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Raise someone from the dead
|“||You know better than any of us how dangerous it is to breach the Wall of Silence. Raise the dead and you'll never know what you raise!||”|
— Essex Elder to Tituba
Dead Raising is the supernatural ability to restore life or consciousness in someone recently deceased.
Raising the dead is considered a dangerous practice even by the most expert witches. The reason is straightforward explained. It requires manipulating and managing intangible forces straight from Hell. There are several practices that fall into this category ranging from the basics to the most complex. The main distinction lies in the manners the spirit is brought back to the world of the living.
Distinctions and dangers
|“|| Risking necromancy without my aid is dangerous enough, |
but to raise Increase Mather from the dead...
— Tituba to Mary Sibley
When a witch wants to know the secrets of the Afterlife, or questioning a deceased about valuable information, they resort to Necromancy, a fine craft mastered by few. The milder form of necromancy is based on mediumship, or the ability to talk and see spirits and ghosts. Giving voice to the dead requires the use of the head of the corpse so that the spirit can temporarily reside in its former body, or in part of it. An advanced version of this is to call forth a phantom from Hell and giving it a vague corporeal form able to make itself visible or invisible, and used similarly to a spectral attack. Also, in this case, the effect is temporary.
Moreover, witches can instill a spark of life in rotten corpses by offering blood, thus creating Revenants that will obey their commands. These are nothing but corpses revived by witchcraft and used as puppets for lowly tasks. Only a great form of magic like that of the Dark Lord is able to raise revenants with their own will, able to walk the earth without constant concentration by the necromancer who raised them.
But the most dangerous and difficult of them all is the invocation, incarnation and full resuscitation of a deceased by means of witchcraft. Resurrection isn't an easy task, and breach the "Wall of Silence" can have drastic consequences. First, the corpse must be present in its entirety and the soul had to be stripped from Hell and restored to the body. This requires a great sacrifice, which may vary according to the circumstances. The witch's own life and all the blood flowing in their veins can be a fair price to resurrect someone. Alternatively, a hive of witches may resort to the powers of the Primordial Tree of Life and regenerate a carcass to a new life. In any case, these rituals are highly insidious and according to the warnings of an Essex Elder, when dealing with the Underworld one never knows what it might raise from the dead. Since these souls are freed from Hell, it's easy to believe that a resurrection can be a highly traumatic event. The memory of the punishment suffered in Hell, or the rare possibility to have had access to Heaven, could cause destabilization in the recently resurrected being.
- Petrus, formidable seer and cunning one, used to employ mild resurrection rituals to raise his stuffed animals in order to use them for various tasks. Generally, they were raised to attack potential unwanted guests of his hut, or to find out what their supernatural eyes had seen.
- Rose Browning proved to be able to raise a handful of dead bodies from the crags, simply dripping the ground with blood directly from her severed wrists. These corpses are revived as a mass of non-sentient living dead, also known as revenants, to attack her captors Cotton Mather and John Alden.
- Mary Sibley has proved an outstanding pupil in going beyond the teachings of her teacher and being able to revive the ghost of the infamous Increase Mather to extort information about their common enemy, the Countess Von Marburg. Moreover, Mary Sibley also attempted to resurrect George Sibley, recently killed by the Countess by drowning him through a spell so strong that not even repeated blood sacrifices and incantations performed by Mary Sibley and Tituba were able to counter. Mary was rather good at bartering her soul with that of John Alden, then raising her lost love while dying in his arms, having paid the price for such ritual with her own soul.
- The Devil has raised a flock of dead crows to attack Tituba, showing how not even animals are safe from his manipulation and once raised from the dead, these beings may be affected by the invisible threads of physical and mental control, like a puppeteer with his dolls. The Dark Lord was also able to raise several deceased Indians, turning them into enhanced Revenants as they, unlike Rose Browning's ones, were able to think, communicate and act autonomously.
- Tituba is the witch who has dealt with the world of the dead more than all the other Salem witches. According to the Hags, Tituba was the only one among them to know the art of necromancy. In fact, she summoned William Hooke's spirit from the Underworld with great ease. Tituba was even able to break the Wall of Silence, find Mary Sibley's soul and bring her back to life thanks to the help of Essex Hive and the Tree of Life. In addition to these already remarkable feats of Witchcraft, Tituba has proven to know enough Cunningcraft to be able to restore life into a stuffed cat, and using it as an extension of her newly regained sight. As if that was not enough, Tituba was able to reassemble and bring the Devil back into his dismembered host, summoning the spirit of the Devil hovering on earth after his defeat.
Known Spells and Rituals
- Mass Raising of the Undead: Blood is the sacrifice, that when accompanied with this incantation, and shed upon the Earth, will return any decedent human in the vicinity to a semblance of life, ever obedient to the sorcerer's will.
- Incantation: "Neopheyn! Barbas! Aligon! Anaboth! Madicon! Furcas!"
- Used by: Rose Browning
- To Bring Back a Soul from the Precipice of Death: A familiar must give all his lifeblood for this working, wherein a witch may use every last drop to imprint an image of her palm upon a dead man's heart. Once the blood mark is blessed with ash, a candle is placed above it. The rhyme below is intoned.
- Incantation: "Splinter of life, take haste, take hold. Quicken the breath to awaken the soul." (repeated until the corpse wakes up).
- Used by: Mary and Tituba
- Note: Mary had to use her own blood to augment the spell, slicing her tongue so that she may give George a "Kiss of Life" by bleeding into his mouth. The Countess' magic was too strong, as the drowning curse would activate everytime Mary resuscitated George.
- To Summon a Spirit from the Underworld: If a witch seeks answers which only a dead man may provide, she must exhume what remains of him, a head, if able, and bring it to her abode and lay it within a circle of candles, scattered thereupon with the very earth that filled his tomb. As these words of power are intoned, she must feast on a morsel of his flesh and kiss his dead lips, and wait for his emergence within the confines of a protective circle drawn from salt. The dead man's ghost will appear in spectral form. The witch may feed the ghost her blood to give him speech if she wishes, or she may leave him as silent as the grave.
- Incantation: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Every man feeds the conqueror worm. I eat your flesh, so obey, you must. By my command, moist earth turn. Give up your dead, their secrets to tell. [Name], I call you from Hell."
- Used by: Mary Sibley
- A Sacrifice of Love: If a witch be willing to wrest her beloved from Death's hands, she must give her soul in return for his, for there is no greater balance which must be maintained than that of death and life. To accomplish this mystical transference, a transfusion of sorts must be made, where the witch feeds her dead lover's lifeless corpse with all the blood that flows in her veins. These words shall be her last:
- Incantation: "Let blood to love flow and quicken love's light. My love's life let grow as my soul takes flight."
- Used by: Mary Sibley
- To Bring Life: Of all the rites of the Old Craft, there are none as perilous and as unpredictable as those of resurrection. Therefore, the art of raising the dead is a task which must only be undertaken in the direst of moments. If a witch seeks to circumvent the sacrificial requirement that is needed in all spells whose purpose is in the regeneration of once-living flesh, she must bring the hollow carcass of that which she wishes to revive to a place sacred to the Ancient Ways, as her hive's Stronghold, and appeal to her kindred, for the magic of one witch alone will not suffice. The blood of the coven when charmed with these words of power will invoke the spirit of the Hive Tree itself to encase the corpse within an enchanted chrysalis from whence it will awaken, living, whole and healed.
- Incantation: "From cloud to sea, from crown to throne. From blood to bough, from skin to bone. Tree of life in which we art, roots that feed from earth's deep heart. Rising branches charged from sky, come now, make her death a lie."
- Used by: Tituba and the Essex Elders
- Note: A witch cursed back to life with this spell will be bound to the stronghold whose powers revived her. When Mary was brought back from the dead, the Elders told her that she was "resurrected by the very life force of the primordial tree" and that she would be "forever bound to the realm of its roots", meaning that she can never leave Salem until the day she dies.
- While necromancy ensures the opportunity to converse with the dead, raising the dead allows them to walk on earth for a longer or shorter period depending on the ritual employed by the witch. Both allow to interact with the souls of the departed, but on different levels.
- Good part of the third season seems to be focused on the negative consequences of raising the dead, according to the implication given by season three's released promos.