The ducking stool

Medieval punishments, anyone? I’ve posted a few times previously about whipping posts and stocks, but news of a tourist attraction in Bermuda takes things a step further. Yes, in King’s Square, St Georges, there’s a ducking stool in which:

Volunteers from the audience face an example of 18th century justice.

A little further research (try YouTube if you’re interested) reveals that female visitors genuinely are tied into the stool and ducked in the water, emerging rather delightfully soaked to the skin.

There’s also apparently a 17th century sailing ship (girls tied to the mast to be lashed?), and another site mentions that there are:

Stocks, Pillory, Whipping Post and Ducking Stool — replicas of those used to punish criminals over 400 years ago

I wonder if the whipping post is used for demonstrations, in the same way as the ducking stool? I really feel the need for a holiday in Bermuda to find out…!

One thought on “The ducking stool

  • 21 June, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I think in the right context, a very shy girl (more as I was when I was younger but still today to some extent), being ducked as was seen in the YouTube clip, could be extremely embarrassed, as no doubt was the intent. While a strap applied to the flesh is often appropriate, embarrassment, exacerbated when others look on, also serves its purpose. The idea of the miscreant, following a spanking, having to stand in the corner, her red bottom revealed to all in the room, is another example of having to undergo further embarrassment. I think that the explanation that standing in the corner allows one to reflect on one’s misdeeds is not the fully reason.


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