TDISH: Pressing Issue

On September 17, 1692, the court of Salem, Massachusetts brought forth an 81-year old man named Giles Corey to question him about accusations of witchcraft.  Corey had been in prison since April when several confessed “witches” accused him of being one of their number.  Corey had lived a long life in Salem and refused to recognize the “legitimacy” of these girls’ claims.  Instead, he refused to enter any plea before the court.  In response to this, the prison guards led the old man into the prison yard and laid him on the ground and placed a wooden plank on his body.  Slowly, they added heavy stones onto the planks pressing Corey into the ground to try to get him to confess.  Giles Corey refused to give in to the torture.  After almost two days of torture, Giles Corey died of September 19, 1692.  He was the only person killed by the practice known as pressing in the New World.

Featured Image: “The Pressing of Giles Corey.” By Original by Ridpath? Restoration by User:Equazcion. – Print From John Clark Ridpath (1840-1900): “Cyclopedia of Universal History”, 1923 found on and image at
Source: Schiff, Stacy. The Witches: Salem, 1692. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015.

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