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People in Medieval times accused of crimes could opt for a "trial by ordeal" where they stick their hands in boiling water, if innocent, God would stop them burning. The priests who administered this would secretly cool the water beforehand if they thought the defendant was innocent

People accused of witchcraft who underwent trial by water actually had ropes to pull them out if they sank. The notion that the ordeal was devised as a situation without any possibility of live acquittal, even if the outcome was 'innocent', is a modern exaggeration.

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  1. Trial by ordeal which was an ancient judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused was determined by subjecting them to an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience. Classically, the test was one of life or death and the proof of innocence was survival.

  2. The medieval practice of trial by ordeal used game theory to rig results and separate the innocent from the guilty

  3. The majority of people who underwent medieval trials by ordeal (grasping a red hot iron bar or putting their hand in boiling water) were found innocent, most likely because priests rigged the trials based on the accused mans' willingness to participate.

  4. Madagascar's "Tangena Ordeal". Accused people would be put on trial by feeding them poison from the Tangena plant along with three pieces of chicken skin. If all three pieces were vomited, the accused was declared innocent, if they weren't or the accused died, they were found guilty.

  5. George Lucas based Star Wars on a plot known as The Hero's Journey where the hero is called to action, meets a mentor, crosses a threshold to an extraordinary world, meets allies & enemies, faces trials & ordeals, approaches a lair, seizes a sword & defeats a monster to return for his prize.

  6. King Louis IX aka 'Saint Louis' made gambling, loans, & prostitution illegal. He also introduced innocent until proven guilty, banned trials by ordeal, created the military police & bailiffs.

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