Thursday, April 12, 2012
Witches, Weirdness, Well-being
While conducting academic research this week I came across a particularly bizarre and wondrously horrific instrument used to torture women during the middle ages. It's called the pear of anguish. Here's a picture:
It was inserted into a woman's vagina and slowly cranked open thus forcing the cervix wider and wider, and eventually, should the accused woman refuse to offer up whatever information her torturer desired, the cervix would be torn. Occasionally the pear of anguish was heated over hot coals and inserted burning hot to increase the pain of the victim. I find this object particularly fascinating because if you look at it you can see that it is designed similarly to and functions much the same as the modern speculum which is used during pap smears. How weird is that? Is it possible the speculum was designed from a device once used to torture women? I think I might have to look into it.
I really do enjoy school. Sometimes I find myself somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work I am expected to produce. For instance, I have less than a month to write a book review, 2 short papers (3-5 pages each), and 2 long (20+ pages) papers. Sometimes it is really hard to balance my crazy life, my stressful job, and school. But I know it will be worth it in the end. And on days where I stumble across particularly interesting sources and weird torture devices I am reminded why I put myself through all of this and how much I love what I do. Research is good for my well-being.