Set in 17th century colonial Massachusetts—a significant time in the history of American politics, religion and society—Salem brings you the real story behind the infamous witch trials. In Salem, witches are real, and they’re behind it all.
Salem Village and Salem Town feuded over property, grazing rights and church rights. The government was dominated by Puritan leaders. People were scrutinized closely and this resulted in obvious discord. They were afraid of being persecuted for anything that may offend the Puritan mindset. The word “witch” seemed an easy and appropriate curse hurled at someone who behaved abnormally.
It was this setting of extremism and isolation that led to a period of witch hunts, where men and women were hanged and burnt at the stake with the belief that they, as witches, had taken to Satan over God.
Were the Puritans right in their actions? Were the people innocent? Who were the real witches?
In WGN America’s new series Salem, we are led into a dark and mystical period of American history. In Salem, the witches are a part of day-to-day life, but they are not who or what they seem to be. Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) is the most powerful witch of Salem. She is the wife of George Sibley (Michael Mulheren), the ailing, wealthy head of the Selectmen of Salem. Leading a double life, Mary depends on her faithful servant and friend, Tituba (Ashley Madekwe), a mysterious and ageless accomplice to carry out her agenda. Mary is ruthless, yet vulnerable; her world is torn into two when Salem’s native son, John Alden (Shane West) returns after many years at war. John and Mary were lovers before he left the Puritan town of Salem.
John, a war veteran, takes on the role of being the voice of reason in a town that is obsessed with witch hunts and unexplained phenomena. He realizes that suspicion and fear result in innocent people being victimized. On the contrary, Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) is a well-educated local aristocrat who fans the flames of Salem’s witch hunt.
John and Mary find themselves in the middle of an epic romance, even as Cotton’s witch hunts engulf the town in hysteria, horror, and the supernatural.
The real story of Salem emerges from the foggy depths of history on April 20th, 10/9c, only on WGN America.