The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 2, Episodes 10-12

Predictions from sibyls, psychics and the Oracle at Delphi. Hoodoo practices, including quincunx and voodoo doll spells. Plus, how to kill a werewolf.

 

One of the first recorded psychics in the world was the Oracle at Delphi, whose cryptic messages were much sought after

One of the first recorded psychics in the world was the Oracle at Delphi, whose cryptic messages were much sought after

S2E10: “Hunted”

Monster: Psychics

Someone's hunting the psychic young men and women whom the yellow-eyed demon is enlisting as soldiers in the coming war. Sam’s one, as is Ava, his new acquaintance, who has seen a horrific vision of things to come.

Are all the “special children” ticking timebombs, sure to turn evil at some point? Ava’s financé lying in a pool of blood with his throat slit seems to point to “yes.”

Where it’s from: Cultures from all around the world have believed in psychics, but perhaps the first mention are the sibyls of Ancient Greece.

The sibyl at Delphi sitting upon her tripod and inhaling those potentially hallucinatory fumes

The sibyl at Delphi sitting upon her tripod and inhaling those potentially hallucinatory fumes

Description: Only a woman could be born a sibyl, which translates to “prophetess.” As a kid, I dreamed of what it would be like to visit the most famous, the Oracle at Delphi on Mount Parnassus.

The temple of the Oracle at Delphi in its heyday

The temple of the Oracle at Delphi in its heyday

What it does: These psychics would work themselves up into an ecstatic frenzy. There’s some debate as to whether or not the priestesses were helped along by natural gas emissions in their cave (think of them as the first huffers!).

Either way, once in this altered state, the sibyl would become a conduit for a deity and would speak a somewhat cryptic response to a petitioner’s question.

Emperor Nero was one of the many who visited the Oracle at Delphi, stopping by in 67 CE, when he was 30 years old. Even at that relatively young age, he’d already ticked some things off his bucket list, including having his own mother killed. The sibyl’s unforgiving prophecy went:

“Your presence here outrages the god you seek. Go back, matricide! The number 73 marks the hour of your downfall!”

Needless to say, Nero wasn’t too pleased and had the poor woman burned alive. He assumed he’d live to the ripe old age of 73 — but there’s typically some ambiguity in these psychics’ predictions. Instead, the emperor was defeated during a revolt by a man named Galba…who happened to be 73 at the time. Nero then committed suicide.

When the original Oracle at Delphi died, legend has it she became a disembodied voice that would wander the world, whispering prophecies. I’m sure you’re happy to learn the reason behind the voices in your head.

How to defeat it: They’re still humans. Killing them just because they might go bad one day — or because you don’t like their predictions — seems extreme. (Though the trail of corpses left behind on Supernatural might speak otherwise.)

 

Would you stay at an inn that had a murderous spirit?

Would you stay at an inn that had a murderous spirit?

S2E11: “Playthings”

Monster: Spirit

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: A little girl named Tyler lives at an inn, where she plays with her “imaginary friend” Maggie. Turns out this friend isn’t so imaginary after all; she’s the spirit of her great aunt, Margaret, who drowned in the pool when she was young. Maggie haunts the inn and prevents it from being sold so she doesn’t have to lose her playmate, Tyler.

What it does: There’s a giant dollhouse that’s a scale model of the inn, and the position of the dolls, which seemingly move on their own, reveals a death as it happens. The first to go is a property appraiser who is found hanging in his room.

When Dean sees all the dolls in the house they’re investigating, he says, unconvincingly, “They’re not super creepy at all.”

A quincunx symbol can connect a spell to a place and make it stronger

A quincunx symbol can connect a spell to a place and make it stronger

How to defeat it: Take some cues from the innkeeper’s Creole nanny, who used some hoodoo tricks to protect the B&B and its inhabitants, including the quincunx, or five spot symbol. It looks like the five you’re familiar with from dice: four dots in each corner of a square, with one in the middle. This is a technique to fix a spell to a specific location and empower it.

On the show, a quincunx amulet filled with bloodweed becomes a powerful way to ward off evil, Sam tells us.

You can also bind a spirit with a poppet. (I did one on President Trump, but it really doesn’t seem to have done much good.) You can find the spell in this previous Supernatural post.)

If you’re more inclined to curses or bodily harm, there’s the option of using a voodoo doll on your enemy.

I’d hate to think what someone did to get this voodoo doll treatment!

I’d hate to think what someone did to get this voodoo doll treatment!

Voodoo Doll Ritual

Take some sort of doll (you can buy them all over New Orleans, make one out of wax or cloth, or even borrow someone’s Barbie for these nefarious purposes).

You’ll need some part of your victim, ideally a strand of hair or a fingernail clipping — though a photograph will work in a pinch.

Create a magic circle. Take your voodoo doll and chant, “I command you; I control you” four times. Then: “Hear my voice! The pain you have caused me I shall cause you!”

Here’s where you can get creative with your punishments. Take a needle, candle or something else to poke, prod, burn or create general mayhem upon your doll. Note that you won’t kill your victim, but they should feel the pain, stinging, burning, cold or whatever you’ve subjected the doll to.

Repeat if necessary.

(Adapted from SpellsOfMagic.com)

When all else fails, you could try striking a deal with the spirit. In this case, Grandma Rose offers her life to spend eternity playing dollies with her dead sister. Who says there’s no such thing as Heaven?

 

A Werewolf in Geneva, 1580

A Werewolf in Geneva, 1580

S2E12: “Nightshifter”

Monster: Not a mandroid! It’s a shapeshifter

Where it's from: Europe

Death of the Werewolf. I hope that arrow has a silver tip on it!

Death of the Werewolf. I hope that arrow has a silver tip on it!

Description: The Winchester boys tell us werewolf stories come from these shapeshifters, even though their methods don’t match up.

Believe it or not, there were stories of werewolves even before Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books.

A werewolf attacks a village in this woodcut from around 1512

A werewolf attacks a village in this woodcut from around 1512

Werewolves are humans who morph into the shape of a wolf during the full moon. The inflicted don’t remember what they’ve done during their wolf phase — which is probably a good thing, since it tends to involve mauling people to death.

One of the first written accounts of werewolves comes from Herodotus in 440 BCE, who described a tribe in Scythia who seem to have gotten stoned out of their gourds and transformed into wolves once a year.

A werewolf enjoys a tasty treat — but it’ll probably regret it in the morning

A werewolf enjoys a tasty treat — but it’ll probably regret it in the morning

In her book Giants, Monsters and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth, Carol Rose writes, “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.”

Centuries later, the methods said to create werewolves expanded colorfully to include “being cursed, or by being conceived under a new moon, or by having eaten certain herbs, or by sleeping under the full moon on Friday, or by drinking water that has been touched by a wolf.”

What it does: You never know who to trust. The Supernatural shapeshifter sheds its skin in a goopy mess and keeps jumping bodies.

“God, it’s like playing the shell game,” Dean exclaims. “It could be anybody. Again.”

How to defeat it: It makes sense that silver, associated with the moon, seems to be the only thing that can end a werewolf’s life. (On a somewhat silly side note, if werewolves were to travel to the moon or touch a moon rock, it’d be even more harmful than silver — at least according to Ask Mystic Investigations, that is. The same site insists that silver can kill werewolves “due to cleansing away the demonic DNA that dwells in them.”) Ruff life. –Wally

 

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