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Medieval Torture

People loaded stones on him for three days until he was crushed

When girls started having hysterical fits in the Puritan community of Salem in 1692, the hunt for Satan and his helpers began. Giles Corey was one of the suspects. To break his silence, they resorted to a brutal procedure.

Religious delusions, moral uptightness, ergot poisoning or panic attacks were cited as the cause of the witch hysteria. Finally, the religious community would have been in a kind of state of siege. After all, relations with the Indians in the neighborhood were not necessarily the best. And newcomers from England quickly came under suspicion of not taking the theological convictions very seriously.
Pressed, the girls eventually revealed the names of three women: Sarah Good, an apparently mentally handicapped beggar who frequently talked loudly to herself; Sarah Osborne, a somewhat crotchety old lady; and Tituba, a slave in the Parris family. Girls who exhibited symptoms similar to Betty's and Abigail's confirmed this and gave other names that drove the spiral of suspicion, bigotry, and violence.

In March, the name of Martha Corey, Giles' third wife, also came up during the interrogations. Her husband is said to have believed the accusations at first, until he too was identified as a follower of the Corpse. It is possible that a chastisement of a servant resulting in death, which was tried years earlier, played a role in this. In contrast to other defendants who, in order to save their souls, were willing to make statements and even self-incriminations, Giles Corey refused to cooperate from then on.

The reason is assumed to be a formality in English criminal law, which was also applied in the North American colonies. If a defendant pleaded "not guilty" but was subsequently found "guilty," his assets fell to the Crown. In his case, it saved him from hanging in a first trial.

So when Corey's case came up for trial again in September 1692, the court fell back on a time-honored procedure to get Giles to talk. He was stripped of his clothes. Then boards were placed on his body, weighted down with stones. The longer the defendant remained silent, the greater the weight was made to press down on him. In addition, he was given only a few sips of water and a few bites of bread.

For three days, until September 19, Giles allegedly endured the torture largely without complaint. During this time, his tongue was allegedly forced out of his mouth, so that the sheriff had to push it back with a stick," a witness recalled. Giles' last words were said to have been "more weight," while others thought they heard "more rocks" or "I curse you and Salem." Three days later, his wife followed him to the gallows.

She was among the last group of 19 victims executed as witches or sorcerers in Salem.

SOURCE: Welt.de
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