|“||Submit to your Elders, myself included. And in the fullness of time, who knows what powers you might attain?||”|
— Mary Sibley to Mercy Lewis on Powers.
A Power is a supernatural ability that allows witches to manifest magical feats. Powers are also referred to as "tricks" or simply as "magic" and their effectiveness and level vary from witch to witch, especially from cradle witches to contract witches.
|“||You have known for some time that you can move objects with your thought and without touch, but you must learn to do it without the heat of emotion. A lightning bolt may scorch an entire forest. Only a human hand can build a fire and tend a flame. Control is all.||”|
— John Hale to his daughter Anne
The origins of powers must be sought in affiliation with divine entities, with the Devil as a primary power source for the practice of Witchcraft (also known as Malice, or Maleficium). The domination of one's emotions, as well as mastering spells and rituals, lead witches to demonstrate feats out of the ordinary, such as moving objects without touching them, divine the future, manipulate weather to even cause death through sheer force of will. Generally, active powers such as Telekinesis or Elemental Control are used in hand to hand fights or for minor purposes, while other sophisticated powers such as Astral Projection or Necromancy seem to require certain tools or ritualistic actions to be performed. While spells are the medium by which every person must use in order to achieve a magical effect, it appears that once a person has mastered a spell, they can perform it features through their will and without the usual ritualistic requirements.
|“||There is one power above all others, a divine power that comes with the greatest of responsibilities That of life and death. The essence in all things is palpable to you. With it, you can give life or snatch it away. This is the truest 'malice' a witch may perform. To kill at a distance with nothing but their will.||”|
— from John Hale's Book of Shadows
The apex of the powers granted to those who practice sorcery is the ability to attain power over life and death. Since witches are attuned with the supernatural forces behind the Universe, known to most as Magic, they are also able to access the higher powers, sharing a shred of the divine power of creation. For everything has its counterpart, witches also have the power of destruction. Since this is the most precious and powerful ability a witch can handle, it is also the most seductive and unstable, because the witch will be brought to use it whenever it is deemed appropriate and this can vary greatly depending on the ethics of the witch. Since the practice of maleficium has proven to blacken even the most innocent heart, it comes without saying that this seductive power will be increasingly being used to cause harm and not for good.
|“||It's your own life force, Anne. Deep down, beneath the guilt, you want to live.||”|
— Mary Sibley
Witches learn to take in the life force in all the creatures around them, turning the power within it and directing it as their will toward a chosen target. Channeling a life force is described by Mary Sibley as terror that slowly becomes a fascination and eventually joy. Witches who draw on this prodigious power may also be able to channel human beings in their spellcraft, as when a newbie witch Mercy Lewis took advantage of the help of her followers to perform noteworthy spells. This same Life Force, under certain circumstances, proved to act independently of the witch's will, as happened when Anne Hale's body magically healed wounds on her wrists because her subconscious didn't allow her to kill herself.
Vital force can be considered as one of the most characteristic aspects of magic acting as a driving force of the Universe, because according to Mary Sibley magic is more than just a tool for changing reality, but is also an essential aspect of life overall. Magic is responsible for the aesthetic gratification experienced by everyday people (specifically things like art, music and poetry and even the will to live for some). When used for evil purposes, the Divine Power that exploits life forces can be classified as a deadly breath which causes death in all that reaches. This so-called 'witch breathe' was employed by Countess Von Marburg to kill a bee hive in a ritual of sympathetic magic by simply blowing in the jar containing the bees, and by Mary Sibley to squeeze the life force from Anne Hale by means of a cursed doll which caused painful hemorrhages to the young woman.
Revocation of power
Main Article: Reckoning
Since these powers originated from affiliation with otherworldly entities, any transgression towards such deity or supreme being can lead to the loss of supernatural abilities they provided. As magic is based on the control over the four natural elements (earth, air, water, and fire), the witch judged as a traitor against the Devil will undergo a ritualistic ordeal known as Reckoning. During this ceremony, the Devil will erase control over the natural elements from the witch's body one by one. This action declares null and void the contract made at the time of the witch's initiation, and also requires the immolation of the familiar.
Known Powers and Abilities
|Basic Powers and Abilities|
|Potion Brewing||The act of brewing and concocting paranormal potions that have supernatural effects.||Witches; Cunning Ones|
|Sacrifices||The act of increasing power via bloodshed||Witches; Cunning Ones|
|Spell Casting||The act of changing and controlling events through the use of incantations and recitations.||Witches; Cunning Ones|
|Advanced Powers and Abilities|
|Astral Projection||The power to project the astral body from outside of the physical body in order to travel from one location to another.|| Mary Sibley;|
|Bilocation||The power to appear in two locations at once while maintaining separate consciousnesses.||Countess Von Marburg;|
|Blooming||The act of restoring youth and health to damaged bodies.||Countess Von Marburg;|
Mercy Lewis; Anne Hale
|Clairvoyance||The practice of divination through the perception of emotions, objects, people, or physical phenomena.||Petrus; Tituba;|
Mary Sibley; Little John
|Dead Raising||The ability to bring back someone from the dead.||Petrus|
|Divination||The power to divine future, past, and present events based off extrasensory perception.||Petrus; Mary Sibley;|
John Hale; Mab; The Hags
Countess Von Marburg;
|Divine Power||The power to control life and death itself through truest malice.||Angels; Witches|
|Dream Walking||The power to control and manipulate the dreams of another through mental invasion.||Tituba; Mary Sibley;|
Countess Von Marburg
|Elemental Control||The power to control and manipulate the element of air, earth, fire and water.||all witches; Angels|
|Glamour||The power to create believable experiences and hallucinations of something that is not present.||Tituba; Mary Sibley;|
Countess Von Marburg
|Invisibility||The power to magically hide from the sight||Mercy Lewis; John Alden;|
|Levitation||The power to float or rise the physical body within midair through mental influence.||Mary Sibley;|
|Longevity||High lifespan protracted supernaturally||Countess Von Marburg;|
Sebastian Von Marburg;
|Necromancy||The ability to conjure the spirit of the dead.||Tituba; Petrus; Mary Sibley|
|Omnilingualism||Understand and speak all sorts of language via supernatural means||Fallen Angels; Witches|
|Psychometry||The practice of divination through contact with or proximity to a certain object, place or person.||Mary Sibley;|
Countess Von Marburg
|Puppetry||The ability to take control and manipulate the movements and gestures of others as if they were puppets.||Mary Sibley; Anne Hale;|
Countess Von Marburg
|Retrocognition||The power to read thoughts, feelings and memories of others through a blood kiss||Countess Von Marburg ;|
Sebastian Von Marburg
|Shapeshifting||The power to shape-shift into another being or develop some of their features||Familiars; Mercy Lewis|
|Telekinesis||The act of control and manipulate the movement of objects and persons through mental influence.||apparently all witches|
|Teleportation||The power to disappear from one location and instantly reappearing in another location.||Mary Sibley; John Hale;|
Countess Von Marburg
|Weather Control||The ability to control the weather via magical means.||Countess Von Marburg;|
John Sibley; Anne Hale
Note: since Witchcraft is thought to originate from the Devil, it is assumed that he possesses all these abilities if not even more that have yet to be shown.
- Unlike other supernatural fictional universes, the authors of WGN Salem never put strict boundaries and labels to the witches' powers. Apart from a few like Necromancy, Dream Walking, Projection, Glamour, and Blooming named on-screen or behind the scenes, and that have quite distinctive features in the show, all the others listed on Salem Wiki have been named according to mainstream names (such as Telekinesis or Clairvoyance) to facilitate discussion and comprehension among the fans. However, names are to be accorded to Salem's themes, mimicking official names; Thus, sci-fi terminologies are discouraged.
- Most of the so-called powers are nothing but the result of spells and rituals performed by a witch.
- According to Tituba, a Cradle Witch (also known as born witch) develops and masters the powers faster and easier than a so-called Contract witch, becoming even more powerful of the Queen of the Night.
- Is not known the exact potential that born witches can reach and if they can develop or master different powers than contract witches.
- According to the Countess, she has powers that go far beyond those of the "magic wand" of a mere Essex witch as Mary Sibley. If it was a simple show off or the plain truth is not known.
- A common feature of almost all powers and abilities is to have completely white eyes during the course of a ritual or incantation, especially those related to extrasensory abilities as may be Divination or Clairvoyance, but also Glamour and Astral Projection. Another side effect of some complex powers is to cause an involuntary levitation during the carrying out of the ritual.