24 May 2010

"More Weight!"


Giles Corey was one of the 20 that died in Salem during the Witch Trials. Unlike the others, he was pressed to death because he refused to plea to Witchcraft.

Mr Corey was a farmer and a member of the church. In April 1692, three people were accusing him of witchcraft, Ann Putnam, Jr, Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams. The spectral evidence they gave to the court by Ann Putnam Jr was that Mr Corey asked her to write in the Devil's Book. She also claimed that a ghost appeared and said that it had been murdered by Mr Corey.

Mercy Lewis, who also accused Mr Corey, gave this testimony at his examination:
The Deposition of Mercy Lewis aged about 19 years who testified and said that on the 14th of April 1692 "I saw the Apparition of Giles Corey come and afflict me urging me to write in his book and so he continued most dreadfully to hurt me by times beating me & almost breaking my back tell the day of his examination being the 19th of April and then also during the time of his examination he did affect and tortor me most greviously: and also several times sense urging me vehemently to write in his book and I veryly believe in my heart that Giles Corey is a dreadful wizard for sense he had been in prison he or his appearance has come and most greviously tormented me. Mercy Lewis affirmed to the jury of Inquest. that the above written evidence: is the truth upon the oath: she has formerly taken in court of Oyer & Terminer: Septr 9: 1692

Since Giles Corey refused to plead in court, it was ordered that he be "sentenced" to "peine forte et dure" which is where a person has a board laid on their body and weights placed upon it. So, on September 17, 1692, he was put into a ditch and a board was laid over his body. People started to place rocks on the board. For three days he endured this horrible pain. He was asked to plea but he refused to. Within he three days, he passed, being able to have his estate. (If you plead guilty to being a witch, you lost your land.)


5 comments:

  1. What a sad story, Becky. Thanks for sharing. BTW, didn't Mercy get in any trouble for "seeing" an apparition??

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  2. From what I was told on my recent trip, the girls didn't get in any kind of trouble. However, if you believe in Karma, I'm sure they got what was coming.

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  3. So jealous of your trip Becky! Thanks for sharing with us.

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