Residence: Opal City, occasionally mobile
Occupation: Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): none
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Starman Annual #1
Pre-Crisis Fate: No Appearances
Post-Crisis Fate: Elderly, living in Florida
Prior Earth/Earth-0 = Nothing is known of the Abigail Moorland's life before she came to attention as the Prairie Witch in the early 1940's. Her first recorded activity was a crime spree in Opal City punctuated by a series of bizarre murders. To insure the success of her crimes, the Witch made ritual sacrifices to whatever Dark Forces empowered her. While robbing an Opal City pawn shop, she was intercepted by 5 off-duty Opal City Police officers. Three of these were killed and two taken hostage. The crime attracted the attention of Starman, who had been trying to crack the case for over a week. In addition to stopping her crime wave, he wanted to make a scientist's point that the Witch's powers were all "smoke & mirrors".
As the Witch attacked a local jewelry store, Starman arrived in an attempt to foil the robbery. Starman had underestimated the Witch's powers however, assuming them to be a charade. His overconfidence made him an easy mark for the Prairie Witch's "gun" and he was captured for later use. After murdering one of the captured officers in a dark rite, the Witch and her gang abandoned Starman and other officer, Billy O'Dare to stage another jewelry store robbery. This time the Witch had underestimated Starman, who kept spare circuitry hidden in the folds of his cape. He and Billy then escaped and intercepted the Witch and her gang, quickly defeating them. To the hero's amazement however, the Witch's principal mode of transportation, a flying broom, turned out to be a simple broomstick. It's powers of flight remained a mystery (Starman Annual #1).
In 1943, the Prairie Witch attracted national attention and the ire of the Phantom Lady by staging a brazen robbery at a Washington, D.C. ball. Making off with thousands of the dollars worth of jewelry, the Witch fled back to Opal with a reward of her head and the Phantom Lady of her tail. The heroine, cousin of Starman, contacted Opal's resident guardian to inquire after the Witch. Starman, as it happens, was also in pursuit of her for other crimes. When he intercepted the villainess own a robbery attempt, she escaped him by blowing up a children's home. As Starman fled to rescue those that he could, the Witch fled towards home. Unbeknownst to her, the Phantom Lady had trailed her invisibly and captured her and her gang for the Washington theft. The reward was then used to buy War Bonds (Starman #44).
The subsequent activities of the Witch are unknown. By the end of the millennium, she was quite elderly and suffering from emphysema. Despite this, she maintained a hand in the black arts and when contacted by Culp, nemesis of the Shade, she provided information on several sites of mystic importance to facilitate the malignant dwarf's transfer of Opal into the Dark Dimension. In return, she was given sufficient funds to move to warmer Florida, where she has remained since then (revealed in Starman #68).
The Prairie Witch was skilled in a variety of dark arts, the full range of which have not been identified. Fueling these powers involved blood sacrifices and other dark forms of magic, the cost of which to the Moorland are not known. In practice, these powers mainly manifesting themselves as flight via enchantment of objects like brooms and amplification of common weapons, as well as some tilting of forces of probability of in the Witch's favor so that her crimes succeeded. The full range of her abilities are unknown. The origins and agents to whome she has made sacrifice for these abilities remains unrevealed.
Aside from her empowered implements, it is not evident that Moorland was personally empowered by the her magicks. She aged as a normal human and developed typical human lung disease later in life. Separated from her tools, she could be overwhelmed and captured, though its not clear how effective incarceration was in her case.
Back to GA Villain Checklist