Water cure (torture)  

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Water cure is a form of torture in which the victim is forced to drink large quantities of water in a short time, resulting in gastric distension, water intoxication, and possibly death.


Water torture was used extensively and legally by the courts of France from the Middle Ages to the 17th and 18th centuries. It was known as being put to "the question", with the ordinary question consisting of eight pints (3.6 litres) of water forced into the stomach, and the extraordinary question consisting of sixteen pints (7.3 litres).

The French poet and criminal François Villon was subjected to this torture in 1457. Jean Calas suffered this torture before being broken on the wheel in 1762. The true case of the Marquise of Brinvilliers was reported in fiction by Arthur Conan Doyle in "The Leather Funnel", by Alexandre Dumas, père in "The Marquise de Brinvilliers" and by Émile Gaboriau in "Intrigues of a Poisoner". More recently, water cure was used by the French military on Algerian prisoners during the Algerian war of independence.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Water cure (torture)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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