April 26, 1475

Three Jewish households in Trent, Italy, were accused of murdering a Christian boy named Simon, using his blood to make matzo, and drinking his blood at Passover. They were all imprisoned and then tortured with a device called the strappado, a pulley that could be used to raise a person to the ceiling and then drop him, making him “dance” at the end of a rope, dislocating his limbs and inflicting pain. The few who didn’t confess immediately then had onions and sulfur placed under their noses, and hot eggs held under their arms, as a stenographer recorded the proceedings. Eventually all the members of all three families confessed, named names, and told the torturers what they wanted to hear. They were then convicted and executed, after which the young boy Simon became a saint. For some reason the Catholic church annulled Simon’s sainthood in 1965, just ten years shy of the 500th anniversary of his martyrdom.


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