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  • Torturing Guy June 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    At present, the Beachcombing family are under assault from a group of teenage toughs who have taken to ringing their bell in the evening and running off into the dark. Of course, the sensible thing would be to ignore the little idiots and hope that their antics don’t wake up the children. But Beachcombing never takes the sensible route when self-immolation is on the menu. Instead, he has set up a water trap, is looking into electrifying the door bell and has ordered night vision goggles on eBay. The red-hand gang, in short, are going to pay. [After a series of worried emails  I should note that this is letting off steam and sadly they don’t sell night vision goggles on ebay.co.uk – sigh] However, if Beach is a vengeful type he has his limits. He is not particularly keen on killing people and is nauseated by torture. But, of course, what is illicit in the present is fascinating in the past and he was mesmerised by this torture evidence that he recently came across on Guy Fawkes’ confession.

    Guy Fawkes – aka Guido Fawkes – was an English Catholic patriot ‘pleasant of approach and cheerful of manner, opposed to quarrels and strife’ who decided, in 1605, to blow up the English Parliament with James I in it. Beachcombing will leave his readers to enjoy the contradiction and quickly move on.

    5 November Guy was captured in the act. Questioning began on the very same day and torture began on the 7 of that month. GF was a brave man – he had fought in the religious wars in the Low Countries – but the 7 he was already sharing some details of the plot (and his true name) and by the 8 he was singing like a bird, naming fellow conspirators and the like.

    The following signatures from three confessions he was ‘encouraged’ to sign are a reminder that torture means not just the physical, but also the mental destruction of an individual. They show Guy’s progression from arrogant partisan to man of jelly.

    It is a road Beachcombing would not send even his worst enemies down, not even the bell ringers.

    A final curiosity. Guy was sentenced to excruciating death: on 31 January 1606 he was to be hung drawn and quartered. This punishment meant, of course, half hanging an individual and then cutting them up while they were still just conscious. However, GF had the last laugh for he managed to jump with the noose on, breaking his neck.

    Fair play to you, Guido.

    The hangman doubtless lost his job.

    Beachcombing would be most interested in any other peripheral memories of torture: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com


    23 June: Jones writes in to note ‘The papal courtier Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi) was tortured. In this picture you can still see his dislocated arm several years after the ordeal’ Thanks Jones!