In August 1660, an Englishman named William Harrison disappeared while walking from his home in Campden to Charingworth, about two miles away.
His manservant and son set out to find him, but Harrison’s bloodstained hat, shirt, and collar were soon discovered on the main road between Chipping Campden and Ebrington. There was no body.
In the furor that followed, the manservant accused his own mother and brother of killing Harrison for his money. He convinced the jury by acknowledging that the idea had been his own, and thus he was putting himself in jeopardy by admitting it. Why would he lie about such a thing?
All three were hanged in 1661. The following year, the missing man reappeared. He said he’d been abducted by pirates, sold into slavery, and escaped.
Why did the manservant lie, bringing a death sentence on himself and his family, if all were innocent? His confession has never been explained.