In Michael B. Oren's newest book, Power, Faith and Fantasy - America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, he quotes what Thomas Nicholson witnessed after he and 14 other American seamen had been enslaved by corsairs in the Mediterranean in February 1809. The corsairs had taken them back to Algiers where they had mistreated them badly and paraded them down the street and sold them as slaves at auction. Oren quotes Nicholsen's description of what happened if anyone tried to escape:
After they had stripped the sufferer naked, they inserted the iron pointed stake into the lower termination of the vertebrae, and thence forced it up near his back bone, until it appeared between the shoulders, avoiding the vital parts. The stake was then raised in the air and the poor sufferer exposed to the view of other slaves, writhing in ... insupportable agony.