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We have been ruled by witches all along. And not, as we thought, from the outside, but in the very worst way; from within. Witches ruled Salem from the very top. Names like Sibley and Marburg turned out to be masks for the most notorious witches. Witches who very nearly succeeded in turning Salem into Hell on earth and handing our entire new country over to the Devil himself.

A witch is a man or woman who is initiated into Witchcraft.

Description

Witchcraft is the practice of black magic (or "Maleficium") whose adherents are alternatively called "witches". According to Reverend Increase Mather, the practice of witchcraft dates as far back to the beginning of humankind, implying that the biblical characters, Adam and Eve, were the first of all witches. These implications were somewhat confirmed by Countess Von Marburg who expressed how Eve was the first of all womankind to "follow the Serpent", followed by her husband Adam, and their children. Since then, witches have existed for many centuries passing down their knowledge and skills through generations in family lines.

Physiology

Based on the fact that witches are still human, they share many of the same weaknesses as ordinary mortals (i.e. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.). However, it is known that especially powerful witches can overcome these weaknesses. For example, Countess Palatine Ingrid Von Marburg has been able to cheat death for thousands of years by casting a powerful preservation spell over her own relic. Because of this, the Countess is impervious to permanent death and can resurrect herself time and time again, so long as her relic is not destroyed. Furthermore, it appears that every witch develops physical enhancements upon their initiation, but to a lesser degree than that of the Countess. These refinements include: cellular regeneration, durability, senses, speed, and strength. After several hours of brutal torture from the infamous Increase Mather, Tituba was seen days later having most, if not all, of her wounds completely healed. Mary Sibley has also endured multiple injuries since her initiation into Witchcraft, all of which have completely healed shortly after the wounds were first inflicted.

Additionally, it appears that the metabolic functions of a witch exceed that of an ordinary person as it prevents the build-up of poisons within their bodies. This was first shown with Mercy Lewis, who while hiding in crags from Increase Mather, was seen eating the decayed flesh of several corpses and was never seen to exhibit any signs of illness or negative side-effects. Moreover, these physical enhancements might also explain how Mercy Lewis was able to survive the fire that easily killed all of her disciples, but failed to kill the witch herself. Although the Countess taught Mercy how to accelerate the healing process through the use of blood baths, her wounds and burns would have eventually healed on their own, albeit to a much slower pace given the gravity of her wounds compared to previously discussed ones.

Weaknesses

Based on the fact that witches are still human, they share many of the same weaknesses as ordinary mortals (i.e. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.). However, it is known that especially powerful witches can overcome many of these weaknesses and have even managed to achieve pseudo-immortality. Nevertheless, even the mightiest of witches are by no means without limitations and are still susceptible to other events and forces that can be used against them. For example, according to Reverend Cotton Mather, a witch can be rendered powerless through the binding of dead wood and iron. And according to Mary Sibley, Valerian root is a herb that is commonly used by witch hunters to protect from magical influence.

Classifications

Contract Witch

A "Contract witch" is any person who has obtained their magic from the Devil. These witches are known to have summoned the Devil and made a deal with him in exchange for power. While it common for these witches to have traded their souls for power, it has been implied that not all witches sell their souls, but rather promise the Devil something else of value. According to Countess Von Marburg, contract witches are very common within the Witchcraft community, possibly even more so than cradle witches. Nevertheless, contract witches are considered inferior to cradle witches and do not come into their power as easily nor as quickly as cradle witches.

Note: While Countess Von Marburg believes that witches who are born are superior to witches who are made, because the Countess failed to elaborate how or why she believes this to be, it remains unknown as to whether or not contract witches truly are inferior to cradle witches, or if the Countess' statements were based entirely off of her own biased point of view.

Cradle Witch

A "Cradle witch" is any person who has obtained their magic from biological development. Not much is known about these witches apart from the fact that they are known to have been born with an internal source of power and seem to have a natural affinity to the supernatural forces within the universe. While Countess Von Marburg believes that witches who are born are superior to witches who are made, it has not been stated exactly how or why. However, according to Tituba, witches such as Anne Hale, who are born from old and powerful bloodlines, will come into their power easier and faster than witches who are made. Tituba explained to Mary Sibley that in spite of being the most powerful witch in Salem, and with more years of experience in Witchcraft, Anne Hale would still surpass Mary within a matter of weeks in terms of raw power. [1]

Note: According to Mary Sibley, all witches are required to meet the Devil as a prerequisite for the power that is given to them. While a contract witch must summon the Devil themselves, this is not the case with cradle witches, as the Devil will appear to them automatically and on his own terms. How and when the Devil will appear to them remains unknown, however, based off of a letter written by John Hale for his daughter, it was implied that after a cradle witch becomes of age and grows into their power, the Devil will appear to them sometime after this.

Government

True leadership is the power to deal both life and death, whereas men can only ever wield half that power; the easy part. Now, among the wise, real authority descends through women.

Witchcraft is composed of numerous covens, known as Hives, and governed according to a specific hierarchy. Each hive also has specific traditions and rules. According to the words of the Countess Von Marburg, hives follow a matriarchal government. Increase Mather once stated that covens of witches are no different from Christian congregations and denominations, and consist of internal factions often in rivalry with each other.[2] According to Magistrate John Hale, it is in the full right of an Elder to kill a member of the hive being discovered, in order to avoid revealing the names of members of a hive. [3] To ensure control over members of a hive, the Samhain retains personal belongings of each member to be used if necessary to bewitch them.

The Samhain

Main article: Samhain

Mary Sibley as the Samhain

The Samhain is the leader and supreme witch of their Hive and is employed to guide, protect and oversee the witches. The position of the Samhain is considered the highest ranking governmental body within the Witchcraft community and has existed for several centuries.

According to Mary Sibley, the Samhain is not only responsible for the protection of their hive, but also for keeping the Old Ways alive and well. One of the ways this is done is by the fact that after a witch dies their Book of Shadows will magically find its way to the reigning Samhain as a means to keep the books from being lost or falling into the wrong hands. Furthermore, it is known that whoever claims the head of a fallen Samhain will become the next leader. It is also known that whoever is believed to the next most suitable witch for the position will become the Samhain.

The Elders

The Elders are the secondary leaders of the Hive and are commonly known for creating and enforcing the laws of the coven. Aside from being the legislators of the Witchcraft community, the Elders are also assigned the task of choosing important people, places and things that might benefit the witches. For example, prior to the death of the Essex Elders, these witches were responsible for choosing Salem as their new haven, and also for choosing Mary Sibley to complete the Grand Rite.

Magical Powers

Main article: Powers
I, too, came into my powers in the wake of great and painful loss. And I remember what it was first like to feel my body from within, like a fever in the blood. That I could now do things, do things with words, with gestures.
— Mary Sibley about Powers

According to Reverend Cotton Mather, the power of a witch is not only dependent on the source of their magic, but also on their knowledge and training in Witchcraft. While it appears that all witches obtain their magic from the Devil, not all witches have the same experience or expertise in the Dark Arts, nor do they share the same powers. According to Cotton Mather, the primary sources of power that almost all witches draw from are death (sacrifices) and lust (sexual arousal). Furthermore, while some witches, such as the Essex hive, have been known to provide laws for their coven and themselves, other witches, such as the Baron Sebastian and Countess Palatine Ingrid Von Marburg, have shown more leniency in regard to their power, and have demonstrated extraordinary feats without fear or concern for possible consequences.

Magical Tools

Main article: Witch's Tools

The Malum.

Poppets.

While spells are the medium by which every witch must use in order to achieve a magical effect, almost all spells are accompanied with the use of other ingredients, objects, and requirements. What these tools are differ from spell to spell, as one spell might only require the employment of a Familiar, while another spell might require the creation of a poppet. Furthermore, while some tools, such as candles and familiars, can be used and reused for various different spells, it appears that some instruments such as the Clock of the Doom and the Malum have specific purposes, and can only be used for which they were created. Nevertheless, one of the most important objects of a witch is their Books of Shadows, where witches document the accounts of all of their magical adventures.

Notable Witches

Witch Description Status
Countess Marburg Lucylawless.JPG
Countess Von Marburg
Countess Marburg is an ancient witch and among the first of her kind. She is the mother of Sebastian Von Marburg and Anne Hale. Unknown
Sebastian-S03-official photoshoot.jpg
Sebastian Von Marburg
Sebastian was the son of Countess Marburg and the brother of Anne Hale. He was a powerful cradle witch. Dead
Essex elder prom card.PNG
Essex Elder
The Essex Elder was the spokeswoman and presumably the leader of the Widdershins. Dead
The Elders image.jpg
The Hags
The Hags were witches and Elders of the Essex Hive. Dead
Salem-S1-Rose-Browning-infobox.jpg
Rose Browning
Rose Browning was a witch and the Samhain of the Essex Hive. Dead
enter
John Hale
John Hale was the father of Anne Hale, former Magistrate of Salem, Massachusetts and also a cradle witch. Dead
Mary Sibley S03 Official photoshoot.jpg
Mary Sibley
Mary Sibley was the most powerful witch in Salem, Massachusetts, and Samhain of the Essex Hive. She was stripped of all her powers by the Devil. Alive
Tituba S03 Official Photoshoot.jpg
Tituba
Tituba is the handmaiden of Mary Sibley and also a very powerful witch. Uncertain
Anne Hale S03 official photoshoot.jpg
Anne Hale
Anne Hale is the daughter of John Hale and Countess Von Marburg and also an extremely powerful cradle witch. Alive
Mercy Lewis S03 Official Photoshoot.jpg
Mercy Lewis
Mercy Lewis was a witch who obtained her power under the guidance of Mary Sibley. Dead
S2 Official Photoshoot 12 -- Oliver Bell as John Sibley.jpg John Sibley John Sibley was the son of John Alden and Mary Sibley and also a witch. Dead

Witches: a list of all the witches who have appeared on the show.

Memorable Quotes

Cotton Mather: “If she speaks an ancient unknowable tongue — she be a witch! If he has the Devil's mark — he be a witch! If she is the source of affliction, maladies and conjuration — she be a witch. If she uses her beauty to tempt to ruin people of Salem to commit sins of the flesh — she be a witch! I have but one thing to say to the condemned souls that plague this God-fearing colony — You. Will. Burn!
WGN Salem Promo Teaser
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Cotton Mather: “The Devil was never going to let a promised land be built here without a fight, without a battle! And witches armed with deadly malice are the most malignant and insidious weapons in that battle! In that war.
Cotton Mather: “Even a single witch in Salem is enough to destroy everything we have built and ever hope to build here! Now, we have already killed three of them, and yet their malice continues unabated. Why? Because there are still witches here among us!
Cotton Mather: “Imagine a foe you can't see armed with weapons unknown and the ability to appear as any one of us!
Mary Sibley: “There is something worse than a witch hunt. A witch.
The Vow
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Mary Sibley:And what about witches? Do they have souls, too?
Cotton Mather:They do. But they have deeded them to the Devil himself in exchange for powers and all that they desire.
Mary Sibley:A contract? Ironic, as I believe, by law, a woman's not allowed to enter a contract but through the agency of their husband.
Cotton Mather:Not all witches are women.
The Vow
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Captain Alden: “What if the witches were not the common folk? Not those who trapped our food nor birthed our babies? What if the witches were those we've entrusted to lead? A member, perhaps, of our most esteemed board?
Survivors
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Tituba (to Increase Mather): “Tell me, who started this war between witches and Puritans? The scattered few of them or the mighty many of you?
Tituba (to Increase Mather): “Don't you see? There are no witches! Only poor people like me, hunted and harried, tortured and murdered, and for no reason other than they are not you!
The House of Pain
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Anne Hale (to Cotton Mather): “Living in Salem and not believing in witches is like living in London and not believing in fog. It is to deny what is right in front of you.
Cat and Mouse
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Shaman: “They seek to wake Him. They think they can control it but it will destroy them.
Anne Hale: “Just because I may bear certain unasked for traits doesn't make me a witch any more than owing a knife makes one a butcher!
Cry Havoc
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Mercy Lewis: “Nothing new under the Sun. That which is done unto us must be done unto others. That is the way of the world. To everything, there is a season, a time to every purpose in Hell. A time to reap, a time to sow. Yes. The season of the witch.
Book of Shadows
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Mary Sibley:He must appear to each of us. It is the prerequisite for all the power he grants. I know, his is a rough magic, indeed. But he proves that what does not kill us, makes us stronger.
Til Death Do Us Part
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Countess Von Marburg:The first and best of women, our mother Eve, followed the Serpent. And ever since, small-minded men have tormented us. Did you ever ask yourself what kind of a God plants a tree bearing the fruit of true knowledge, only to forbid his creation to partake?
Midnight Never Come
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The Dark LordTo the Reaper, all flesh is grass. Even witch flesh.
After the Fall
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Notes

  • According to Adam Simon, there is a difference in power between witches who are born and witches who are made [4]. What this difference is it remains unknown, however, Countess Von Marburg believes that witches who are born are superior to witches who are made. [5] Tituba also revealed that some witches, such as Anne Hale, who are born from old and powerful bloodlines, will come into their power much faster than witches who are made. Tituba explained to Mary Sibley that in spite of being the current Samhain, and having more years of experience and knowledge of witchcraft, Anne Hale will still surpass Mary within a matter of weeks in terms of raw power. [1]
  • According to Reverend Increase Mather, anyone can become a witch by making a deal with the Devil, thus making the task of Witch Hunters far more difficult.
  • Witches are known to have more knowledge and understanding of the supernatural forces that permeates the universe. Thus, witches are able to perform much more powerful works of sorcery than other magic practitioners. Their affiliation to the Devil and his rough magic also provide a boost to their works.
  • Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to be a witch in order to practice magic. Despite having no affiliation whatsoever with the Devil, indigenous shamans, Seers and folk healers, as well as amateur practitioners such as Mercy Lewis' acolytes, have proven that anyone can cast spells and perform other feats of magic, given the know-how. The primary difference lay in the source of their power and their aptitude. In "From Within", Mary admitted defeat against a well-thought cunning craft.

Trivia

  • Staying true to the premises of the show, some historical people are depicted as being real witches such as Mary Walcott, Tituba, John Hale, Mercy Lewis and Mr Stoughton to name a few.
  • Tituba, Giles Corey and Bridget Bishop are some of the in-universe depiction of historically accused people during the Salem Witch Trials.
  • The term "warlock" is never used to describe a male witch. While other terms, such as "Necromancer" is used to describe witches who practice necromancy, it seems that "witch" is a gender-neutral term that is applied to both men and women. In the third season, some witches have been referred to by the Devil as "Night's Black Agents."
  • The number of female witches is higher than their male counterparts in the show.

References

See Also