Well, only two. And I followed one of them around Quebec City on a fabulous Les Promenades Fantômes tour. The ghost of Marie Riviere lead a small group of us through the streets of Old Quebec. This wasn’t your typical ghost tour. She wasn’t stopping in front of haunted buildings to tell us about the ghosts there. Instead, she was the ghost and she shared bits of what crimes and punishment were like in New France while she was alive. It was fascinating.
Crimes at the time included things like blasphemy, drunkenness and failing to attend Mass. Punishments were ghastly and were meant to fit the crime, though it’s hard to believe that being branded with a hot iron for blasphemy was a fitting punishment. Or that putting wooden planks between the knee and ankle, then driving wooden wedges between the planks and the shin, which tightened the planks elicited true confessions of crimes.
I won’t tell you about the wheel. It was the most barbaric thing I’ve ever heard. Besides, hearing the description of it gleefully coming out of Marie Riviere’s ghostly mouth made it all the more macabre.