Secret Circle 001.jpg
Aliases: Warlocks
Films: Witchouse
Programs: Charmed; Penny Dreadful
The Secret Circle

A witch is a practicioner of magic, a scholar of the occult, or a manipulator of supernatural forces. A witch is usually a gender-specific term referring to a woman. Male witches exist, but are usually referred to as warlocks. Classically, witches are portrayed as wicked women with evil intent, often laboring in the service of some malefic force, such as a demon, or even the Devil himself. A gathering of witches, who combine their efforts towards a common girl are referred to as a coven or a circle.

Other interpretations demonstrate witches as members of any number of pagan religions, which are not necessarily evil in purpose or intent. The most well known of such pagan social groups are Wiccans, who practice Earth elemental magic known as Wicca.

Popular tradition holds that the only absolute way of identifying a witch is by drowning them. This test was widely administered during the 17th century in which a suspected witch was tied to a dunking chair and lowered into a body of water. Witches cannot be drowned, so if she survived, then she was clearly a witch. Unfortunately, if one were innocent then they would certainly die. This theory is taken from traditional lore that originated in Europe.

Witches in film[edit | edit source]

The first film to feature witchcraft was the French movie Le Manoir du diable, which was directed and produced by Georges Méliès in 1896. In the film, a young woman greets a French soldier before transforming into a witch before his eyes. Several more witches appear and begin running about in a circle, brandishing broom sticks. Another soldier arrives, but soon flees. As the witches continue dancing in a circle, the first soldier grows scared. Simultaneously, they drop to their knees and disappear.

Witches in television[edit | edit source]

Piper, Phoebe and Prue from Charmed.

Witches have appeared in all forms of television entertainment over the years. One of the most well-known witch-related programs is Charmed, which aired on the WB Network for eight seasons from 1998 to 2003. The series narrative followed the four Halliwell sisters, Prue, Piper, Phoebe and, later, Paige, the culmination of the long Warren line of powerful, good witches. The sisters, despite being perceived as normal by the non-supernatural community, were known as The Charmed Ones in the magical community, whose prophesied destiny was to battle against evil beings, such as demons and warlocks and to protect innocent lives from being endangered. Each sister possessed unique magical powers that grew and evolved, while they attempted to hold normal working lives in San Francisco, California. Keeping their paranormal identities separate and secret from their ordinary lives formed part of the series' tension and challenges, with the exposure of magic having far-reaching consequences on relationships, and having resulted in a number of police and FBI investigations throughout the run of the series.

In the continuity of the 1974-1975 supernatural mystery series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, several methods were provided for identifying and stopping a witch. The episode, "The Trevi Collection" posits that if one accuses a person of witchcraft in public, it lessons their power greatly until such time as they can be executed. It also establishes that witches cannot stand the sounds of a bell ringing or glass shattering. It causes them physical pain and even renders them virtually powerless. The main character from the show, Carl Kolchak, used these methods to identify and incapacitate a witch named Madelaine.

On the NBC television series Grimm, Detective Nick Burkhardt encounters several creatures which are demonic witches known as Hexenbiest. These beings are obsessed with immortality and physical beauty, similar to that of the evil queen from Snow White.

Witches in books[edit | edit source]

Author L.J. Smith is known for crafting two series of novels involving supernatural fiction, The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, both of which were adapted into television programs in the 21st century. The Secret Circle centered around a teenage neophyte witch named Cassie Blake, who relocates to a new community where she learns about the occult heritage of her family, as well as other magically-endowed teens in the town. There were three books published under The Secret Circle banner; "The Initiation", "The Captive" and "The Power".

Witches of note[edit | edit source]

Character Source
Adalind Schade Grimm
Bathia Mapes Dark Shadows
Billie Jenkins Charmed
Bubbles McGee American Horror Story
Christy Jenkins Charmed
Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt American Horror Story
Dinah Stevens American Horror Story
Fiona Goode American Horror Story
Hecate Poole Penny Dreadful
Jeesala Marvel Comics
Joan Clayton Penny Dreadful
Katrina Crane Sleepy Hollow
Mad Hettie DC Comics
Mallory American Horror Story
Melinda Halliwell Charmed
Marie L'Angell Preacher
Melinda Warren Charmed
Paige Matthews Charmed
Penny Halliwell Charmed
Phoebe Halliwell Charmed
Piper Halliwell Charmed
Prudence Halliwell Charmed
Queenie American Horror Story
Tanjella Charmed
Tara Maclay Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tituba Historical record
Topaz Werewolf by Night
Tracy Davis Supernatural
Xula Zombie Tramp
Zoe Benson American Horror Story

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Films[edit | edit source]

Television[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

American Horror Story logo.jpg
This article relates to the American Horror Story television series.
Charmed logo.jpg
This article relates to the Charmed television series.
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This article relates to the Grimm television series.
This template will categorize articles that include it in into the Grimm miscellaneous category.
Secret Circle logo.jpg
This article relates to the Secret Circle novels and television series.
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This article relates to the Werewolf by Night comic book franchise.
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