Which punishment (either real or imagined) sounds “light” or “not a big deal” at first, but is actually horrific to experience?

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Being forced to keep your arms up all the time


Tickling. No joke, the Nazis used this as a form of torture in some cases. It doesn’t leave a mark, so it’s also used in environments like mental facilities where patients may be restrained and staff go on a power trip. Extreme cases can result in incontinence, vomiting and a loss of consciousness due to the inability to breathe. It’s also easier for the torturer to do it for a long time without it wearing away at their conscience because the victim is involuntarily laughing, so it’s easy to pretend that it’s not that bad.


Outlawry. To be declared an outlaw. Today, we think of an outlaw as just anybody who breaks the law regularly. Back in the day, though, it was a punishment. If you were declared Outlaw, that meant that you were literally “outside of the law” and could claim no protection from it. If someone didn’t like you, they could freely beat you, rob you, torture you, or even kill you. When the stories refer to Robin Hood as an “outlaw” that’s what they’re talking about. It’s not a romantic, heroic, swashbuckling thing, it’s the state of having no claim to any legal protection at all. The king (or whoever he appoints) takes your land, anybody who wants it can take your stuff, and anybody who doesn’t like you can just beat you to death without consequences. They can also put a bounty on your head and have people hunting you to claim it. What do you think would happen if you lost all protection from the law, and anybody who brought your head to the courthouse could claim a year’s salary as a reward?


Listening to the same song on loop, then skipping parts of the song. This was a form of torture used by the CIA and it’s absolutely awful.


Goat licking. In medieval times you would get your feet strapped between two wooden boards and theyd be sprinkled in salt (or similar) so animals (mainly goats) would lick them. Seems like it’d tickle at first but they won’t stop licking. Apparently they’d lick flesh off until they hit bones.