|“||Women who identify as witches are born as such. And their abilities, which we call powers, are part of who they are. Part of their DNA, if you will.||”|
|— Cordelia Goode[src]|
Witches and Warlocks are humans gifted with the genetic heredity to affect change by supernatural or paranormal means, an innate connection to the elements and forces of nature that allows them to practice "witchcraft". Because of their unnatural abilities and supposed connections with dark forces, witches have historically been feared, persecuted, and hunted. Many escaped the Salem witch trials and sought refuge in New Orleans. As the witches settled in their new territory, a rivalry between them and the native Voodoo practitioners arose, and is still ongoing in present-day New Orleans. Among the population of witches, there is always one witch per generation who possesses a class of seven powers considered to be advanced acts of magic. This witch is known as the "Supreme". Warlocks are considered to be inferior to witches, as the testosterone present within men is believed to be a known inhibitor of magical ability, impeding access to the ethereal realm. For this reason, no warlock has ever risen to the ranks of Alpha, but the warlocks believe that one among them would eventually usurp the Supremacy.
Sometime during the reign of the Roman Empire, a woman named Scáthach is born from a union between the Celtic Druids and their Roman conquerors.
During the 14th century, Scáthach hides as a stowaway on a ship pioneered by British colonists on a voyage to the New World, bringing death and sickness to all in attendance. Upon arriving at shore, Scáthach is blamed by inland soldiers for enraging the sea gods and is sentenced to be burned at the stake as a witch. Seeking to cheat death, Scáthach petitions a pantheon of ancient bloodthirsty deities known as "The Old Gods" to bestow her dark magical powers, thereafter allowing her to massacre the soldiers and escape into the wild. She would become the first Supreme Witch of the Americas.
In 1589, Scáthach comes across the exiled former leader of the Roanoke Colony, Thomasin White, and saves her from being devoured by a wild boar in exchange for Thomasin's soul. Under Scáthach's orders, Thomasin begins to practice the witch's religion after returning to the colony with a vengeance, venerating The Old Gods by partaking in rituals involving the sacrifices of animals and humans, including children.
After Thomasin's son stages a rebellion against his mother, Scáthach convinces Thomasin to slaughter the entire colony in order to tether their spirits to the curse of the October Blood Moon, ensnaring them to the land long after their deaths. After Thomasin does as instructed, Scáthach kills her with her own blade, completing the sacrament. From this point forward, Scáthach would command the Roanoke Colony ghosts to sacrifice any human being who crossed their path every night of the October Blood Moon, continuing their tradition of honoring The Old Gods and allowing Scáthach to remain immortal into present times.
In 1590, a witch named Agnes Sampson concocts a formula to kill warlocks by making them bleed from the inside out, but is burned at the stake by her sister witches before being able to attempt it.
It has been attested that the witches of Salem received their power from the Voodoo slave girl Tituba, though evidently, their abilities stem from a genetic affliction that is passed down through bloodlines. During the Salem witch trials in 1692, witches face persecution and decide to flee south in the midst of the hysteria. However, their ailing Supreme, Prudence Mather, is unable to make the journey due to turbuculosis and decides to take her own life in a ritual known as the Sacred Taking. This selfless act allows a new Supreme to take power and lead the Coven to safety, where they eventually settle in New Orleans. The generations of witches to follow would become known as the "Salem descendants".
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, wife of Napoleon and a proud witch, cultivates one of the largest rose gardens in Europe. It is said that Joséphine enchanted her roses so that the colors she produced remained fixed as she wanted them.
In 1868, the reigning Supreme of the time, Marianne Wharton, purchases Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies as a safe haven where witches could gather to learn. In 1919, the witches of the Academy kill the serial killer known as the Axeman, putting an end to his murderous reign of terror in New Orleans. In 1926, a witch is tried and burned at the stake for inflicting grievous bodily harm against another witch.
In 1918, Anastasia Romanov attempts to use a protection spell to prevent herself and her family from being executed, but isn't strong enough to maintain it and is murdered.
The witches of the Salem Coven find a new enemy in the form of a Voodoo tribe lead by Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. This sparks an ongoing feud in 1961 that lasts for about ten years, motivated in part by racial tension between the two groups. The bloody conflict finally comes to an end in 1971, when Marie Laveau and Supreme Anna Leigh Leighton sign a truce that entails neither of their sides crossing into the other's territory.
Shortly after the truce is declared, Anna Leigh is brutally murdered by Fiona Goode in her endeavor to become the next Supreme. The only witness to this event is Spalding, a butler serving the witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy. Due to his infatuation with Fiona, Spalding cuts out his own tongue when he learns that it had been enchanted to speak the truth by Fiona's rival, Myrtle Snow. The Council on Witchcraft presumes Anna Leigh to have been killed by the Voodoo tribe instead. They identify Fiona as Anna Leigh's successor to the Supremacy, and have her perform the Seven Wonders. Fiona successfully does this and is declared the Supreme, though she ultimately uses her power to satisfy her own selfish needs, instead of the betterment of the Coven. In the 1970s, the witch Mary Oneida Toups leads an alternative coven at Popps' Fountain in the French Quarter.
In 2007, witch hunter Henry Renard allies himself with Marie Laveau in a joint effort to eliminate all the Salem descendants. He marries Fiona's daughter, Cordelia, under the alias of "Hank Foxx", and uses her research to secretly hunt witches. By 2013, due to many families willingly deciding not to reproduce, the Academy's population dwindles from as many as sixty young witches to a total of four: Nan, Queenie, Madison Montgomery, and Zoe Benson.
With her reign as Supreme coming to an end, Fiona returns to New Orleans upon learning that a witch by the name of Misty Day was burnt at the stake. Freeing the immortal Delphine LaLaurie from her grave, Fiona seeks to gain immortality herself by bargaining with Marie Laveau, who has been alive for centuries. Unsuccessful, Fiona resorts to murdering her successor to the Supremacy, who she believes to be Madison after learning of the girl's magical talents. When the Council arrives to investigate Madison's disappearance, Fiona learns from Cordelia that Madison was not the next Supreme due to a heart condition. That Halloween night, Cordelia is blinded by an acid attack orchestrated by the witch hunter corporation, Delphi Trust.
In retaliation for the Minotaur's dismemberment at Fiona's hands, Marie Laveau declares war against the Coven and raises an army of the undead to siege Miss Robichaux's Academy. With Fiona tending to an injured Cordelia, the young witches are left to defend themselves from Marie Laveau's onslaught. Using a chainsaw and raw magical power, Zoe takes out the zombie army by herself.
In light of recent attacks against the Coven, the Council demands Fiona's immediate abdication as Supreme. However, with Queenie's help, she frames Myrtle for Cordelia's assault and has her burnt at the stake. Misty Day, having resurrected herself, stumbles upon Myrtle's charred corpse and uses her power of resurgence to bring the former Council member back to life.
Zoe, Madison, Misty, and Queenie performed the tests of the Seven Wonders. Misty died during the Trial of Descensum and Zoe died during the Trial of Transmutation. Myrtle convinced Cordelia to perform the Trials of the Seven Wonders as well. Cordelia performed Vitalum Vitalis and resurrected Zoe, ascending to the Supremacy. Cordelia exposed the existence of witches to the world and tried to get more witches to attend the academy. Many more witches attended the Academy and Cordelia stated that they should find more houses to house them all.
In 2014, after Supreme Cordelia Goode revealed the existence of witches to the world, the Hawthorne School was destroyed by locals using Molotov cocktails. All that remained was a sculpture left standing from the place that used to be the gardens. It served as an entrance to the underground school where the warlocks of Hawthorne School received a magical education.
Ariel Augustus, Grand Chancellor of the Hawthorne School, became aware of the abilities of a young boy known as Michael Langdon. In 2017, he showed his fellow colleagues video footage of Michael using his powers to kill a police officer, and convinced them to have Michael enrolled at the Hawthorne School to hone his power. Ariel believed that Michael could be the Alpha, a powerful warlock who could supplant the Supreme and pave the way for warlocks to be respected by their more powerful witch counterparts.
Under normal circumstances, the Warlock Council at the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men tested the proficiency of a student's power level after a year of study but Michael's magical proficiency showed that he warranted this test after one month. Michael's power and skill proved that he was the most powerful warlock the school had ever seen.
Ariel Augustus and Baldwin Pennypacker conspired to kill all the witches, but were thwarted by Cordelia Goode. They, along with Miriam Mead, were sentenced to death by burning at the stake. Witches have long stood by an agreement that no witch may kill a condemned warlock, therefore John Henry Moore was allowed to light the flames.
Michael Langdon and Miriam Mead orchestrated the attacks on Miss Robichaux's Academy and Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men, and killed the witches and warlocks. After Mallory used Tempus Infinituum to reverse the events of Apocalypse, the attacks were undone.
The Supreme Witch
The Alpha is a male warlock with abilities that rival the female Supreme. Only the Alpha is considered a "Level 4" warlock, with even members of the Warlock Council being only Level 3. The Alpha is prophesied to come, and the Warlock Council believes he will usurp the Supreme, allowing the warlocks to reign above the witches for the first time in history. The witches believe that the concept of the Alpha is impossible, as the testosterone found in men's bodies prohibits their magical abilities and makes them inferior or less effective in practicing magic. After discovering Michael Langdon and taking him in, the Warlock Council believes that he is the Alpha.
The Witches' Council
The governing body of the witches and warlocks, formerly depicted as very old-fashioned elders, as displayed by the fact that they still use typewriters in the modern times. They are responsible for investigating issues and crimes that revloves around the coven or anything connecting to that matter. The concealment of witchcraft to the uninitiated, and for the welcoming of potential students to Miss Robichaux's Academy. The council only visits the coven on very important cases, such as the death of another witch.
The Warlock Council
The Warlock Council is the governing body of warlocks at Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. They are depicted as middle-aged, "Level 3" warlocks, as displayed by the fact they still use typewriters in modern times. However, the Supreme holds the most authoritative power in the Council, as Cordelia was able to refuse the warlocks' request to conduct the test of the Seven Wonders on a candidate they thought to be the Alpha. In the original timeline, as of 2018, all of the members of the Warlock Council are deceased. After Mallory reversed the events of Apocalypse, their deaths were reversed.
Chancellors are high-ranking witches and warlocks of unspecified authority. According to Myrtle Snow, chancellors are appointed by the Supreme. Ariel Augustus has been the Grand Chancellor for an undisclosed period of time.
At the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men, after a year of studying, all of the students are individually tested to know their current level to which they are assigned a level from one to four based on their magical capabilities. In the history of the coven, no warlock has ever exceeded level three, but it was prophesied that a level four warlock - known as the Alpha - would emerge and supplant the Supreme in power.
Some abilities are inherent or reflexive to certain witches, that is they do not need to focus or concentrate. It's not rare for a witch to manifest more than three powers, though a Supreme is required to have at least seven (the Seven Wonders), though not necessarily all possible powers. It is said that the reason that a Supreme is so powerful is that she is the physical embodiment of many and or all powers. According to Cordelia Goode, witches draw their power from light.
- Witches are shown to be able to use their powers collectively.
- Certain abilities can also be triggered by certain events and substances.
- Voodoo and witchcraft practitioners share certain powers.
- Emotions - A witch's magical powers is subject to the influence of their emotional state. Strong emotions, such as worry and anger can fuel a witch's power while emotions such as fear may prevent a witch from properly accessing their powers. According to Myrtle Snow, witches' powers only develop as fast as their cerebellum allows.
- Distraction - Denying a witch from concentrating or giving full attention to their spells, may render them ineffective. Since some spells are spoken verbally and take time to take effect, witches are vulnerable to attack before their completion. Additionally, certain spells require items, tools, and/or special events during casting, therefore they can't be invoked on mere whim.
- Mortality - Despite having magical powers, witches are still humans and share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, snapped neck, etc.). However, some witches are able to resist these weaknesses through annual sacrifices of human beings.
- Witchcraft - Witches are still susceptible to the powers of other witches.
- Voodoo - Since the powers witches possess seem to come from voodooists', in some cases, voodooists are more powerful than witches. Dinah Stevens was able to use a ritual to break a protection spell around Miss Robichaux's Academy. However, this is not always the case, as Zoe Benson successfully cancelled out Marie Laveau's spell and the Identity Spell Cordelia Goode used cannot be perceived by Dinah Stevens.
- Ghosts State of Deceased Witches - Deceased witches seem to lose all of their prior powers if they become ghosts or pass into afterlife. For Misty Day's case, the fact that she can revive a dissected frog in hell could be because of how things work in the Netherworld, everything works in a plot that causes the most extreme distress for the soul, meaning that the frog did not come back to life because of her power but rather how hell wants it to be, wants her to think.
- Higher Beings - Demons, Angels, Deities and other unclear supernatural species, are considered to be exceedingly greater, stronger and more powerful than witches.
- The Anti-Christ - The Anti-Christ seems to be much more powerful than witches and be able to easily deal with them. However, he still considers them to be his only threat in his quest to destroy the world.
- Hellmouth - Because they get their powers from light, the power of a hellmouth can negate their powers. Witches like Queenie retain some of their powers in the hellmouth.
Known Witches and Warlocks
- The way the Supreme is chosen is similar to how Slayers in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be "activated", requiring a previous Slayer to die in order for a random person to potentially be the next generation's Slayers. Both Slayers and the Supreme are generally female and both shows have witches and supernatural creatures.
- The earliest known American coven (in the series) are descendants of Salem witches, but mythology relating to witches existed beforehand, indicating other types of witches may exist; Scáthach and Marie Laveau are two examples of this. Also, the Delphi Trust has been hunting witches since before the Salem Witch Trials.
- The Witches' Council seemed to employ Albino Guards as security escorts for protection.
- The former Supreme Mimi DeLongpre shares the same surname as supposed distant cousins of Constance Langdon and parents of Michael Langdon in her cover story in the final episode of Murder House. "He was the child of distant cousins on my mother's side. The DeLongpres of Virginia, Eveline and Steve."
- Leonardo Da Vinci was thought be a warlock by Myrtle Snow.
- Scáthach is the first known human to become a witch in the AHS universe, opposed to being genetically born one. This may imply that normal humans can become witches through the sacrificial worship of the Old Gods.
- Most witches share some disdain outlook on warlocks, which the warlocks shares in return.
- In Return to Murder House, it is confirmed that Michael Langdon is not a warlock, but the Anti-Christ, sustaining John Henry Moore's description about Michael's powers as dark and malevolent. Unlike other beings, Michael is also born from the union between a ghost and a human, and can call on the power of Satan due to his status as the Anti-Christ.
- A few notable female figures in history are portrayed to be witches, such as Joséphine Bonaparte and Anastasia Romanov.
- ↑ Martin, Denise. Ryan Murphy Reveals More American Horror Story: Coven Plot Details.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Episode: Traitor
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Episode: Boy Parts
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Episode: Bitchcraft
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Episode: The Sacred Taking
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Episode: Could It Be... Satan?
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Episode: Fire and Reign
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Episode: Fearful Pranks Ensue
- ↑ Episode: The Dead
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Episode: The Replacements
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Episode: Head
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Episode: Burn, Witch. Burn!
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Episode: Apocalypse Then
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Episode: The Seven Wonders
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Episode: Forbidden Fruit
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Episode: Boy Wonder
- ↑ Episode: The Axeman Cometh
- ↑ Episode: The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks
- ↑ Episode: Battle Royale
- ↑ Episode: Protect the Coven
- ↑ Episode: Return to Murder House
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