L = Lead Sprinkler, A to Z Blog Challenge

When I would go to church, I used to have inappropriate thoughts. My mother’s side of the family was Crazy Christian, about one tent revival away from being snake handlers, or total Earth religion pagans. My dad’s side of the family is Catholic. One time I was in church with my aunt and the priest was going around with the aspergillum (holy water sprinkler) blessing people…and I cracked up, almost having to leave. See, I randomly thought, “What if the priest filled the aspergillum with hot chocolate?”

I pictured row after row of parishioners recoiling, singed, thinking that the holy water not only burned them but stained their clothes. They would think that they were so evil that it practically burned holes in their clothes, and the line of fretting religious types would line up for confession and the priest would cackle and immediately be transferred.

The only thing is that my hilarious thought was not at all original, and the people who had it originally were assholes.

Meet the innocuous looking lead sprinkler

Meet the innocuous looking lead sprinkler.

For people that the law or the Church did not like and wished to inflict pain upon or get answers out of, there was no shortage of devices used to torture. If you are feeling like being Wednesday Addams, look up the Judas cradle, the pear, and the Spanish donkey. It will horrify you and give you street cred with your morbid friends. (I read about all these things in an article with very little independent research, so I won’t be stingy and will share the link: http://www.historyrundown.com/10-most-cruel-torture-devices-of-all-time/)

The lead sprinkler was a device rather like an aspergillum which would be filled with boiling oil, boiling water, pitch, tar, or molten metal, often lead. The bulb on top had two halves and the top half could be removed to put the torture liquid inside (my grandma’s goulash? *cackle*). The torture victim would be strapped down and be forced to endure this sprinkling of searingly hot liquid.



Most people have burned themselves with oil or had something splatter on them while cooking. Your first reaction is to recoil, possibly throwing what you have in your hands (such as the pan you were stirring…or am I alone there?). Think of the burning. The pain. You wipe that off right away and run cool water on it.


Now, imagine not being able to get away. Imagine having that entire skillet full of oil poured on you. Or molten lead which would then dry. And sit there. How long would it take lead to cool? And it would then be stuck to your skin. These torturers knew what they were doing. They would aim for the sensitive spots. If you pissed them off enough, they would go for the eyes.

Don’t imagine that pain. It’s horrible. Just be thankful that we no longer live in the time where shit like this is acceptable.

Alternate letter considerations: Lust, Loch Ness monster (I planned to do this, wanted to do it, but the research bogged down and my computer refused to turn on, so I went with plan B and am still posting this at almost 11pm. Hopefully you aren’t as disappointed as I am.)

~ by Darren Endymion on August 14, 2015.

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