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Hell
S310 Hell 05
General Information
Residents

souls of the damned; demons

Type

Infernal dimension of eternal damnation and suffering


You find me fully prepared to burn like a human candle for eternity in a pit of burning black tar with all the other damned.
— Cotton Mather about Hell

Hell, also known as the Underworld, is the kingdom of the damned that is hidden deep within the earth and is ruled by the Devil.

Description

Most of those who have ever lived are now dead. All but very few must surely burn in Hell. We may someday over-people this vast, empty new land, but I fear that we have already over-peopled Hell. So that, as it is written in Isaiah, "Hell hath enlarged Herself."
— Cotton Mather about Hell

According to Cotton Mather, the belief that Hell is completely made of fire is a common misconception and is actually a world of black tar that burns hotter than earthly flames. It was created by the Abrahamic God to imprisoned the angels that rebelled against him. The Reverend also stated that there are more souls in Hell than there are in Heaven. Cotton explained to John Alden that every man, woman and child has committed sins, and for these sins, everyone will be judged and punished. Hell is a place of eternal damnation and suffering, made of black tar, flames and red-hot lava.

Personal Hell and related beliefs

Widespread belief proven by those who have been to Hell and back, like Increase Mather, it is the existence of "Personal Hells." According to this belief, every soul damned to Hell experience eternal punishment according to the law of retaliation; Suffering the oppression inflicted to others in life. Increase Mather, for example, he was constantly tortured by beings identical in appearance to him.

Salem - Episode 1.01 - The Vow - Promotional Photos (3) 595 slogo

Witches dancing in a pool of Hell-blood and fire during a Sabbath

While the basis of Hell generally remains a mystery, contrary to Abrahamic belief, witches believe that not all souls suffer in the Underworld. For many souls, especially those of witches, life in the Underworld is considerably pleasant. According to Increase Mather, after he touched Hell-blood, the boiling black tar scorched his flesh to the point that years later they still stung. However, during the Witches' Sabbath to commence the Grand Rite, Isaac Walton and John Alden witnessed numerous witches dancing and playing and swimming in tar without fear or pain. This implies that while Hell is painful towards those who oppose the Devil, Hell is pleasurable towards those who support him.

According to Mary Sibley, Hell is not a world of pain and suffering, but an end to it. Mary explains that the Hell that is taught in biblical scripture is a barbaric lie created by the Christian rulers as a means to use fear and manipulation to turn the nations away from the Old Ways and submit to their biblical God. Mary further explains that the miserable and painful "Hell" that is taught in Christianity is not the true Hell that follows death, but the strict and tyrant world being created by the Puritans. It is because of this joyless world being created by the Puritans that for the last five hundred years, witches have attempted to complete the Grand Rite as a means to eradicate the Puritans and create a world free of their violent hypocrisy and oppression.

Since no Dark Lord's supporter has ever been shown into Hell, there is no way to refute or support Mary Sibley's assertion with absolute certainty. However, it is possible that her beliefs about a pleasant Afterlife are misunderstandings about Heaven, since heathens and Native Americans were seen to walk to the divine light after death.

Cotton Mather's Hell

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Cotton's crucifixed behind the Hell Gate

Attracted to peer through the keyhole of the Hell Gate, Cotton Mather saw himself crowned with thorns and nailed to a crucifix upside down, surrounded by flames in a church burned to its foundations. This vision threw Cotton into despair, prompting him to believe that such would be his destiny after death. Later, after sacrificing himself to save the lives of Salem's citizens, Cotton Mather walked through the threshold of Hell and descended into a cave that led to Hell. Here, Cotton appeared to a stone pulpit decorated with weeping angels made of stone, and witnessed a boundless lava and fire expanse, with demons in the act of torturing souls, throwing them from a cliff directly into the depths of the abyss.

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Demons torturing souls in Hell as witnessed by Cotton

Fallen Angels' Hell

According to the statements of the Sentinel, the angels who rebelled against God were thrown into the depths of the infernal pit, condemned to suffer atrocious suffering for eons. At the time of his temporary freedom, the Sentinel stated that his brothers were still prisoners, crying out to get freedom from their infernal home.

Increase Mather's Hell

When Mary Sibley summoned the spirit of Increase from the shadows of the afterlife, he revealed that he was trapped in a hell where hundreds of demons with his appearance tortured him uninterruptedly. This was due to the man's behavior in his life, forced to suffer the same punishments he had inflicted on others.

Mary Sibley's Hell

After Mary Sibley was deprived of her powers during "The Reckoning" ritual, she suffered terribly lively hallucinations that put her in front of her sins. As she was in delirium, Mary Sibley had to deal with the sad reality of having stained herself with innocent blood to complete the Grand Rite. Conquered by the anger of her victims, Mary suffered theirs trials. Despite the hallucinations do not exactly represent her real personal Hell, these visions laid bare Mary's sins that burdened her soul.

Tituba's Hell

Tituba mouthless

A mouthless Tituba in a cage

When Anne Hale rose to the title of "Queen of the Night," she made sure to clear her way by getting rid of all the witches that mined her authority. When she visited Tituba in her cabin, Anne put her hands on Tituba's eyes, and immediately Tituba was confined to a cage in a slave ship, with a mouthless face. However, it is unclear whether Anne killed Tituba and that was Tituba's personal Hell, or whether it was only a vision that would discourage Tituba from opposing to Anne Hale's authority in Salem. There is also the possibility that Anne magically carried Tituba aboard a real ship.

Hell Gates

Main article: Hell Gate
Anne at the threshold of hell

Anne in front of the Hell Gate

Thresholds for Hell are mystical places marking the border between the horror of the world of the living and the unspeakable atrocities hidden in the deepest Hell gorges. A rare and brief Hell Gate is opened thanks to the sacrifice of many victims, whose carcasses are turned into Hell-blood during the last stage of the Grand Rite, to allow the rise of Satan on Earth.

The most important Hell Gate, however, is the one created by the Devil himself, meant to be open on the verge of Black Sunday, to complete the Great Terror. It is a door that leads directly to Hell through a stone spiral staircase leading to the center of the earth. These Hell Gates can be crossed by living people, as proven by both Dr Samuel Wainwright and by Cotton Mather, respectively through hell-blood pool, and doorway.

In History

The modern English word Hell is derived from Old English helhelle (about 725 AD to refer to a nether world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period. The word has cognates in related Germanic languages, were the term was used to describe the Underworld ruled by a being named Hel, described in the Poetic Edda as a daughter of the the trickster god Loki. The pagan Hell, and especially the Norse one with which the Christian's Hell shares the name, has nothing to do with the Abrahamic religion concept of Afterlife. The word was used to transfer a pagan concept to Christian theology and its vocabulary (however, for the Judeo-Christian origin of the concept see Gehenna).

Hell appears in several mythologies and religions. It is commonly inhabited by demons and the souls of dead people. A fable about hell which recurs in folklore across several cultures is the allegory of the long spoons. Hell is often depicted in art and literature, perhaps most famously in Dante's Divine Comedy.

Memorable Quotes

Mary Sibley: Oh, I've already offered up my soul to Hell. You, on the other hand, must have been terribly surprised to find yourself consigned there.
Increase Mather: Nothing could have surprised me less. No, I've always gone where all the others, my idiot son included, are too weak to go. I take the battle to the very heart of darkness. I would do it again.
-- The Beckoning Fair One
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Mary Sibley: Each man's Hell is as unique as his crimes. What was yours?
Increase Mather : Mine it is me strapped into my own torture chair, beset by a legion of devils, each wearing my own face, mortifying my flesh with implements far more fiendish than any I could ever have contrived, gripped in hands as scarred as my own. No one can imagine or bear the torments of one's own worst acts.
-- in The Beckoning Fair One
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Mary Sibley: They say that those of us who find our Hell on Earth will find our Heaven in Hell. 
-- The Beckoning Fair One
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Sebastian Von Marburg (to Dr Wainwright): To your exploration, sir. You shall be the first man since Dante to enter Hell alive.
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The Dark Lord: (to The Sentinel): Can you not hear their cries echoing from hell? Rest assured. Our brothers will be freed and our tyrant Father will weep.
-- The Reckoning
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The Sentinel: All power corrupts. And God's divine power is no exception. Our rebellion against Him was entirely just.
Cotton Mather: Just or unjust, your rebellion failed.
The Sentinel: Yes, we failed. And we fell to a place so far from the light that we forgot what light, and life, even was.
Cotton Mather: We call it Hell.
The Sentinel: We called it Home.
-- The Commonwealth of Hell
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Cotton Mather: My father told me that there was no time in Hell no past, no future, only all of time in an eternal present. And that I was already there burning beside him. I have tormented myself ever since, wondering what crime I could possibly commit that would so consign myself to Hell. I am relieved. It was no crime, but a choice. I will choose to be in Hell, so that others may not.
-- Black Sunday
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Gallery

Trivia

  • According to Mary Sibley, "those who find their hell on earth, will find their heaven in hell." This implies that not all souls suffer in hell. While some souls, such as Increase Mather, hate it there and think of hell as a prison of misery and torment, other souls love it there and think of hell as a paradise of happiness and pleasure.
  • Co-creator Brannon Braga said that Hell it’s an actual place and that their vision of Hell was based on the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. [1]
  • While in the early seasons witches were convinced that Hell was a Christian fabrication to scare followers to behave according to their rules, the third season proved the existence of actual Hell as described in the Bible and theological texts, although such Hell was seen only by Cotton and, therefore, can be interpreted as Cotton's personal Hell. The existence of angels and demons confined to Hell, tormenting themselves and the souls of the damned, however, seems to support the theory that hell is the reward for all sinners.
  • According to Baron Sebastian Von Marburg, Dr Samuel Wainwright is the first man after Dante Alighieri to enter Hell while he was still alive. In the third season, Cotton Mather will do the same.
    • Co-creator Adam Simon confirmed that Samuel Wainwright was still alive in Hell, and that the experience led him to madness. That storyline would have to be dealt with, but it was set aside for unknown reasons. [2]

References

  1. Brannon Braga about Hell and it's role in season three
  2. Spoiler.tv Adam Simon exclusive interview for season three

See Also

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