I found myself in Raya and Sakina’s stronghold. Raya and Sakina were well known for fooling women, murdering them and taking their jewelry. On account of  their brutality, the Egyptian law was changed,  authorizing the execution of women for the first time ever, they looked much more pleasant and compassionate than I would have expected.


“You are afraid of mice? Well, imagine being a part of mousetrap!” Yes, I admit that I am afraid of mice especially when they are running next to me. I cannot imagine being taken to a prison in which they would put a mousetrap on my stomach. I think I would die of a nervous shock even before the mice do their job. Not only do they entrap mice within the cage on the person’s body, but they would also place a weasel on top of the trap to intimidate the mouse which would make it want to escape even more and it would have no place to go so it would start digging and tearing into the person’s intestines to hide in their stomach.

The Zionist entity has another wing called “The Israeli Cabinet” which they do not use for killing people but rather for imprisoning the people whose confessions they still need. It is a tiny cabinet, barely big enough to fit a skinny person, and therefore anyone who would spend several hours in it, would experience something similar to being in a grave. Thus, when they let them out, they would be willing to confess to anything just to stay out.


Dr. Abdel Wahab said sarcastically, “they even used goats as a method of torture!” which is one way of torment that I would consider creatively demonic. Who would have even thought of goats as a method of torturing people? Their systematic demonic methods of torture made them employ these innocent peaceful creatures with scaly tongues using the fact that they love salty foods so they would put salt on the victim’s tied up feet so the goats would smell it and keep licking them until they would get to their bones.


At the end of the museum, there is a sculpture of the first ever catapult which was used to throw Abraham into Hell, the stone with which Cain killed Abel, the guillotine that the French Campaign was famous for and the water dripping torture machine which would keep dripping boiling water on the person’s tied up body until they would become hysterical and mad.

مجلة علمية معرفية وثائقية تتناول الشخصية المصرية