The significance behind the hauntings at Joshua Ward House lies in the violence that occurred there over 300 years ago.
The story of the Salem witch trials is infamous. Innocent men and women persecuted under flimsy guises, most were tortured and executed in vicious and horrific ways.
One of the most malevolent persecutors was a man known as Sheriff George Corwin. Legend designated him as “The Strangler.”
Corwin had a passion for rendering punishments. He wasn’t interested in doing the right thing by establishing truth and administering proper justice. Instead, he loved to see his suspects squirm under a heavy hand.
His favorite technique was to strangle the “guilty,” and he did it with flair and nauseating pleasure. Corwin was the judge and executioner of 19 victims during the Salem Witch Trials.
Joshua Ward House
This historic structure was the site of the execution of Giles Corey, a Salemite accused of being a witch who would never confess to it. Instead, he underwent days of pressing, a practice whereby large boulders were placed upon a person until they succumbed to the pain and confessed, or died slowly, in crushing agony.
Giles Corey was steadfast and refused to speak. Throughout the entire torture, he remained silent. His only words were to beg for more.
As a result of his ability to endure torture, his estate remained in the family name after his death.
Other folks who could not stand torture without expressing sheer agony and screaming a confession, lost their property to the government. This meant their surviving family would be rendered homeless and penniless.
The Salem witch trials were a travesty against mankind. That goes without saying. But it’s interesting to note that folks like Corwin, who administered the Salem witch hunts, worked for the government. They performed acts of persecution and torture in order to “eradicate witchcraft.”
It’s also interesting that those folks who prayed for mercy or would not partake in the fallacy of the trials by confessing, relinquished all of their belongings to the government.
My point is, what a morbidly oppressive method of extracting taxes from the people.
Basically, the few who were able to withstand the torture without confessing, were able to keep the property for their families, yet set an example of terror for the rest of the community.
Just the thought of being so horrifically tortured was enough for many people to fold and give away everything they owned. Many of them were killed anyway.
In regards to the Joshua Ward House, this is the site where Giles Corey was crushed to death. His executioner, Sheriff George Corwin was buried there in order to hide his body so that local citizens wouldn’t be able to attack it after death.
There are numerous ghosts said to be haunting Joshua Ward House. Of course, the derelict Sheriff lingers there, but there is also another entity they call The Lady in Black. She is a horrid-looking hag that many suspect to be a victim of Sheriff Corwin.
Along with the woman and the evil Sheriff, Giles Corey is suspected of haunting the Joshua Ward House.
There have many cold spots reported in this place and candles have been said to do very odd things. Items have moved from place to place by unseen hands and each of these entities have been witnessed in various forms by various people over time.
The house has changed form over the centuries and is now a hotel. The owners of the hotel want nothing to do with ghosts or paranormal investigations, so for now the story stands as legend. Something to remind us all of the evils of exclusion and greed.