The pear of anguish – also known as poire d’angoisser, the spanish mouth pear, the pope’s pears, the choke pear, the anal pear and oral pear – was an iron torture instrument shaped like a pear, which was inserted in the victim’s mouth, anus or vagina.
It was used to rupture the sensitive membranes and tissues of these areas.
If the victim didn’t die by an infection however, he would die by other diseases caused by the severe damage of his or her intestines.
This torture very rarely provoked death, but was often followed by other torture methods.Often, the ends of the pear’s segments were fitted with sharp tines.The pronged ends of each lobe ensured maximum damage as they tore into the throat, cervix or rupturing other tissues.It was the torturer’s decision to simply tear the skin or expand the “pear” to its maximum and mutilate the victim.This torture has in itself the implicit idea of inflicting punishment that was opposite to the kind of crime one had been charged with.Insomuch as the soul of torture is male, male organs have always enjoyed the benefit of a species of immunity notwithstanding certain exceptions, a fact that leads to the hypothesis of a fraternal understanding between male victim and male judge-torturer, an understanding that must have been welded into the nascent primordial mind eons ago.And since the soul of torture is male, and in the tenebrosity of his unilluminable nature the male is terrified by the mysteries of the female’s cycles and fecundity, but above all by her inherent intellectual, emotional and sexual superiority, those organs that define her essence have forever been subjected to his most savage ferocity, he being superior only in physical strength.There is no contemporary first-hand account of those devices or their use. de Calvi’s L’Inventaire general de l’histoire des larrons (“General inventary of the history of thieves”), written in 1639.This mention is referring specifically to the use of the choke-pear in the mouth by robbers.These devices were much more intricately decorated than many other tools of the trade, bordering on works of art.For instance, the pear of anguish from Venice (late 1500’s) consists of bronze segments and key, iron screw. It is doubtful, however, that the embellishments made much difference to anyone who experienced the torture of the pear of anguish.