After 200 episodes, it’s a wonder that CW’s Supernatural has any monsters, ghoulies and other things that go bump in the night left to gank. But so many episodes were focused on angels and demons that lots of of fun creatures have merely received brief nods or been ignored entirely. It’s time to revisit the Monster of the Week with some good, old-fashioned Winchester hunting this season, and the best place to find sources for that are in classic urban legends.
Some of Sam and Dean’s best adventures were based on beloved urban legends, like the man with a hook for a hand, the woman in white and “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?” The stories once served as the backbone of the show; although the plot has always centered around the relationship of the two brothers, these urban legends gripped audiences as they wondered which monster would be featured each week, and if a cryptozoological creature from their state might be next. Given that producers have already said that season 12 will be a return “back to the basics,” fans are wondering what to expect in terms of monsters.
So here are 15 Urban Legends We Want To See In Supernatural.
15. An American Monster
Some of the best shows on Supernatural stemmed from the tall tale of a monster in any given US state. There might have been mention of, say, a Jersey Devil (season 7, episode 9, “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters”), but the brothers have never hunted one. In that episode, the culprit turned out to be a Leviathan instead. The Leviathan storyline was interesting enough, but like the angels and demons saga that predated (and postdated) it, the arc sometimes seemed stale, and for many fans it was due to the lack of a good story. A good tale almost guaranteed when you include a tall tale from America’s many colorful legends.
Along that same route, the Winchesters could demonstrate their hunting prowess when dealing with a mothman, hodag, hoop snake, or dozens of other legendary American monsters. Seeing Sam and Dean trek across the country to find the “monster of the week” and getting a taste of local culture as a result has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the show. By employing more American monsters, we’ll get to carry on with the wayward sons as they experience more of American folklore and culture.
15. Black Cat
Sure, the guys have run up against some pretty shifty shifters. There have been episodes about dogs (season 9, episode 5, “Dog Dean Afternoon” comes to mind), and a pretty memorable moment during which Dean screamed his head off when a mewling cat scared him senseless. Some people use that as their ringtone. But there’s just something about black cats that scream supernatural and the show has never really focused on one. From shape-shifting women killing colts in the night to cats that sense death (not to mention Edgar Allen Poe’s cat, Pluto), there’s a plethora of American folklore tales to choose from.
The reluctance to include a black cat story may simply stem from the superstitious stigma of black cats bringing bad luck. There’s even an urban legend that every year black cats often go missing or are found killed, particularly during Halloween, for this very reason. If this is the case, perhaps the Supernatural producers might consider doing either a tale of a benevolent black cat or a Wampus cat story instead.
13. Tales From New Orleans
No other place in America has the supernatural history of New Orleans. From voodoo to hauntings, infamous murders to the creepiest cemeteries, the city has enough fodder for an entire season, if not more. Yes, the boys have encountered some minor voodoo and witchcraft here and there, but given that there are different kinds of witches, much unexplored territory remains open for exploration.
Supernatural could take a page from American Horror Story and explore the stories of Marie Laveau or Delphine LaLaurie. The Hotel Monteleone would be an incredible source of inspiration. Perhaps the hunters could run into the ghost of Truman Capote, who claimed he was born at the hotel– a bit of an exaggeration on his part. Possibilities also include some of the most famous ghosts of the French Quarter, like employee William “Red” Wildemere who died in the hotel and is said to haunt it to this day, or young boy Maurice Begere, also known as the prankster of the 14th floor. Given that all of the ghosts at the Monteleone are said to be benevolent, the writers might have to invent something nefarious to happen there, giving them plenty of artistic license for a Supernatural spin.
12. Pet Semetary
In the season 2 episode “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” zombie pets were briefly referenced, accompanying one of Sam’s legendary “shoulder to cry on” performances that audiences just love to eat up. As much fun as it was to hear Dean smirk, “It’s your grief counselors. We’re here to hug!” it might have been even better to see a bunch of reanimated pets stalk the earth.
Dead animals wreaking havoc has certainly been done, between Stephen King’s beloved classic, Pet Sematary, to both of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie films. What’s missing, though, is a Supernatural spin on the legend. Maybe a child is still to blame, but for more nefarious reasons than bringing back a dead pet. Perhaps the dead pets are returning to console their owners and, due to faulty spell work, they turn evil. The writers have so many routes available here that it’s another topic that could be revisited multiple times if they chose to do so.
11. The Winchester Mystery House
It’s the episode that fans have patiently waited for, season after season. Although the brothers have visited the “Mystery Spot” in season 3, episode 11 (an episode during which Dean’s fans endured his death over and over again), they still haven’t been to the Winchester Mystery House. How the Supernatural writers have not yet visited the very home they are named after is beyond many viewers, particularly given the house’s rich history of being haunted. There is rabid speculation from fans about what could happen at the house–from new rooms being built around the hunters to the Winchesters somehow inheriting the house–and there really is plenty of material there to be used in an episode.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have expressed interest in visiting the roadside attraction at conventions in the past, and Padalecki even visited the museum with his family. During one such convention discussion, Ackles also stated that an episode on a roller coaster during which it is revealed that Dean is terrified of the ride would be enjoyable to see. Supernatural lovers would surely enjoy both.
10. The Flushed Pet
Did your mother ever tell you about the baby alligators that were sold as pets, only to be flushed down the toilet and later emerge as enormous beasts to wreak havoc on the city? That’s why you can’t get a lizard. A favorite urban legend among many, the “flushed pet” urban legend could be used as an incredible storyline on Supernatural. In the season 4, episode 8 episode, “Wishful Thinking”, the brothers did get to run into some pretty weird kiddie concepts, like Audrey Elmer’s teddy bear. Then there was Sparkle the Unicorn in season 11, episode 8, “Just My Imagination.”
No matter how many stuffed animals have been possessed or brought to life, the visual effects of a mutated flushed pet would have to make for one unforgettable episode. The only question is which pet would they choose? A giant goldfish would be pretty amazing, as would the aforementioned alligator.
9. Frozen: Supernatural Style
The story of a person frozen solid only to be thawed fully alive is another favorite urban legend that could have all kinds of possibilities on the show. Heat is often used as a supernatural tool, but the cold can be just as an effective tactic in creating the perfect scare. Remember the creepy “I’m cold!” kid in Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ghosts that are frozen can also look pretty amazing with the right special effects.
Aside from the obvious Neanderthal angle, there’s the possibility to explore monsters of the tundra or polar region. The cause of the freezing might lead the duo to a magical being who is able to freeze people (big song numbers about letting things go optional and sequined dresses optional). Maybe it would even result in another run in with a creature like Krampus (season 3, episode 8, “A Very Supernatural Christmas”). A yeti may not sound very scary, but once Supernatural has twisted it into a hunt-worthy beast, it might make a compelling episode.
8. Hi, My Name Is Sammy, Want To Play?
Although Supernatural has featured dolls as props before (season 2, episode 11, “Playthings”), and Sam and Dean have gone up against mannequins (season 6, episode 14, “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning”, wax figures (season 5, episode 5, “Fallen Idols”), and other inanimate humanoids before, the show has yet to see a possessed doll or dummy a la Chucky, Slappy, or other beloved creepy dummies.
Kids could be involved in a doll episode for a bigger scare factor, but they aren’t necessary. Possession is too overdone to be used in an episode about dolls. If Sam and Dean go up against a creeptastic doll, it ought to contain classic elements with a Supernatural twist. Maybe the doll develops sentience through magic or close association with a supernatural being. Perhaps the doll was created with the intention to destroy. Whatever the explanation behind it, the toy should look incredibly disturbing to please fans, even if it looks benign at first.
7. Sitting With The Dead
Remember how people used to sit with the dead for a few nights to make sure Uncle Jim was dead before he was buried? While the Winchester brothers have sat up many a night with people to protect them from ghosts or being taken by hell hounds, they have yet to encounter a scenario where townspeople are sitting up with the dead.
Some of the best Supernatural episodes revolve around small town superstitions and customs, and this custom could make for a fun episode. For an international twist, show runners could even incorporate additional cultural traditions, such as St. Mark’s Eve in England, during which the ghosts of those to die in the upcoming year can be seen, or the Day of the Dead in Mexico, when people say goodbye to the loved ones they’ve lost during the previous year. In either scenario, perhaps a ghost is not yet ready to move on, which causes complications. Both traditions handle death very differently, so either one could make a very interesting episode.
6. Mother Of The Year
One of the best episodes of the show, “Woman in White” (the pilot) dealt with a woman and her guilt over murdering her own children. What if Supernatural ran a kinder ghost story about a popular urban legend? The legend of the milk bottle involves a dead woman whose ghost attempts to protect her child or baby, who is still alive.
After a few seasons featuring moms like Crowley’s mother and Eve, the Mother of All Monsters, it’s time to have a different kind of mom on the scene. Sure, there was Ellen, possibly the coolest person let alone mom on the show, and there was Kevin’s “tiger mom,” both commendable yet very different women who would do anything for their children (one much more authoritarian than the other), but how about another ghostly mom with a different take? This season, the brothers will already be reunited with their own mother, so adding in a story that serves as a parallel makes perfect sense. Writers could tie it in with Mary lamenting about how she wasn’t able to be with her kids during most of their childhoods, either.
5. The Girl Who Wore A Yellow Ribbon
Variants of this urban legend have delighted people for decades. The story goes like this: a man and woman fall deeply in love and get married. The wife tells him that no matter what happens, he may never remove the ribbon around her neck. Of course, his curiosity eventually gets the better of him and he yanks the thing off, only to discover that his wife has been decapitated. Story variations sometimes end there, with her death, or with his.
Supernatural has had no shortage of creepy women and girls. Every season has featured at least one monster, demon, ghost or vampire girl who has caused chaos in her wake. Fans may argue whether Lilith, Eve, Ruby, or another female character should hold the title of Most Chilling Chica on Supernatural, but there are even more contenders that could serve as runners-up. But this legend is such a classic one, retold in loving detail in many different children’s scary story compilations and used around campfires every year, that it bears telling.
Most people know about the theory that everyone has a doppelganger, or person who appears to look just like they do, but did you know about the urban legend about doppelgangers serving as omens of your impending doom? The legend states that if you happen to run into your doppelganger, or “spirit double,” as it has been referred to in ancient times, you will die. If your relative or friend sees your “evil twin,” which does not cast a shadow, something bad is going to happen to you.
Since doppelgangers are known to attempt to give their twins misleading advice, this episode could be pretty amazing. Although Sam and Dean have already seemingly faced their own doppelgangers, the shifters do not follow the same lore, opening the door wide for doubles of Sam, Dean, and maybe even Castiel. There are fans out there who would be pretty pleased to see double of any of these characters on screen, even if it meant danger afoot.
3. My Tailybone
Also known under several other titles, like “Liver and Onions,” the urban legend “Tailybone” is the story of a person or creature (a dog, wolf or magical being) returning to the scene of dismemberment to recover a stolen body part. When told around a roaring fire, the story typically ends in a jump scare, thrilling campers as the storyteller asks, “Tailybone, tailybone, who’s got my tailybone… You’ve got it!”
This urban legend could do something extremely entertaining: it could lead into an episode where the guys take on a bunch of camp legends that campers are believing in. While the young men have had to rescue campers before (season 1, episode 2, “Wendigo,” for example), it would be incredible to see them have to fight something at a summer camp filled with teenagers. An episode featuring the Girl Scouts would have so many possibilities: having the girls correct the brothers on lore, helping to find a creature as part of the Girl Scout Way, or predictably having crushes on one of the characters.
2. Black Aggie
Although a Doctor Who crossover with Supernatural might be amazing, cause fans to swoon into unconsciousness or both, is is pretty unlikely. The two shows have been compared to one another with the fun contradiction that if it goes bump in the night, it’s a ghost in Supernatural while it’s an alien in Doctor Who. Still, there is something that the TARDIS-toting time traveler has that the wayward sons do not: weeping angels.
While it wouldn’t do for the brothers Winchester to just steal weeping angels, they could cover the popular urban legend of the possessed statue, Black Aggie, that is located at the Dolley Madison House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. The statue, originally made for General Felix Agnus in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland, is surrounded with rich superstition and urban legends. Black Aggie supposedly served as the meeting spot for other spirits, cursed people to be haunted, and even came to life at night. Whether the show would include a statue that is possessed or comes to life or a creature that looks like a statue, it is certainly worth considering. The statue itself is pretty creepy looking, so it would even be worth visiting as a direct story.
1. The Headless Horseman
Possibly the most well-known legend in America, the story of the headless horseman comes from the book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which was written by Washington Irvin. It is perplexing that the story has yet to be included in the long-running show since Supernatural is built upon the best of America’s legends and tall tales. Perhaps the writers felt as if the story has already been covered extensively. If so, they are correct: from films and cartoons to its own TV series, the story of the headless horseman has been interpreted several times.
As with any other good scary story, however, it still deserves the Supernatural treatment. Fans have wondered about whether or not Sam and Dean will ever go up against the horseman and how it will go down, and there’s no doubt that it would be exciting to witness. While plenty of fans are hopeful that the two will head to Forks or Bon Temps for the final episode of the series, perhaps it would make sense to feature the guys defeating the original American urban legend just before the show bites the dust. If it ever does, that is…
Supernatural airs Thursdays at at 9pm on The CW.