In Sorcery in Salem, local author John Hardy Wright examines the witchcraft delusion that afflicted Salem Village and Salem Town in the winter of 1691-92. Twenty inhabitants lost their lives at that time; nineteen were hanged on Gallows Hill, and one elderly man, Giles Cory, by remaining mute as a personal protest to the proceedings of the court, was pressed to death under heavy weights. Once the prosecuting examinations began on March 1, 1692, local authorities were uncertain what course the following trials would take. Spectral evidence, in which the shape of a suspected witch tortured people, was a primary indication of guilt, as was the "touch test," in which a victim was released from the witch's power upon the laying on of hands. Not being able to correctly recite the Lord's Prayer was also damning.
Arcadia Publishing, 1999