A severe test of character or endurance; a trying course of experience, A medieval form of judicial trial in which the accused was subjected to physical tests, as carrying or walking over burning objects or immersing the hand in scalding water, the result being considered a divine judgment of guilt or innocence.
It is also a term of varying meaning closely related in the Medieval Latin “Dei Indicum” meaning “Miraculous decision.” Ordeal is also an ancient method of trial in which the accused was exposed to physical danger which was supposed to be harmless if he was innocent.
What are the Early Methods of Detecting Lies?
Red hot iron ordeal - Practiced on the hill tribe of Rajhmal in the North Bengal; Accused placed his tongue to a red hot iron nine times (9) unless burned sooner; If burned, he is put to death. Not only that (licking the iron), he is also made to carry the metal into his hands. It is doubtful whether the ordeal is meant to determined the physiological changes occurring in description for if this so, many false observations must have been made.
Ordeal by balance -Practiced in the Institute of Vishnu, India; Scale of balanced is used; In one end of the scale, the accused is placed in the other end, a counter balance; The person will step out of the scale listened to a judge deliver an extortion is the balance and her back in. If he were found to be lighter than before then he should be acquitted.
Boiling water ordeal -Used in Africa; the method was that the subject will plunged their right arms into the boiling pot to the elbow and step into the other side of the fire. All are told to undergo the test without a murmur. And when all are finished, they are told to return at the same tine the next afternoon. The one who by that time had lost some or showed blisters would prove the thief (Point out who is the one who steal among his tribe mates).