a plague caused by the opening of the Malum in order to decimate the population and cleanse the land for the rise of Satan.
|“||A month from now every man, woman and child in this cursed town will be dead by the pox or on our side.||”|
One of the intermediate steps of the Grand Rite is to spread a plague in order to use the bodies of the victims as a fuel to unleash the fires of Hell on Earth. The disease, as mentioned by Dr. Wainwright, spread neither by air nor by contagion, but simply pollutes the bodies of the victims without any type of distinction. According to the most powerful witch of Salem, Mary Sibley, the disease affects everyone who is not aligned with the witches or is a witch themselves. The bodies of the afflicted are covered with festering pustules that secrete a fetid liquid and cause extreme pain in the afflicted. The secretion inside the body is a corrosive hellish tar, corroding whichever surface straight to Hell. Internal organs dissolve and transform the entire body in a pool of Hell-blood, the fuel that, along with hundreds of other melted bodies, helps to form an hellblood lake that will be a real Hell Gate for the rise of the mighty Dark Lord when the right time comes, namely the arrival of the Starry Messenger Comet. To some such Dr Wainwright, the plague seems to shows a sign of compassion because it kills very quickly.
Throughout the Salem Series
After the preparative part of the Great Rite, sacrificing thirteen humans, the Salem witches continue with the next step of their dreadful intent to purge the Earth so that the Devil can walk on it. Once the Malum was opened, the plague began to spread through the streets of Salem, hitting all those people who are not aligned with the witches. The first outbreak of plague is Knocker's Hole, the neighbourhood of the poor. Here a man chasing a chicken thief, ventures into a hovel, although a child has predicted that in there is nested Death. Here the man finds the chicken thief, but also a dozen bodies infected with the plague. One of them, a woman horribly disfigured by pustules, falls on him, puking on him infected pus. The infected bodies are gathered by hooded men who wear masks with a beak filled with medicinal herbs. John Alden exploits this mask to walk unnoticed in the streets of Salem.
Mary Sibley is strong in her convictions and is proud of the achievement she reached, as long as her authority is not challenged on several fronts. Mercy Lewis is reckless and refuses to accept the hierarchy inside the hive, claiming for herself the crown of Queen of the Night. Even on the political level, Mary is losing power. The city council is tired of being controlled by a woman (although on behalf of the husband). To be seen to that is Wendell Hathorne, which aims the role of magistrate. This small political drama is a distraction that must be erased before the witches are unmasked; Mary needs a major role in deciding the fate of the victims of the plague. The woman, in fact, gave the order to bury the infected dead away from the city, in the crags, to avoid contagion. She's strongly supported in this choice by Dr Wainwright, a man just arrived in the city to provide his services. The doctor, in fact, is an expert on plagues and think he can help Salem with its outbreak of plague.
The man really demonstrates himself to be proficient in his research and discovered that the first to fall ill was Isaac "the fornicator", who was really the first victim of the disease released by the Malum. Using Isaac's blood to prepare a vaccine, with the help of Cotton Mather, Dr Wainwright also discovers that the victims of the plague are merely empty shells inside which boils hellblood, a fetid and corrosive liquid similar in the consistency of tar. The two men join their knowledge, namely the scientific and the spiritual one, to get to the bottom of the mysterious pox. Unfortunately, the doctor is seduced by Mary Sibley and joins the cause of the witches, making vain the attempts of Cotton Mather.
The victims of the plague are so thrown into the crags where, with the arrival of a so-called "Starry Messenger Comet," turn into pools of steaming Hellblood. The doctor, however, ends up a victim of the feud between the witches of Salem and the Von Marburgs, when Sebastian Von Marburg, driven by jealousy since he's in love with Mary Sibley, throws him while he is still alive in the lake of Hellblood, saying to him that will walk in Hell as Dante Alighieri. The plague has served its purpose, now it is time to proceed to the next step to complete the Grand Rite and awaken the Devil, making him rise from the lake.
- Mary Sibley (to Salem congregation): "This is not the time to fall into despair. Yes, since the discovery of this awful pox in Knocker's Hole, four more households have been felled. And not all of them in that downtrodden place. Good homes in fine neighbourhoods are not immune, and none of us are safe. This scourge has taken our own Magistrate Hale and his loving wife, leaving behind their sorrowful daughter, Anne. But we can and will protect ourselves from the ravages of this pox. It may require some sacrifices, some strictures. But these are small prices to pay."
- -- Cry Havoc
- Dr. Wainwright (to Salem congregation): "If you think this pox cares whether you be led by a woman or a man, you will all die. The pox " no more discriminates by sex than a lion prefers to eat a man or a woman. Though like a lion, it may take the weakest first. And I have just been to where your weakest reside, in wretched Knocker's Hole. I had hoped to give them more voice here than they obviously have, but I find you all consumed with petty politics. I'm headed back there now to see what can be done."
- -- Cry Havoc
- Mary Sibley (to George Sibley): "With the first bodies being delivered to the crags, we are well under way. You people have no idea what's coming for you. You are so dim, with no more understanding of the celestial movements than ants have. We witches have always understood the skies and known how to predict what is coming. And what is coming is death for all of you and a new life for us. The comet will be here soon. Our plague turns your dead bodies into Wells of hell-blood. The crags will be filled when the comet passes over. Well, then you puritans will be right for once. The comet really will be a portent of doom Your doom. All of your dooms."
- -- From Within
- Witch Pox, one of the main theme of the second season, was already planned during the writing of the first scripts. In fact, as stated by Adam Simon, co-creator of the show during several interviews, season one had the function to introduce the characters and the dynamics between them, while the focus of the story begins with the second season.
- In Season Two Special "Witch War", show co-creator Brannon Braga described the Witch Pox as a supernatural bio-weapon.
- Main article: Season Two/Salem Experience
- Plagues are not just a Bible story. A plague - or a pox in Salem - was any disease that decimated a population. People believed that it was a punishment from God. It was the only way to make sense of such a devastating loss of life. The best-known cases of plague in the Middle Ages are the ones who decimated entire villages of Europe, under the name of Black Death. For many years, any doctor who tried to cure a plague was labelled a witch. The pox was God’s will after all and must be a fitting punishment to any who succumb to it. However, as the years went on and the death toll from disease mounted, even Puritans gradually accepted inoculation as an acceptable alternative to death. Thanks in part to a leading inoculation advocate, Cotton Mather.
- A plague doctor was a special medical physician who treated those who had the plague. They were specifically hired by towns that had many plague victims in times of epidemics. Since the city was paying their salary, they treated everyone: both rich and poor. Some plague doctors wore a special costume, although graphic sources show that plague doctors wore a variety of garments. The plague doctor's costume was the clothing worn by a plague doctor to protect him from airborne diseases. The costume originated in the 17th century consisted of an ankle length overcoat and a bird-like beak mask often filled with sweet or strong smelling substances (commonly lavender, mint, camphor, rose petals), along with gloves, boots, a brimmed hat, and an outer over-clothing garment. The purpose of the mask was to keep away bad smells, which were thought to be the principal cause of the disease in the miasma theory of infection before it was disproved by germ theory. Doctors believed the herbs would counter the "evil" smells of the plague and prevent them from becoming infected. The beak costume worn by plague doctors had a wide-brimmed leather hat to indicate their profession.