Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 10: Bridget Bishop Executed in Salem

On this date in History ..... June 10, 1692: 

Bridget Bishop became the first person hanged for witchcraft in The Salem Witch Trials. She was accused of witchcraft by more individuals than any other defendant. 

The self-assertive Bishop, known around town for her dubious moral character, frequented taverns, dressed flamboyantly (by Puritan standards), and was married three times. She did not personify the stereotypical submissive wife and many found this intimidating and threatening.  Her flamboyant dress was comprised of black cap and hat and a red bodice that was “bordered and looped with different colors”.  It was these actions that seemed to target her for accusations of witchcraft than any actual witchcraft. 

She professed her innocence but was found guilty and executed by hanging. Thirteen more women and five men from all stations of life followed her to the gallows, and one man, Giles Corey, was executed by crushing.

A person could not be tried unless they offered a plea and Corey refused to plead.  To avoid persons just getting out of being tried, the technique of pressing was used to encourage them to plead.  Corey was stripped naked and laid in a shallow pit with boards laid across his chest and stomach.  Boulders were then placed on the boards.  After two days of this painful torture, Corey was again asked to plead.  He responded “More weight.”  It is said that when his tongue bulged out of his mouth from the crushing weight, the sheriff used a cane and stuffed it back into his mouth.

Corey finally cried out one more “More weight!” and died, just after offering a curse on the town of Salem and its inhabitants.

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