I admit, like many people, that I have a certain fascination with some rather depressing and even gruesome aspects of history. I remember reading about the Salem Witch Trials when I was a young girl and was always fascinated by the sense of mob hysteria that took over th etown. A few years ago I purchased The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach to help refeed my childhood fascination. The book is about what you would expect from the title--a day by day account of life in Salem as well as the nearby towns and villages, including (of course) the proceedings of the witch trials. Although I've had this book for a few years, I've yet to get through it... it is very, very thorough. Below is an excerpt of one of the smaller 'entries' included in the book.
September 9th, 1672; Friday; Salem Town
The Grand Jury heard testimony concerning Giles Corey. The court had summoned witnesses to testify about him and his wife, but if he were scheduled to stand trial today, he did not cooperate. Although pleading innocent to all the indictments as they were read, he refused to answer when asked the formality of how he would be tried. Giles was expected to answer "By God and my country." Until he spoke those precise words, his case could not proceed. This situation, despite his not-guilty plea, was technically known as a "standing mute" and, under English law, was punishable by [pressing under heavy weights] until he cooperated. ... The court postponed Giles Corey's trial.