Eighty-one-year-old Giles Corey was an accused witch, the only victim of the Salem witch hysteria to have been pressed to death. For two days, his tormentors piled heavy stones on top of his supine body, demanding that he confess to consorting with the devil. Corey wasn’t an idiot, though–he knew a confession wouldn’t save him. Each time he was commanded to enter a plea, his response was: “More weight!” Apart from that, he was silent, despite the extreme pain caused by this form of torture. So, yeah: it’s safe to say that Giles Corey was kind of a bad-ass.
This is his memorial in downtown Salem. The first thing you probably noticed is all the pennies–it’s some kind of Massachusetts thing. I’ve seen coins stacked on grave markers in Boston, too. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be an offering, a request for protection, or a general symbol of well wishes. Regardless, Giles Corey’s memorial had more pennies than anyone else’s.
It also had this:
Call me a sap, but this made me cry the most macho of macho tears. I’m not religious. I don’t believe that Giles Corey is up in heaven, looking down on his memorial and thinking, “Man, nice flowers.” But there’s something sweet and humanizing about the gesture, nevertheless. The dead aren’t truly gone until they’re forgotten, and it’s nice to know that–at least in the hearts of his descendants–Giles Corey lives on.