What Really Happens During the Witching Hour?

Ghosts, Paranormal
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by Sean Foster

Are you a believer in the supernatural? Do you believe that entities like ghosts, demons, witches and other magical creatures actually exist and live among us? If so, then you probably have heard about the witching hour.

As the name suggests, the witching hour is the time of day that people believe that these supernatural beings are most active and powerful. Many different communities have different hours of the day they refer to as the witching hour but the generally accepted time is between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Others believe that it is at midnight mainly because it is a special time when the day actually begins.

What happens during the Witching Hour?

Depending on where you come from and what the society there believes to be real or myth, there are many different ideas on what actually happens during the witching hour. Below are some examples from different communities on what different supernatural creatures get up to during their special time.

Witches, sorcerers and other magic practitioners Almost every community anywhere in the world believes in the existence of these. They happen to be the very reason why the whole idea of the witching hour was conceived. It is believed that at this time, they carry out their various rituals in an attempt to tap maximum magical power.

Ghosts  In some communities, there is the belief that during the witching hour, the barrier between the world of the living and the dead is lifted. This allows ghosts to move in between the two realms. Although there isn’t really any sufficient supportive evidence, there have been several cases of people who claimed to have seen or heard ghosts at midnight or during the hours after midnight before sunrise.

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Demons and evil spirits – Unlike ghosts, these are believed to roam the world in bodies of people or animals that they possess. They are also included in the witching hour theory where they are believed to be most active and cause the most terror.

Mediums – Mediums are people who are believed to have the ability to communicate with the dead and channel their spirits for other people to communicate with them. There are places where they are believed to be most active during the witching hour. According to believers in the supernatural world, there is a relationship between the activity of ghosts and mediums at this hour.

Other supernatural creatures – Other creatures such as vampires and werewolves are also believed to be most active not only during the witching hour but the entire night in general.


History of the Witching Hour

The witching hour is not something that just came up the other day. For as long as people have believed in the existence of people and creatures with unusual abilities, there has been the shared belief that they have special times in the day where they carry out their different activities. The term The Witching Hour” was coined in 1560 by Pope John Paul II.

There was an agreement that the witching hour or hours ran anywhere between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. This was a time where there was a widespread frenzy and panic about witchcraft in the European regions. The Catholic Church was so serious about this matter that they laid down rules prohibiting activity during the witching hours. Anyone found out and about would be considered unholy and was punished by getting excommunicated.

The witching hour and witch hunting

Not too long after Pope John Paul the second and the Catholic Church defined the witching hour, a witch hunting trend began in Europe. The region was plagued with disease and political unrest and many people believed this to be the work of witches and other people practicing magic.

Suspicious citizens believed that the witches and supernatural creatures responsible for their misfortunes carried out their ritual at night while everyone was fast asleep to avoid getting caught. Other people believed that the witches and sorcerers practiced in the night because the darkness was the source of their power.

In spite of the differences in opinion, they all agreed that it was at in the wee hours of the night where you would be most likely to catch the suspects in the act.

This belief spread like wildfire and soon many people were getting arrested and persecuted on witchcraft accusations simply because they were out and about during the witching hour. There is no sufficient evidence to support the claims of the mobs but they truly believed that they were absolutely right.

The same trend was repeated several times over the years not only in Europe but also in The United States with the most famous being The Salem Witch Trials. In a nutshell, belief in the Witching hour has led to loss of countless lives over the years in the witch hunts.


The witching hour and other supernatural beings

As the belief in the existence of the supernatural continues to grow, the witching hour is no longer limited only to witches. Over the years there have been many claims of sightings of unusual creatures or activities during this given time interval. Generally, anything that is associated with darkness and evil has historically been considered potentially active during the witching hour.

The Witching Hour and Modern Culture

Technology and science are slowly replacing the ideas about supernatural beings and abilities in modern societies. Things like witch hunts and exorcisms are very rare occurrences but this does not in any way mean that everyone has abandoned their belief in the existence of the witching hour.

Some people often experience breaks in their sleep where they find themselves waking up at odd hours of the night including the witching hour itself. According to doctors and neuroscientists, this is completely normal brain behavior and should not cause alarm. This however does not stop some people from panicking and blaming the phenomenon on supernatural things.

The witching hour has also been adapted into modern society literature and film with many movies and books being structured around that particular theme.

 Despite there being no actual evidence to support claims of supernatural events, it goes without saying that a lot of weird stuff happens during the witching hour. Maybe it is people taking advantage of the hype created in the past in an attempt to scare people; or maybe it is actually the best time for people with special abilities to tap their powers. At the end of the day, it is your beliefs that matter.


Sean Foster writes for the site Ghostsstory.com, where you can submit real paranormal experiences!

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  • Lygeia

    The article states, “The term “The Witching Hour” was coined in 1560 by Pope John Paul II.”


    The pope in 1560 was Pope Pious IV.

  • Ariana

    “Not too long after Pope John Paul the second and the Catholic Church defined the witching hour, a witch hunting trend began in Europe.”
    Pope John Paul II was pope between 1978 and 2005. I would remember if there was a witch hunt in my lifetime.

  • Filomena

    Some people would say everything just to prove their point…The witch hunting that went about in Europe had its roots and seeds since the Spanish Inquisition in fifteenth century due to the piousness of Queen Isabella of Aragon’s Spain and King Ferdinand of Castille’s Spain and in due state where the PROTUGUESE DISCOVERIES started…and where CHRISTENDOM took effect. Nothing to do with the WITCHING HOUR…the Witching hour began when some people were caught doing rituals in their bathing rigourously in the witching hour….for the others who suffer from insomnia this is the hour that they are awake…in my case I do sleep like a baby but only wake up if I have an appointment and I am restless…For each one and for the individual these patterns of sleep can be seen and tested…some people’s brains are overactive and therefore sleeping wont ccome in until one is totally relaxed and calmed…and there are remedies for these kind of things…warm baths…soft musics….chamomile teas…and soft incenses…and not eating a great deal at night time helps….i believe in Paranormal…but insisting that it is the way of the devil, now that is going a bit wee too far…thanks Filomena.

  • Filomena

    And before anything…during the early years we were all plagued by sickness and died of diseases, that came from yellow jacks, poor hygiene, such as decaying teeth, lack of baths, the bubonic..cholera.. lots of veneral diseases, gonorreah, maybe even aids….and you can name but a few…it was the time where the rich and the poor were of a bog divide…the rich lived like kings and queens whereas the poor didnt even have a warm house and in some, they housed a couple of families all crammed into one solo bedroom house….there were no taps, and no easy ways of relieving yourselves….so there you are…again it all came down to the poor hygiene and the living conditions..

  • enzo
  • enzo
  • Magnolia Blossom

    Pope Pius IV, not Pope John Paul II, was the pope in 1560. Someone here does not know what he/she is talking about.