Witches are humans with the ability to manipulate the earth by magical means. By connecting with the energy around them, witches are able to alter the natural world through a variety of supernatural means.
While no complete history of witchcraft has been provided, the Blake family of witches is known to have originated since the foundation of witchcraft, and John Blackwell mentions witches have been hunted by Witch Hunters for 2,000 years.
Shortly after the events of Boatyard Fire, sometime during the mid 1990's, believing the incident had been the result of carelessness, the Elders abolished the practice of witchcraft, forcing the Secret Circle and other witches to practice their craft in secrecy.
While few have been shown to harness mystical energy and effectively practice magic, witches receive their magical power as a result of heredity. The offspring of two witches will almost always be witches. Though the probability of the offspring of a witch and a non-witch, or a mortal, being witches are reduced to the 50%. No further explanation has been given regarding the mechanics or heritability of these genetics, but it's likely the source of their magical power, or the necessary instructions to produce their magic.
Characteristics and Traits
- Innate Power Source: Through biological means, witches possess an inherent power source which they intuitively draw upon to channel magic. Witches are distinguished from mortals because of a genetic trait which seemingly grants them their innate magical ability.
- Unique Blood: Their blood has mystical qualities though the exact nature of these qualities have yet to be explicitly stated. A witch's blood is required to perform a ritual intending to kill witches. Callum mentioned that a pint of witch blood is a highly coveted item in the supernatural black market.
- Marking Their Death: After their departure, a witch will leave behind a mystical form of energy, that can be controlled and harnessed by another member of their Circle. Depending upon whether or not a witch had bound their coven, if a witch is killed inappropriately, their magic will pass down to the other members of their coven, enhancing their power.
Powers and Abilities
The primary ability of witches is to manipulate magic as an inborn attribute. They access or use magic in a variety of ways to achieve a number of fantastic feats.
- Channeling: The act of drawing or summoning other forms of energy, by focusing on the magic of another witch.
- Spell Casting: The act of changing and controlling events by magical influence. Spells are the most common method exerted by witches to focus their magic. Spells can range from simple commands to a series of words.
- Elemental Control: The act of controlling or manipulating the elements of air, earth, fire, water, and weather. Though not proven false or accurate, witches are believed to possess an unique affinity to particular elements which grants them greater mastery and control when performing
- Telekinesis: The act of controlling and manipulating the movements of objects and persons.
- Potion Making: The act of brewing and concocting magical elixirs and potions that contain mystical properties.
While a witch's individual magic is strong and strengthens with training and practice, the collective magic formed by circles is shown to be extremely powerful. A witch's magical powers may also be stripped, rendering them mortal. Dawn Chamberlain and Charles Meade are currently searching for ways to re-establish their power, implying that possibly the power itself isn't "stripped", but merely their ability to access it or it's simply neutralized. Magic has also been seen to transfer over to other people, even those not inherently magical, such as Lee's Voodoo ritual used to transfer a portion of Faye Chamberlain's power to revive his ill-striken Eva. This method also works for various objects as well, which many witches use to steal the power from other witches.
- Ashwood: Can prevent a Witch from using magic when inside a circle composed of this.
- Iron Sulphate: Substance used to suppress the magic of witches.
- Colocasia Powder: Powder that prevents the use of Dark Magic.
- Witch Cruids: magically enchanted bottles. When a bit of the witch's blood, a personal item, and some mandrake root are placed within and lit on fire, the witch will die instantly.
- Sways: magical objects used to transfer a witch's powers to another person, whether another witch or a mortal, willingly or otherwise,
- Dark Witch Killing Ritual: a ritual usable by mortals(namingy witch hunters)that kills a dark witch.
- Malleus Maleficarum: a sigil that renders a witch, whether normal or dark, powerless so long as they remain within it.
- Books of Shadows: Journals used primarily by witches that have documented various spells, information, potions, etc. These journals can be passed along different bloodlines for generations increasing the magical knowledge contained within.
- Candles: Commonly seen tools used to focus a witch's spell and/or ritual.
- Crystals: Crystals are natural materials which can be used to magnify an individual witch's magic. Crystals particularly serve useful for those bound in a circle to access their own individual magic or disempowered witches such as Dawn Chamberlain and Charles Meade to utilize the inherent power contained within the crystals.
- Herbs and Roots: Various herbs and roots possess inherent mystical properties effective for magical practice commonly used in brewing elixirs or potions. Lethe root was the primary ingredient in the elixir used by Cassie Blake and Adam Conant which caused them to erase their feelings for each other.
Witches are organized into groups known as circles. While commonly circles are comprised of six members, the numbers can be much larger or smaller. Witches form circles in order to enhance their power and obtain greater knowledge of their Craft. Occasionally, witches may choose to bind their circles, which is a ceremonial ritual of mystically linking the members' bloodline together. While this link limits their individual power, their true strength lies in their collective power.
In 1692, eighteen families of witches escaped from Salem and formed three separate circles consisting of six families. While two of these circles stayed East, the Chance Harbor Circle, consisting of the Blake, Conant, Glaser, Chamberlain, Meade, and Armstrong families, went West.
Throughout history, the presence of witches has had various impacts on the lives of mortals. At some point a religious society was formed which marked the beginning of the established vigilantes called Witch Hunters. These vigilantes hunt witches out of pure hatred and fear of witches, believing all magic to be evil and Satanic in origin, though uniquely enough they're able to identify between white and dark magic. They're vast knowledge and multiple numbers make them dangerous threats
Sometime in the mid-1900s, six members of the Chance Harbor were massacred by an organization of Witch Hunters known as the True Believers, though many were killed by John Blackwell in retaliation. The surviving members and new ones returned sixteen years later upon discovering the new Circle's active magic use. They also recruited a young witch, former witch hunter, and Secret Circle member Jake Armstrong, to aid them in their quest.
Jane Blake mentioned to her granddaughter Cassie that witchcraft attracts darkness. While the nature of their relationship hasn't entirely been described, demons have shown to be pose a great danger to witches. Dark witches have been known to summon demons to increase their power. Demons also have preference to possess as opposed to mortals presumably to utilize their innate power.
While magic is mostly seen as an inborn trait, many others with no apparent inborn abilities have been exhibited practicing magic, usually revolving around a particular religion or tradition such as Voodoo.
Notes and Trivia
- Aside from the Armstrong, Blackwell/Balcoin, Blake, Chamberlain, Conant, Glaser, and Meade Family, there are several other witch families that reside in Chance Harbor. However, after the abolishment of witchcraft, sixteen years ago, many witches tend to practice their magic in secrecy.