Bamboo Torture

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Bamboo Torture

Bamboo torture is a method where the body of the victim is placed over the rapidly growing shoots of  a bamboo plant.  This method of torture was supposedly used in East and Southeast Asia, and stories of this are said to be first heard after World War II.  It was in the Japanese concentration camps where soldiers tied the US and Allied soldiers over the bamboo shoots, which over the course of several days the rapidly growing bamboo would rise up and eventually penetrate into and through the victims body.  In addition to soldiers reports, the Chinese poet and author Woon-Ping Chin mentioned in her memoir that many locals believed the Japanese utilized bamboo torture on prisoners.

bamboo torture bamboo growing through body
Depiction of how bamboo torture might be used

However, this tale of using live plants to impale living persons was also recorded in the 19th century.  The Malays alleged that the Siamese people performed similar torture, but instead of bamboo placed the victim over the nipah palm’s newly growing palm fronds during the 1821 Siamese  invasion of Kedah.

In 2008 on the US cable show Myth Busters, the cast performed experiments using a torso made of ballistic gel and newly growing bamboo and found that the new shoots easily penetrated several inches in a few days.  As ballistic gel is likened to human flesh, this proved that myth of bamboo torture by various cultures was most likely a reality.

For me as a boo nut, I have seen the new shoots of growing bamboo do some crazy stuff as they attempt to grow skyward.  I’ve seen it grow sideways when planted along a fence after hitting the middle cross wood of the fence panel.  I’ve seen it forced to grow square instead of round by placing placing a box like object around the news shoots.  And while I’ve not seen it in person, I have seen pictures where it grew through the asphalt of a street and through the floor of an abandoned mobile home!  So yes, I firmly believe that bamboo torture  could be used by some twisted individuals, as there are plenty out there in this vast world!

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