Italian itch torture

The blogger Amie Gibbons is responsible for this post. Yup, again. That Amie. Her Monday Prompt “Italian itch torture will make you talk” was too good to pass up.

I started to check everything itchy (yuck, really not recommended) and tried to find medical/physical itches known to affect only Italians. There are none, of course. However, I found a reference to Italian Itch which means mild small pox.

During 1896 a very mild type of smallpox began to prevail in the South and later gradually spread over the country. The mortality was very low and it was usually at first mistaken for chicken pox or some new disease called [long list] “Italian itch.”

This got me thinking about ways to make people talk: torture. Did the Italians have or invented a specific torture method? Search and you shall find things you wish you hadn’t. What came up first were some Italian torture victims.

Luigi Bertossi was forced to drink castor oil mixed with gasoline and motor oil. Norma Corsetto was raped repeatedly. As an act of extreme contempt, her executioners amputated her breasts before leaving her in the Foibe. Saint Olivia of Palermo was submerged into a cauldron of boiling oil and after that she was beheaded.

Looking for specific Italian torture methods I found the site Medieval Torture Museum. It lists torture instruments and this was one of them: the cradle. It is an upside down pyramid. The place you on it and well, you can imagine what happens to your behind. If not, check here. I also spent some time on the site of the Historical Torture Museum which has an exhibition with more torturous methods.

After browsing these pages my hands were ice-cold, my eyes slightly widened, my heart beating in my throat, and my fingers were heavy and stiff. I went back to Amie’s post:

Every Monday I’ll give you a wacky prompt or three to get you over the Monday blues and back to writing after (or during! gasp) your long day back at work.  Take the prompt and a cup of coffee and let your imagination run wild.”

Mission accomplished, Amie. Thanks for the chills.

One thought on “Italian itch torture

  1. Oh man, this was supposed to be a prompt for a fiction story… and a cute or funny one at that. You’ve given me chills. *drinks more coffee to warm up.* 😀

    I’m not exactly qualified to critique a non-fiction piece that isn’t a legal memo or brief, but off the top of my head:

    Great flow between the subjects, really shows your thought process, quick, snappy and a little funny while being truly disturbing. And you cited your sources, which lawyers always appreciate. 🙂


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