The Sanderson sisters are back in the new “Hocus Pocus” movie that came out Friday on Disney+. These iconic singing sisters are witches from Salem in the movie franchise. Are they fictional or historical characters?
The answer is more complicated than you might think.
CNN reported that the Sanderson sisters are fictional characters. There were not three sisters named Winifred, Sarah and Mary who were executed for practicing witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
However, even though they might be fictional, CNN said that there were really three sisters who were accused of witchcraft.
Sisters Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, according to the Salem Witch Museum. Cloyce was indicted because she was accused of bewitching Abigail Williams, Mary Walcott and Robert Payne.
Williams might be familiar to those who have read up on the Salem witchcraft trials — according to historyofmassachusetts.org, Williams was one of the first in Salem to accuse another person of witchcraft. She also plays a main role in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
Williams was considered an afflicted person — and Cloyce was accused of being the source. CNN reported that Nurse and Easty were hanged in conjunction with being accused of witchcraft, while Cloyce escaped.
Due to the lack of historical records, not much is known about this trio of sisters, and it’s unclear if “Hocus Pocus” revives them in particular. However, it is true that there were three sisters in Salem accused of witchcraft.