Hey…Ass Butt! Read this you damn Idjut!

Supernatural fans will understand the title, and If you have not seen the episodes from whence it came you should definitely check it out. And for that matter, why haven’t you checked it out?

It’s no surprise, at least if you talk to friends and family, that Supernatural is my favorite Television show, probably of all time. For those that don’t know, Supernatural follows the lives of two brothers, Sam & Dean, who hunt and kill the things that go bump in the night. Now, at first the description doesn’t do the show justice and probably turns a lot of people off, but before you change the channel just hear me out.

The one thing that has fascinated me about the show from day one is the amount of research put into the series. Eric Kripke’s initial concept for the series was a show about urban legends, a term I have always hated. Essentially, the show takes mythology from many different cultures and creates its own mythology around it. It also has a sense of humor around it; case in point, season four, in an episode entitled “Wishful Thinking,” Sam & Dean, investigate a  wishing well that actually grants wishes with bad consequences. At one point, when investigating a claim of a Bigfoot sighting, the brothers acknowledge that The Loch Ness Monster is real but Bigfoot is not. (This show also has the best title I’ve ever seen for an episode: “Chris Angel is a Douchebag.”)

But, I digress, from season one, which was the weakest until season six (and don’t get me started on that season), they begin to set the mythology early on. In the first episode, after the brothers are reunited to find their missing father, they themselves investigate a series of deaths on a stretch of road in California. They pin it to a spiritual phenomenon called a woman in white. While that may not seem interesting to most, the concept is based on real spiritual beings! Though, they took the woman in white thing a bit far, the most famous ghostly woman in this category is know as “Resurrection Mary.” The story goes that, as far back as the 30’s, people report picking up a female hitchhiker, dressed in a white party dress with blue eyes and blonde hair. The woman asks to be brought to Resurrection Cemetary and upon arriving, the woman vanishes into the cemetery. This most famous ghost story was featured on Unsolved Mysteries; the title speaks for itself, but it was hosted by the spookiest man ever…Robert Stack. (ooooooooooooh chills just thinking about it.)

Other legends in season one include demons, which become a larger part of the overall story arc of the show, poltergeists, reapers, shapeshifters, and one of my favorite monsters ever! The beast I speak of is called the Wendigo, which is found in the Algonquin Native American legends, including the Cree, which is where the name comes from and means “creature that devours.” The Wendigo itself is a cannibalistic spirit, but the Indians also believed that you could become a Wendigo upon eating human flesh. In the show the human transforms into the Wendigo when eating human flesh, and becomes the perfect hunter. The creature fascinated me when I saw it on the screen and I looked for as much information on it as I could. Turns out, there was a “horror” writer back in the times of Lovecraft named Algernon Blackwood. He wrote a short story called The Wendigo, which centers around a hunting party going in the woods of Canada and encountering said creature (for Kindle owners…you can download the story for free).

Another creature I want to give props to in the Supernatural realm is the Trickster. The boys first encounter this creature in season two in an episode entitled “Tall Tales.” The Trickster, presented itself as the most powerful monster to date, with the ability to alter everything around them, and I mean how do you kill something that can do that? He pops up in a few more episodes; a very moving episode which is a tribute to the film Groundhog Day, the plot see’s Sam relieving the same day over and over again and everyday his brother dies in some way. There is another great episode in Season five, in which Sam & Dean are put into a TV land where everything they do is a TV show. After doing research, it turns out that in many cultures, there are claims of Trickster like beings including Greek, Norse, Slavic, and Native American. The term, Trickster, wasn’t applied to these beings until 1885 by Daniel G Brinton, a noted archaeologist and ethnologist.

If you’re as obsessed with the show as I am, you may have picked up some of the books that relate to the show. One interesting book is called John Winchester’s Journal. Those that watch know that in the show, every evil thing they’ve ever come across is generally contained within a journal their father wrote. The book based on the artifact from the show is written by Alex Irvine and is very well detailed and is as well researched as the television show. There is a little more in the book too, if you’re looking for some interesting mythology to dive into.  For instance, did you know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Spiritualist? Its detailed in the book; in fact, Doyle wrote a book about the Spiritualist movement, that I was able to get a hold of when I was still attending  SUNY Potsdam. If you’re a fan of the show or if you like mythology…quit reading this and check the show out!!!

 

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