Honoring Giles, The Badass Wrongly Executed For Being A Wizard
We've all heard about women put to death for being witches, and we know that these were innocent victims of persecution. But let's also spare a thought for the occasional men caught up in this same anti-magic panic.
Take the case of the penis-snatching wizards of Ghana. Some countries practice/fear witchcraft even into the modern age, and in 1997, a mob in Accra, Ghana, put to death seven sorcerers, accusing them of stealing men's penises. It is possible that the accusers were simply suffering from the normal temporary phenomenon known as "shrinkage." It's also possible that the panic was manufactured by those who wanted to use a riot as an excuse to pick people's pockets.
Side note on nomenclature: Friends inform us that, despite what Hogwarts says, "wizard" is not really the correct word for a man who practices witchcraft. A male witch is a warlock, while wizardry refers to something else. However, sources refer to the real accused men as wizards, so we'll stick with that term. The men in question probably wouldn't be happy with being called warlocks either.
The other of these men we want to mention is Giles Corey, executed during the Salem witch trials. Yes, about one-fifth of those convicted of witchcraft in Salem were men, and Massachusetts executed several of them, including a couple pastors. Most were hanged. Giles suffered a different fate.
Giles, an 81-year-old farmer, refused to offer a plea of guilty or not guilty when one Abigail Hobbs accused him of being a wizard. As a result, the court could not try him. They could still kill him, though, and rather than a swift hanging, the law said they should torture him to death. They'd use a method called peine forte et dure, in which they'd place him naked under a wooden board then pile rocks on top to crush him to death.
On September 17, 1692, Giles received his peine forte et dure, and once they dropped the first weights on him, he did speak. Not to ask for mercy or enter a plea, however. Instead, he said: "More weight!" Or, some sources quote him as saying, "More rocks!" The crushing did kill him, but if you must die nude and buried under rocks, this is the way to do it.
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