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WMG / Hocus Pocus

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Why? Because as a child, he was mocked by other children, for "Ernie and Bert." Hence he grew up hating that name, and also grew up into a bully as a defense mechanism.

Satan is the witches' father
Their mother is mentioned but no father, they apparently adore Satan and he's gifted them with magic and the book and even individual powers unique to each sister. They were apparently born into being witches so perhaps each generation breeds with Satan to create the next?
  • At least one character states that the Sandersons sold their souls to Satan in exchange for their powers. As for no mention of a father, just look at them. Three sisters who look nothing alike and we only hear about their mother? They most likely have different fathers.

Winnifred's book is made out of her father
It explains why he's never mentioned and her affection for it.

Allison is a descendant of the same family as Thackery and Emily
Her mother keeps the museum running and she knows a great deal about the history. also there is a family resemblance.

Allison is a distant relative of the witches.
She seems way too keen to open the spell book to check it out, as if she were confident in her own witchcraft powers. Plus, as stated above, she seems to know a great deal about the occult and her family runs the museum and keeps it in pristine condition (even to the point of a particular rat tail being in the same spot even after 300 years when it would have decayed.)
  • Lampshaded by Winifred calling her a "clever little white witch" when Allison surrounds herself with salt. It's also possible Winifred was referencing the belief some cultures had that all women posses a certain degree of magic. Allison's a good guy, so "white witch" is then a taunt against a novice in her profession.
    • The original script actually has the witches specifically state that Allison is a descendant of a “good witch” named Elizabeth, who (according to Mary) was....”good right down to the last bite.” This cut line of dialog gives a little more meaning to Winnie’s white witch comment.

The Sisters became witches because society rejected them.
Related to the above edit concerning the Sanderson sisters parentage; their mother either just got around or was a prostitute and had three daughters, each with a different father. This lead to the girls being outcasts growing up and enduring the townspeople's taunts and mistreatment. They learned to keep to themselves and this being colonial Salem, rumors started to spread. Figuring their lot couldn't get any worse, they sold their souls and became witches and go about getting revenge on the people who treated them as less than dirt their whole lives. After a while they genuinely begin to enjoy evil, leading into where the movie begins.
  • Except at some point they mention their mother's scorpion pie. Unless this was a delicacy in XVII century Salem and I'm not aware of it, this sounds rather like the sort of thing a witch would cook. I think they're probably part of a long line of witches!

Emily was never a ghost.
Emily's soul was not trapped on Earth until the end of the movie. She was able to come back to look for her brother because, as of dawn, it's All Souls Day note 

Winnifred Sanderson was more powerful than Lord Voldemort
Bear with me. In the Harry Potter books and movies Lord Voldemort is supposed to be the most powerful evil magic user of all times. However, if Winnifred lived in the same universe she'd arguably be more powerful.
  • Winnifred can literally suck the life force of children to rejuvenate herself. If she and her sisters consume enough life force, they can potentially live forever. This may not be so much a matter of power as it is of knowledge; obviously the recipee for the potion in Winnifred's book is a magical secret Voldemort never got his hands into. If he had, he would've probably think twice before splitting his soul into seven and creating vulnerable horcruxes; it would've been so much easier to simply catch Harry Potter and his friends (hell, any muggle kids would do!) and suck their life force until he achieved immortality level. And he wouldn´t have been so horribly disfigured, probably!
    • Winnifred does all of her magic without a wand. Voldemort seeks feverishly for the most powerful wand of all, and is frustrated when it doesn´t even seem to work for him because, reasons. Winnifred manages all of her magic without any need for a wand. Some of her spells are non-verbal, but she is also proficient at potion making (potions Voldemort would've certainly benefited from), and verbal spells. In Harry Potter lore, only very powerful wizards become proficient at non-verbal and wandless magic, and even then, both Dumbledore and Voldemort are repeatedly shown as highly reliant on their wands.
      • Winnifred and her sisters apparently have the power to influence people with their voices, hypnotizing children and even tricking a large crowd of adult "muggles" into bewitching themselves (by having them recite the spell to make them dance themselves into death). In the Harry Potter stories, Voldemort does have the power of mind control (Imperius curse) but he is never stated to be able to use it on large crowds all at once. If he had that power he would've certainly use it to neutralize his enemies and enslave a lot of people without all the need for hiding, fighting and recruiting followers. Surely Winnifred would've been a lot more dangerous than Voldemort if she had been after world domination.
      • Voldemort creates horcruxes in case something happens to his physical body (which of course does happen), and later he is forced to drink snake venom and unicorn blood and do a gross ritual to make himself a new body, a process that takes him a long time. Meanwhile, Winnifred and her sisters are locked into an oven and burnt to death, presumably into ashes (we see all the smoke, etc), yet later they regenerate their bodies and emerge from the oven unscathed. And without any horcruxes. Again, Voldemort would've greatly benefited from Winnifred's knowledge/powers.
      • Voldemort can bring the dead back as Inferi, but these are just empty corpses he uses as puppets; the actual person can never be brought back. Winnifred is shown to also have the power to raise the death (within seconds and using just simple verbal spells, if they can even be called that). Sure, she seems to have less power over her zombie than Voldemort does, but this is because the person she brings back is the ACTUAL person who once occupied that body. That sort of resurrection is literally stated to be impossible in the Harry Potter universe, making Winnifred, again, more powerful than Voldemort. Who knows what would've happened if she had decided to create an army (surely she could bring back all the dead people in Salem, and then hypnotize them as she did with the living?)
      • Winnifred turns Thackery Binks into a cat, something that Voldemort would've surely been able to do to other people if he ever thought of any spells other than Avada Kedavra. But the thing is Winnifred turns Thackery into an IMMORTAL cat. What would've Voldemort have thought if he had heard of this? Would he had called Winnifred an ugly hag in hopes that she'd turn him immortal too? Would he even mind being a cat if that meant cheating death?
      • Of course, it could be argued that all of these powers come from Satan. However, it is made clear that Winnifred is more powerful or at least more skilled than her sisters, and so credit is due.

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