Is Howard Street Cemetery Haunted by a Wizard?
Spirits Created by the Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials created their own ghosts. Everyone has heard of these trials. The mass hysteria in Salem where the locals saw witches lurking in every home or skulking around every corner of Salem. Over 150 people were accused during this so-called rampant scare.
If you pleaded guilty you got to live out your life in the witches prison located in the dungeons of the Salem jailhouse. However, no matter the outcome, you were divested of all your worldly property. Guess who got it? Yeppers, the very people conducting the trials in the first place.
20 people were executed as witches, 14 of which were women. Most of them were hanged after being declared witches during a mock of a trial, consisting of a bunch of hysterical teenage girls accusing them of practicing the dark arts.
The one trial that stood out the most was that of 80-year old Giles Corey, whom 19-year old Mercy Lewis accused of being a wizard. Corey was a stubborn old man who was known for his penchant of standing on principal.
Unfortunately for Corey, his wife was also accused of witchcraft, but when he was charged and badgered to confess, he wouldn't dignify them with a response or denial. Even when he was finally sentenced. He refused to enter a plea or confession.
The reason he refused to enter a plea or even dispute the charges? As I mentioned earlier in the article, the accused witches lost all their property. He wanted his property to go to his stepsons. He didn't want his accusers to own anything of his, and so, he remained staunch on principle.
The trial claiming he was a wizard took his lack of response as insolence, and as penance for that insolence, he received the very outdated sentence of "pressing." "Pressing is when a person is stripped naked and forced to lie under a wooden door weighted with heavy rocks. The rocks continually added on top of the door until the poor soul is asphyxiated from the weight, which literally crushed him to death.
Two days into this cruel and unusual punishment, the sheriff was said to taunt Corey, asking him if he confessed.
It was reported that Corey responded by saying "Damn you, Sheriff! I curse you and Salem." Then, on the third day, Corey finally died from his injuries. His defiance, though, affected the good townspeople of Salem and made them rethink their actions as "proper Christians."
His stepsons got his property as he wished, but even more interesting is that many of the Sheriffs that followed after Corey's death suffered the "Curse of Giles Corey." The Sheriffs died either in office or had to resign due to heart ailments.
As for Corey himself? It is said he never left the spot where he was killed. He returns to the grounds as a restless ghost after said grounds were turned into the Howard Street Cemetery in 1801. Corey doesn't want the good people of Salem to ever forget the pain and injustice he was forced to endure.
There have been reports of people seeing his ghostly apparition floating in the cemetery. Others have reported a cold ghostly touch as they walk unsuspectingly through the ancient gravestones marking Howard Street Cemetery.
There have been reports of other ghostly spirits haunting the cemetery as well. Falsely accused and then killed for their property? I'm sure many of these poor souls are restless spirits and walk the cemetery grounds, lamenting the unfairness of their lives.
If you are brave enough to dare walk the Howard Street Cemetery during the wee hours of the haunting time, maybe you, too, will see these retched spirits walking the cemetery grounds and meet Giles Corey in person.