If the witch was obdurate, the first
and it was said the most effectual method of obtaining confession
was by what was termed 'waking her.' An iron bridle or hoop was
bound across her face, with four prongs which were thrust into her mouth.
It was fastened behind to the wall by a chain in such a manner that the
victim was unable to lie down; and in this position she was sometimes
kept for several days, while men were constantly with her to prevent
her closing her eyes for a moment in sleep. Partly in order to effect
this purpose, and partly to dicover the insensible mark which was
the sure sign of a witch, long pins were thrust into her body.
At the same time - as it was a saying in Scotland that a witch would
never confess while she could drink - excessive thirst was added to her
tortures. Some persons, it is said, have been waked five nights; one,
it is said, even for nine.
The physical and mental suffering of such a
process was sufficient to overcome the resolution of many, and to
distract the understanding of not a few. But other and perhaps
worse tortures were in reserve. The three principal tortures that
were habitually applied were the pennywinks, the boots, and the
caschielawis. The first was a kind of thumbscrew; the second was a
frame in which the leg was inserted, and where it was broken by
wedges driven in by a hammer; the third was also an iron frame for
the leg, which was from time to time heated over a brazier. Fire
matches were sometimes applied to the body of the victim.
We read in a contemporary legal register of one
man who was kept for forty-eight hours in 'vehement torture' in the
caschielawis; and of another who remained in the same frightful
machine for eleven days and eleven nights, whose legs were broken
daily for fourteen days in the boots, and who was so scourged
that the whole skin was torn from his body.