- “I smell children!”
- ―Mary's unnatural ability to detect the scent of children[src]
Mary Sanderson is one of the two secondary antagonists in Disney's 1993 film, Hocus Pocus and its upcoming 2022 sequel, along with her sister Sarah. She is the middle witch who lived during the time of the Salem Witch Trials, along with her two sisters: Winifred and Sarah.
After three hundred years, Mary and her sisters were awoken from their graves by Max Dennison, and sought to keep themselves from dying and ageing once more by attempting to kidnap children and steal their souls. She has the ability to sniff out the presence of children.
Mary is Winifred's right-hand witch, always trying her best to appease Winnie and calm her rages. As such, she has a slightly rivalry but sweet and loving sisterly relationship towards her younger sister Sarah. In her quest to stay on Winnie's good side, Mary compliments her whenever she can and has a habit of repeating whatever she says. Although perhaps not as cunning or as evil as her eldest sister, she is more competent, clever, and observant than Sarah. And also not as ditzy and airheaded as Sarah.
Mary is the most caring of the Sanderson sisters, but only to her sisters. It is Mary that suggests forming a calming circle to ease their stress, and it is Mary who takes care of Winnie when she loses hope. However, when it comes to children, Mary delights in tracking them down with her powerful sense of smell and suggest various ways of cooking them, from barbecue to "shish-ka-baby", heavily implying her and her sisters to be cannibals.
Mary has dark hair twisted in a distinctive style like a witch's hat, a plump physique, and dark brown eyes. She wears a red vest that has several metal rings attached to the bottom over an orange shirt, a plaid skirt underneath a reddish-purple apron, and a red matching cloak. Mary has a beauty mark on the right side of her nose and a habit of biting the left side of her lower lip, giving her face a lopsided look.
Powers and abilities
As the middle Sanderson sister, Mary is a powerful witch in her own right. Examples of powers she was shown to possess were:
- Supernatural Smell: The ability to possess a sense of smell drastically beyond what was naturally possible. Mary's sense of smell was such that she could locate children both in close proximity and from great distances, and could even accurately determine the children's genders and ages.
- Potion Brewing: The ability to create beverages that produce specific magical effects. Mary helped her sisters to brew the Life Potion.
- Spell Casting: The ability to cast spells to produce specific magical effects. Mary often helped her sisters cast spells. Other additional abilities she derived from this power are:
- Cursing: The ability to induce curses. To punish Thackery Binx for insulting them, and to force him to live forever with his guilt over failing to save his sister from them, the three sisters cursed him to become an immortal black cat.
- Continual Action Inducement: The ability to cause others to keep doing one action or a series of actions until they literally die. After Winifred hypnotized the adults through her singing voice, she, Sarah, and Mary went on to sing a catchy song interwoven with a spell that made the adults "dance until they died" (though it was fortunately broken before said deaths could occur).
- Broom Flight: The ability to fly using brooms. Mary is skilled in broom flight, and could also fly using a vacuum cleaner as an alternative to her normal broomstick.
In 1693, the Sanderson Sisters, now graying and stooped with age, decide to brew the Life Potion, which will steal the life force of a child to restore their own youth and vitality. As Winifred and Mary work on the potion, they send Sarah out to lure a child with her siren-like voice. She soon returns with a young girl named Emily Binx, whom they bewitch in no time to sit docilely in a chair as they finish up the potion. However, just after Emily obediently drinks the potion, the girl's elder brother Thackery interrupts them and attempts to rescue her. Mary and Sarah gleefully chase him around the room, but he manages to knock them down by shoving their enormous cauldron at them, spilling the rest of the potion in the process. A furious Winifred easily subdues him with her powers before Mary points out that the potion is working: Emily's life force is visible. The sisters eagerly crowd around Emily and suck her life force away until their youth is restored and Emily dies of old age.
Rejoicing at the success of their potion, the witches then turn their attention to Thackery. Winifred initially plans to simply kill him, but she changes her mind when he calls her a hag and decides that he deserves a harsher punishment. Mary suggests that they barbecued and fillet him. Together with her sisters, she curses him to live forever in the form of a black cat, doomed to live for all eternity with the guilt of his failure to save Emily.
Just after they perform the spell, an angry mob arrives at their cottage, led by Emily and Thackery's parents. Winifred and Mary attempt to barricade the door and convince the crowd that they're merely spinsters spending a quiet evening at home, but air-headed Sarah impulsively adds that they've been killing children before her sisters can stop her. Soon enough, the sisters are captured and hanged. But before they die, Winifred casts one final spell declaring that on Halloween night when the moon is full, a virgin will summon them back from the dead, allowing them to once again claim the lives of all the children in Salem.
300 years later, on Halloween night, the sisters are brought back to life by Max Dennison, a teenage boy who did not believe in the curse. After Max, his sister, Dani, and his crush, Allison, steal Winifred's spellbook, the sisters are forced to follow them; they must suck the lives of children in order to live past dawn.
Mary and the others track the kids to a cemetery, where they are forced to remain on their broomsticks. Thus, Winifred raises Billy Butcherson from the dead and commands him to capture them, though he is unsuccessful. Later, Mary and the others get a bus driver to take them to find children to be victims. Mary initially believes that she has lost her powers when she smells children though doesn't see any. At this point, they meet a man dressed as the devil, and believe him to be their master. However, after being run out by the man's wife, they realize that Halloween is a time when people wear costumes. During this time, their broomsticks are stolen, forcing them to continue on foot.
The sisters then follow the children to the party where Max's parents are and after being exposed to the room by Max, Winifred takes charge and ridicules him before singing "I Put a Spell on You" therefore enchanting all the adults causing them to dance until they die. After this the children lead the sisters to the school after Allison gets an idea from a restaurant and after unwittingly walking into a kiln they are locked in and the children burn them alive.
However, they did not die due to the curse protecting them from death until sunrise and they end up capturing and locking up Jay and Ernie, two bullies that had made fun of Max after they call them ugly chicks. Winifred, desperate for her eternal youth decides to try and make the potion from memory. Sarah, surprisingly, shouts out the correct ingredient but is hushed by Mary who thinks Winifred has all the right answers. At Max's house, though, he and Allison open the book therefore allowing it to send out a signal to the witches who fly to the house, with Mary using a vacuum cleaner to replace her stolen broomstick. They take the book and kidnap Dani and Thackery. Mary accompanies Winifred to the cottage, and assists in making the potion.
After brewing the potion again they try to get Dani to drink it but are stopped by Max who tricks them into thinking the sun has risen by using the headlights of his parents' car. However they realize they have been tricked and follow the children back to the cemetery and attempt to get Dani to drink the potion again though Winifred drops it whilst Sarah tries to help Mary escape the children. Max catches it and threatens to smash it though instead drinks it after Winifred says she'll kill Dani if he smashes it. After a struggle with him, they both fall to the ground and Winifred starts to take his life force but the sun comes up. Winifred transforms into stone and explodes while her two sisters implode in purple and orange light.
At the end of the film, however, the book is seen and it blinks, therefore hinting the sisters may return once again.
Mary will appear in this film.
Mary makes an appearance in the video game Disney Emoji Blitz. She is a playable character that has the ability to "sniffs out emojis and steals their souls for extra time." She and her sisters, Winifred and Sarah, are currently the only playable Hocus Pocus characters.
Mary, alongside her sisters Winifred and Sarah, appear in Disney Heroes: Battle Mode, originally for special events during the 2021 Halloween season. In the game, Mary's abilities are magic-orange sparks from her finger, using her vacuum to fly past the enemies, eating a snack and sniffing with her enhanced smell of sense.
When Mary is defeated in the game, she will spark orange and blast away.
Mary, along with her sisters, returned in a Halloween-Themed Castle Show during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. She and her sisters try to brew a special Halloween Potion and receive assistance from various Disney Villains. After successfully completing the potion she joins Sarah in singing and dancing backup while Winifred sings "I Put a Spell on You".