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