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Powers and Abilities
Appearance Varies; takes the form of the deceased, which may have visible signs of trauma or decay.
Episode(s) 4.06 Yellow Fever

Well, the buruburu is born of fear. Hell, it is fear. And the lore says we can kill it with fear.

Bobby Singer, 4.06 Yellow Fever


Buruburu are ghosts born of a person's fear after dying in a terrifying manner. They can then infect others with their fear, and this infection is known as a ghost sickness. The people they infect are usually people who have made a habit of terrorizing others. Because it is a type of ghost, it has all the same abilities and weaknesses as a ghost, but it differs in one notable way: it can be "scared to rest." It is a spirit form first categorized and documented by the Japanese in the Edo period, and the book that Bobby has on the subject is in Japanese.[1]

Powers and abilities

  • Electromagnetic interference – Buruburu can cause fluctuations in energy, and have a level of control of electrical devices and machines.
  • Ghost sickness – Buruburu spread a sickness which eventually causes the victim to die of heart failure unless the spirit is dispatched. When a person is infected, they will slowly begin to take on the attributes of what happened to deceased upon death. In the case of Luther Garland, his victims would receive rashes similar to the road rash he received from being road-hauled to death.
  • Superhuman strength – A buruburu's strength far exceeds what it was as a living human.
  • Teleportation – Like normal ghosts, buruburu can instantaneously appear where ever they wish.


  • Fear – In the case where there is no body to salt and burn, a buruburu can be "scared to rest."
  • Iron – Contact with iron can be debilitating to a buruburu.
  • Salt – As with normal ghosts, if the corpse of the buruburu can be salted and burned, its victims will be cured of their ghost sickness.


4.06 Yellow Fever

Dean is infected with the ghost sickness, and Bobby and Sam deduce that the culprit is a buruburu born from the terrifying nature of Luther Garland's death. Luther was chained to a truck and dragged up and down a gravel road until he died, so it is impossible to find and burn all of his remains. So far, the victim's of Luther's ghost sickness have all died of heart attacks brought on by crippling fear, so they have to find another solution quickly. Finally, Sam captures the buruburu with an iron chain etched with spell work and then has Bobby drag his soul down the same gravel road where he died, re-enacting his death and literally "scaring him to rest." This happens not a moment too soon, as Dean is having hallucinations of Lilith and is close to having a heart attack of his own when they finally manage to defeat Luther's spirit.

Buruburu in Lore

While there is no specific lore on buruburu, the Japanese word ブルブル or ぶるぶる (pronounced buru buru) means:[2]

  • to "shake," usually from cold (i.e., shudder, shiver, tremble)
  • to "shake one's head" (i.e., nod, no, refuse)