I've always been really interested in torture methods. I heard a passing reference to the practice of "pressing," googled it, and found this:
Pressing, also known as peine forte et dure, was both a death sentence and a means of drawing out confessions. Adopted as a judicial measure during the 14th century, pressing reached its peak during the reign of Henry IV. In Britain, pressing was not abolished until 1772. Giles Corey, an elderly farmer in Salem, Massachusetts, was the only recorded incident of pressing to death in the United States. After eighty years in the settlement, most of them spend in hard work on his farm, he was still hale and healthy when the madness of 1692 started. He was subject to superstitions, as were most people in his day, and mentioned that he had observed his wife, his third, reading books. That was enough to bring her to the attention of the witch-hunters. His efforts to stop the insane persecution landed him in front of the judges. Giles was a crafty sort; he knew that his property might be confiscated by the state if he was condemned as a wizard. To avoid this and to ensure that his sons would inherit his land, he refused to plead. When asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, he stood mute. Under English law, he could be thrice asked to plead. After standing mute, he could not then be tried, but he could be, and was, subjected to the old punishment of peine forte et dure.... When the law was used against Giles Corey, he behaved with dignity. His last words were: "Put on more weight" (Engel 180-181).I don't know why I find this passage so compelling. I guess it's because even though Corey clearly recognized the lunacy of the witch trials (such a pristine example of mob mentality), when he was "caught" and tried he didn't seem to complain that the game of life was unfair, or that the people killing him were evil, or whine or preach. He realized that you can't reason with irrational people, you just have to play the hand that you were dealt. And he played his hand masterfully until the end. He is basically a new personal hero of mine when it comes to focusing only on playing the game well and not stressing about the end results.