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Do you not see, when hunting witches, far better a hundred innocents die than a single solitary witch walks free!
— Increase Mather to Cotton[src]

Reverend Increase Mather was a formidable Witch Hunter and father to Cotton Mather. After burning scores of witches in Essex and hindered the Grand Rite headed by a Pagan Siren in Germany before Cotton was born, Increase Mather proved to be a major obstacle to Mary Sibley's plans, and then the solution to them.

Increase was a recurring character portrayed by Stephen Lang.

Early Life

Increase Mather was once one of the most famous and cruel witch hunters from both the Old World and the New World. He was the cause of death of thousands of witches throughout Europe, including the wicked German witches, those in Essex and much more. Once refused to condemn classmate for witchcraft and this man years later sacrificed two virgins girls in a satanic ritual.

In an unspecified year, he had prevented the success of the Grand Rite by German witches killing their main vain witch, who had taken possession of a six-year-old girl.


Increase Mather was a despotic, cold and violent man. He's one of the most famous and cruel witch hunters, prone to the use of torture and violence, both physical and psychological. Blindly convinced of his beliefs and his cause that doesn't allow anyone to contradict him. His temperament was not softened even with his son, even worse.

Physical Appearance

Increase Mather was a man at the end of the fifty, austere, with greying hair almost white, a sparse beard and an athletic physique for his age. Increase Mather was always wearing gloves on his hands because his hands were blackened by Hell's fire while strangling the life out of a six-year-old girl whom he believed to be possessed by Satan in the witch trials of the German witches. Wearing a cilice tight to his chest as a sign of repentance for his sins.

Throughout The Salem Series


Increase Mather is stuck on a ship in the open sea by the spell of a witch who has trapped the winds. After discovering that the witch is the captain of the vessel, kills him and takes its place thus arriving at Salem. Once in town, he discovers that his son Cotton is unable to handle the citizens and he burns at the stake the Barkers, who were accused of witchcraft, but in jail awaiting a regular trial. After scolding his son, he visits the Sibley and discovers that his old friend George is seriously ill. When Mary asked how long he thought to remain in the city, Increase responds to her that he will remain until the last Salem witch is dead. [1]

Increase Mather fetches madame Mab, the owner of Salem's brothel, after discovering the rituals stones hidden in a secret compartment in the woman's boudoir. After torturing her with the ordeal by water for some time, to have the names of the other Devil's followers the woman accused of witchcraft Gloriana, on the advice of the Magistrate John Hale that had visited her in prison earlier. Increase thus arrested the young woman with the despair of his son Cotton, who tries to exonerate the woman for lack of evidence. Gloriana is then banished from Salem for habits offenses, with great distress of Cotton, who will never see her again. [2]

Increase hangs Mab even after finding out that the woman killed herself to give a bloody lesson to the citizens of Salem. (Children Be Afraid)

Increase Mather with the tortured witch Tituba in The House of Pain

Increase tortures Tituba for several hours trying to get the names of the Salem witches. He comes up against again with his son on the different views on how to interrogate witches and deal with the scourge of Witchcraft. He plays a lot with the mind of Tituba, hoping to get her to confess until she confesses that the leader of their hive is John Alden. The witch hunter, then, went to the house of Mary Sibley to communicate the outcome of the interrogation. [3]

In Cat and Mouse, TBA

In Ashes, Ashes, TBA

In All Fall Down, TBA


Mary Sibley is desperately looking for a way to get rid of the evil Countess and unearths the decomposed head of Increase Mather to use it in a summoning spell. The ghost of Increase appears unkempt and restless, especially after discovering that is subject to a witch and do her bidding. The two talk about how Increase is trapped in hell, tortured forever by demons with his face. Increase Mather signing a pact with the Queen of the Night: she will help to defeat the Countess if she will give way to the ghost to speak to his son Cotton, and Mary Sibley accept. The deceased witch hunter, then, appears in the private rooms of Cotton terrorizing the boy with his presence. When Cotton realizes that his father is a ghost, he listens to his words with some disappointment. Increase apologizes to his son and warns about the supernatural war that will soon lead to the destruction of Salem. Send by Mary on Marburg's ship, Increase wander in the booth by putting upside down the cards and maps looking for something that might harm the Countess. When he returns, he tells Mary that the weakness of the Countess is the ship itself and then vanish, leaving in the hands of Mary his coat and nothing else, as the invocation spell had run for forty-eight hours.

Skills and Abilities

Increase Mather about to torture Tituba with a vast array of devices

Increase Mather was a formidable witch hunter, experienced in the most atrocious and perverted forms of torture, for the purpose of extorting confessions even to the most reticent witches. He had a vast knowledge of the literature on witchcraft, although it is possible that he has been exceeded by his son Cotton Mather, as the latter was less narrow-minded than Increase.

As a Puritan Reverend, he was a very skilled orator, able to manipulate large masses of people with his sermons and speeches. Skilled in combat, despite his age, Increase strength and skills are noteworthy, especially considering the fact that he almost always wore a cilice, tight around his chest.


Main article: Cotton and Increase
Imagine how proud I am to have raised a son so steadfast in his ability to consistently make the wrong decisions.
— Increase to Cotton in Cat And Mouse

Salem-Promo-Still-S1E13-05-Cotton and Increase.jpg

A destructive relationship in which the despotic father has canceled almost completely the self-esteem of the child. Increase dreams for his son an illustrious political career, driving away from Cotton's way what he thinks is not good for Cotton. Increase sent away from Cotton, in fact, his lover Gloriana, burns his books and makes throwing trinkets and bizarre tools used by Cotton in his research and experiments, leaving the entire room a bed and a Bible.

Main article: Mary Sibley/Relationships
He is formidable, the senior Mather, part bully, part bloodhound.
— Mary in Departures
An old friend of George Sibley's, he is the head of one of the founding families of Salem and a formidable witch hunter. He returns to a Salem because of his son's failure to eradicate the witches. Not much is known about their past history but it is presumed they knew each other before Mary married George. When Increase returns he sparks real fear in Mary who tries to send her husband away to Boston to prevent him from discovering his friend is under a spell but her plan fails and Increase takes George under his care (Departures). He later becomes suspicious of Mary and falsely arrests John Alden of witchcraft as bait to lure Mary into revealing she is a witch (The House Of Pain). Mary kills him as the final and thirteenth sacrifice to complete the Grand Rite after she saves John (All Fall Down).


Memorable Quotes

Increase Mather: "Let them no more say “God must do all”, and so encourage themselves to live in a careless neglect of God and of their own souls of salvation! The Devil has made a dreadful knot of witches in the country, and, by the help of witches, has dreadfully Increased that knot. Oh, children, children, be afraid, and go not prayerless to your bed lest the Devil be your bedfellow."
Children, Be Afraid
Increase Mather: "It is true that, and no one will admit, that love is never equal. And in its inequality lies its fragility, for the one who is loved less will one day find love tastes like ashes."
The House of Pain
Increase Mather: "I am a patient man. A witch cannot run forever."
Cat and Mouse




  • He is based on the real Increase Mather, who was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was a Puritan minister who was involved with the government of the colony, the administration of Harvard College, and most notoriously, the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Richard Mather, and the father of Cotton Mather, both influential Puritan ministers.
  • However, his ruthless and sadistic hunting is more akin to infamous Matthew Hopkins, the self-styled "Witch-Finder General" and the 1968 film of the same name starring Vincent Price.
  • Seven of the thirteen victims of the Grand Rite were killed on Increase's orders; the three members of the Barker family, and four followers of Mercy Lewis.

See Also

  1. Adam Simon & Brannon Braga (writer) & David Von Ancken (director). April 20, 2014. "Our Own Private America". Salem. Season 1. Episode 7. WGN.
  2. Jon Harmon Feldman (writer) & Alex Zakrzewski (director). June 8, 2014. "Departures". Salem. Season 1. Episode 8. WGN.
  3. Adam Simon & Joe Menosky (writer) & David Von Ancken (director). June 22, 2014. "The House of Pain". Salem. Season 1. Episode 10. WGN.
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