1692 is an innocuous series of numbers to most, but what happened that year in American history still calls dread to mind. There is definitely a slight widening of the eye when the gruesome event is mentioned. I’ve seen people shake their head in shame for the small puritan village, wondering how piety could become so twisted. I’ve also seen others swear up and down that the Devil truly did walk in
New England itself being a bastion of the macabre and creepy,
A checklist of supposedly haunted spots in Salem will give you an idea of just how much this town has been transformed by a mere 15-month period in its ancient history. Among them are the House of Seven Gables, The Gardner-Pingree House,
Stately in its federal-style architecture, the Joshua Ward House, a historical landmark since 1978, is one that can actually claim relation to the Witch Trials. While Joshua Ward himself made his wealth from
Under the auspices of “Spectral Evidence”, Giles Corey and his wife Martha were accused of witchcraft by Anne Putnam and Abigail Williams. Refusing to enter a plea, Giles Corey was subjected to "peine forte et dure", or pressing to death, under the direction of Sheriff Corwin. Corey was stripped naked with a board laid over his body. Heavy stones were placed on the board, which slowly crushed him to death. The torture, which wasn’t abolished until 1772 in
Corwin was eventually crushed to death by the weight without entering a plea. According to the folklore, before he died, he raised a finger to George Corwin and said “I curse you and I curse
George Corwin died at age 30 (a fairly decent life expectancy for the time and place) of a heart attack. Curse-wise, it is said that every High Sheriff since Corwin has either died in office of a heart or blood condition, or left on the same grounds. On the subject of the curse, I’ll refer anyone interested to Robert Ellis Cahill, a folklorist and former High Sheriff of Essex County who investigated the topic personally and professionally.
Following his death, Corwin’s body was not buried, a lien had been placed on it until one of the accused, Phillip English, had is disseized property returned to him. It was interred in the basement of his home on
Today the house, now a historical landmark and home to Higgins Book Company, has been the site of unexplained phenomenon for some years. While it is not the subject of inspiration and tourism as the House of Seven Gables, the Joshua Ward house has seen its own fame in books on the collective hauntings of Salem and a comprehensive segment on the History Channel series Haunted History.
Reports testify to cold hands put on the backs of house employees, candles knocked over and twisted into S shapes, mysteriously locked doors, overturned furniture and cold spots. Pretty standard fare for many “ghostly activities”. But perhaps the most compelling piece of supernatural evidence comes from a Polaroid taken of a new agent when the house served as a real estate office in the 1990s. The new associate posed for a headshot at the bottom of the stairs. A few minutes later when the picture developed, a black-dressed figure of a woman was clearly visible standing at the top of the stairs.