I’ve always considered myself a pretty hearty individual. I can watch scary movies and read true crime and be just fine. Yesterday, however, I saw the Inquisition – Torture and Intolerance exhibit at the Museum of Man in San Diego. My first thought was “oh, I don’t think Mrs. Me should be in here” – she was thinking the same thing, and was out within 2 minutes. My mom lasted about five, and my dad and I continued through the exhibit. About 1/3 of the way through I decided I needed to just *skim* the descriptions, because I was starting to get a bit … queasy. About 1/2 way through I started to break a sweat. I even got a bit lightheaded, but I really wanted to see it all, if for no other reason than to see exactly what hell would be like. I’d like to say that the most horrifying image was the crucifix with the dagger concealed in it, because it was so symbolic of the evil that is done in the name of God (not all of the torture items were used in the inquisition, but a startling number were). I’d like to say that, but it just isn’t true. There were so many horrifying ways of torturing, maiming, and ultimately killing… I can’t even begin to imagine the minds that created them (or the stomachs that were able to implement them). I wanted the exhibit to be a facinating glimpse into the mind of horror, but it was a horrible glimpse into the mind of horror… I think it was an important show because it personalized the horror so well some of the devices are either in use today or have only recently gone out of use – and having seen them you realize that the phrase “human rights abuse” grossly underrepresents the sort of torture that man can inflict on man.