Blood Eagle: The Horrifying Viking Torture Method
Wed, April 21, 2021

Blood Eagle: The Horrifying Viking Torture Method

 

The Vikings were famous for their torture methods, and one of them was the blood eagle. It is believed that victims of this practice were from the 800s and 900s. However, it was only in the 1100s and 1200s that written accounts of the blood eagle emerged. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, the earliest accounts of the blood eagle are thought to have occurred in 867. The blood eagle method served as the revenge of Viking leader Ragnar Lothbrok’s to Aella, king of Northumbria (present-day North Yorkshire, England), who killed their father. The Vikings used the blood eagle method to strike fear into the hearts of enemies.

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

Scholars believe that the hands and legs of victims were tied to prevent escape or sudden movements. Then, they were stabbed in their tailbone and up towards the rib cage. Each rib was then meticulously separated from the backbone with an ax, leaving the victim’s internal organs on full display. Victims suffered tremendous pain as they would be awake throughout the whole procedure. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

If you thought that was the worst thing that would have happened during this ritual, you're wrong. The Vikings would rub salt into the gaping wound of the victims in the form of a saline stimulant. The torturer would also pull out the victim's lungs to make it appear as if the person had a pair of wings spread out on his back. This is why the ritual was called the blood eagle. There were two main reasons why the Vikings used the method on their victims: they believed it was a sacrifice to Odin, the god of war and father of the Norse pantheon of gods, and it was punishment for honorless individuals.

 

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