Surely one of the most common techniques used to punish and interrogate female prisoners has been the breast press. It has several advantages. It focuses on torture of a non-vital part of the body, in fact, the breasts can be pressed, mangled and shredded with little harm to the rest of the body. This allows for longer periods of interrogation and is a good choice when the prisoner may need to be returned alive (albeit somewhat damaged).
The breasts are also a uniquely feminine part of the body, and their manipulation during interrogation is an assault on the female mind as well as body.
Lastly, circumstances allow for continuing application of discomfort without the interrogator needing to be present. This has the desirable advantage of allowing the prisoner to contemplate and change their mind toward cooperation while the interrogator is busy elsewhere.
My first experience with this technique was early in my time with the church, when I was quite young. I believe it was in Paris, when I first apprenticed to my mentor. There was a petty thief, a woman of ill repute that had also been caught with a number of candles from the church supply. It was suspected that she may have taken these to use in black masses, and we were instructed to determine if she was a witch.
Deep below the stone prison we waited in a small room which was dark except for 3 candles that lit the room with a wavering yellow light. It was very hot and humid, and both my mentor and I were sweating in our robes. We removed them just as the woman was brought to us.
The prisoner was a woman in her late 20s, tall and well fed. Large breasts curved to a slim waist and then to round hips. Light hair straggled down over her shoulders, and gray eyes peeked at us in the candle light. Her shapely figure made her choice to be a woman of the streets understandable, she was exactly the type that would bring in much money. She should surely be punished for her debauchery. But that was not our place, we were there simply to interrogate her and determine if she was a witch.
She was forced to sit on a chair, and bound securely. Her arms were tied behind her back, her shoulders also tied together in a most uncomfortable manner. This not only caused increasing cramps and pains in her shoulders, it presented her breasts to us very nicely.
A simple device was produced. The press was constructed of two wooden planks, slightly curved on one side to allow a tight fit against the woman’s body. On both ends, the two planks were attached by large wooden screws that could be turned to move the planks closer together.
Already groaning, the woman looked at the device we produced before her and began pleading, insisting on her innocence. An opportunity for her to confess was given, and she did; she confessed to taking the candles from the church to light her home. This was a clear indication that she did not wish to cooperate, and so the press was moved in to place.
I took hold of the woman’s dress securely at the neck and pulled hard. The dress tore, shredding down and exposing the woman’s upper body clearly. Further tears pulled the dress almost completely off, with just a small bit of cloth around her waist. (I later learned this was a mistake, as complete nakedness is more humiliating and is more likely to force confessions during interrogations).
The woman’s pleas grew more frantic as clamps were applied to both breasts. The clamps compressed the breasts slightly, and pulled them out from her chest firmly. The press was slipped in to place, and twisted down in to place. Once it was somewhat tight, the clamps were released.
The slow process of pressing began. While somewhat tedious, the slow process of applying pressure is one that works subtly on the mind. Often, the ever increasing discomfort can break a prisoner’s resolve to resist before the pain becomes significant.
As the pressure increased, the woman’s pleas turned to cries of pain. My mentor turned the screw on one side, and I turned the other to assure proper equal pressure and to speed the process. The heavy press also pulled and dragged on the breasts, which were beginning to turn purple where they protruded from the outer side of the press.
We took a slight break, to rest and let the witch contemplate her options as the pressure on her breasts caused her some discomfort. Sitting before her, I reached out and touched the distended and firm breasts. They felt taught, as if they might burst at any moment. The nipples were flat, even when I played with them slightly. I squeezed slightly to see how it would effect her. Other than a slight increase in her crying, it did nothing.
I could not imagine that more pressure would not make her breasts explode, so distended and tight was the flesh. But my mentor and I commenced cranking the screws once again, increasing pressure even more.
The woman’s cries turned to screams, and blood began trickling down her stomach.
The press was clearly pressing deeply enough to cause a split in her flesh, and the blood was seeping from the wound.
The woman was shaking her head back and forth violently, calling for mercy, praying to some unknown demon to save her. I worried for a moment that the demon might actually come and interfere, but my mentor calmed my fear.
The press continued to tighten, now clearly smashing the soft flesh. The portions of her breasts which extended beyond the limits of the wood had turned a mixture of red, black and purple. Blood was pouring from the back of the press down her stomach.
We stopped for another rest, and observed the frantic struggles of the young woman. She was beautiful in her agony, tears staining her cheeks and severely compressed breasts bobbing up and down with the press as she breathed heavily. She strained against the bonds at her wrists and elbows as well, though no movement was possible.
We sat and observed, and allowed her time to experience her situation. The heat in the underground chamber was very uncomfortable, and my mentor and I left to go to the ground level for some fresh air. Our walk was delightful, and we returned to our business refreshed.
The woman was soaked with sweat, and half unconscious. I produced a short flog, and began lashing her exposed breasts with the leather. The pain aroused her from whatever coma she had entered, and she screamed that she would confess whatever we pleased.
Two more cranks of the press were applied, smashing her breasts to less than the width of a finger to assure her proper cooperation. She screamed her confession to us, admitting to all manner of evil and devilish activity.
When all information was collected, the press was slowly unscrewed. This process took almost a quarter of an hour, so tightly it had been applied. When removed, her mangled and bloody chest no longer looked enticing. Her formerly lovely figure would not be of use to her on the streets again.
It was no matter. Having confessed to witchery, she was unlikely to live much longer.
My mentor and I retired to our inn, and refreshed ourselves with a good dinner. The witch was taken back to her cell where she would serve as an example and warning to other prisoners.