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Trial by Touch

“Trial by Touch” was a peculiar method of determining guilt in a murder case that was used occasionally in colonial America, brought over from earlier trials in Europe. The accused murderer was charged to touch the corpse of the victim before witnesses.

It was widely believed in those days that "murdered blood cried for vengeance" just as the blood of Abel was said to have "cried up from the ground." This formed the rationale for a further belief that if a murderer touched the corpse of his victim, that corpse would either bleed or have the "blood come fresh upon it."

But the corpse didn’t have to bleed to indicate guilt. If it moved or bruised, that was good enough. Read more about Trial by Touch and an account of a woman who was hanged for murder because of it, at Weird Universe.


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