Oh it is. I am reminded of an interview I once saw as a kid. I don’t remember all that much about it, but a segment of it stuck with me. This was about a collection of 14th century torture devices shown in a museum in Amsterdam. They did some tests and found out that surprisingly few devices had blood on them. Now this could be due to the torturers taking exceptional pride in keeping them clean. But the expert thought it much more likely that they had never been used. They were never needed to be used.
Something similar being used once somewhere, publicly so the stories spred, along with reputation, and some time in a filthy holding cell, all it took was the devices being displayed when interrogation began and people would sing like canaries.
A true artful sadist doesn’t need to do much but encourage the human mind to imagine the worst. If there’s anything anyone can do to you that’s worse than what your mind can do to itself, you’re a pitiful dull person.