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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Top 10 Witches in Books, TV, and Movies with Maria DeVivo

So, since I’m deep into writing about witches and all things dark and spooky, I decided I would create a Top 10 Witches in Books, TV, and Movies List. 

10. Morgan le Fay – Morganna, Morgaine, Morgue – call her what you will, but don’t forget to call her one of the most badass witches written about in history. A Welsh myth, an Arthurian legend, Morgan le Fay is the absolute archetype for all witches who follow. Her tale spans centuries, and the stories of her wreaking havoc and mischief are epic. **Fun fact – I named my daughter, Morgan, for her and Dexter. The name served 2 purposes!

9. Queen Bavmorda from Willow – Nasty, nasty, nasty woman. Evil to the core. I always felt like her story mirrored the Evil Queen from Disney’s Snow White, just for an audience who were a little older. One word: PIG!

8. Samantha Stephens from Bewitched – What little girl didn’t want to wiggle her nose and make stuff happen? When I was a kid, I played hooky from school to watch The Price is Right and re-runs of Bewitched. Samantha was so pretty and so “normal” that she seemed to fit right in with everyone even though she had that super cool secret. When I was seven, I wanted that secret, too.

7. Maleficent – Speaking of Disney, a witch list wouldn’t be complete without good ole’ Maleficent (animated version and Angelina Jolie). The animated one turned into a damn dragon. I mean, if that isn’t power, I don’t know what is! And a super big slow clap to Angelina Jolie. That role was MADE for her. She was flawless as the Dark Fay and brought a sense of empathy and understanding to her version of the character.

6. Morticia Addams from The Addams Family – Carolyn Jones was perfectly cast as the matriarch of the Addams Family in the original series, but when you say MORTICIA ADDAMS, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you will think of Anjelica Huston. Huston’s Morticia was dramatic and romanticized the notion of being a ‘goth’. She showed the world that yes, you could be different and weird and still be a good wife and mother. It gave teenage misfits like me hope for my eventual future. She was everything dark and spooky and good and wholesome wrapped into one.

5. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz – Green-faced and gangly, the Wicked Witch of the West was a thing of nightmares. But the old gal knew what she wanted and dug her non-ruby slippers into the ground until she got her way. Or tried to, at least. You have to admire her fortitude and persistence. I always wonder if there was an alternate story where she DID get the slippers. What real damage could she have inflicted upon the residents of Oz with those bad boys in her possession? One can only dream… 

4. Evil-Lyn from He-Man – Such an underrated character, Evil-Lyn served loyally by Skeletor’s side in his quest for the Power Sword and takeover of Castle Grayskull. As a kid, she was always my favorite character – I wanted to wield her staff and say her spells. Every time she was on screen, I was glued to the TV, yet always walked away kinda unsatisfied as they never really got into her back story or development. The latest He-Man series (Revelations) magically fulfilled all my Evil-Lyn childhood needs, and oh boy, it did NOT disappoint. Lyn is seriously a force to be reckoned with. 

3. Melisandre from Game of Thrones (the TV show, not the book) – Beautiful, talented, filled with the power of the Lord of Light, Melisandre is at the top of the list for so many reasons. While she does horrific things and casts wicked spells, any woman who can drink poison without dying, and birth a murderous shadow child definitely gets props from me. But what sets Melisandre apart is her vulnerability. While she appears to be fierce and sure of herself on the outside, there is still a part of her that is doubtful of her abilities. Haven’t we witches all felt like that at some part in our spell crafting history? Am I doing this right? Will this work? What is my greater purpose? Sometimes Melisandre’s visions are wrong or misread. We’ve all been there! That aspect of her is what makes her so relatable to me.

2. Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show, not the multiverse comic series or the novelizations)  -  Willow’s witchy progression over the course of the series was brilliantly done. Mousy, nerdy Willow is just a sidekick character at the start of it all, but her evolution is a true thing of beauty. From dabbler, to basic witch, to strong sorceress, to evil demonic force, to recovering addict – the metaphors are so true to life. One of the best character developments in cinema, Willow’s tale is a cautionary one for practitioners everywhere.

1. Nancy Downs from The Craft– I really rooted for Nancy. Truly, I did. There was something about her that spoke to my dark heart, which is why she is my #1 favorite witch. She was broken, and can you blame her for trying to set things right for herself? Granted, like Willow, Nancy took things way too far, but I have a soft spot in my soul for people who try to make a change in the world. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right? She was just too young and too inexperienced to fully incorporate the power of Manon, and ultimately, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But her struggle was real and relatable. I felt sorry for her, rooted for her to be imbued with the power, swooned with her when she was drunk with madness and flew with her til the very end…  

Witch of the Red Thorn 
Dawn of the Blood Witch 
Book Two
Maria DeVivo

Genre: Occult Horror 
Publisher: 4 Horsemen Publications
Date of Publication: June 5, 2022
ISBN: 1644505614
Number of pages: 254
Word Count: 58k

Tagline: Three years after the Salem Witch Trials, a new evil awakens to terrorize an unsuspecting town.

Book Description: 

The residents of New Haven Harbor, Massachusetts think they've escaped the madness of the Salem Witch Trials, but when a new Reverend is dispatched to their church to take over for their aging vicar, they soon realize the darkness is far from over. Dutiful Christian wife Barbara Flynn is immediately affected by the new pastor's presence. Intense thoughts and feelings she has never experienced before stir inside, drawing her close to the strange man.

When a series of grisly occurrences tear through the town, Barbara and the new Reverend join together to wade through the carnage. But on their journey, Barbara soon discovers she is part of a larger design - a plan that has been in the making since the dawn of time. As shadows loom over the quiet seaside town, the simple townsfolk grow frightened. Fear soon turns to anger as fingers point in every direction to snuff out the source who has once again brought witchcraft into their midst.

Can Barbara control the demons within her to assure the town's safety? Or will the mob force Barbara and the new Reverend to atone for the sinister magic devouring New Haven Harbor?

Reader Advisory: Witch of the Red Thorn contains violence, gore, Satanic rituals, and graphic sexual situations


I didn’t realize how long we had been out in the clearing of the woods until Tansy’s screaming snapped me back into reality. It was almost like a dream—when you fall asleep into that dream world and your story just picks up in the middle of a scene, yet you have all the memory and knowledge of the world your mind has temporarily created for you. One moment we were walking out into the forest in the purest daylight to gather fresh flowers for the chapel, and in the next instance, it was pitch black and Tansy was pulling hard on my pinafore dress and howling at the top of her lungs for us to run.

“Run, Barbara! Run! Go!” she commanded as I twirled at the edge of the clearing, awestruck at the sight that lay before me—strewn in a circle lay twisted animal parts covered in leaves and muck and blood. Symbols arranged neatly with twigs, flower heads drenched in the crimson sticky blood, and black candles burned to their nubs protruded from the ground. Something about it enthralled me, bewitched me, and I stared hard at the tableau—unafraid and somewhat curious at the peculiarity of it all.

With one final tug of my dress and a shake to my shoulder, I locked eyes with my sister. Her words finally registered in my head, and her urgency struck deep into my soul: Run. Go. Now. We both took off running, my legs swiftly carrying me to presumed safety, my hands still clutching tightly to the cluster of Bellflowers I had previously picked (with no recollection of doing so).

When we finally made it to the edge of the Black Wood, the both of us slumped forward, hands on knees, panting hard for air to fill our lungs back up.

“Did you see it? Did you see it?” Tansy struggled to force the words out.

“Yes, Tansy, I saw!” I answered.

“I… I… I thought we were done with all of that! I thought that was passed us! I thought…”

“As did I. As did I.”

Tansy’s upper body shot up with a sense of awareness. Her torso tensed and stiffened, and her face drew dark and contemplative. She furrowed her brow as if trying to piece some wild puzzle together or connect the dots to some great revelation. I saw it glittering in her soft hazel eyes, like words and images dancing in her mind, yet they were too fast for her to catch and put together. When it dawned on her, it was like a candle flame flickering to life. “Today’s the 20th, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Yes, why?”

She stepped closer to me and lowered her voice. “It’s been almost three years, Barbara. Almost three years to the day that Martha Corey and the others were hanged in Salem. You know, the last of the trial judgments. Do you think it’s happening again? Do you think what happened over there is now happening here?”

“Hush your mouth, Tansy Wilkins!” I snapped back. “We are God-fearing women of our community. Peace-loving. We reject Satan and all his minions.” I paused after those words. For some reason, it didn’t feel right for me to say them. A creeping feeling of doubt entered my heart, but I pushed it aside. “Don’t you be putting that energy out into the universe,” I continued my admonition. “And for God’s sake, don’t go saying that around anyone else. You know how on edge everyone has been since all that business over there.”

“But Barbara, I’ve heard stories. Been hearing stories…”

“And stories they just are. The same ones I’ve been hearing, too. Nothing but silly ghost tales and monsters under the bed. Now shush, and don’t go putting wood on someone’s fire. Because the last thing we surely need is what happened there to infect us here. It’s still fresh. It’s going to take a little while for that wound to heal.” That much was true! I knew our town of New Haven Harbor would never be able to survive the horrors of Salem.

Her face darkened again at my words. It was obvious she wasn’t fully convinced by what I told her. I knew I wasn’t convinced myself, but I had to say the words to quell my sister’s suspicions. It would be a shame if she had opened herself to the hysteria of our neighboring town. Who knows what influence or bogeymen she might allow in?
Like a pinprick in the back of my mind, I could feel the scene in the clearing calling me—beckoning me to go and investigate. But I ignored it, and instead, I tried to convince my sister nothing nefarious was afoot.

“Winnie Gordon told me that two young children went missing over in Salem just last week.

They were playing at the bottom of the ledge where the witches were hanged, and no one has seen them since. Winnie says those little kids must have awakened something because strange things have been happening since then.”

“You know I can’t stand that Winnie Gordon. Never could,” I barked.

Tansy’s eyes went wild. “Barbara, stop that! How could you say that! Winnie has been my best friend since grammar school!”

“And pray tell, why is it that she needed to repeat her studies multiple times? Winnie Gordon is not the smartest of women, now is she? There are at least four, maybe five children in this town who bear the face of her sweet husband Jedidiah Gordon yet do not belong to Winnie herself…”

With a swift shot to the shoulder, Tansy huffed, “Barbara!”

I smirked from the corner of my mouth. “I speak nothing but truth, dear sister. And as for Winnie Gordon, I don’t think she could recognize truth if it slithered its way from between…”
She gasped again at my seeming vulgarity. “Barbara! Enough!”

I must admit, I too was taken aback by the images in my mind and the words that formed on my lips. It was no secret that Winnie’s husband was a fine catch for her. A brokered deal among their families to afford the best financial possible outcome for all parties involved. And it was no secret that Jedidiah Gordon was the desire of many of the women in New Haven Harbor, to which he heartily obliged. I envisioned all types of women in our town lying on their backs, receiving the full weight and girth of Jedidiah at once in a passionate ceremony, as if he were shapeshifter who could penetrate them at the very same time, all at once, thrusting and pulsating and rising and… I shook my head to rid myself of the thought, but the pinprick sensation was still needling its edge in the back of my head, sending electric waves down my spine.

I gave Tansy the bouquet of bluebells and instructed her: “Take these back to the chapel.

Someone will probably be wondering where we are and why we’re taking so long. Not a word of this, though. To anyone. Not even Winnie Gordon, you understand me. Someone is clearly playing a cruel joke, trying to get everyone excited and spooked for the upcoming anniversary. I’m going to go back to the clearing to tidy up so no one else sees it. I’ll be quick and come back with more flowers. Say I was unhappy with what was out there and wanted prettier ones.”

Tansy gave a quick nod and went on her way. I turned on my heels and headed straight for the clearing—straight back to the scene of grisly ritualistic murder, straight back to the scene that seemed to call to me, that drew me in. On closer inspection, I realized the twigs were arranged in the shape of a makeshift circle with the five-pointed star in the center. At each point of the star, a black melted candle was stuck into the earth. The waxy pools at their bases held them in place. A squirrel’s severed head was in the center of the star and there was blood—so much blood— adorning the center and outside of the circle.

But the blood sings.

I knelt at the end of the ground altar, entranced with the precision at which it was constructed and thought: Who could have done this? Why did they do this? What is the meaning behind it all? But my internal questions were drowned out by the song of the blood and replaced with the only thing I could describe the feeling as—knowing. The scene was suddenly beautiful to me, and a wave of guilt tumbled into my soul. I should not feel this way. I should not feel this way…

Yet something in me did.

About the Author:

Maria is the Author of the Amazon bestselling and award-winning series The Coal Elf Chronicles, the YA psychological horror series The Altered Experience, and the NA Urban Fantasy series The Aestrangel Trinity. 

When not writing about dark fantasy and horror, she teaches Language Arts and Journalism to middle school students in Florida. A lover of all things dark and demented, she takes pleasure in warping the comfort factor in her readers’ minds. Just when you think you’ve reached a safe space in her stories, she snaps you back into her twisted reality.