The Salem Wiki
The Salem Wiki

We call it a spectral attack, the work of witches.
— Cotton Mather about Spectors

A Specter, sometimes referred to as "Hag", is a malevolent spirit at the service of a witch that is commonly employed to haunt and scare a witch's victim for various reasons.


Mary's spectre fading away

A specter is a supernatural entity at the disposal of a witch in a similar way to a familiar, albeit with different tasks. The specter appears as a hag profoundly marred. When a witch looks at her reflection in the mirror, the specter looks in turn, as the specter also reflects the damnation of the witch herself, showing the true appearance of the witch's soul. These entities can be conjured on command and projected wherever the witch desires to cause trouble. The methods of conjuration may be different and in line with the habits of the witch in question. A witch with an affinity with the element of water, like the Countess Von Marburg, may resort to wells, springs, or cisterns for sending a spectral attack to far away places, while another witch may prefer staring at the flames of the fireplace like Mary Sibley did.

Notable Specters

Anne Hale's Specter

Anne Hale showing her true self

Anne Hale's Specter is an entity with the appearance of a charred hag, with a disfigured face and eyes fading from yellow to red. It is the specter with the most frightening appearance. Except in a particular case with Mary's specter, Anne Hale's Specter is the only one appeared so far to have acted as an entity entirely distinct from its mistress, coming to haunting her. Interesting enough, Anne Hale's Specter seems to be completely charred, while her mother's one is a water hag.

Countess Von Marburg's Specter

Countess Von Marburg's Specter is a hag with livid skin, a hooked nose, and large clawed hands. The appearance of this specter is reminiscent of the deceased in the sea, or at least of a being that has been too long in the water. This can be noticed by the rotting clothes, soaking wet hair and livid and swollen skin.

Mary Sibley's Specter

Mary Sibley's Specter was a hag with shriveled skin and sparse strands of greasy hair. This specter is covered by an old rag that hides the pudenda. This specter has been widely used by Mary Sibley for her purposes, especially haunting Mercy Lewis to manipulate the Salem Witch Trials.

Mercy Lewis' Specter

Mercy's spectre draws Dorcas into a trap

Mercy Lewis proved to be enough skillful and wicked in her craft to be able to project a ghastly being to kidnap little Dorcas in the middle of the night. Mercy's specter appears as a ghost from old ballads, covered by a veil that recalls the shroud of the dead, or that of a bride. The specter has a livid incarnate, and clawed hands. In order to attract the little girl, the voice was that of Dorcas' deceased mother.

Throughout the Salem Series

Season One

Mercy Lewis was terrorized by a hideous hag visible only to her eyes. During a brief moment of lucidity from hysteria, the girl told to Cotton Mather that witches sent this specter to feed on her blood and her life force. The specter fed on Mercy Lewis, causing the girl impossible to be self-inflicted wounds. (The Vow)

Season Two

Countess Von Marburg conjured a malevolent hag in Knocker's Hole's well luring an unsuspecting innocent child into her trap. The child became the vessel carrying the poisonous water the Countess intended to use on Mary Sibley. Arrived at Sibley's House, the child vomited into the water tank a blackish and poisonous substance that later allowed the Countess to bring up a hag in Mary's bathtub, where the Countess tried to drown her. (From Within) Survived the attack, the following night Mary Sibley sent Anne Hale down Knocker's Hole well to break the spell that allowed the mysterious hag to come to Salem. While immersed in the putrid water, Anne was attacked by a specter but dismissed it using a spell to seal the well, preventing further apparitions. (Book of Shadows)

Season Three

Anne attacking John Alden

Returned to Salem and determined to save his old friend, Alden showed up at home Hale. But when he found opposition from Anne Hale and the two began to argue, Anne accidentally crashed the man against a wall, choking him with the hand of the specter. (After the Fall) When trapped within the Angelic Box of Anguish crafted by The Sentinel, Mary Sibley was attacked by her own specter, but she immediately banned it back in the dark. (The Reckoning)




SCENES FROM SALEM Episode 4 -- Mercy and the Hag


  • Cotton Mather describes the Hag saw by Mercy Lewis as "a spectral attack", one of the main and dangerous witch spell's result.
  • The authors originally wanted to make witches able to physically change into a Spectre as can be seen in the image provided with explanatory caption in the Gallery, released on the WGN Salem official Tumblr account.
    • It is also to be noticed that in "The Vow" and in "The Red Rose and the Briar", Mary Sibley's reflection in the mirror is that of the Spectre instead of her common appearance.

Historical Facts

Fanciful representation of the Salem witch trials,lithograph from 1892. Depicting the "spectral attack" during the trial.

  • Admitted in the Salem Witch Trials, but condemned by many before and after as legally invalid. Spectral evidence is evidence based on visions and dreams of the actions of a witch's spirit -- that is, testimony about what an accused person's spirit did, rather than the accused person in the body. Rev. Cotton Mather argued for its use if it was not the only evidence; he disagreed with the idea of others that the Devil could not make an innocent person's spirit act without their consent. Rev.Increase Mather, after the Salem trials, argued that spectral evidence could be deceptive, in his "Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, Witchcrafts, Infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are accused with that Crime."

See Also