This past week, I was doing a little light reading on the history of torture. I learned nothing new, but reading the detailed accounts of actual incidents is sobering, to say the least. A man, one of the Knights Templar, accused of heresy but in all likelihood innocent, had his feet cooked to the point that the flesh fell away and the bones “fell out.” Another had live rats placed under a bowl on his stomach, and when the bowl was heated the rats, desperate to escape, began to eat their way through the man’s guts. And the things that were done to women, of which the vast majority of victims was comprised—it stays with you. Days later, and the images refuse to vacate my mind.
All this got me to thinking, though. I know most victims of the Inquisition were killed for heresy, and if not that for witchcraft. How many, I wondered, were killed for being werewolves? For that matter, how many CONFESSED to being a werewolf? Not that any of the victims who confessed were ever guilty of ANYthing. One would confess, under torture, to any crime of which he or she was accused. There is a certain point where the human mind breaks under physical torment. By the end of their time with the Inquisitor, many of those falsely accused might even have believed themselves that they were guilty. Torture works that way. Reading through the historical accounts will get your sense of righteous indignation firing on all cylinders. It makes me wish, just once, that those evil torturers had chanced to catch a REAL werewolf, and that the Beast, like Benicio Del Toro in the remake of THE WOLFMAN, had transformed under torture and shredded them all like cheese.