Kiernan Shipka: We have practicing Wiccans writing for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina


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I just saw Kiernan Shipka in the new Netflix horror/post apocalyptic movie The Silence this weekend. It costars Stanley Tucci and is similar to A Quiet Place in that the monsters are attracted to sound and Kiernan’s character is deaf, allowing her family to more easily communicate and survive. However, it’s not necessarily derivative as it’s based on a book by Tim Lebbon which came out in 2015. Kiernan was on Jimmy Kimmel Live promoting her role in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, season 2 of which came out earlier this month. (I tried to watch the first season, and you can yell at me for this, but I hate this trend of characters smoking on shows which are set in modern times. It takes me out of the scene and makes me imagine how unpleasant it must be, and how unrealistic it is. I don’t know anyone who smokes indoors around other people.) Anyway she told Jimmy that they strive to be authentic on the show in that they have practicing Wiccans writing for them.

How do you study to prepare to be a witch?
We actually have a few writers on our show [and] crew who are practicing Wiccans. You feel like you’re making the right moves and doing the right things. You feel like you have some advisors.

Do you worry that if you anger them they will put a spell on you?
I hope no hexes ever get put on me. I’m always looking to learn more.

Do you believe in the occult and spells?
I went to go see a medium. I like crystals. I’m kind of am woo woo like that. I’m a skeptic at a certain level but I also enjoy dipping my toes in that.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I’ve never been visited by a ghost which I’m kind of offended. I want to be the person who can tell a good ghost story, but I have none. Hello ghosts if you’re out there give your girl a visit.

If you welcome them they won’t come. You wouldn’t be scared by a ghost?
No I’d be super into it. I’d at first think it was a human. That would be terrifying. Once I knew it was a ghost I think I would be into it.

[From Jimmy Kimmel Live]

I think I saw a ghost when I was a teenager but it’s more likely it was my mind playing tricks on me. I’m also a skeptic and am not a believer but I wouldn’t want to see ghosts. That would freak me out so much! It would change my worldview completely. As for Wiccans, I think it’s just as valid a religion as any other. I worked with a guy who was Wiccan and he told me stories of some of the ignorance and discrimination he faced. At least they’re trying to be authentic on Chilling Adventures and are taking these practices into account. Refinery29 has a review of Chilling Adventures from a practicing bruja, or witch, and she loved it! She found the devil worship a bit much but said they did have some insider jokes that prove they understand witches.

Here’s the interview!

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photos credit: WENN, Avalon.red and Netflix Press

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49 Responses to “Kiernan Shipka: We have practicing Wiccans writing for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

  1. babsjohnson says:

    I love Chilling adventures of Sabrina and while I hate smokers in real life, I’m not bothered by Zelda. The aunties, Ambrose and Prudence are the best part of the show.

    • Eliza says:

      I think the Aunties are centuries old. So for them, not smoking inside is probably a new trend. So I don’t see it as pulling. Plus Zelda does as she pleases in her house. Can you imagine Sabrina’s lecture on smoking getting anything but an eyeroll from Auntie Z?

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        Agreed. I was wondering if CB didn’t like it because it’s no longer the social norm and feels outdated or if she believes it glamorizes smoking. I got the feeling it was the former, and you’re right, witches age differently. They may look to be in their 40s, but they’re centuries old. Ambrose, too. So their personal habits would reflect that.

  2. EMc says:

    We had/have a ghost in my home and it was awful. Never violent, but nonetheless disturbing… certainly not the experience Kiernan is expecting. Activity died down significantly in the last few years, or we would have definitely moved. I cant even watch certain genres of horror films anymore, its ruined me!

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      Care to elaborate? I am quite curious about this.

      • EMc says:

        The most disturbing was when my son was a newborn and we would swaddle him and lay him down, when he would wake up to eat he would be rotated in the exact opposite direction. Every time. If 2 hours went by, or 30 minutes. Running through the halls, slamming of doors, lights and tvs going off and on. My mother in law was sitting on the bed saying her prayers and someone sat down beside her, indention in the bedding and all. When my son turned about 3 he started talking about the “guy in the light” and to this day wont walk underneath the chandelier in our foyer, and hes 6. My 3 year old eyes it askance and runs by it.

    • Wow says:

      When we were looking at houses we were walking and I felt hands on my neck in a sinister way and my daughter who was at the bottom of the stairs started screaming and I really felt like I was going to be pushed but ‘it’ stopped when she screamed. She said it was a bad man, thats all she’d say.

      We wouldn’t even look in that neighborhood anymore and we were burning all sorts of sage when we did move. The weird thing in was all 5 of is had nightmares for weeks after being in that house.

      It made me believe in the paranormal. I used to think it was a bunch of crap, but now I know its real. I never looked up anything about the house. I was scared knowing too many details would make it stick to us.

      • EMc says:

        That is so scary, I cannot even imagine. Its interesting how you say you were afraid it would stick to you, because i totally get that. I wont talk about it in my home or watch any paranormal movies because im afraid if i open my mind to it, it’s like an invitation.

      • LT says:

        I burned sage in a house as a preventative measure to cleanse it of a spirit that I feared may return to haunt it. So far, no issues.

        The thing about ghosts is that (my understanding) a soul at peace wouldn’t return, so a ghost is not a happy soul. I’d be fine with Casper, but I don’t think that’s what you are going to get.

      • Wow says:

        The worst part was the nightmares. I dreamed my husband beat and killed me and it felt incredibly vivid.

        A quick zillow search shows its still on the market. I am not shocked.

      • AryasMum says:

        It’s said that ghosts are often people who died a sudden, or traumatic death – murder, suicide, sudden heart attack, etc. So it’s not always happiness that’s a factor. Some simply don’t realize that they’re dead, as hard as that is to fathom.

    • Megan says:

      We used to live in a house with a ghost. Stomping up and down the stairs, jumping on the bed, lighting candles, turning lights on and off. It was such a nuisance and it made the cat so angry.

    • broodytrudy says:

      We have two in the house we currently live in. The landlord’s parents died in the house and the landlord’s were weirdly upfront about it, and pretty quickly we found out why. But they’re surprisingly nice and helpful. They’ll shut my fridge, get a cupboard door when my husband leaves it open, turn off a light, etc… my daughter is 3 and has a speech delay, but she’s been telling me about the “grandma” who checks on her on the night.

      • EMc says:

        Now why didnt i get that kind of ghost?

      • B says:

        When I was a teenager we moved into a new house. My younger sister and I were sitting in our truck in the dark waiting for my Mom. We were facing the carport across the street.

        I saw the shape of a head and shoulders sitting in the driver’s seat of the neighbor’s car, but it was in the form of a “fuzzy, white, light cloud.” It was so weird. There were no carport light, no headlights from another car, no streetlamps, it was completely dark in the middle of the desert. Then it went away, and I felt weird, not knowing what I saw.

        I didn’t say anything to my Mom or sister because I thought maybe I was wrong or they would laugh.

        The next day we went across the street to meet our new neighbor in person (same neighbor w/the carport).
        She suddenly got tears in her eyes and said, “I’m sorry, I’m a little emotional because you girls remind me of my daughter who died in a car accident when she was 16. Her birthday would have been yesterday.”

        When we got home I asked my sister if she saw anything when we were in the truck, She said “yes” and described the EXACT same thing and told me she was too embarrassed to say anything that I would make fun of her, too freaky!

      • broodytrudy says:

        It’s absolutely bonkers. The weirdest one was when i was standing near my kitchen, about 50 feet from the front door and i see my toddler tearing towards it to escape. The deadbolt locked itself in broad daylight and i nearly shit my pants.

        I’ve always been open to the possibility, and the women in my family have some interesting gifts, but jfc if i didn’t have a meltdown when things first started happening. We asked the landlord to check the wiring and we all got tested for lead poisoning and got carbon monoxide testers in the house, but nothing came back funky. We think they maybe just want to stick around and make sure their grandkids and kids are okay, and since we’re the first non-family members to live in that house, we got the benefits too.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I used to do paranormal investigations (hence my screen name) – I was the resident skeptic on my team. My job was to look for logical explanations for occurrences (psychological issues, physical reasons for activity, etc). Some things had no rational and/or logical explanation. I am out of the game except for remote consultation now after being followed home by something 15 years ago. I couldn’t expose my children to something like that ever happening again. What followed me was, thank goodness, benevolent, but I was lucky.

  3. Yup, Me says:

    I like to imagine Zelda’s little puffs are full of happy grass and that’s why she speaks in vocal fry.

    And the show is modern-ish. It’s like Riverdale, apparently, where it seems kinda set in the 60s/70s but with some current technology like cellphones and tablets. The fact that they have significant plot lines about mining as a career path is more disconcerting to me.

  4. CharliePenn says:

    So funny that she says she’s offended by no ghost visit in her life so far hahah. I find her extremely likeable and watchable, but I couldn’t keep watching Sabrina. It felt like it went downhill after like the 4th episode.

    I’m in a new old house, new for my family but it’s 100 years old… we have had some small strange activity that seemed easy to ignore. But recently I was locked in the basement in an inexplicable way… I’m not too happy that something would interfere in the physical world like that, in a negative way too. I am very interested in the paranormal although I hold a decent amount of skepticism all the time. But I am not looking to have scary and negative experiences in my own home!

    • EMc says:

      Good luck Charlie! Our experience wasnt the greatest but the last few years have been better. Hopefully for you it was just happenstance :)

    • Erinn says:

      I’m like you – I’m a mix of being super interested in it, and being convinced that there’s SOMETHING going on in our house – but at the same time I’m like “nah, that’s crazy” because a lot of the stories I hear from people are just so over the top.

      I have family I trust that have had weird things happen. Apparently one ‘ghost’ didn’t like that my aunt got a job. She would be getting ready to leave in the morning and things would go missing – car keys, wallet, etc. She ended up getting annoyed one day and was like “That key better be back where I left it when I come back” because she had to let the dog out or something. She came back and the key was right where she left it. I’ve talked out loud in our house before while home alone “just in case”. I’ve woken up to hearing my name a couple times over the last 5 years – notably when I was almost late for something. It was a familiar male voice, and my husband had already left for work. I always just thought it was my gramp because it was a friendly, familiar sound, but also because he was OBSESSED with being on time (which translates into super early) for everything.

      There was a while where I felt really negative in the house, and SWEAR I saw red eyes in the dark when I woke up in the night. It terrified me. I kept telling myself it was a hallucination or something, but I never was able to shake that horrified feeling. Most of the time though, I have a really good feeling in our house. It’s just once in a while that something definitely changes.

  5. LT says:

    That review surprised me. The Wiccans I knew in college were much more into nature, much less into the occult, and would not have been down with the Devil connection AT ALL. There was not a darkness to what they practiced (or to what they described); they followed the Rule of Three (whatever energy you put into the world will come back to you threefold) and “Harm none.” It was more pagan than focused on spells. I knew a few Wiccans – a couple started practiced in college and at least one was second generation.

    • ByTheSea says:

      I agree. The tv show is heavy into devil worship imagery and that is not wicca is at all.

      • Megan says:

        The Church of Satan sued the show for using their logo without permission.

      • Kitten says:

        That’s…a shame. That’s not at all what Wicca is about–at least not that I have ever seen.

      • Jenn says:

        @Megan If I’m not mistaken, the Church of Satan is suing over, specifically, the likeness of their Baphomet statue. It got a lot of press when they first rolled it out (they sued then, too, to display it??), so enough people already know about it to recognize its appearance in Sabrina as an “homage.” Or at least, that’s how I interpreted it. The show probably should’ve gotten permission first anyway, though. Shrug. The lawsuit itself is good self-promotion, I guess?

    • broodytrudy says:

      It weird to me that they specified wiccan, since not everyone who practices witchcraft is wiccan. They could have just said witch and left it.
      My family (not me) is LDS, but my great grandmother practiced traditional scottish witchcraft alongside her christianity. Witchcraft has so many different facets, and i hope people don’t see this bite and stick with the belief that all witchcraft is devil worship.

      • LT says:

        Broody,

        Yes, exactly. The occult does NOT equal Wicca and I would not lump shamanism, tribal traditions or Santeria in with Wicca. The Wiccans I knew were really trying to dispel the stereotype that they had anything to do with Devil worship and could very much peacefully co-exist with more commonly practiced faiths.

        I spent my undergrad studying religion, so I’m fascinated how religion is portrayed in pop culture, but it drives me nuts when it’s misrepresented.

        Similarly, it bugged me on “Big Love” that Barb (I think it was Barb) had crosses hanging on her wall. No LDS member I ever knew would have a cross as decoration, so that always stuck out at me.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      it seems they’re conflating Wicca with Satanism on this show, and not really getting either right

      it’s a pity as it could have been an opportunity to portray Satanism in a fun & interesting way

    • DSW says:

      Not all Witches are Wiccan. I could buy that there are people that practice Witchcraft (i.e. the practice of Magick in some form or another) working for the show, but there is no way I could see Wiccans writing demonic plots. I say this this as a Wiccan (and practicing Witch) of 23 years.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I tried to watch it, didn’t last through the first episode. As a practicing Green Witch of over 30 years, it just doesn’t speak to my experience in the craft. I’m not going to be critical of it, but it’s just not reflective of the craft I practice. I do not know any Satanic witches and none of the people I know who practice have anything to do with Satanism. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the world…” – does not work with the earth being your guiding force.

    • whitecat says:

      To be honest, I think the whole show is a playing into the parody of the church of satan – as in, what is the satanism really about? I don’t think there’s anything wrong wiht the ideas of satanism (if you truly read the Church of Satan books) BUT I don’t think it’s wiccan either – but they are playing in to some tropes of witchcraft.

      I love the show because I grew up with Sabrina the Witch, which is essentially what got me into learning about Wicca (I was a follower for years) but all in all, I am quite agnostic so I am also not the best judge.

  6. jules says:

    It’s nice to see a child star who is not a hot mess. She seems wise beyond her years.

  7. Kitten says:

    She is so freaking adorable. I love her suit and I think it’s great that she has actual Wiccans writing for the show. One of my closest friends is Wiccan and it really is a different lifestyle. Very interesting IMO.

  8. Case says:

    Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is, hands down, my favorite Netflix original (GLOW is second). It’s wonderfully spooky and SO dark and just fabulous. I love Kiernan. She’s a good actress and seems like a lovely, mature young woman.

    • Trillion says:

      100%. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is probably my favorite TV show of all time after Strangers With Candy. I am living for it.

      • Megan says:

        I watched season 1 and it seemed a little uneven to me. I wasn’t super interested in season 2, but I think I will check it out after GoT – I only have time for one TV show at a time.

    • FluffyPrincess says:

      Me too! One of my all-time favorites on Netflix! It’s so dark and campy and Season 2 was so, so good! I LOVE the aunties and Ambrose and the weird sisters and Ms. Wardwell. . .

      Can’t wait to see what Part 3 has in store for us!

    • Dee Kay says:

      Loving Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!!!! Part 2 was even stronger than Part 1, which I hope is a good sign that the show will keep developing and growing in great new directions. It’s like the showrunners and writers took all the good parts of Buffy and made them even better, and ditched all the sucky parts. Every actor on CAOS (oh my goodness I just realized that spells “chaos” lol) is the best and brings so much to their role, starting with Kiernan Shipka. She is an A+ and then you go down the cast list and they are all A+s, except for maybe Harvey but he’s fine, i guess I don’t hate him.

  9. Jenn says:

    I loooove the references to actual witch practices, and also the mythological references. Lately they’ve moved away from that stuff, though. Which is too bad! I thought the Christmas/Yule special was awesome.

  10. SuperStef says:

    My stepson has seen ghosts since he was a kid. They seek him out because they know he can see them. He was especially bothered by one spirit in our basement and he even moved his bedroom up to the top floor with us.

    When he was 18, I took him to a medium and she explained that spirit was lost on the physical plane his family had all moved on. She helped him go into the light and he was gone. It freaked my boy out though.

    I studied Wiccan for a while and it’s a religion based in nature, nothing to do with the occult. As other have mentioned, it follows the rules of 3. My ex husband hated that I was learning it, innocent as it was. There’s a lot of ignorance around it, primarily due to popular culture and the fear of the earth’s natural powers.

    All the women on my dad’s side of the family are Christians but we have certain natural abilities that can be associated with being witches, especially if it were a few hundred years ago.

  11. Notyouraveragehousewife says:

    I never believed in ghosts until I met my husband 17 years ago. His house was very active. I heard things, felt things and saw things that I cannot explain. I’m a very logical person so it takes a lot for me to believe something. I’ve never experienced anything like that since I lived in that house. It was scary at times but so interesting.

  12. Amelie says:

    Chilling Adventures doesn’t exactly take place in “modern times” actually. If you watch the show enough you’ll notice you never see the characters using smartphones. And I remember seeing Ambrose use a huge cumbersome laptop once in season 1. But after that you never see computers again. There are only land lines as phones. So the show definitely doesn’t take place in the 2000s but they are vague about which era it takes place in on purpose. I think it must be the same thing on Riverdale… the shows take place in the same universe.

    As for Zelda constantly smoking—she is a centuries old witch, I don’t think the rules of lung cancer really apply to her.

  13. Bella Bella says:

    I have had a number of encounters with ghosts. I believe in them. Mine weren’t bad experiences. Mostly people who had previously lived in whatever space I was in visiting in some way. One “disappeared” a tarot deck that I had. Not sure why he didn’t like it.

    In my current space I have a ceiling light that will mysteriously go on or off, or the ceiling fan will suddenly go on or off. It happens so often that I’ve become convinced that someone in a house nearby has a remote that can activate my light/fan. But maybe it’s just a ghost.

  14. Dee says:

    She has always been my favourite young celebrity. Great fashion (and age-appropriate), great attitude, smart, funny. Would love to read about her here more often!!

  15. Dee Kay says:

    I can communicate with souls who have passed on but I’ve never had an encounter with a ghost (a soul who has not passed to the other side b/c it is not “at peace” in some way). But plenty of people in my family have encountered ghosts, in my culture it is common and pretty ordinary for the ghosts of loved ones to haunt their former spouses, spaces, etc., and they are often angry about one thing or another or need something set to rights. I don’t love that part of my culture — why are all the ghosts so angry? or is that some way that we have of dealing with, or processing, death? But I’m not itching to meet up with a ghost so I can learn more about them. I’m happy to rely on others’ stories.

  16. Marjorie says:

    Is this thread April Fool’s? You know there’s no such things as ghosts, right? The Cowardly Lion proved it in 1939, 80 years ago. Sheesh.

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