Batman’s Research on Siamese Human Knots

Excerpt from Torture of the Body with Just Mankind by Jessica Kyle

Siamese Human Knot

The Siamese Human Knot is a form of slow torture that inevitably results in death for its three victims. Once placed in the position, nothing happens as long as the sufferers do not move. When the victims inevitably fail to curb their desires to relieve their pain, they become their own executioners, in effect committing slow mutual suicide. Hideously cruel, a Siamese Human Knot is torture at its most bizarre and terrible.

Description: In a Siamese Human Knot, three victims are knotted together in a maze of intertwined arms, legs, heads and torsos. No ropes or chains are used – only their bodies. They are tautly tangled and will live only as long as they remain absolutely motionless.

A Siamese Human Knot can be used to kill three men, three women, or any combination thereof. The victims can be either clothed or nude.

The trio sits on the floor. Two of the victims face each other, while the third sits up against one of the others, between that person's legs.

The victim in the middle is said to be in the "Traitor's Position," the idea being that the person in that position would suffer the most. Although any position in a Siamese Human Knot is unimaginably painful and while it may seem odd to compare situations that all end in an agonizing death, the middle position is believed to be the most excruciating.

The person straddling the unfortunate in the Traitor's Position is called the Joined Victim. The remaining condemned is known as the Lone Victim. For purposes of the following explanation, we will assume that the person in the Traitor's Position and the Joined Victim are female, while the Lone Victim is male.

The Lone Victim's legs are forced as far apart as possible. The Joined Victim is set up against his left foot. His heel digs into her gluteus maximus, while his lower left leg presses hard against her right buttock. The procedure is repeated with his right leg and the "Traitor." The Lone Victim will find it impossible to move his legs farther apart, while moving them together only increases the pressure on the two women.

Next the Lone Victim's left arm is bent at the elbow so that his left hand is over his crotch. The Traitor's right lower leg is then threaded between the Lone Victim's left upper arm and his side and over his left forearm. The Joined Victim's left arm is pulled down behind and around the Traitor. The Joined Victim's left hand is then connected to the Lone Victim's left hand.

The most intricate part of the Siamese Human Knot is the binding of the hands. A combination of two techniques is used. First, a single finger is grabbed and bent backwards. As in the Karate technique, a hand can be held totally pinned by securing a single finger.

Second, fingers are totally immobilizing by using the principle of "finger stocks." Normally, fingers are very flexible, but if the first joint (below the finger tip) is kept straight and the second joint is kept bent at 90 degrees, the finger cannot be withdrawn.

(Next comes twenty pages of detailed instruction on how to apply these techniques to bind the hands in a Siamese Human Knot - omitted here.)

As the Joined Victim's hand pulls on the Lone Victim's, the Traitor's lower leg pushes on the Lone Victim's left side. The Lone Victim is forced to hold the Traitor's right leg in place. To further immobilize that leg, the Joined Victim's right leg is forced over the Traitor's right thigh. The Traitor's left leg is then put over the Joined Victim's leg, in effect jamming the Joined Victim's right leg between the Traitor's legs, while the Joined Victim's right ankle and foot presses against the small of the Lone Victim's back. The Traitor's left ankle is placed on the Lone Victim's left shoulder, leaving the Traitor at a particularly tortuous angle, with her left foot almost as high as her head. Meanwhile, the Joined Victim's left leg is splayed behind the Traitor's butt and placed over the Lone Victim's right leg. The Joined Victim is pressed by the Lone Victim's left leg on one side and by the Traitor's body on the other. The Traitor is caught between the Lone Victim's right leg, the Joined Victim's left leg and the Joined Victim's body, while the Lone Victim is caught viselike between the Traitor's lower right leg and the Joined Victim's leg, ankle and foot.

As painful as all this is, the worst is yet to come. The torturers now turn their attention to the four remaining free arms. They begin to manipulate these limbs in such a way as to bring their victims to the brink of strangulation or choking.

Here it may prove instructive to draw a distinction between "strangle" and "choke," although the two are properly interchangeable. In the following discussion, strangle refers to death caused by cutting off the flow of flood to the brain by squeezing shut the carotid arteries and by stopping the return of deoxygenated blood to the heart from the head by compression of the jugular veins. Choke, on the other hand, refers to making breathing impossible by compressing the throat and windpipe with strong external pressure.

The Joined Victim's right arm is placed on the right side of the Lone Victim's neck. The Traitor's left arm is put on his left. When the hands are joined together behind the Lone Victim's head, that person is in a precarious stranglehold. In addition, the Traitor's left ankle now pushes against her own left wrist, adding to the pressure on the Lone Victim's neck.

The Traitor's right upper arm is now bent back underneath the front of the Joined Victim's neck. The Traitor's forearm is sent back around the Joined Victim's head, where her hand is joined with the Lone Victim's right hand. The Siamese Human Knot is now tied.

The Joined Victim is now on the verge of strangling on the Traitor's biceps and on the Lone Victim's right hand. At the same time, the Traitor is being choked as her throat is being forced into the Lone Victim's right forearm, while at the same time her body is being pulled forward by the tug on each of her arms and pushed forward by the pressure of the Joined Victim's arm across her back and of both of the others' legs on her backside.

Once tied in a Siamese Human Knot, even though the victims face the ordeal of absolute motionlessness, it must be stressed that movement is physically possible. A person looking at a Siamese Human Knot would think that it would be quite easy, for example, for either the Lone or Joined Victims to bend either knee.

What is most insidious about the Siamese Human Knot, though, is that any such movement always causes the pressure to increase on all three of the victims’ necks. The ties around the neck are designed to contract around all three victims if any victim moves virtually any part of his or her body.

If any of them move in the slightest, except for blinking, swallowing and shallow breathing, not only does the pressure around their throats increase, but their intricately and tightly interwoven limbs and bodies are drawn even more closely together. Some victims have had bones crushed before they were either strangled or choked to death.

On the other hand, if the victims do somehow manage to keep completely still, they then face a horrible death from thirst. Few victims die of dehydration, however, as even those with the strength of will to be able to stay motionless for some time are eventually driven to desperation by lack of water. Most succumb to the temptation to move in a vain attempt to escape.

Adding to the victims' torment can be their location, in a dungeon or the like. Rats, cockroaches and other vermin often will roam unimpeded over the unfortunate people tied in a Human Knot. Also, the three eventually will end up sitting in pools of their own waste.

Escape: Although escape from a Siamese Human Knot without outside assistance is reputedly impossible, a fortunate few have managed to slip away from its deadly embrace. Most escapes have depended on the death of one or more of the victims or upon the atrophy of the victims' bodies over time.

One method, however, called the "Basic Formula," does provide a means of escape without these drastic prerequisites. There is still, though, one development that must occur first.

If the legs of the person in the Traitor's Position cramp, that indirectly relieves the tension in the lower lumbar region of the Lone Victim. The Lone Victim’s left hand is held in place by the “finger bent backwards” method. If the Joined Victim then wiggles her ears and the Lone Victim is able to bend the fourth finger on his left hand just a fraction of an inch, it will relax the pressure on their limbs and around their necks to the point where the Traitor can then remove her right arm before they are strangled. The whole Knot will then fall apart.

The catch is that the terrible cramps in the Traitor's legs have to be involuntary muscular contractions. The cramping muscles cause a pull within the leg itself that cannot be duplicated by attempting to move the leg. In addition, if the Traitor tries to willingly force her legs to cramp, what invariably happens instead is that the Knot tightens to the point where any escape is impossible. Even if the legs cramps do occur involuntarily, then the Joined Victim must be a person who can wiggle her ears.

(Next comes several pages discussing alternative means of escape when one or two of the victims have died or when severe dehydration has taken place - omitted here.)

History: What is known today as the Siamese Human Knot originated in India. This Human Knot was first used by the Thugee Death Cult, most likely long before the British began their drive to eradicate the cult in 1831. The Thugees were a criminal society in India, the members of which murdered in the name of their religion. They robbed and killed their victims in honor of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and the wife of Shiva. As one of their chief principles was not to spill blood, the Thugees always murdered by strangling. This Human Knot met this requirement perfectly.

This Knot was suited to the Thugees purposes in other ways as well. Their prey could be questioned as to the location of valuables during the torture. The victims could also be left to suffer in silence while the Thugees searched for the loot, for to cry out for help was to risk instant death.

The name of the Thugee who discovered this Human Knot and exactly when it was first used is shrouded in the mists of time, but Eastern religions, such as Hindu and Buddhism, embrace the sensual side of human nature much more so than Western beliefs. In Eastern art, religious figures are often depicted in the Lotus position. Many yoga techniques, as well as the various sexual positions found in the Kama Sutra, are suggestive of the Thugees’ Human Knot. Perhaps this Human Knot evolved out of these practices.

The Thugees’ Human Knot probably became known as the Siamese Human Knot some time after 1826. The original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, had become well-known in the West by that year. A Westerner was probably reminded of the Siamese Twins by a depiction of the Thugees’ deadly Human Knot and called it a Siamese Human Knot.

In 19th Century India, a favorite method of torture by government officials was the anundal. Often used by tax collectors to extract surprisingly little amounts of money, it required no equipment other than a length of rope, with which the torturer exercised his ingenuity in tying his victim into the most unnatural positions.

George Riley Scott described an anundal in his 1940 book, A History of Torture:
“The head of the prisoner would be forced down and tied to his feet by means of a rope or belt passed around his neck and under his toes. Or one leg would be forced upwards to the uttermost extent and fastened to the neck, compelling the victim to stand in this agonizing position. Or the arms and legs, forcibly interlaced to the point almost of dislocation, were bound so as to be immovable.”

In 1855 in Madras one Vencatachela Rajaulee and his father were:
“place in anundal, their legs tied together, and their heads tied to their feet in a stooping posture; their hands were tied behind them, and stones placed upon their backs; in which posture they were made to stand from six in the morning until noon. It will hardly be a matter of surprise that the father died the following month.”

The Siamese Human Knot could be thought of as a rope-less anundal.

Variations: Sometimes novel permutations were added to the basic Siamese Human Knot. One torturer was known to leave victims in unlocked cells or dungeons, adding to the prisoners' mental agony with the knowledge that the condemned could just walk away if only they could escape the Knot. If the victims survived for a while, buckets of water were occasionally produced and put next to those tied in the Human Knot, to add to their anguish. The life-saving liquid would be left to tantalize the hapless victims – in sight, but forever out of reach.

On occasion a mass sacrifice to Kali would be performed. Several groups of Human Knot victims were executed at the same time and place, so the prisoners would be forced to watch the death agonies of victims in the same predicament as themselves.

First Person Accounts:

Now that I am an old woman with very few days left ahead of me on this Earth, I feel free to set ink to parchment to tell of the very first adventure I had with the man who would become the greatest king our land has ever seen . . . and my beloved husband.

A warlord, so evil as not to be named, ruler of a neighboring land, came to our Court. He wanted to marry me, but I refused and rebuffed his advances many times. He was quite repulsive to me, in both appearance and attitude.

Finally, he was granted an audience with our King and asked, nay, demanded of my Father that he be given my hand in marriage. My Father, a wise monarch as well as a loving parent, having discerned the true nature of this fellow, decreed, to my everlasting gratitude, that I could decide for myself to whom and when I should be married.

Trying not to reveal the contempt and disgust I felt for the rogue, I once again politely, respectfully, but forcefully, declined his proposal. Would it have been that was the end of the matter . . .

That night I went to bed very late. I awoke with an aching head and found myself being somehow restrained. I must have been taken from my room in the early hours of the morning and kept asleep in some way by my captors. My eyes, hardly yet open, looked into a darkened room to see only the faint outline of a door. I found when trying to move that every effort I made tightened a strange gripping sensation on my body. I could tell I was sitting on a cold floor, but that was all I could discern. My arms and legs seemed to be trapped. I tried to rub my eyes with my hands in hopes of seeing what was happening, but when I pulled on my arms, an agonizing pain shot through my body and moans came from what sounded like two male voices.

"Don't move, Princess," said one voice to my immediate right.

"Is that you, Vijay?" I asked.

"Yes, Princess, it's me," he replied.

"Where am I? What is happening?" I said. At this point, the room became illuminated as torches were lit along the walls.

"Ahh," said another voice I recognized. "You are awake then!" It was the warlord!

As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw my two bodyguards in front and to the right of me. I then noticed what had been the cause of my restriction. Our lithe young bodies had been tied into a Human Knot, from which there was no known way to escape!

I screamed and went to move, but shouts from my two partners in this terrible knot made me freeze. They explained any movement could trigger an unstoppable chain of events, causing us to strangle and crush each other with our own arms and legs. I was told that I must not move . . . not under any circumstances.

"Quite right," agreed the evil warlord. "Now, my dear, you will remain entangled and trapped with your two loyal bodyguards until you agree to marry me."

"Never!" I shouted. "NEVER!"

"We will see," he said. "No one has lived past two days in this position. Eventually, you will agree to marry me . . . or be killed by your own guards' knotted limbs.

"Remember now . . . don't ... move!" He left the room, laughing uncontrollably.

I looked at the incredible tangle of arms and legs among us and sighed. Even this slight movement tightened the knot. The three of us sat motionless in silence for some time.

I had secretly been in love with Vijay for many years. I also thought of the other bodyguard, Phyra, as a close friend and confidante. On many occasions I had fantasized about being entwined with Vijay's lovely, slender body. This, though, was something quite different.

The sensations flooding my mind and body of tightly immovable limbs, knotted and locked with other immovable limbs, were intoxicating. I let the feeling of wonderfully warm, inescapable flesh wash over me in wave after wave.

'Was this supposed to be torture?' I thought. 'This is wonderful!' I let out a soft moan as the feelings swept me away.

Suddenly, Vijay's voice interrupted my reverie: "Are you alright, Princess?"

I was brought back to reality. Quickly composing myself, I said, "Yes. Now can you please get me free from this tangled Knot?"

"I'm sorry, Princess, but what the warlord said was true. We are truly locked together. Escape without outside aid is impossible . . . and to try is certain death for us all."

At this, I studied the Human Knot before me. I had heard of this position from the palace guard, but never thought I would see one, let alone be trapped in it.

The warlord's first counsel suddenly appeared. "Do you agr-"

Before he'd finished, I shouted, "No! I will never marry that man!"

This outburst caused the second truly unpleasant sensation I had experienced while in the Human Knot. I felt the Knot's grip tighten uncomfortably. It was frightening . . . crushing. I was afraid that I had started the process of our demise. As we kept still, however, the situation stabilized.

After the counsel had gone to report to his master, I considered what would happen if I did marry the warlord. Certainly I would be condemning my homeland to a series of unending wars against our neighbors. Not only that, but the warlord's action of subjecting me to this cruel confinement confirmed my suspicion that he would first usurp my Father's throne, then assassinate him . . . and eventually murder me. Acceding to the warlord's demand was out of the question.

I, Princess Wen, had a deep, dark, secret, which might, just might, save us all . . . but I could hardly bring myself to even consider revealing it. Instead, I said, "You both know I will never agree to marry the warlord, don't you? For our people, I would rather die first."

"Yes, we know," Vijay said, answering for them both.

Again we sat in silence, our bodies slowly betraying us. An involuntary muscle spasm increased the pressure around our necks. A moan further constricted our holds on each other. A flinch as a beetle ran across our groins threatened to strangle us.

I prayed my Father would find us. 'Surely he has his guards searching everywhere for me,' I thought. Then I heard the sound of the door to the dungeon opening again. 'We're saved!' I allowed myself to think . . . but my hopes were immediately dashed. It was the warlord returning.

"Comfortable, my dear?" the warlord mocked. "Have you changed your mind yet?"

Whereas before I shouted my defiance at my captor, now I barely whispered. "No," I rasped. I deemed any further response too dangerous.

The warlord strode over to us. He studied each of our necks in turn, as if he was examining prize livestock. "Hmmm. Your torture seems to be progressing quite nicely."

Next the sadist ran the index finger of his right hand up and down my legs, the left one first and then the lower limb, trying to goad me into some further movement. Failing in his effort, he then proceeded to touch me in places too private to mention.

I remained as if made of stone, denying the pervert any satisfaction. The warlord then stood up, hands on hips. Staring right at me, he declared, "Well, my dear, soon you will be experiencing terrible cramps in your legs. Perhaps that will change your mind . . . if you survive until I deign to return once more. I bid you good night."

He turned to leave, but then turned back, "Oh, by the way, here is something else for you to consider as your muscles and tendons tear themselves away from your bones! If you should die in that Human Knot, then I'll have no choice but to attack . . . and conquer! . . . your country.

"Perhaps I'll place your Father in a Human Knot, too. So you see, one way or the other, I will become your kingdom's ruler!"

Once again we were left alone. Now I knew that I would suffer any embarrassment, any humiliation, to escape and save my land from this madman.

Athletic women were, and still are, frowned upon in our society. The concept of a physical Princess was unthinkable. I, however, loved exercise and strenuous activity. I also reveled in the fact that my body was unusually flexible. Frequently, when alone, I enjoyed entwining myself into ever more tangled positions, just for the fun and sensations of achieving them. I had never dreamed that my private pastime might one day save my life.

"My loyal servants," I began, "you know we have nothing to lose by trying to get unlocked from ourselves, don't you?"

In a voice as quiet as my own, Vijay answered, "Princess, we will do whatever you ask."

Phyra finished the sentiment, "We have taken an oath to die for you."

"I hope it won't come to that," I answered, "but with your help, I hope to get us free from this fiendish Human Knot . . . and seek my revenge on the warlord."

"With all due respect, Princess," Vijay said humbly, "how can such a slight woman as yourself, rescue us from this?"

"I have a secret that you must never reveal to a living soul. If you do not agree, then, if we are not rescued, we will surely die."

Phyra looked into Vijay's eyes. "Yes, my Princess, your wish is our command. Any secret of yours is safe with us."

A plan of action had formed in my mind. "First, we must try to unknot our hands. Both of you must keep your arms and hands exactly in the position they are in now. You must not let them move or we will all strangle each other."

So, as my guards held their position, I very slowly tried to lift my right arm. The knot tightened its grip on us.

"Stop, Princess!" Phyra pleaded. "You'll strangle us all!"

"No, Phyra, I think not," I replied. "You see, I am what is called double- jointed. By dislocating my right shoulder, I should be able to obtain enough slack to slip my arm over Vijay's head."

Slowly my arm moved upwards past Vijay's right ear. "Now, I have to get my arm completely over your head, Vijay, while our fingers are still tied together. This could be very painful, but you must hold the position of your hands at all cost as I pull on them."

My arm slowly worked upward. I almost passed out from the pain of my dislocating shoulder, but I pressed onward. Finally I was able to move my right arm up over Vijay's head and down the other side.

The removal of my arm from the Knot relaxed the pressure on all our limbs. Immediately the whole Human Knot fell apart. "We're free!" Phyra shouted joyously.

Here is a shorter, more clinical . . . and grisly . . . account:

Report to your majesty on the execution of one Anand, formerly a member of your army, who was discovered with two of your concubines. The two concubines were also executed. Following your royal decree, the means of execution employed was the Human Knot.

When the sun reached its highest point in its travel across the sky, the prisoner Anand was removed from his cell, brought to the torture chamber and stripped naked. The two concubines were summoned from their quarters. When they arrived in the torture chamber, they were forced to disrobe.

Anand was placed in the Traitor's Position and tied into the Human Knot with the two women. The concubines cried and wailed, until they finally realized that their lamentations were only drawing the Human Knot tighter. I left the condemned, not returning until sunset.

By nightfall Anand's legs were cramping so badly that I could literally see knots in his muscles. Streaks of dried tears stained the faces of the two women. Upon inspection, I discovered that several fingers had been broken. I strongly suspected that all three prisoners had suffered broken ribs. The victims were left alone for the night.

At dawn the next morning I discovered that the woman facing Anand had died by strangulation during the night. The two survivors and the corpse were sitting in a pool of urine and fecal material.

The survivors had suffered more broken bones. I believe part of the still-living woman's pelvis had been crushed. She begged for water.

As is the customary procedure, I placed a bucket of water within her line of sight. Being tied in the Knot, she, of course, had no way to reach it. Her despair and feelings of helplessness were complete.

By midday she, too, had died of strangulation. I think her right shoulder had been dislocated before her death. At this time Anand was in a state of semi-consciousness. His lips were turning blue and his face was extremely pale. I splashed water on him so he could better appreciate the final hours of his torture.

I checked in some time later. Anand was barely alive. All four of his limbs had been pulled from their sockets by the actions of the two stiffening corpses. His breathing was shallow and irregular. Water poured on him failed to have any significant effect.

By nightfall Anand was dead. I left the bodies in the Human Knot, on display in the torture chamber for the benefit of future victims.

Siamese Human Knot homepage