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Piercing the Veil – A Witch’s Scourge

Friday, July 8, 2022 | News


“The witch’s curse is real.”

In just over a week, the anniversary of the 1978 Camp Nighthawk massacre will be here. The anniversary of Tommy Slater (McCabe Slye) becoming possessed by the witch, slashing through upwards of a dozen campers, forever remembered as the Camp Nightwing Killer; the echoes of blood-curdling screams as Ziggy (Sadie Sink) watches her sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) die. And the declaration of a near-death Ziggy, covered in blood on an ambulance gurney, looking Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland) in the eye, telling him, “It was her. Sarah Fier. The witch. The curse is real.”

Fast forward sixteen years, and Ziggy is telling the same story, but this time, to a fresh set of witnesses – Deena (Kiara Madeira) and her brother, Josh (Benjamin Flores, Jr.).

“The witch. The town curse. Once, Cindy believed there was a way to end it. I thought there was too. Now I know. There is no end.”

In 2019’s Netflix FEAR STREET trilogy, directed by Leigh Janiak, we’re taken on a 300-plus year-in-reverse journey through the legacy and curse of the accused witch, Sarah Fier. Beginning in 1994, the town of Shadyside is once again under attack by a young, possessed Shadysider who is continuing the centuries long pattern of serial killers terrorizing the accursed population.

For centuries – 1666 to 1994 – ‘the witch’s curse’ rages on. That’s the story that’s been perpetuated. It’s ‘the witch’ behind all of the death, all of the tragedy, all of the bloodied, battered loss.

“She reaches from beyond the grave

To make good men her wicked slaves

She’ll take your blood 

She’ll take your head

She’ll follow you until you’re dead.”

Rage lives on, well beyond our physical existence. It’s imprinted in our DNA, passed down from generation to generation, affecting us on subconscious levels. We feel pain from this space, and this pain inspires our thoughts, our beliefs and our actions. We feel violence, we feel trauma – we feel echoes of betrayals and abuses inflicted on our ancestors, and in this genetic inheritance, we carry on this trauma. This pain. This curse.

In the 1994 installment, our first introduction to Shadyside, we watch as the story of Deena and Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) unfolds. Their hidden love, their heartbreak, and their reunion at the eulogy delivered by present-day Sunnyvale Sheriff, Nick Goode, following the attack and death of Shadysider, Heather (Maya Hawke). We see opposing forces – team Sunnyvale on one side, team Shadyside on the other. We witness tensions rise, callous words muttered. We see the first punch thrown and mob mentality engage.

 We then see the beaten Shadysiders on the bus ride home, vowing vengeance on the Sunnyvalers…who are following closer than they realize. And when Deena accidentally drops the team’s water cooler out of the bus’s back door and onto the car driven by rival Sunnyvaler and Sam’s new boyfriend, Peter (Jeremy Ford), the car – with Sam inside – veers off the road and crashes in the woods. And as Sam opens her door and falls from the car, hands and knees sinking into the vibrantly red soil, her blood, too, sinks into the soil. Her blood, pouring down, seeking the centuries-old chains buried below. Her blood, infusing the bones imprisoned within the chains. Her blood, waking the spirit of Sarah Fier.

“I saw the witch.”

This curse – the witch’s scourge – only possesses Shadysiders to do her bidding. The kids on the other side of the tracks. The kids from broken homes. The disenfranchised kids.

A marginalized population.

It doesn’t make sense thought, right? Why would a witch, the very definition of someone on the outskirts of society, only target those who, like her, are targeted? Those who don’t fit into societal norms. Those who are shunned. Those who are ostracized. Those who are the ‘other.’

Because she wouldn’t. But Solomon Goode, ancestor of Nick Goode, would.

In 1666, in the Puritanical settlement of Union, before it was divided into Sunnyvale and Shadyside, there was a man who loved a girl; a girl who loved another girl. A girl who, with her friends, gathered under the light of a full moon, much like women centuries before used to do. These friends enjoyed the riches of the land, riches that would enhance their hearts and minds. Riches that would loosen their inhibitions, providing them with the space to be their true selves; the selves that were considered blasphemous. The selves that were punishable by death.

“I don’t fear the devil, Hannah. I fear the neighbor who would accuse me. I fear the mother that would let her daughter hang. I fear Union. They lead us like lambs to the slaughter and expect us to just follow. Well, they will see. I am no lamb.”

Solomon Goode severely underestimated Sarah Fier. And when she discovered his secret – his blood curse, his pact with the devil – and refuted his confession of love, it was she who was deemed ‘witch.’ It was she who would suffer for her independence, for her beauty, for her shine. It was she who would hang to save the girl she loved, and it was he who would wrap her in chains, fastening and raising the noose.

And it was she who saw to it that someday, somehow, people would know the truth.

“The truth will come out. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But it will. The truth shall be your curse. It will follow you for eternity. I will shadow you forever. I will show them what you’ve done. I will never let you go.”

And she didn’t. The night Sam ‘saw the witch,’ it was a howl from the past. A premonition. A plea. A declaration of the truth buried beneath that bleeding soil, desperately hoping to fall upon the right ears. 

Thankfully, finally, it did.

But this story doesn’t end here, because this is a story as old as time; the story of a woman empowered. A woman with gifts. A woman who shined on her own. A woman who seemed to just know; delivering babies safely; gathering the right herbs to heal, and even to brew ale (the first brewers were women, by the way). A woman who also knew the right herbs to take away that which might condemn a woman to death. That which would cost a woman her life. That which a woman did not want.

And if it was love a woman did not want, a woman would suffer for that, as well. And be blamed for it. Scapegoated for it, throughout centuries. Throughout this century, even, because what’s happening right now is still very much a witch hunt. The days of the gallows are not so far behind us. These Puritanical ways are not so much a thing of the past as we’ve been fooling ourselves into thinking. 

There will always be predators amongst us. Those who seek to hurt, to abuse, to manipulate, to take. To control. This battle for autonomy, for agency, for self-sovereignty has been raging for eons. We’ve never not known this battle. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting. It doesn’t mean we stop screaming. It doesn’t mean we forgo the truth of ourselves, our personal freedoms – our bodily independence. This is ancestral trauma we’re facing, and we have before us the opportunity to heal lineages ravaged with persecution, with betrayal, with bloodshed. We were once warriors, and we’re being called to this post again, right here, right now.

I want to repeat Sarah Fier’s declaration here, because those who are seeking to control us now harbor truths that will trigger their undoing. Whatever your beliefs, whatever your personal practices of protest, words are the most ancient, most powerful spells we could ever cast. If you’ve no words of your own, consider casting these:

“The truth will come out. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But it will. The truth shall be your curse. It will follow you for eternity. I will shadow you forever. I will show them what you’ve done. I will never let you go.”

Jillian Kristina
Jillian Kristina blends her love of horror and magic to facilitate healing from the real horrors in the world. Stephen King's movies and books raised her; magic and the occult molded and healed her. Find her on Instagram @root_down, on Twitter @RootDownTarot, and through her website