The Main Legend
The Pilot episode is centred around the myth of "The White Lady" which is a hitchhiking legend. Stories of the White Lady are common across America and Central Europe. The White Ladies all seem to share one common characteristic which Sam tells us mid-way through:
"So angry spirits are born out of violent death, right?"
However, he tells us a bit more when he's talking to the husband of the ghost, and this is a little harder to verify:
"When they were alive their husbands were unfaithful to them. And these women, basically suffering from temporary insanity, murdered their children. Then once they realized what they had done, they took their own lives."
We should probably assume that Sam was just saying that to provoke a reaction in Joseph Welch, since this is a little specific - although in legends the husband of a lady is often a big cause of her becoming a ghost, he isn't always unfaithful, and she doesn't always kill herself.
Although what we've said so far is true of most cases, the case of the White Lady becomes a little more strange in Europe. In France, where it is most widespread we can hear legends of "La Dame Blanche", who often stops travellers to ask them to do something for her. Here she is often seen more as a fťe (a fairy - one of the fey.)
As a final note, it's important to note that in most cases White Ladies are not nearly as violent as are depicted in Pilot. Usually they just hitch a lift and disappear after saying something cryptic.
Other Minor Legends
The Pentagram - In occult lore the pentagram is protective just as Sam tells us: - "A pentagram is protection against evil, really powerful. I mean, if you believe in that kind of thing." On the contrary, in common thought the upside down (inverted) pentagram, is often a sign of black magic, and not protective at all.
"You remember the poltergeist in Amherst?" - In 1878 Miss Cox Teed began to be haunted following an attempted rape. Ghosts would interrupt what she was doing by making her swell up, and interfere with things around her, once burning down a nearby barn and putting her in prison for a month. However, this would presumably have been far before Sam and Dean and their Father were even born, so it's strange that they could remember it. See here for more information.
"The Devil's Gates in Clifton" - Is an underground cave system in Passaic, New Jersey. It's said to lead straight into hell. A number of spooky things are said to be inside, including a ferocious spirit guardian.
Valle Sans Retour("Valley of No Return") -
An Arthurian legend, and probably not actually part of the inspiration for this episode, the myth of the "Valle Sans Retour" nethertheless fits well into this legendscape, and shows the same kind of magical-thought. It was a valley, ruled over by Morgan Le Fey, and cursed so that unfaithful men who entered could never leave. However when faithful Sir Lancelot came through, Morgan's curses had no effect on him, so he could free all the others. In the same way, when the Lady in White tries to attack Sam, she first tries to kiss him to make him unfaithful, although she later decides she doesnt need to.
"You canít kill me. Iím not unfaithful. Iíve never been unfaithful. "
Forwards to Episode 2 - "The Wendigo"
Got something to add? Did I get it wrong? Email me
Page created: 13/11/07.
Last page edit: 13/11/07.