PDA

View Full Version : Would this form of torture work in real life?


Biggirl
08-26-2011, 09:35 PM
My husband is watching a movie which is about secretly trafficking drugs in neon colored race cars. Or something like that. I'm not paying that much attention. There is a scene where the bad guy gets information from someone by putting a rat on his belly and then covering the rat with a bucket. As he explains it, the rat will dig through the torturee's belly to escape.

Now, I don't want to take as gospel the word of a movie that thinks that neon colored race cars are a good way to secretly move drugs, so I'm asking you dopers. Do you think this rat torture would work in real life?

Skald the Rhymer
08-26-2011, 09:55 PM
My husband is watching a movie which is about secretly trafficking drugs in neon colored race cars. Or something like that. I'm not paying that much attention. There is a scene where the bad guy gets information from someone by putting a rat on his belly and then covering the rat with a bucket. As he explains it, the rat will dig through the torturee's belly to escape.

Now, I don't want to take as gospel the word of a movie that thinks that neon colored race cars are a good way to secretly move drugs, so I'm asking you dopers. Do you think this rat torture would work in real life?

I think it likely a determined rat could bite and claw through human flesh, and if it were agitated it would do so quickly, and being confined thus would agitate it. But most importantly, I think the idea of being eaten thus by a rat would freak out everybody my side of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in at most twenty-seven seconds. If that.

I'm not saying I'd last the full 27 seconds, either. Rhymers are cowards.

j666
08-26-2011, 09:56 PM
I have to admit that I do not have adequate personal knowledge to answer.

However, I am betting it would work. I would spill my guts if a hungry rat were trapped on my belly.

Marconi N. Cheese
08-26-2011, 10:10 PM
When they did this in medieval times I believe the belly cage was heated to encourage the rat to escape. I have no doubt it would work.

Peter Morris
08-26-2011, 10:39 PM
It's a rip-off of Nineteen Eighty Four where Winston Smith was tortured in a similar fashion.

It had been established earlier in the novel that he had a deep-rooted phobia against rats. It doesn't matter whether the threat is realistic, ju8st that this particular individual was ready to believe the threat.

Biggirl
08-26-2011, 10:47 PM
It's a rip-off of Nineteen Eighty Four where Winston Smith was tortured in a similar fashion.

It had been established earlier in the novel that he had a deep-rooted phobia against rats. It doesn't matter whether the threat is realistic, ju8st that this particular individual was ready to believe the threat.

Nope, not like 1984. In 1984 they let the rats crawl all over Wilson, who was deathly terrified of them. In this movie it was explicit that the rats would chew through his belly. There's even a shot of his scratched upped bloody belly once the bucket was removed.

Peter Morris
08-26-2011, 11:14 PM
Here's the actual text.
http://george-orwell.org/1984/21.html

It was a cage around his head, rather than his belly, but more or less the same thing.

Anyway, the point is that it worked on Winston Smith because he had a phobia. It possibly might not work on someone that doesn't have a phobia.

FordTaurusSHO94
08-26-2011, 11:19 PM
It's from Fast and Furious 2. I got drug to it. They put the rat on his stomach, put the bucket over it, then heat it up with a torch or something. He finally says whatever he's supposed to and they lift the bucket. His stomach is scratched and bleeding. It may have been Flass from Batman Begins, if I remember correctly.

AClockworkMelon
08-26-2011, 11:35 PM
Ford beat me to it. They didn't just put a rat on his stomach in a bucket, they were heating the bucket to make the rat desperate to escape.

Maserschmidt
08-27-2011, 12:03 AM
I They put the rat on his stomach, put the bucket over it, then heat it up with a torch or something. .

Gosh...too bad they didn't have a less complicated method at hand for torturing someone. :dubious:

Freudian Slit
08-27-2011, 12:10 AM
Anyway, the point is that it worked on Winston Smith because he had a phobia. It possibly might not work on someone that doesn't have a phobia.

Do you really need a phobia of rats to become terrified at the idea of them gnawing off your face?

Kamino Neko
08-27-2011, 12:14 AM
Of course not. You're not going to freak out nearly as bad as Smith did before they even got the mask on his face, let alone got near the point of opening the cage, but any sane person's going to be freaked by the idea - let alone once the rats start clawing and biting at you.

Freudian Slit
08-27-2011, 12:15 AM
I didn't have a rat phobia before I read the book. But I did after. Also, after American Psycho...though I don't remember if Patrick Bateman actually went through with it in that one.

Peter Morris
08-27-2011, 12:43 AM
Do you really need a phobia of rats to become terrified at the idea of them gnawing off your face?

The thing is, I don't know a great deal about rat behaviour. It might be that a zoologist might come to this thread and say, with authority, "oh come on, rats don't behave like that."

Maybe they do, and maybe they don't. Thinking about it rationally, I am rather dubious that a rat would be able to think of such concepts as gnawing a tunnel through a person to escape a trap.

But, whether realistic or not, Winston was ready to believe the threat. That's what made it an effective torture.

Biggirl
08-27-2011, 12:47 AM
So where the hell are all the rat behaviorists?

Kamino Neko
08-27-2011, 01:06 AM
Why wouldn't they? 'Gnaw through nearest surface that's soft enough to do so' is the typical rodent method for getting past a barrier, and rats are omnivorous, so going through flesh wouldn't bother them.

Autolycus
08-27-2011, 01:46 AM
Nicodemus would never do that to me!:eek:

DocCathode
08-27-2011, 01:57 AM
This method of torture,including heating the metal bowl or bucket, is also described in detail in the film Graveyard Shift.

Personally, I don't think it would work that well. Is a rat smart enough to figure out 'the metal above me is hot. I shall burrow down to escape'? I can easily see the rat just panicking and doing nothing.

Grumman
08-27-2011, 02:07 AM
It had been established earlier in the novel that he had a deep-rooted phobia against rats. It doesn't matter whether the threat is realistic, ju8st that this particular individual was ready to believe the threat.
This. A form of torture doesn't need to "work" the way the OP seems to be using the word - it just needs to be convincing enough that the victim decides they're better off talking.

Raguleader
08-27-2011, 03:00 AM
Of course, it would have been much more effective for the bad guy just to threaten to make the guy watch 2 Fast 2 Furious.

wintertime
08-27-2011, 05:30 AM
We have documentation from the Middle Ages up to modern times that are evidence of the use of rats and other animals in torture – the people involved in those interrogations were, after all, doing it in an official capacity which has always led to paperwork; I've seen a couple of medieval rat cages, well, actually, we know all the instruments that were used in the bad old times and if you are interested, you might, among many other places, visit the Foltermusem in Rüdesheim (http://foltermuseum.com/index_us.html).

And even in modern times, rats are still an instrument of torture. The Comisión Nacional de Prisión Política y Tortura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valech_Report), for example, lists the reports of thousands of political prisoners during Pinochet's regime. More than a few former prisoners have something to say about rats and their teeth. Those testimonies are as close to unbearable to read as you will likely get – don't say, I didn't warn you, if you decide to take a look.

My impression is that if you can think of a method to inflict terror and pain, it has already been done.

Kobal2
08-27-2011, 08:33 AM
It's from Fast and Furious 2. I got drug to it. They put the rat on his stomach, put the bucket over it, then heat it up with a torch or something. He finally says whatever he's supposed to and they lift the bucket. His stomach is scratched and bleeding.

Yup, I remember that scene. And I also remember thinking that it was a really convoluted way of doing things. The bad guy has a blowtorch on hand - what does he need the rats for ? Just fry the guy's balls and be done with it.

Raguleader
08-27-2011, 08:56 AM
Yup, I remember that scene. And I also remember thinking that it was a really convoluted way of doing things. The bad guy has a blowtorch on hand - what does he need the rats for ? Just fry the guy's balls and be done with it.

Of course, still not the most convoluted or silly thing ever done in a Fast and the Furious film.

Annie-Xmas
08-27-2011, 12:07 PM
In an episode of Criminal Minds, when the bad guys realized one of their group was an undercover cop, they left him tied up in a cellar with a bunch of hungry rats. And a video they made of the last guy who got the same treatment.

j666
08-27-2011, 04:29 PM
...

Personally, I don't think it would work that well. Is a rat smart enough to figure out 'the metal above me is hot. I shall burrow down to escape'? I can easily see the rat just panicking and doing nothing.
I'm going out a limb here, but I bet you haven't hung out with a lots of rats?

"Doing nothing" does not comes naturally to rats at the best of times. Make them feel threatened in ANY way? "Nothing" is not an option; they will run everywhere they can with their sharp little claws and bite anything they can get a tooth into.

I like rats (well, not wild rats) and I would lose it if one was trapped against my bare skin.

Kamino Neko
08-27-2011, 06:00 PM
YYY yeah, it really doesn't take human level intelligence to process the situation 'there is danger in all directions but one, and that direction is soft' and come to the conclusion 'why don't I do to the soft surface what I do to soft surfaces all the damn time?'

Miller
08-27-2011, 06:09 PM
Especially when that surface isn't just soft, but actually made of food.

miss elizabeth
08-27-2011, 07:08 PM
This method of torture,including heating the metal bowl or bucket, is also described in detail in the film Graveyard Shift.

Personally, I don't think it would work that well. Is a rat smart enough to figure out 'the metal above me is hot. I shall burrow down to escape'? I can easily see the rat just panicking and doing nothing.

Rats are really damn smart, and while I believe my pet rats who like me a lot would hold off on biting me a few seconds longer than a wild rat (who I doubt would wait at all), I believe if threatened they would do whatever they had to do to escape. And their teeth are damn sharp, and so are un-trimmed claws.

Yuck. People are fucked up, what they do to each other.

ETA: I know this was "just a movie" but someone above referenced real rat torture; that's what I was thinking of

Peter Morris
08-27-2011, 09:55 PM
Put it this way. You find yourself in a prison cell. They will come to execute you in 1 hour. The walls are 5 feet thick, and made of chocolate. Is eating your way out a realistic goal?

Raguleader
08-27-2011, 10:02 PM
Put it this way. You find yourself in a prison cell. They will come to execute you in 1 hour. The walls are 5 feet thick, and made of chocolate. Is eating your way out a realistic goal?

Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or White Chocolate?

Freudian Slit
08-27-2011, 10:04 PM
Put it this way. You find yourself in a prison cell. They will come to execute you in 1 hour. The walls are 5 feet thick, and made of chocolate. Is eating your way out a realistic goal?

YES.

But seriously...why not at least try? If you think you're going to die anyway, you're going to be doing some pretty crazy things just to survive. I doubt a rat or a person would think, "Hmm, doesn't make sense, I'll just sit tight." Plus, the rat doesn't even know how long it has -- why not try to biting the soft, fleshy thing?

Kamino Neko
08-27-2011, 10:12 PM
Your analogy is nonsensical.

Humans aren't rats. Our anatomy isn't adapted to gnawing through shit, nor is 'gnawing through shit' a common part of our behaviour.

Rats, on the other hand, are supremely physically adapted to gnawing, and they do a lot of it, including on substances a lot harder than human flesh - it is, as mentioned, their typical way of getting past a barrier.

A proper analogy is 'you're locked in a cell, with a knife. One wall is about as thick as your head and made of a soft, pliable material, while the other three are made of metal and are painfully hot to the touch, do you consider cutting a hole in the fourth wall, or sit in the cell baking'?

Folacin
08-27-2011, 11:31 PM
Yup, I remember that scene. And I also remember thinking that it was a really convoluted way of doing things. The bad guy has a blowtorch on hand - what does he need the rats for ? Just fry the guy's balls and be done with it.

Yeah, but then you've wasted a perfectly good crooked cop. Assuming he breaks before the rat actually gets into his abdominal cavity, no one besides his wife is ever going to see the scratches.

Raguleader
08-28-2011, 12:04 AM
Or just do what the Punisher did, and torture him with a blow torch, a steak, and a popsicle. That way, you don't even have to harm the guy at all.

Kobal2
08-28-2011, 06:05 AM
Yeah, but then you've wasted a perfectly good crooked cop. Assuming he breaks before the rat actually gets into his abdominal cavity, no one besides his wife is ever going to see the scratches.

People in the PD are going to look at his balls ?! Man. American police is more fucked up that I thought :D

Peter Morris
08-28-2011, 08:55 AM
A proper analogy is 'you're locked in a cell, with a knife. One wall is about as thick as your head and made of a soft, pliable material, while the other three are made of metal and are painfully hot to the touch, do you consider cutting a hole in the fourth wall, or sit in the cell baking'?

But it isn't, though. Think of a human body compared to a rat. The wall isn't "as thick as your head, " it's as thick as your body is long. And the wall may be made of soft, pliable material, but you can only remove bits from it by swallowing them.

AClockworkMelon
08-28-2011, 08:58 AM
Right, because a rat is going to be considering how thick your abdomen is when it finds itself being cooked alive. It's going to start clawing at something- ANYTHING- to get out. And guess what? Your soft, non-blowtorch-heated belly is it.

Folacin
08-28-2011, 11:50 AM
But it isn't, though. Think of a human body compared to a rat. The wall isn't "as thick as your head, " it's as thick as your body is long. And the wall may be made of soft, pliable material, but you can only remove bits from it by swallowing them.

It's mostly(?) empty space. Chew through the abdominal muscles, and you (as a rat) can burrow between the intestines, and then you just need to chew a small hole in the back (or a side) and you're out.

Lobohan
08-28-2011, 12:26 PM
The rat doesn't need to visualize the inside of your body to decide to do something. It's irrelevant how thick your abdominal wall is. The rat will attempt to burrow out of the heating cage. If your abdomen was nine feet thick the rat would still try, he'd just try and fail.

Two Many Cats
08-28-2011, 12:44 PM
In the book The Jungle, Upton Sinclair has one of his characters get drunk, pass out, and then get eaten alive by rats.

That scene, even though it's rendered second-hand, had me saying, "Yeah, right. Nibbled on? Maybe. Full out eaten? Bullshit."

miss elizabeth
08-28-2011, 02:26 PM
But it isn't, though. Think of a human body compared to a rat. The wall isn't "as thick as your head, " it's as thick as your body is long. And the wall may be made of soft, pliable material, but you can only remove bits from it by swallowing them.

Rats can chew without swallowing. They do it all the time. What, did you think they ate their way into your house? No. They just gnaw.

gaffa
08-28-2011, 03:05 PM
The main flaw in the OP is the idea that torture ever works. It is as easy to lie when being tortured as to tell the truth. People don't torture because they're interested in the truth, they torture because they're bastards.

singular1
08-28-2011, 03:29 PM
I remember reading about this in some horror novel when I was about 11. The bowl was copper, strapped to the belly, and the villain put a red hot coal on the bowl. I think the bad guy might've been Asian or described the torture as Chinese.

Skald the Rhymer
08-28-2011, 03:30 PM
The main flaw in the OP is the idea that torture ever works. It is as easy to lie when being tortured as to tell the truth. People don't torture because they're interested in the truth, they torture because they're bastards.

You know, while torture is not useful, the reasoning you give here is simply wrong.

In the first place, it's NOT easy to make up a lie while you're in intense pain. It's difficult to even think. And when that pain is being deliberately inflicted upon you, your impulse will be to do whatever it takes to stop it from continuing, to keep it from resuming, and to please your torturer. The problem with torture (apart from its immorality) is its use as an interrogation technique. If the victim does not posssess the knowledge the torturer covets, he will make it up.

Also, I seriously doubt anyone is tortured while they are answering questions. Questions may be asked while the pain is being inflicted, but the torturer will pause the infliction while the victim answers, if only because it's difficult to talk and scream simultaneously. In such a situation as the OP describes, a victim who knows the correct answer to the questions is most likely to share them--the best way to stop the pain from resuming. But if the truth will not serve to stop the torture, or if the victim does not know the truth, he's most likely to say whatever he thinks will at least postpone the pain.

gaffa
08-28-2011, 03:40 PM
You know, while torture is not useful, the reasoning you give here is simply wrong.

In the first place, it's NOT easy to make up a lie while you're in intense pain. It's difficult to even think. And when that pain is being deliberately inflicted upon you, your impulse will be to do whatever it takes to stop it from continuing, to keep it from resuming, and to please your torturer.
I've always found it easy to lie to bastards, and have no interest in pleasing them.

Every skilled interrogator knows that torture does not work (http://youtube.com/watch?v=lvsvO9kvSdo). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was water-boarded 183 times (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed#Capture_and_interrogation) precisely because it was so ineffective.

Biggirl
08-28-2011, 04:01 PM
The main flaw in the OP is the idea that torture ever works. It is as easy to lie when being tortured as to tell the truth. People don't torture because they're interested in the truth, they torture because they're bastards.

Did I mention that this is from a movie where they used neon race cars to traffic drugs incognito? It's not like they were using logic or anything.

Skald the Rhymer
08-28-2011, 04:04 PM
I've always found it easy to lie to bastards, and have no interest in pleasing them.


I'm sorry, gaffa, but this strikes me as extremely naive. Anyone who has simply been beaten up by a determined foe or foes knows that pain will inevitably compel a demanded action. If most people were capable of resisting even threatened pain and death, there would be far fewer rapes and robberies. Nor would we have false confessions to crimes obtained by coercion.


Every skilled interrogator knows that torture does not work (http://youtube.com/watch?v=lvsvO9kvSdo). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was water-boarded 183 times (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed#Capture_and_interrogation) precisely because it was so ineffective.You seem to be misunderstanding my point. I will assume that such misunderstanding is inadvertent rather than disingenuous.

Torture does not work in the sense that it does not produce reliable intelligence that could not be more efficiently garnered by other means. Because most people will do anything to stop or at least delay extreme pain, any information they give is necessarily and must be verified by other, non-torture means. In that sense torture is a waste of time.

Torture works very well when the torturer's ambition is to force the victim to perform a given action, particularly when the torturer is sufficiently ruthless and the action to be performed may be immediately verified. If you're a captured insurrectionist and I'm trying to get you the name the other members of your cell, torture is a waste fo time because I have to verify the information you give me by other means no matter what, and if you do not know the names of your cohorts anyway, you'll give your neighbor's name just to make the pain stop. Buf if I just want you to sign a confession in front of me, you'll do that once I've broken all the fingers on your left hand.

To your example: a major problem with waterboarding (again, in addition to its fundamental immorality) is that if the victim makes it through the first session without breaking, he will come to understand that those waterboarding him do not intend to torment him unto death or even permanent, debilitating injury; that is, they have exposed the weakness of their hand. The victim thus is given hope, which assists him in in additional sessions.

And I submit that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was extraordinary in his will and resistance. The majority of the population -- much more than 99% -- will no more be able to match his feat than they are able to run a mile in under four minutes. Just as such an athletic feat is simply impossible for most of us, regardless of what we fantasize about in our easy chairs or boast of online, resisting systematic, severe infliction of pain is beyond most of us.

gaffa
08-28-2011, 04:04 PM
Did I mention that this is from a movie where they used neon race cars to traffic drugs incognito? It's not like they were using logic or anything.
Looking back, I see that yes, you did mention it.

gaffa
08-28-2011, 04:14 PM
And I submit that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was extraordinary in his will and resistance.
As you yourself said, the act of torture had the opposite effect of the one desired.

Watch the other Jack Cloonan videos (http://youtube.com/watch?v=axkG4KKcaTc&feature=related) where he discusses getting terrorists to cooperate.

Skald the Rhymer
08-28-2011, 04:19 PM
As you yourself said, the act of torture had the opposite effect of the one desired.

Watch the other Jack Cloonan videos (http://youtube.com/watch?v=axkG4KKcaTc&feature=related) where he discusses getting terrorists to cooperate.

I'm not watching videos where I am, sorry.

It's beside the point anyway. If I read you aright, you are contending that torture is useless: that it either never or almost never works. My contention was that torture is of so limited use as an investigational tool that it it should be abandoned, but that as a means of compelling immediately verifiable action it works more often than not, particularly if the torturer is clearly ruthless and willing to inflict damage or death.

D_Odds
08-28-2011, 04:56 PM
I've seen this torture plot, including heating the cage, used in other movies. Definitely not Fast and Furious as I've never sat through more than 5 minutes of any of the franchise. As I've never had opportunity, on either end, to try this; I don't know if it would work for sure, but it looks plausible. Maybe someone should submit it to MythBusters.

Kamino Neko
08-28-2011, 05:34 PM
Think of a human body compared to a rat. The wall isn't "as thick as your head, " it's as thick as your body is long.

The rat only needs to gnaw through the skin and muscle at the front - which will be variable, based on age, sex, and physical condition of the human, but will, barring a particularly fat subject, not be much past the rat's shoulders. Then they squirm through the viscera, and begin again on the other side. Or, they could gnaw through about the equivalent of their body length, and dig a tunnel all in the front surface of the human's stomach. But that I think is beyond a rat's problem solving abilities.

Of course, that's not actually answering 'would the rat try', but rather, 'could it succeed', which is a completely different question. The answer to that one is 'maybe, if it starts with the right angle of attack, and the person's not too fat, and it doesn't take a wrong turn once it's in the abdominal cavity'. The answer to the first, however is 'does a gnawing, burrowing creature try to gnaw and burrow through the nearest surface that it's able to cut, when it's in danger? Of COURSE it does!'

Best Topics: joker death suffix age library fucking mean fun dog licking privates steak raw terraria mushroom block 9.3 a1c drakes vs hostess number 1 pencils long overcoats men nearly flightless birds baby corns ds3 halberds popeye bruno in re pronunciation threaded revolver fiberglass car dually jeep colored books elcamino truck nick riviera iceland government overthrown mild hot sauces sidewalk grate steam clean engine canola mayonnaise tossed salad meaning asbestos air purifier powdered water breckenridge vs keystone jack bauer bag tout de sweet funny doctor stories can neighbors park in front of my house scary noises at night and i look to find a reason to believe actor with nasally voice why open a bank account in canada how to find cat urine without a blacklight does frozen food weigh more than thawed what do hospitals check for in blood tests down with the sickness release date urgent care sinus infection how to gain an accent what does it mean to be interested in someone bullet hole in window rolled up dollar bill sore throat after choking driving with alcohol in car one bright day in the middle of the night author american candy not available in uk lien release form missouri at what proof does alcohol freeze the traveler star trek why is my dehumidifier blowing hot air calories bag of popcorn union station adams street entrance front of pirate ship aspirin and salicylic acid knapsack on a stick what is a dutchie white chocolate bad for dogs what goes with tequila give a hug ladybug two wheels in the front one in the back throat pain only at night