Elvira de Campo, tried by the Inquisition
It is not surprising that the mere threat of torture was sufficient to put
a prisoner in an agony of fear. Elvira de Campo, wife of the scrivener Alonso
de Moya, was tried by the Inquisition of Toledo in 1567-9 on a charge of
not eating pork and of putting on clean linen of Saturdays. She admitted
having committed the criminal acts, but denied that she had had any heretical
intentions. This did not satisfy the inquisitors, who condemned her to the
torture. When the sentence was read out to her formally, she fell upon her
knees, and begged to know what they wanted her to say. This candid request
did not satisfy the inquisitors, who proceeded with their work.
"She was carried to the torture chamber, and told to tell the truth, when
she said she had nothing to say. She was ordered to be stripped and again
admonished, but was silent. When stripped she said 'Senores, I have done all
that is said of me and I bear false-witness against myself, for I do not want
to see myself in such trouble; please God, I have done nothing.' She was
told not to bring false testimony against herself, but to tell the truth.
The tying of arms commenced; she said, 'I have told the truth; what have I
to tell?' She was told to tell the truth and replied, 'I have told the
truth, and have nothing to tell.' One cord was applied to the arms, and
twisted and she was admonished to tell the truth but said she had nothing
to tell. Then she screamed and said, 'Tell me what you want for I don't
know what to say.' ..."
I'm getting tired of typing, and this is probably getting morbid anyway, but
the book goes on for pages (the inquisitors kept meticulous records) about
how she kept asking them what to say, as the different methods of torture
were applied. I'll concede that I was innaccurate when saying that the
victims, or at least this particular one, didn't know what they were accused
of. After a four day hiatus, during which time her limbs had time to stiffen
so that torture would be even more painful, she was again subjected to torture
and eventually confessed to Judaism. Presumably, she knew all along that this
was the answer they were looking for, although if so, I'm not sure why she
wouldn't confess at the outset.
All that for not eating a fucking ham sandwich.