Impalement was a torture form that was made very popular by Vlad the Impaler. The penetration can be through the sides, from the rectum, or through the mouth.
This method would lead to slow, painful, death. Often, the victim was hoisted into the air after partial impalement. Gravity and the victim’s own struggles would cause him to slide down the pole.
Death could take many days. Impalement was practiced in Europe throughout the Middle Ages.
Vlad III Dracula, who learned the method of killing by impalement while staying in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, as a prisoner, and Ivan the Terrible have passed into legend as major users of the method.
Impalement was Vlad’s preferred method of torture and execution. His method of torture was a horse attached to each of the victim’s legs as a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. Death by impalement was slow and agonising. Victims sometimes endured for hours or even days. Vlad often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that constituted his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The corpses were often left decaying for months.
One of the most famous woodcuts of the period shows Vlad feasting in a forest of stakes and their grisly burdens outside Braov, while a nearby executioner cuts apart other victims. This place was famously known as the Forest of the Impaled.