Throughout the ages human beings have always searched for ways of verifying the truthfulness of the information received . Lies have managed to begin enormous conflicts that would sometimes turn into brutal wars. Sometimes choosing between telling the truth or lying was equal to choosing between life and death.
Lying has been the human civilisation’s everlasting companion. And it was not until the 20th century, that John Larson invented the first real polygraph. So the question is, how did our ancestors manage to determine what was the truth and what was a lie? At the very beginning the approach to lying was massively dependant on religious or cultural matters.
A very basic understanding of the World was in order and nobody really was aware of all the processes happening in our body. At first lie detection was based on sworn oaths or declarations, which were the basics of deciding who was lying and who was not. It was a matter of time before we started understanding that the difference between guilt or innocence of a person can be based on their behaviour or facial expressions. The first known methods of lie detection come from as far as Ancient China. A suspect would have to chew dry rice while being questioned. The assumption of whether he was guilty or innocent was made based on the fact if the spat-out rice was moist or not. If it was, then the suspect was telling the truth, if not- he was lying.
This test was created through the analysis of a process happening inside of the body of the suspect. It was believed that if somebody was lying, the stress connected with such doing would cause a slow down in saliva flow which would lead to a dry mouth. This belief would mean that if someone spat out dry rice, he was lying, because he did not have saliva in his mouth to moist the rice grains. And if somebody was telling the truth, he would have no reason to be stressed with the questioning, therefore his body would not suffer any changes in saliva flow. Another method comes from about 2,200 years from now, from the Roman Empire. A heavy marble disc called The Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth) would have a shape of a head and face craved on it. Roman legends would state that the presented face belonged to the Titan god Oceanus. They would then continue to describe the test of truth.
Apparently the person questioned would put their hand into The Bocca della Verità and state their oath or the answer to a question asked. If he was telling the truth, he would be able to take his hand out of the disc easily. If he was lying his hand would stay trapped and would be “removed with a violent bite of the mouth”. As time went on, different methods came up until our civilisation came to the brutal method of challenging the suspect by ordeal. This would lead to extremely brutal and barbaric tests which at the end of the day would have nothing to do with revealing whether somebody was telling the truth or lying. It was believed that death would be the sign of guilt, while survival would mean innocence.
It is easy to imagine that a majority of these test ended tragically. These methods were later officially banned by the Roman Catholic Church but this only lead to the formation of the Inquisition which would later mark its trails in history as one of the most horrific and brutal organisation in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
This opinion would be mainly based on extremely drastic torture techniques used by the Inquisition and by the fact, that practically no one accused would be left to live, no matter if guilty or not. One of the most popular tests