If you’ve heard anything about The Witch, it’s probably people saying that writer-director Robert Eggers’ feature debut is “the scariest movie of the year.” And The Witch is indeed full of horrors. But the scariest things in this movie don’t actually originate in the supernatural.
The year was 1972; the place, suburban Springfield, New Jersey. One September day, a bizarre murder shattered the town’s sense of safety, and set in motion a cult-tinged mystery that’s become a local legend—and now, the subject of a new true-crime book.
It had been eight years since Susan Mummey, “the witch of Ringtown Valley,” had put a spell on Albert Shinsky, or so he’d come to believe. The “hex,” to use the vernacular of their Pennsylvania Dutch community, made him haunted and depressed, and eventually drove him to murder.
This is the Virginia home of “Aunt Jane” Dutton in 1937, when the 82-year-old was accused by her neighbor, “Rocky Joe” Stanley, 83, of being a witch—a slanderous accusation so low she sought a warrant for his arrest. The ensuing trial offered a fascinating mix of courtroom drama and local folklore.
Ebay banned the sale of spells back in 2012, and Etsy has followed suit, adjusting its guidelines on what kind of services can be sold through the site. No longer allowed: “any metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome (e.g., love, revenge).”
HBO's pilot for "provocative period drama" set during the Salem witch trials, The Devil You Know, has added a grip of new cast members as it rolls toward production this spring, including Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy). The actor shared her excitement yesterday:
Some might argue that everything that passes for "paranormal" is a hoax. (There's no fun in that, but insist if you must.) But even the biggest unexplained-phenomenon junkies have to admit when a fraud's a fraud ... as the 10 cases below will attest.
Today's unconfirmed/tantalizing/"but whyyy?" Hollywood rumor for all the once and future teen witches out there: There may be a reboot of 1996's The Craft in the works.
Restoration work on Britain's 600-year-old Knole House turned up a most interesting feature hidden beneath the floorboards: "witch marks" or "demon traps," designed to protect the witchcraft-fearing ruler James I from supernatural malevolence.
Lilias Adie died in the 1700s, when fear of witches ran rampant and the belief that those who had had their souls sucked by the devil (through their teat, I have been informed) would come back to exact vengeance after death was much more common. But her torment didn't end there.
It's almost October, which means Halloween is just around the corner — the witching hour to end all witching hours is almost upon us. But about the real-life stories of witches who were burned and celebrated? A new book, The Penguin Book of Witches, provides actual documents. And we've got a doozy of an excerpt.
The first season of Salem has come to close with a good deal of blood and a major revelation, but as we reflect on the season, it's clear that the show missed an opportunity to mine its historical inspiration. While Salem went for gore and the occasional bit of shock value, it ignored the truly terrifying paranoia…
In this corner, we have Increase Mather, the torture-loving witch hunter supreme of Salem. And in the other corner, we have a pair of Satan's handmaidens, armed with a cauldron of magical tricks. When they cross blades, who will come out on top?
Okay, you win, Increase Mather. You are the worst person on Salem—no matter how many devil-worshipping witches are about. But we really didn't need to see the rapey torture methods you use to expose witches.
Salem has been built around some bizarre and gruesome visuals—a toad nursing on a woman's thigh, a girl muzzled and led about like a dog, dead faces stretched out and made to speak. But sometimes, there's nothing quite like a gaggle of girls dressed all in white with murder in their hearts.
Somehow Cotton Mather continues to be the most reasonable, rational person on Salem—and it's pretty weird. But at last we're getting a Puritan who kills accused witches first, asks questions later, and quite literally expects God to sort them out.
At last Facebook has brought us back to the middle ages, just as we knew it would. A woman in the Brazilian city Guarujá, near São Paolo, was beaten to death last week after Facebook rumors circulated that she was a witch.
The internet can be a tough place to distinguish fact from fiction. Who has time to fact-check all those beautiful, weird, and sometimes horrifying pictures? Well, we do.
We now have the title and theme for American Horror Story's third season: Coven. Ryan Murphy will be taking his regular AHS players and a few new faces down to New Orleans, where they'll be up to plenty of magical hijinks.
Nate Silver is the talk of the internet today, and for good reason. When every news outlet on the planet was presenting the presidential race as a dead heat, the NYT's political stats guru was giving Obama a greater than 90 percent chance of clinching a second term — a call he's been making for weeks. In any case: the…