Interrogation tactics have long been fascinating, debated, dark, and controversial. You’ve likely seen them in gritty detective movies and tense courtroom dramas. The art of extracting information from individuals comes in countless ways in popular culture. 

But have you ever considered how these methods have evolved? There’s a rich history of interrogation tactics, with strategies ranging from the surprisingly benign to the downright sinister.


In ancient times, methods were often brutal, based on the belief that extracting the truth could only be possible through physical pain or threat. Fast forward to the modern era, and interrogation has become more refined, relying more on psychological manipulation and clever questioning than brute force. 

Yet, despite this progress, the line between ethical and inhumane interrogation tactics is still debated by experts and laypeople alike.

In this article, we will examine the motivations behind different methods, the ethical dilemmas they present, and the effectiveness of each approach.

Ancient Interrogation Tactics

In the ancient world, interrogation tactics were often ruthless. Physical torture was the norm rather than the exception, with methods such as flogging, rack stretching, and waterboarding commonly employed. 

Ancient civilizations like the Romans and Egyptians often used public torture and execution to interrogate and punish. It was not only to extract information but also to instill fear in the population and discourage dissent.

Witch Trials and the Spanish Inquisition

Fast forward to the medieval period, and we see the emergence of infamous events such as the witch trials and the Spanish Inquisition