Now moving on to its twelfth season, Supernatural has more than cemented its ownership of the supernatural/horror genre on television. Since the very premiere – which featured the ghost of a white lady – Supernatural has taken inspiration from some real life stories and urban myths, thus multiplying the creepy factor by a thousand. Similarly to The X Files, where most of the plotlines originated from real life events, Supernatural's borrowing of some scary situations that actually happened to real people like you and I, makes the show ever more captivating.
Since Supernatural is currently on hiatus, we could all use a good dose of scare. So let’s take a peep (behind our semi-opened fingers) at some of that real life creepiness that has inspired the show – and the episodes they featured in.
7. 'Bloody Mary' - Season 1, Episode 5
In Season 1, Supernatural addressed the urban myth surrounding Bloody Mary. In the show, Mary had been killed - after her eyes had been cut out - and her soul got trapped in the mirror she was standing in front of at the time of her death. Since the mirror was put up for sale in a an antique shop, Mary went on to kill anybody in town who felt guilty about someone else's death. Dean and Sam finally got rid of her, when they forced her to stare at herself in said mirror.
Real life Bloody Mary is equally sinister on her own. She's said to appear to anyone who calls out her name 3 times in front of a mirror. The lore traces back to when women would seek the identity of their future husbands, in which case they had to climb a flight of stairs backwards while holding a lit candle in one hand and a mirror in the other. Creepy as that sounds, climbing some stairs backwards feels pretty dangerous on its own!
6. 'Crossroads Blues' - Season 2, Episode 8
'Crossroad Blues' was an episode in which the Winchester brothers investigated the death of an architect, who seemingly died because of a black dog. It turned out that the dog was a hellhound that came to collect the man's soul, in payment for a deal the man did with a demon. While Sam stayed back to protect another man from yet another hellhound, Dean went to the crossroads and summoned the demon, forcing it to end the bargain and save the man.
In reality, 'Cross Road Blues' is a 1936 song by Robert Johnson, who was rumored to have made a deal with the devil. Similarly to the show, Robert supposedly offered the devil his soul in exchange for success, which he eventually obtained. This is not the only song that supports the myth that Robert sold his soul, though. 'Hellhound on my trail' and 'Me and the Devil Blues' are also in Robert's repertoire, and the lyrics to the latter are frighteningly intriguing:
5. 'Croatoan' - Season 2, Episode 9
In 'Croatoan', Sam and Dean arrived in Rivergrove to investigate a premonition Sam had, but they ended up trapped inside the city. Some very violent townspeople were blocking any exit from the city and all communications with the outside world had been shut down. The Winchesters then found a doctor, who believed the people had been contaminated with a virus - which Dean assumed was a demonic one - and upon seeing the word 'Croatoan' carved in a pole, Dean made the connection with the lost colony of Roanoke.
Roanoke Island served as the first English colony in the New World, back in the 16th century. There were two attempts to colonize the island, but both failed. The last one - and the most mysterious - happened in the late 1580s. The colony was in need of supplies, so John White took his ship back to England to replenish their stock. Having returned much later than he expected though - 3 years later, instead of 6 months - John found an empty colony, with only the word 'Croatoan' carved in a tree as any indication of the settlers' fate. It remains one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries of America to this day.
4. 'Hollywood Babylon' - Season 2, Episode 18
After someone died on the set of a horror movie, Dean and Sam went to Los Angeles, only to discover that it had been a ruse. Nevertheless, people continued to die on the set - even after the brothers salted and burned some bones - and they soon found out that the movie script contained real summoning incantations. As it happened, the writer was seeking revenge against those who had destroyed his script and was using ghosts as his weapons. Needless to say, he got his own share of ghostly payback in the end.
There have been some pretty mysterious deaths and mishaps in some big movie productions over the years. The most famous being The Exorcism of Emily Rose - where the actress who plays Emily reported that her radio turned on by itself in the middle of the night during filming - and, of course, 1982's Poltergeist. This is definitely the most cursed film in cinematic history, with three cast members dying before the movie's release, and leading actress JoBeth Williams going home every day after shooting to find all her paintings hanging crookedly on her walls - just like it happened in Poltergeist.
3. 'Home' - Season 1, Episode 9
Speaking of poltergeists, in 'Home' the Winchester brothers try to help a family who were experiencing some weird phenomena in their home. The brothers got help from a friend of their father's, a psychic who claimed to have cleansed the house. Sam figured out that she hadn't succeeded and, when the ghost returned, Sam and Dean stopped it with the help of their mother's spirit.
Inexplicable occurrences in normal family homes have always made the news, mostly because there isn't a logical explanation for most of them. But houses aren't the only places where ghost tend to linger. England and its old castles and houses, now turned into hotels and inns, have their guests awoken in the middle of the night, pushed of stairs and even physically injured by unfriendly ghosts. The most famous documented haunted graveyard in the world - with 450 documented cases as of 2006 - is Greyfriars Cemetery, in Edinburgh. There - specifically in the crypt of Sir George MacKenzie and Covenanters' Prison - people have experienced bruises, burns, scratches and even broken bones!
2. 'Asylum' - Season 1, Episode 10
In the long abandoned Roosevelt Asylum, Sam and Dean communicated with the ghosts of the criminally insane patients who rioted in 1964. They found out that the head psychiatrist had tortured the patients, both mentally as well as physically. The doctor's ghost got control over Sam's sanity, making him attack his brother, but Dean managed to overthrow Sam and burn the doctor's bones.
Needless to say, these facilities were scary as hell - mainly because of the inhumane treatment most of them used to provide to their patients. There are countless cases of torture and bad care, but the one place where the patients refuse to leave is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, in West Virginia. Sy-Fi Ghosthunters have deemed it "one of the scariest places on Earth", and many have said it's not for the faint of heart. The sound of gurneys rolling in the corridors, voices whispering warnings and full-body apparitions make the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum the worst place to spend the night.
1. 'Phantom Traveler' - Season 1, Episode 4
Season 1 set the benchmark for many of the recurring themes we'd see throughout the (currently) eleven seasons of Supernatural. It's no wonder many of the cases on this list come from that season but, in episode 4, we're also presented with our first glimpse of what would become the show's staple: demons. Demonic possession (which led the brothers to have a protective shield inked on their chests), summoning of demons (like in 'Crossroads Blues'), and exorcisms are all quintessential Supernatural themes.
One of the most frightening cases of demonic possession is Anna Ecklund's double possession. At fourteen, she began to show signs of early possession and was put through her first exorcism. Although it had been deemed successful at the time, it was later found that Anna had been taken once more by demons and human spirits alike. This gets even creepier if you think that her father and her aunt - her father's lover - were two of the spirits who dwelt inside Anna. After she received the first exorcism, they repeatedly cursed her, offering her soul to the devil and other demons. This bone-chilling case is getting its movie adaptation, due out this year.
When you take in the scary reality of these stories, Supernatural does not even seem a horror series anymore. Let's just hope that the whole Apocalypse storyline wasn't plucked out of some real life conspiracy!