The Salem Wiki
The Salem Wiki


WGN Salem is heavily inspired by history and in particular by the folklore, superstitions and literature of both Europe and North America. The Bible was also another source of inspiration. The themes featured throughout the series are highlighted by carefully chosen episode titles.

Season One

1.01 The Vow

1.02 The Stone Child

1.03 In Vain

  • Mary Sibley is afraid that all her toil is in vain.
  • From the Bible 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing That your toil in the Lord is not in vain.”
  • In vain are also the actions against the witches. [3]

1.04 Survivors

1.05 Lies

  • Most of the characters of Salem are entangled in a cobweb of lies driving the plot.

1.06 The Red Rose and the Briar

  • From the song "The Red Rose and the Briar" by John Wesley Harding. It's a reference to the roles of Rose Browning and Mary Sibley within the coven. [4]

1.07 Our Own Private America

  • A pun to "Your Own Private Idaho", meaning someone who is not paying attention because they are daydreaming.
  • The witches of Salem ignore the upcoming arrival of infamous Witch Hunter Increase Mather, whilst the Puritans are unaware of the sinister Grand Rite enacted by the witches.

1.08 Departures

1.09 Children, Be Afraid

  • A pun with Bible's verse Isaiah 41:10, which invites not to fear anything because the Lord is with us. Increase Mather, instead, invites the poor souls of Salem to fear for their own safety.

1.10 The House of Pain

1.11 Cat and Mouse

1.12 Ashes Ashes

  • From Ecclesiastes 12: 7. A memento mori often recited at funeral services or in time of great struggle such as the Trial of John Alden.
  • Coupled with the title of the following episode, it's a reference to Ring a Ring o' Roses.

1.13 All Fall Down

  • This title is meant to draw attention to the effect of the self-motivated, destructive passions unleashed within the characters in the course of the story. Like a house of cards, all fall down.
  • Coupled with the title of the previous episode, it's a reference to Ring a Ring o' Roses.

Season Two

2.01 Cry Havoc

2.02 Blood Kiss

2.03 From Within

  • From within are the attacks on witches as said by Adam Simon in the Writer's Wrap.[7]

2.04 Book of Shadows

2.05 The Wine Dark Sea

2.06 Ill Met by Moonlight

2.07 The Beckoning Fair One

  • The Beckoning Fair One is a reference to the regained beauty of Mercy Lewis as well as a literary reference to the novella The Beckoning Fair One by Oliver Onions, widely regarded as one of the best in the genre of horror fiction, especially psychological horror. [11]
    • This novella is included in Widdershins (1911), whose name inspired some characters on Salem.

2.08 Dead Birds

  • The death of birds is an omen of misfortune. For millennia witches and priests have used birds for divination purposes. [12]
  • John Sibley hid a litter of dead crows in his beds and flocks of crows died in front of his window.

2.09 Wages of Sin

  • From the Bible verse Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” as mentioned by Brannon Braga in the Writer's Wrap. [13]
  • Whilst waiting the Raising of Satan, the characters are being accounted for their sins.

2.10 Til Death Do Us Part

  • A phrase from the marriage liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer. It refers to Anne and Cotton's wedding, but also the preparation of the dreadful Grand Rite. And only Mary's death can prevent the Devil to become flesh and blood.[14]

2.11 On Earth as in Hell

  • We are at the final chapters and the flames of Hell began to claim more victims. Nothing is as it was, especially for Mary Sibley who has lost everything.[15]

2.12 Midnight Never Come

2.13 The Witching Hour

  • Colloquially, it refers to midnight but in this particular case, it refers to the fateful hour when the Devil came to Earth to bring the defeat of humankind, including even his most faithful witches. [17]

Season Three

3.01 After the Fall  

  • After the Fall is a free reference to Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible. This idiom often refers to the fall of humanity tempted by the Devil to sin against God. Even Lucifer once fell — literally or figuratively — when he was cast out of Heaven. [18]

3.02 The Heart Is A Devil 

  • Love is a strong feeling that leads to pleasure, but also to evil and temptation. In Salem, this is quite literal. [19]

3.03 The Reckoning 

  • The Reckoning refers to the ritual of the same name used to deprive witches of their powers as punishment. The ritual is a showdown in all respects.[20]

3.04 Night's Black Agents

  • The title designates witches hired by the Devil to do his bidding.
  • It is a reference to one of Adam Simon's favourite quotes, taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act III, Scene II: “"Good things of day begin to droop and drowse; Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse."” [21]

3.05 The Commonwealth of Hell / The Witch Is Back

  • Commonwealth refers to the greater good. For the evil ones.
  • Witch is Back in reference to the return of the Countess Von Marburg.
    • The last words uttered by Mary at the end of the episode are a clear statement that marks the return of Mary Sibley as she once was.

3.06 Wednesday's Child 

  • Wednesday refers to the day of the week the events are taking place. Moreover, it is a clear reference to the eerie nursery rhyme, the "Poetry of the Devil."
  • The child mentioned in the title is a reference to Cotton and Gloriana's Unborn Child, stolen by Anne Hale.

3.07 The Man Who Was Thursday 

  • Thursday refers to the day of the week the events are taking place.
  • The Dark Lord is defeated by Mary and the Essex Witches, and he's no more.

3.08 Friday's Knights 

3.09 Saturday Mourning 

  • Saturday refers to the day of the week the events are taking place.
  • The end of the days is getting closer, and the characters can only mourn their fate.

3.10 Black Sunday

  • Sunday refers to the day of the week the events are taking place.
  • Black Sunday is the satanic Easter, the unholiest day in the Devil's calendar.


See Also