Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • It's the break of day in a small European village circa 1650.

  • Amid the sound of chickens clucking and the distant moos of cows, a blacksmith's hammer

  • can be heard.

  • A woman carries a pail of milk across the road, and as she stops to wipe the sweat from

  • her face, she sees in the distance an approaching mass of ragged-looking men.

  • Soon after, people are dragged screaming from their homes.

  • Children's cries fill the village.

  • The marauders, savages without a modicum of morality, tie one man down to a wooden board.

  • His mouth is pulled open and a wedge is forced between his teeth.

  • He's asked one time to tell them where the money is hidden.

  • The marauders hold a bucket of human waste over his head, a noxious mixture of urine

  • and excrement.

  • He's about to taste the lethal Swedish Drink.

  • You can only imagine what it would be like to be forced to swallow a bucket of pee and

  • poop, but it seems that wasn't the only thing used in this terrible punishment.

  • If no human sewage was on hand, the drink might well have been boiling hot water or

  • liquid manure.

  • Whatever the case, as you'll soon see, if enough of any mixture is force-fed to a human,

  • the results can be horrifying.

  • But before we get into the physical side of things, let's have a look at where this

  • particularly disgusting punishment came from.

  • It's called theSwedish Drink”, so it looks as though we can blame the Swedes

  • for this one.

  • This is apparently how it came to life.

  • From 1618 to 1648 there was something called theThirty Years' Warin Europe, which

  • while you might not have heard of it, was one of the deadliest wars in European history.

  • It's thought that as many as eight million people lost their lives, but the war itself

  • is not something we're going to discuss in detail today.

  • All you need to know is that much of the war was fought in Germany, and for all manner

  • of reasons, including commercial rivalries, religion, and territory, many countries were

  • at each other's throats.

  • After it finished the map of Europe looked significantly different, with many nations

  • gaining or having to concede territory.

  • Ok, so now the floor is set, you need to know that Sweden was one of the main countries

  • involved.

  • It amassed an army, but it also hired regular citizens as mercenaries.

  • They weren't exactly paid a lot, so part of the deal was that they got to raid villages

  • and keep the spoils.

  • They did so all over Germany, and at times used the method of torture talked about today

  • to get what they wanted.

  • The drink was actually given a German name, “Schwedentrunksince it was German victims

  • that suffered the ordeal and Swedish mercenaries that handed it out.

  • The problem was, often the most valuable things in a town or village were hidden, so the mercenaries

  • invented this torture to get people to speak.

  • Why they concocted the Swedish Drink and didn't just chop off a few fingers we'll never

  • knowperhaps the drink put the fear of God in people, or the mercenaries just enjoyed

  • the process.

  • It's more likely it just worked very well in extracting confessions.

  • It was indeed horrific, so it was something you'd think would get people talking before

  • the first bits of the drink were administered.

  • What was in the drink would change, but it was usually anything awful the mercenaries

  • could get their hands on.

  • That was human excrement, animal feces, sludge, urine, and generally anything else you wouldn't

  • want in your stomach.

  • It goes without saying that swallowing a load of this stuff would not have been pleasant,

  • but then there were bacterial infections to think about on top of the nasty experience

  • itself.

  • You also have to think about what would happen if they just kept pouring?

  • Would a person internally explode?

  • Before we get to that you need to know that word on the street says once the person was

  • significantly bloated, the mercenaries would then start doing things like walking over

  • the victims' distended bellies.

  • They'd be prodded with sticks, punched, and according to some sources, have their

  • stomach pressed at each side with wooden boards.

  • The pain of that was of course excruciating, but it's best we don't go any further

  • until we hear some real-life accounts of the Swedish Drink.

  • Oh, and so as not to upset our Swedish viewers, while the torture is eponymous with Sweden,

  • it seems many different armies and their mercenaries did it.

  • One man that was around in those days was the German writer, Hans Jakob Christoffel

  • von Grimmelshausen.

  • This is how he described a working model of the Swedish Drink:

  • They laid the servant tied on the ground, stuck a plywood in his mouth, and poured a

  • milk bucket full of nasty dung-pool water into his body, which they called a Swedish

  • trunk.”

  • Then there was a man named Peter Thieleno relation to the investor.

  • He described an event in the German town of Beelitz in which a man was tortured this way.

  • It went like this.

  • The robbers and murderers took hold of the poor people by their throats, stirred

  • water, then poured it in, and yes, probably people's feces.

  • The people were miserably tormented for money, like the one citizen in Beelitz, called David

  • Örtel, and soon he died of it.”

  • It was these few accounts that made the Swedish Drink a talking point in Europe, but you have

  • to wonder just how common it was.

  • Remember that punishments of the past were sometimes exaggerated as a means to make the

  • other side look like savages, less than human, which has always been a go-to kind of propaganda.

  • Nonetheless, it's very likely there was such a thing as the Swedish Drink and it's

  • very likely people died from it.

  • We say that because there's lots of evidence of a punishment called theWater Cure.”

  • It was similar, but different.

  • As for the word 'cure', that was American forces being ironic, since it was far from

  • being a cure.

  • This time the drink in some cases might have just been water, not the worst thing someone

  • could drink.

  • Although the punishment would consist of forcing a person's mouth open and via a funnel,

  • pouring in large amounts of water.

  • The person would fill up, which was painful enough if not deadly, and if they puked, it

  • would begin again.

  • We now have to look at something that was called theAmboyna massacre.”

  • It happened on the Ambon Island in Indonesia in 1623.

  • The victims were English East India Company employees, as well as Japanese and Portuguese

  • traders.

  • The perpetrators were people working for the Dutch East India Company.

  • It seems there was a conspiracy between the English, Japanese and Portuguese to take out

  • the Dutch so once they were captured they were tortured.

  • This is how the torture was described: “They poured the water softly upon his head

  • until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher; so that

  • he could not draw breath, but he must suck in the water: which being still continued

  • to be poured in softly, forced all his inward parts, come out of his nose, ears, eyes, and

  • often as it was stifling and choking him, at length took away his breath, and brought

  • him to a swoon or fainting.”

  • This action was repeated several times.

  • It sounds a lot like extreme waterboarding, although the person was pretty much filled

  • up rather than given the occasional break.

  • According to that same writer, the victim was two or three times bigger in the belly

  • when the torturers were done.

  • Over in France at around the same time the English were being waterboarded by the Dutch,

  • the French had a torture method calledThe Questioning.”

  • This basically meant having eight pints of water (3.6 liters) forced by way of a funnel

  • into a person's mouth.

  • If that didn't work to make the person spill the beans, the French had theExtraordinary

  • Questionwhich was exactly double the amount of water.

  • As you'll soon see, this could be lethal for many reasons.

  • The inquisitors of Spain weren't averse to using water as a kind of punishment, either.

  • We know this because a Scottish guy named William Lithgow wrote about his experience

  • in a book published in 1632.

  • He said the inquisitors wedged an iron prong into his mouth.

  • The Spanish called this a “bostezo.”

  • Lithgow had also been starved first.

  • His description was this: “My hunger-clunged belly waxing great, grew

  • drum-like imbolstered: for it being a suffocating painmy throat with a struggling force;

  • it strangled and swallowed up my breath from yowling and groaning.”

  • Yeah, the language is a bit dated, but you get the point.

  • Then came the American military, which was a proponent of the water cure during the PhilippineAmerican

  • War.

  • President Theodore Roosevelt once called it a “mild torture”, but quickly changed

  • his mind after a fact-finding mission.

  • He then court-martialed an American general who refused to comply with his order to end

  • the torture.

  • There was also an official report that said, “A soldier who was with General Funston

  • had stated that he helped to administer the water cure to one hundred and sixty natives,

  • all but twenty-six of whom died.”

  • It could hardly have been mild.

  • It was also written about in detail by Lieutenant Grover Flint.

  • He said a Filipino prisoner would be forced on his back and held down by a bunch of men.

  • His jaw was then held wide open and secured, after which water was poured down his throat

  • until he became unconscious.

  • In a book written by US author and activist Sidney Lens, he said that a reporter from

  • the New York Evening Post saw such torture.

  • He said that water just kept being poured until the man's body wasan object frightful

  • to contemplate.”

  • The victim was then jumped on until the water made its way out, and there was a rinse and

  • repeat routine until the person either talked or died.

  • The question is, whether just water or a bucket of watery poop, just how much would kill a

  • person?

  • A US pathologist noted in one article that the average human stomach is good with about

  • one and a half liters of water, and three liters is a pretty big fill.

  • However, six liters of water could rupture the stomach.

  • Most people of course wouldn't even try to drink that much, but when you're tied

  • to a piece of wood and have a wedge in your mouth you don't really have much choice.

  • The pathologist said that the walls of the stomach in such a torture would be under so

  • much pressure that the tissue would get weaker until it tore.

  • The content of the stomach would then enter parts of the body, causing incredible pain

  • and probably infection.

  • This is likely the point of no return.

  • There's also another great risk of being forced to drink lots of water.

  • It's called water intoxication, and it has killed many people who drank a lot of water

  • of their own accord.

  • It happened to a 28-year-old California woman in 2007 after she drank six liters of water

  • in a competition to win a Nintendo game console.

  • She threw up, got a searing headache later, and then died.

  • It happened in 2005, too, also in the US.

  • A student at California State University was involved in some kind of hazing ritual which

  • involved him drinking lots and lots of water.

  • It even famously happened to a British raver back in the day because she'd heard you

  • could get dehydrated after taking ecstasy.

  • She died from excessive water consumption after downing seven liters.

  • The tabloids demonized the E, but it was the drink that did it.

  • People have also died from drinking too much after exercising.

  • In all, water isn't toxic, but it can be if you go overboard with drinking it.

  • We don't mean to scare anyone away from drinking water.

  • You really have to drink ridiculous amounts of the stuff in a short period of time.

  • In laymen's terms, drinking that much will prevent the kidneys from working as they should

  • and the person's body for all intents and purposes will become waterlogged.

  • The cells swell, and as they can't really do that too much in the brain, the next step

  • could be seizure, followed by coma, with death around the corner.

  • In conclusion, whether you're being filled with liquid cow dung and human pee-pee, or

  • whether you are being filled with good ole tap water, the result would be very painful,

  • and if you kept being filled the outcome could easily be death.

  • Now you need to watch, “WORST Punishments Kids Received From Their Parents.”

  • Or, for the full story about the Nintendo console winner, “ What If You Drank Too

  • Much Water?

  • A Woman Did Just That - See What Happened To Her.”

It's the break of day in a small European village circa 1650.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 water drink swedish torture poured stomach

Swedish Drink - Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind

  • 24 2
    Summer posted on 2021/05/23
Video vocabulary