Shame Flute

In Medieval Germany, unappreciated musicians and other disturbers of the peace were punished by the schand flöte—the shame flute.

Brutally ironic, the shame flute was meant to humiliate and draw attention to the accused while denigrating their craft. The heavy iron flute was shackled to their neck, and their fingers were tightly screwed to the contraption.

An offender would likely then be subsequently marched through the city in shame with onlookers hurling rotten fruit and vegetables at them. At this point in history, social humiliation was hugely popular and was often one of the few means of entertainment small villages and hamlets had.

Once the “musician” was done with their walk, they’d likely be forced to stand in the town square until the people decided they had been punished enough.


This shame flute—along with other amazing exhibits, strange stories, and wild photography—is featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! A Century of Strange! From conga-dancing dogs and bicycling ballerinas, to hair-raising feats of strength and death-defying motorcycle stunts, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! A Century of Strange! is sure to delight readers of all ages.

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