I know that man catchers were invented sometime during the medieval times, but were they actually used during the medieval times?

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    Good. Now, are you looking for proof of attempted use? Or proof of successful use? Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 21:55
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    A little of both @PieterGeerkens Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 21:56
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    I have not enough to warrant an answer: I visited the Gevangenpoort museum in The Hague, where they original have man catchers on display. So they must have been used. Very recently about 2 weeks ago I saw a news item on Thai TV where the police demonstrated modern man catchers to capture dangerous persons.
    – Jos
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 0:17
  • Could you please put your comment down as a proper answer @Jos Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


I've visited the Gevangenpoort (Prisoners Gate) museum in The Hague, The Netherlands, decades ago when I was a lad. They have dievenvangers or man catchers on display.

The Gevangenpoort is one of the more important museums in The Netherlands. That means they wouldn't put man catchers on display if they weren't used. At least, they would comment if it was experimental or rarely used. No such signs, and the guides don't mention it. They showed the instrument and explained its usage.

It seemed a bit cumbersome to use to me, but recently I saw a Youtube clip in which the Thai police use man catchers to subdue a dangerous person: https://youtu.be/Hqtny9yj8u8. I haven't seen this in action, but it looks like standard equipment, the way it is handled in the clip.

man catcher in action (It's very late, but I just found a picture of Thai police doing an exercise with man catchers in June 2022 in Pattaya)

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    This is evidence that "man catchers" are usable but not that they were used that way in medieval times. A video of a modern cowboy lassoing a steer would not be good evidence that lassoos were used in mediaeval times. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 10:41
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    It wasn't an example man catchers were used in the middle ages, but are today. The 'dievenvangers' link is an example of medieval usage, or at least during the 16-17th century.
    – Jos
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 23:18
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    @RedGrittyBrick Bad analogy, the museum showed the mancatcher existed back then and then a modern example was given of a similar tool being used. You could argue that mancatchers were only used to escort prisoners once caught such as parading them publicly rather than being used to catch them in the first place.
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 22:29
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    If you look at weapons through history you'll find many examples which were terribly fancy and complicated, but don't seem to have seen widespread use. People a thousand years ago were just like us and some had clever ideas and the money to have those clever ideas built. Having scary (if impractical to actually use) t/o/y/s/ weapons at hand projected both power and wealth, and that never goes out of style. Just because some were built does not imply that they were ever practical or used for very long.
    – Mark Olson
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 13:58

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