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Increase Mather (Salem)

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Do you not see, when hunting witches, far better a hundred innocents die than a single solitary witch walks free!
~ Increase Mather.
Let them no more say “God must do all”, and so encourage themselves to live in a careless neglect of God and of their own souls of salvation! The Devil has made a dreadful knot of witches in the country, and, by the help of witches, has dreadfully Increased that knot. Oh, children children, be afraid, and go not prayerless to your bed lest the Devil be your bedfellow.
~ Increase Mather.

Reverend Increase Mather is the main antagonist of Season One of the WGN America thriller TV Series, Salem.

He was a formidable Witch Hunter, and father to Cotton Mather.

He was played by the American actor Stephen Lang, who also portrays Miles Quaritch in Avatar.



Increase Mather was once one of the most famous and cruel witch hunter from both the Old World and the New World. He was the cause of death of thousands of witches throughout Europe, including the wicked German witches, those in Essex and many more. Once refused to condemn classmate for witchcraft and this man years later sacrificed two virgins girls in a satanic ritual.

In an unspecified year he had prevented the success of the Grand Rite by German witches killing their main vain witch, who had taken possession of a six year old girl.

Season One

When he first appears, he is stuck on a ship in the open sea by the spell of a witch who has trapped the winds. After discovering that the witch is the captain of the vessel, he kills him and takes its place thus arriving at Salem. Once in town he discovers that his son Cotton is unable to handle the citizens and he burn at the stake the Barkers, who were accused of witchcraft, but in jail awaiting a regular trial. After scolded his son, he home visit the Sibley and discovers that his old friend George is seriously ill. When Mary Sibley asked how long he thought to remain in the city, Increase responds to her that he will remain until the last Salem witch is dead.

Increase Mather fetches madame Mab, the owner of the Salem's brothel, after discovering the rituals stones hidden in a secret compartment in the woman's boudoir. After torturing her with the ordeal by water for some time, to have the names of the other Devil's followers the woman accused of witchcraft Gloriana, on the advice of the magistrate John Hale that had visited her in prison earlier. Increase thus arrested the young woman with the despair of his son Cotton, who tries to exonerate the woman for lack of evidence. Gloriana is then banished from Salem for habits offenses, with great distress of Cotton, who will never see her again.

Increase hangs Mab even after finding out that she had killed herself to give a bloody lesson to the citizens of Salem.

He tortures Tituba for several hours trying to get the names of the Salem witches. He comes up against again with his son on the different views on how to interrogate witches and deal with the scourge of Witchcraft. He plays a lot with the mind of Tituba, hoping to get her to confess until she confesses that the leaders of their hive is John Alden. The witch hunter, then, went to the house of Mary Sibley to communicate the outcome of the interrogation.

After John is freed from execution by Mary, it confirms to Increase that Mary is the witch he's been looking for. During their battle, as Increase appears to be winning, Cotton walks in and Mary convinces him that Increase kidnapped and attacked her. When Increase tries to attack Mary, Cotton stabs him through the chest with a sword. Increase's death was the last of the lives sacrificed to complete the witches grand rite.

Season Two

Mary Sibley is desperately looking for a way to get rid of the evil countess and unearths the decomposed head of Increase Mather to use it in a summoning spell. Increase of the spectrum appears unkempt and restless, especially after discovering that is subject to a witch and do her bidding. The two talk about how Increase is trapped in hell, tortured forever by demons with his face. Increase Mather signing a pact with the Queen of the Night: she will help to defeat the Countess if she will give way to the ghost to speak to his son Cotton, and Mary Sibley accept. The deceased witch hunter, then, appears in the private rooms of Cotton terrorizing the boy with his presence.

When Cotton realizes that his father is a ghost, he listens to his words with some disappointment. Increase apologizes to his son and warns about the supernatural war that will soon lead to the destruction of Salem. Send by Mary on Marburg's ship, Increase wander in the booth by putting upside down the cards and maps looking for something that might harm the Countess. When he returns, he tells Mary that the weakness of the Countess is the ship itself and then vanish, leaving in the hands of Mary his coat and nothing else, as the invocation spell had run for forty-eight hours.


  • He is based on the real Increase Mather, who was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was a Puritan minister who was involved with the government of the colony, the administration of Harvard College, and most notoriously, the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Richard Mather, and the father of Cotton Mather, both influential Puritan ministers.
  • His sadism can be assimilated to that of another famous real witch hunter, Matthew Hopkins. 


WGN America's Salem Villains

Mary Sibley | Tituba | Rose Browning | John Hale | Mercy Lewis | Countess Von Marburg | Sebastian Von Marburg | The Hags | Widdershins |

Salem Residents
Increase Mather | George Sibley | Wendell Hawthorne | Reverend Lewis |

Otherworldly Entities
The Devil

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