Ann, Jr. was placed in the spotlight in September 1693, when Salem villager Giles Corey was arrested and charged with wizardry (practicing magic). Corey's wife Martha had already been sentenced to death. He refused to stand trial for his alleged crimes because, according to local law, a prisoner's property could not be confiscated (seized by authority) except in cases of treason or conviction. The law also held, however, that refusal to testify could result in being subjected to a slow death by crushing with heavy stones. In an effort to keep his property in his family and to avoid being convicted as a wizard, Corey submitted to being crushed by stones in a field outside Salem, where he finally died after nine days on September 19. Martha Corey was hanged three days later.
While Giles Corey was dying, Ann was at home claiming to experience the exact pain that he was feeling. Behaving as if she were under duress from a suffocating force, Ann was suddenly relieved of her pain when she saw the spirit of a witch who explained to her why Corey was now being crushed to death. According to the spirit, Corey himself had long ago crushed a man to death with his feet while under a contract with the devil. Part of the deal with the devil was that the murderer would profit from the man's death, but then would someday face the same fate himself. According to The Devil in Massachusetts, when Ann recounted this vision to her father, he suddenly recalled that seventeen years earlier, long before Ann was even born, Corey had been charged in court with the death of a man who was "bruised to death." He had somehow escaped justice in the courtroom and had never been found guilty. Putnam revealed this story to nervous villagers, who welcomed the news. Not only could they now have a clear conscience in putting Corey to death, but Ann's vision had given them proof that she was telling the truth. No one considered the fact that Ann's mother had told her about past events in Salem Village and had filled the child with bitterness toward certain residents.
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