A zombie attack, hypnosis and H.H. Holmes all make appearances. Learn how to talk to the dead and prevent corpses from becoming revenants.
S2E4: “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things”
Where it’s from: This type hails from Greece
Description: While there are zombie traditions from around the world, this episode deals with the Greek version. Sometimes called revenants, they’re people who have returned from the dead. They still inhabit their old bodies, so they’re often subject to decay.
What it does: The idea of Greek zombies might relate back to the Keres, female spirits of violent death. Their mother is Nyx, the goddess of darkness, and they’re aligned with the Fates, a trio of goddesses who determine people’s destinies (indeed, the Keres are sometimes referred to as the Death Fates).
This graphic description of a battlefield from Hesiod shows their mad fury for blood and gore, a key part of our modern takes on zombies (such as The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later):
The black Keres, clashing their white teeth, grim-faced, shaggy, blood-bespattered, dread, kept struggling for the fallen. They all wanted to drink black blood whom first they caught, lying or fallen newly wounded. Around him they threw their mighty talons, and the shade to Hades went, in icy Tartarus. Their hearts were glutted with human blood: They threw away the corpse, and back to the tumult and fighting rushed, in new desire.
You can tell a person has returned from the dead from the unholy ground around their grave, revealed by a circle of dead grass.
How to defeat it: Dean: We’ve got a full-on zombie running around. We have to figure out how to kill it.
Sam: Our lives are weird.
There are many reports on how to kill the walking dead — set them on fire, or Sam’s personal favorite: cut out the heart and feed it to a wild dog — but the Winchester Bros. decide to go with silver bullets. Trouble is, this hardly slowed her down: “Damn, that dead chick can run,” Dean says.
In the end, they go with nailing the undead creature back into its grave bed. This means of stopping zombies has been practiced for centuries.
“Ancient Greeks on the island of Sicily had a fear of revenants so dire they weighed bodies down with rocks and amphora pieces to keep them from rising from their graves to haunt the living,” Ancient Origins reports.
On Supernatural, a divination ritual brings the corpse back to life, but divination is really a way to predict the future.
Necromancy Divination Ritual to Speak With the Dead
Make a figure out of dough to represent the person you want to talk to. Dress it with a few bay leaves and some fennel.
Dig a ditch deep enough to stand in and surround it with incense. Pour in a mixture of wine, honey and milk. Then nick your finger and squeeze a few drops of blood into the mixture.
Work yourself into an ecstatic state (“a few cans of Red Bull will probably do the trick,” jokes the blog’s author) before finally speaking to the dead.
S2E5: “Simon Said”
Monster: Mind control
Where it’s from: Germany
Description: This episode focuses on a young man with a strong power of suggestion (think about the famous Jedi line, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”). In fact, he doesn’t even have to speak — he can make you do something just by thinking it. Yikes. That’s quite a power, and would be easy to use for evil.
What it does: Mesmerism, the idea that a person could be healed via thought while they were in a trance, became all the rage in the late 1700s.
Franz Mesmer, for whom the practice is named, was a German physician who devoted his life to the study of energy transfers (or “artificial tides”) he called animal magnetism. It wasn’t until later that mesmerism focused on hypnosis.
How to defeat it: Perhaps the best way to steel your mind to hypnosis is to know how it works. Learn how to put people under your hypnotic spell from the Hypnosis Training Academy.
S2E6: “No Exit”
Monster: Spirit of H.H. Holmes, America’s first (and potentially most prolific) serial killer
Where’s it’s from: Holmes lived in Chicago in the late 1800s, during the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Description: This man was truly a monster. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, he went by numerous aliases. He’s infamous for having created what became known as “Murder Castle,” a massive boarding house with labyrinthine hallways and secret rooms — including a gas chamber and a large kiln convenient for disposing of bodies. He admitted to 27 murders, but the death toll could actually be in the hundreds. His gruesome tale is told in Devil in the White City, which is pretty much required reading for Chicagoans.
Holmes’ spirit leaves ectoplasm, which the Winchesters say is only generated by extremely angry spirits.
What it does: Why let death stop you from killing? Holmes’ murderous spirit captures and murders innocent victims.
How to defeat it: Stab him with a pure iron dagger to make his pervy hand disappear. And trap him in a circle of salt. It might be a good idea to entomb the spirit in concrete as well, even if that means “borrowing” a cement truck like Dean does. –Wally