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The Devil (Salem)

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I tell you what I once told him. I am Legion. And I come from Hell to the place prepared for me: Salem.
~ The Devil to Rev. Cotton Mather.
Oh, Father, how many men have you killed? What makes you think I'm here because my mother was a witch and not because you, Father, are a soulless killer?
~ The Devil to John Alden
The great terror will soon fall upon Salem.

The Devil (or Legion) is a recurring force in the WGN America thriller TV Series, Salem. He is the source of the witches' powers, summoned through the body of the child of Mary Sibley and John Alden.

As portrayed in Salem, he is the mysterious dark force within the woods, granting the witches of Salem power. The Devil is the Lord of Chaos and Destruction, proprietor of the Underworld, as well as the primary patron of Witchcraft.  While the basis of what and who the Devil is has been a subject of intense debate for thousands of years, most religions, such as Christianity, believe the Devil to be the chief spirit of evil, while other traditions, such as Witchcraft, believe the Devil to be an anti-hero who has been shunned by mainstream society and thus criticized throughout the millennia. Nevertheless, due to the fact that there are many interpretations of what and who the Devil is, there are many variations of the Devil's identity. 

Appearance & Personality

Currently the Devil took over the physical appearance of Little John. Previously he has appeared several times as a demon in the guise of a man with goat features, such as horns, cloven-hoofed, and black fleece. His true physical appearance, if he has one, has not yet been shown.

The Devil is a trickster par excellence, able to whisper in the ear of men exactly what they want to hear, manipulating them to make the most nefarious actions, with the promise of power, wealth, health and everything that anyone could want. From the words of witches as Tituba, Mary Sibley or Countess Von Marburg, the Devil appears to be a sort of champion for the weak and oppressed, but by the time he was given a human body by means of the Grand Rite, the Devil showed to be very cold, cruel and ruthless, not least against the witches themselves.

His personality also appears to be sadistic and restless in nature, totally inclined to reprehensible acts such as rape and physical violence of any sort. Possibly part of his personality is mixed with that of his host, who even before the total possession showed evil imbalances, making possbile a blend of the two intrinsic personalities inside the vessel. This is shown when he demonstrates great affection towards Mary, recognizing her as his mother.



Very little is known about the history of the Devil because his story has been passed down from different people scattered in different parts of the world, some of these legends are in fact contradictory. One of the few sure things is that Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven, became the head of the infernal legions, and taught humans to practice dark and perverse forms of magic. One of these was the Countess Von Marburg, who was devoted to find a way to free her beloved Dark Lord after he had been imprisoned in Hell.

As a child, Tituba is met by The Devil within the woods and is granted great power by him.

Season One

During the first season, the main goal of the Witches of Salem, later identified as the last descendants of the Essex Hive, was to get rid of oppression imposed by the hypocritical puritanism by awakening the Devil through the Grand Rite, a ceremony of the blackest magic that involves, in its process, an horrible plague.

The Witches, especially Mary Sibley and Tituba, are so blinded by the desire for revenge to not noticing that they are only puppets in the hands of the Evil One; they are so deceived by the Devil to believe him the Kanaima, a term that in the South America's lore describes a vengeful spirit. Since the Great Rite requires an escalation of ritual murders, Mary Sibley makes maliciously commit them by the Puritans themselves, leaving them to wet their hands with innocent blood. The Devil makes sporadic appearances in the guise of a satyr covered in blood, proclaiming Mary Sibley as one of his witches taking as reward her unborn son. He reappears in the guise of a satyr when Mercy Lewis is initiated into Witchcraft by Mary Sibley, in the woods of Salem.

Season Two

During Countess Marburg's visit, she sees Mary's son, whom she senses the Devil lurking within him. She begins planning on using him as a conduit for The Devil's return. Meanwhile, as Anne Hale's powers begin to grow, she reads an excerpt from her father warning her of a curse to come with her powers. Shortly afterwards, the Devil appears to Anne Hale as The Horned One and rapes her.

The rite of exorcism performed by Reverend Cotton Mather has the side effect of almost total awaken the dormant devil inside John, born with the sole purpose of being the Devil's vessel on Earth. In this time, the Devil communicates his real intention to destroy the Earth, without special attention in regard to his witches, whom he treats as expendable pawns in the chessboard.

The Grand Rite is completed by the witches of Salem, Mary (unintentionally), Tituba, Anne and the Marburgs. Once the Countess has John burned in the body and soul by the hellfire within the crags of Salem, the Devil has a mortal body by means of which he can conquer the Earth.

Totally at ease in Salem, the new "capital of Hell" as described by Cotton Mather, the Devil punishes Mercy for her vanity and pulls off the tip of her index finger that the girl used to indicate to the witch hunters the people to kill. The Devil also shows an apparent clemency against Tituba, only to kill her after in the woods by making her attacked by a flock of crows. Developed a total obsession over Mary, whom he wants as wife, the Devil also kills the Countess, fatally stabbing her in the back and chest, because she tried to kill Mary Sibley out of jealousy.

Season Three




  • The Bible claims that near the end of the world, a "Beast" will ascend into great political power and attempt to take over the world. Having been given power by Satan, the Beast will convince the leaders of the earth to follow him into war against God. Whether or not this is the intention of the Devil in Salem remains unknown.
    • However, the shaman friend of Alden warned the latter that when the "snake" will wake up, will only bring chaos and destruction to all, including witches.
  • It is not clear if the accomplishment of the Grand Rite kills or not the human being that houses the Spirit, although the spell explicitly require to destroy the "human shell" by burning it in both body and soul; Since John Alden shot the child in the forehead, hoping to stop the possession process, we can deduce that the child is dead and the Devil is inhabiting a dead body.
  • "Legion" is a group of demons referred to in the New Testament; Gospels of Mark and Luke describe an incident in which Jesus meets a man, or men, possessed by demons who, when asked what their name is, respond: "My name is Legion, for we are many." The quotation has been referenced and alluded to many times throughout history in popular culture. The author of the Gospel of Mark could well have expected readers to associate the name "Legion" with the Roman military formation, active in the area at the time (around 70 CE). The intention may be to show that Jesus is stronger than the occupying force of the Romans. Seyoon Kim, a noted biblical scholar, however, points out that the Latin legio was commonly used as a loan word in Hebrew and Aramaic to indicate a large number. This could mean that the Devil then responds to many names (see the infobox to read some of them), it'll be spoiled for choice.
  • "The Dark Lord: the devil boy" is the description that accompanies the promotional photo for the third season on Salem official Instagram account.


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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