Witch Hunter
Salem-Promo-Still-S01E07-19-Increase Mather
General Information



extensive knowledge of torture techniques and hunting, great charisma and physical strength


God, The Church, Puritan Council

They shall receive their trial before the greatest and most merciful of judges [...] When hunting witches, far better a hundred innocents die than a single solitary witch walks free.

A Witch Hunter is a man driven by religious or personal reasons undertaking a personal struggle with the Devil, and who swears to eradicate the witches from Earth itself.


Specifically God-fearing men, often holding public office or members of the clergy, Witch Hunters are known for their obsession to free Earth from evil, regardless of the consequences or the means that this chase can bring. Dressed all in blacks, serious and blinded by their beliefs, they do not accept nuances. For them, the world is divided into black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. And they are the very emblem of Reason and the will of the Almighty. The only hunter who stands out from this categorization is John Alden, who is not moved by religious fanaticism, but by personal motivations.

Shamanic Witch Hunter[1]

Cotton Mather: "What happened to you, John?"

John Alden: "I fought fire with fire and got burned."

— describing John's new condition

A human who desires to defeat witches can come to terms with the Great Spirit revered by the native tribes and undergo a long and dangerous ceremony during which he is transformed. This champion will be equipped with enhanced abilities and magical tools that can counter the malevolent magic of witches. However, this ceremony, as well as the consistent use of the tools of power, are likely to eat more and more the soul and mind of the hunter, making him more similar to his own prey, a witch. Shamanic Witch Hunter has a number of tattoos on his chest and back that reproduce intricate glyphs belonging to the shamanistic culture of Native Americans. According to both Tituba and the Shaman, this process is very dangerous and deteriorating for the man who decides to transform himself into a kind of supernatural hunter.

Skills and Abilities

Witch hunters are known for their subtle to expose deception skills, both with the simple persuasion as with psychological terror and, of course, by means of torture devices. Each has its own specific abilities and skills, but all of them are united by the burning desire to unmask the diabolical conspiracies of earthly servants of the Evil One, thus freeing the land from the satanic threat. Unmask a witch usually requires evidence of guilt that leads the hunter to set-up an examination; Generally, such proofs are accusations by fellow citizens, abnormal signs on the body of the accused known as Devil's Mark, and deviant behavior.


Main Articles: Torture Devices, Tools of Power

One of the witch hunters' hallmark is their sadistic inclination to resort to violence and torture to extract confessions from their victims. This same sadism reaches its peak in death sentences, killing in extreme ways such as burning their victims alive, by beheading them, stoning them or drowning them. It often happens that some hunters have recourse to Low Magic tricks, as amulets or herbs, that have a negative effect on witches. This mix of magical practices is justified by faith in the Almighty who has made available to hunters some natural instruments, in order to counteract witches' misdeeds. A Shamanic Witch Hunter, however, can resort to tools specifically enchanted for this purpose. Tools of Power are special instruments (a witch dagger, a moonstone, and a medicine bag) infused with positive magic by means of an unknown shamanic ceremony, used by a champion of the Great Spirit to defeat witches and shield themselves from their wicked sorcery.

Throughout the Salem series

To Be Added

Known Witch Hunters

Witch Hunter Description Status
Increase Mather
An experienced witch hunter, notorious for his cruel methods and his policy of non-existence of innocence of the accused. Strategist, mental manipulator and tormentor, Increase Mather was one of the worst witch hunters in history. Dead
Salem 102 012214 0650 L
Cotton Mather
Sent to Salem in the stead of his father, Cotton Mather proved to be a merciful witch hunter when compared to standard, always willing to seek evidence and credible admissions instead of judging to death easily. Alive
John Alden
In response to accusations of witchcraft, and having received shelter at the Indian Village, John Alden undertook the personal struggle to exterminate the witches of Salem, using mystical means to fight on equal terms with the servants of Satan. Alive
Isaac Walton S03 official photoshoot Isaac Walton Following the murder of his beloved Dollie, Isaac was named Nightwatcher of Knocker's Hole, starting his own personal witch hunt, particularly targeting Mercy Lewis. Unknown
Witches Hunting Down Witches
PalatineCountess InfoboxMainPicture
Countess Von Marburg
In spite of being a witch herself, for centuries she has eradicated with dispicable methods entire hives of witches that were in her way. Undead


Memorable Quotes

Cotton Mather: "But, father, they might have been innocent."
Increase Mather: "Innocent? Innocent of what? The family is well-known as wastrels and curs."
Cotton Mather: "They had no trial, no examination."
Increase Mather: "And they shall receive their trial before the greatest and most merciful of judges. You are deemed to be innocent, I trust the Lord will see to their recompense. But you You have you turned imbecile? All you do is sow the deadly seeds of doubt. Do you not see, when hunting witches, far better a hundred innocents die than a single solitary witch walks free? Yes! Now, sit you down. Consider your mistakes."
Our Own Private America
Mr. Hathorne: "What are you doing here anyway? I'd heard you'd been admonished not to interfere any further with Salem's affairs."
Cotton Mather: "Salem's affairs are every man's affairs."
Mr. Hathorne: "I am magistrate now, and I will deal with prisoners as I see fit. Really, Mather. You're not needed here. Salem is almost as sick of witch hunters as it is of witches."
— in Book of Shadows
Tituba: "So much magic on your flesh. You are becoming what you hunt, witch hunter. Careful, or you'll be torn apart by your own dogs."
John Alden: "I hunt. I am my own dog."
Tituba: "And so you tear yourself apart. Such a desperate move, to let a medicine man bind your soul to the Great Spirit. Did they even warn you of the price you'd pay for such power?"
— in The Beckoning Fair One


  • In Salem, Increase Mather is portrayed as a violent and sadistic witch hunter that reminds a lot of Matthew Hopkins, which has also inspired several novels and films, primarily "The Witchfinder", rather than the historical Increase Mather, who was much of a scholar instead of a witch hunter.

Historical Facts


A Witch-Hunter in an illustration of the time

  • Of all the past centuries, the XVII century is surely one of the most bizarre, compared to modern sensibilities. Epidemics of vampirism, chewers shrouds, saints whose remains prodigious performed miracles, and finally they, the witches. Before the Early Modern Europe Witch-hunt, of which the Salem trials are one of the last events excluding the current witch-hunts in Africa, the role of witch hunter was covered by the Inquisitor, an official (usually with judicial or investigative functions) in an Inquisition; an organization or program intended to eliminate heresy and other things contrary to the doctrine or teachings of the Catholic faith.
  • One of the most famous Witch-Hunters during the Early Modern Witch Hunt in Europe was Matthew Hopkins, who had been a lawyer, practicing in Essex. Many of his methods of the Inquisition were not far removed from actual torture. He pricked any skin deformity on the accused that was thought to be an extra pap for suckling imps; such parts, if insensible, were believed to prove that the accused was a witch. Another method was to force the accused to walk about all night, for only when at rest could a witch summon his or her familiars, who would terrify the accusers away. A further test was to fling the accused bound into the water, because a witch, having denied his or her baptism, would, in turn, be repelled by the water so that he or she would float and not sink into it.


  1. Provisional name pending the exact word provided by the show itself or of a better term provided by Salem fans

See Also