By Kortni Hawkins:
Giles’ wife had been accused of practicing witchcraft the month before. He testified against her presumably because he got caught up in the hysteria. Once the tables turned on him however, he refused to believe any of the stories. While in court, Giles was asked to give more information about his wife and her practice. He refused to talk about his wife or himself any longer.
Because of Giles Corey’s refusal to participate in the trial, the court decided to punish him. Giles was taken outside and stripped naked. He was made to lay on the ground where a board was land on top on him. Over the next several days, heavy rocks were laid upon the board. On September 19, 1692 Giles Corey took his last breaths. His wife died around the same time that he had.
In the courts of 1692, if you were convicted of this crime your property would be claimed by the local authority. In Giles’ refusal to plea neither guilty or not guilty his property was passed down to his adult children.
In Giles Corey’s last moment it is rumored that his last words to Sheriff Corwin were “Damn you! I curse you and Salem!” It was believed that Giles cursed the city of Salem and the sheriff. Several years later Sheriff Corwin died of a heart attack at 30 years old. The curse seemed to pass on to every sheriff of Salem after Corwin.
Whether or not Giles Corey or any of the people accused of practicing witchcraft actually did, the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts will forever stand as a time of misunderstanding and overreaction. It was a sad and horrible time, but we can spread love and peace and try to make the world a better place one day at a time.
Written by: Joe Rupe