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Giles Corey
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Victim
    (circa 1611-September 19, 1692)
    Born in England, United Kingdom
    Farmer in Salem, Massachusetts
    Accused of being a witch by Abigail Williams, Marcy Lewis and Ann Putnam, Jr.
    Refused to plead either guilty or not guilty
    Ordered to undergo 'peine fort et dure' (pressing) in which a board was placed over him and heavy rocks loaded on the board to force him to enter a plea
    Died after two days (September 17-19) without making a plea
    Last words were 'More weight'
    He was fined for killing farm worker Jacob Goodale in a fight (1675).
    When his wife Martha was accused of witchcraft, he initially testified against her, then tried to recant his statement.
    According to folklore, his ghost appears just before any tragedy hits Salem, apparently taking satisfaction in the town's misfortune.
    By not entering a plea, his farm passed to his two sons-in-law in accordance with his will rather than being forfeited to the state.
    Pressing was illegal under Massachusetts law, but apparently no one was willing to tell the judges in the witch trials.
    He died a slow, agonizing death.
    The weight of the rocks forced his tongue out of his mouth, until the sheriff pushed it back in with his cane.
    His death may have spurred public opposition to the witch trials.

Credit: C. Fishel


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