Shane West stars on WGN America’s series Salem, which is inspired by the 17th-century Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts.

West, who thinks that the fascination with the Salem witch trials has endured because America doesn’t have as many “internal wars amongst ourselves as most countries” and that the witch trials were “your own people killing your own people,” is keen to admit that he does believe that there are supernatural forces at work in the world. Thankfully for the actor, he’s been fortunate not to encounter anything too jarring where the occult is concerned.

“I believe whoever, whatever your believe in the powers up above, that someone’s looking out for me because I think they know if I do see anything too creepy I might lose my damn mind,” West told uInterview exclusively at SXSW. “So, I do believe that they’re out there and I try to stay copacetic and very chill with ghosts so I don’t have to be involved in any paranormal activity.”

Shane West Talks ‘Salem’

In the series, West plays all-American war hero John Aldean, who’d returned home to find that his sweetheart Mary has married town leader George Sibly. In the first season, John fights for his town and to win back the love of his life, but in the upcoming season, John’s trajectory is going to take a somewhat darker turn.

“This season Alden’s got a little bit of a different MO; he’s pretty much hell-bent on revenge this year. He’s been left, again, by Mary Sibly, and he now knows she’s a witch,” West told uInterview exclusively. “He now knows that witches are taking over the town that he was born and raised in, that his father created and built from the bottom up, and he comes back from the dead to hunt down every witch that exists in Salem, in Massachusetts and beyond.”

According to West, as part of his efforts to rid the area of witches, John engages in some Native American rituals that see him delve into the supernatural world he’s been trying to fight against. West also revealed that John gets some tattoo work, some of which West has carried off-set.

“He starts to develop some odd powers on his own that makes him become a tad witch-like in his search and quest to destroy all witches,” West explained. “You’re going to see, which I have a little bit on, kind of left it on – first time I’ve talked about that today – he’s gotten these supernatural tattoos that kind of cover up his body, his chest, his stomach, his back, his neck. They kind of, without spoiling too much, take on a life of their own over time.”

Salem season 2 will premiere April 5.

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Q: Can you describe your character on ‘Salem?’ -

Well, Salem’s a supernatural thriller told during the infamous Salem Witch Trials in American history and it’s our fictional take on that historical period of time, and I play John Alden, who is kind of the original all-American hero so to speak. John Wayne the first cowboy before cowboys’ existed. He’s returned home from war to get the love of his life back and has found that everything has changed. She’s married to George Sibly, the man who runs the town, who’s pretty much his arch enemy, and he sticks around to kind of save his town through everything that’s going on – the witches that are taking over, and to win the love of his life back.

Q: What can we expect from your character this season? -

This season Alden’s got a little bit of a different MO; he’s pretty much hell-bent on revenge this year. He’s been left, again, by Mary Sibly and he now knows she’s a witch. He now knows that witches are taking over the town that he was born and raised in, that his father created and built from the bottom up, and he comes back from the dead to hunt down every witch that exists in Salem, in Massachusetts and beyond. So, because of that he is going to deal with a lot of creepier and gnarlier things this season than he even did in the first season, which was plenty in the first season. He goes through a very intricate Native American ritual that ironically kind of puts him into the world of the supernatural and he starts to develop some odd powers on his own that makes him become a tad witch-like in his search and quest to destroy all witches. You’re going to see, which I have a little bit on, kind of left it on – first time I’ve talked about that today – he’s gotten these supernatural tattoos that kind of cover up his body, his chest, his stomach, his back, his neck, and they kind of, without spoiling too much, take on a life of their own over time.

Q: Do you personally have any belief in the supernatural? -

I mean, I guess I do, I think it’s foolish not too. Supernatural doesn’t necessarily mean evil. I mean, it can be very ghostly. And, spiritually, it can mean many different things. I believe whoever, whatever your believe in the powers up above, that someone’s looking out for me because I think they know if I do see anything too creepy I might lose my damn mind. So, I do believe that they’re out there and I try to stay copacetic and very chill with ghosts so I don’t have to be involved in any paranormal activity.

Q: Why do you think that people are still fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials? -

I personal think that America has such a rich history, but it’s not as old as most countries out there. And I think that we don’t have as many wars, internal wars amongst ourselves, as most countries have around the world, and when it does it stands out. I feel like the Salem Witch Trials is just blatant killing of your own people; your own people killing your own people. The American Civil War is another great example. That’s had a fascination for people for many years as well, the Civil War. So, I think something like this coupled with the fact that there were witches or maybe this person was touched in the head or whatever it might be. Those things stand out more and if it was maybe in a country that was use to internal strife, and wars and battles and fighting each other all the time maybe it wouldn’t stand out as much, but I think for us it does.