The Witches of Worm

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The Witches of Worm
The Witches of Worm cover.jpg
First edition cover
Author Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Illustrator Alton Raible
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Atheneum Books
Publication date
1 June 1972
Media type Print
Pages 192 pp
ISBN 0-689-30066-2

The Witches of Worm is a 1972 young adult novel by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.[1] It received the Newbery Honor citation in 1973.[2]

Jessica, a lonely pre-teenaged girl, finds a blind, almost hairless cat that she names Worm. A reclusive elderly neighbor, Mrs. Fortune, helps her to wean and raise him. Worm seems to have a terrible hold on Jessica, and it is suggested the cat possesses her to do cruel and destructive things to her friends and her somewhat childish and emotionally distant divorced mother. Jessica comes to believe Worm is possessed by a group of witches that includes Mrs. Fortune. Jessica’s destructive actions escalate until her mother attempts to send her to counseling. Enraged by this idea, Jessica is left feeling betrayed by her mother and lonely.


The book has often been banned[3] from school libraries in the United States because of its focus on the subject of witchcraft, the description of visions or nightmares Jessica experiences, and its protagonist's disturbing inner monologues with Worm/herself.