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Name Famine
Actor James Otis
Dates  ???? – 2010 (neutralized by Sam Winchester)
Occupation Horseman of the Apocalypse
Episode(s) 5.14 My Bloody Valentine

Doesn't take much--hardly a push. Oh, America--all-you-can-eat, all the time. Consume, consume. A swarm of locusts in stretch pants. And yet, you're all still starving because hunger doesn't just come from the body, it also comes from the soul.

– Famine, 5.14 My Bloody Valentine


Famine is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, along with War, Pestilence and Death. He wears a silver ring, which can control a person's desires. His ring, along with the other horsemen's rings, form together as a key to Lucifer's Cage. Famine came into existence when the Leviathans started eating each other and being famine personified, he can't be killed unless famine was to be ridden from the world. Famine has been weakened by advances in agriculture, and is wheelchair bound, so Lucifer has sent demons to serve his needs and strengthen him. Famine is himself insatiable, as he embodies hunger. Once Famine's strength is replenished, he will then be able to march across the lands with authority, as described by Castiel. Famine states that hunger not only comes from the body, but also from the soul; those who are "empty" inside, like Dean, are unaffected by the Horseman's powers.[1]


And then will come Famine, riding on a black steed. He will ride into the land of plenty. And great will be the Horseman's hunger for he is hunger. His hunger will seep out and poison the air.

Castiel, 5.14 My Bloody Valentine

Due to his weakened state, demons transport Famine around in a black Cadillac Escalade - as he is known in the New Testament as the Black Horseman.

Powers and abilities

  • Exorcism – Famine was able to exorcise demons from their meatsuits in order to consume them.
  • Hunger amplification – Through his ring Famine could amplify his victim’s inner urges, cravings and desires, making them ravenous. This power extends to angels, as long as a person's soul remains in their vessel, the possessing angel will be affected in the presence of Famine.
  • Immortality – As a force of nature, Famine will always exist.
  • Soul consumption – Famine prefers to consume both human souls and demons to replenish himself.
  • Telepathy – Famine can perceive a person's soul and the wants it harbors by placing one hand on his or her chest.


  • Exorcism – Although immune to Sam's powers, Sam was able to have an indirect impact on Famine by exorcising the demons he had consumed, crippling the Horseman.[1]
  • Ring removal – Removing his ring will render Famine powerless, rendering his physical form into a dried out husk.
  • Satiated hunger – Famine's powers only work on those that hunger for something; be it food, drink or sex. If a person has no wants or desires in their soul, they will be unaffected by Famine's influence.

Famine's Accessories

Famine's Ring

Famine's ring, which is silver set with a black stone, allows him to focus or channel his essential capabilities including the ability to greatly amplify urges and desires in humans.[1] It is one of the keys, along with the other Horsemen's rings, to Lucifer's Cage.

Famine's Briefcase

Demons use a black brief case to secure souls and transport them to Famine for his consumption.[1]


Famine using telekineses to feed on a soul.

5.14 My Bloody Valentine

When Famine appears, he is weak and frail. Lucifer has sent demons to care for him and help him feed on souls. He needs to consume souls to sustain himself - not only can he consume human souls, but he can also use the dark souls of demons. Once strengthened he will "march across the land." The demons take him from his car, place him in a wheelchair, and arrange an oxygen line for him. They accompany him into a Biggerson's Restaurant. Famine's presence drives the diners into a frenzy of greed until they die.

Famine amplifies people's hunger - for food, sex, love, attention, drugs - throughout the city. Sam's craving for demon blood is triggered, and he must be restrained. Even Castiel is affected by Famine's spell through his vessel, Jimmy Novak, who wants red meat. Only Dean seems unaffected.

Famine's ring.

While Dean and Castiel seek him out, Famine sends two demons to purposefully tempt Sam. Sam drinks their blood. At the restaurant, Castiel attempts to take Famine's ring, but the horseman distracts him with a tray of raw meat. Dean is captured, Famine reveals that Dean is unaffected by desire because he is "dead inside." Sam arrives, and Famine welcomes him, offering him the demons in the restaurant to eat. Sam's powers do not work on Famine, but he exorcises the demons. But when Famine ingests all the disembodied demons, Sam turns his powers on the demons within him, destroying them and severely damaging Famine. They take Famine's ring.

5.20 The Devil You Know

Brady reveals that War and Famine aren't dead, but they have been taken out of the game, and the return of their rings alone would not help.

Brady: See, War and Famine, even if I could cram the rings back on their bony fingers, I doubt it would do much good. They're withered husks right now, fetal position on the floor, all thanks to you.

Famine in Lore

Famine the Third Living Creature.

The third horseman rides a black horse and is generally understood as Famine. The black color of the horse could be a symbol of the dead. [2] The horseman carries a pair of balances or weighing scales, indicating the way that bread would have been weighed during a famine.

Of the four horsemen, the black horse and its rider are the only ones whose appearance is accompanied by a vocal pronunciation. John hears a voice, unidentified but coming from among the four living creatures, that speaks of the prices of wheat and barley, also saying "and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." This suggests that the black horse's famine is to drive up the price of grain but leave oil and wine supplies unaffected. One explanation for this is that grain crops would have been more naturally susceptible to famine years than olive trees and grapevines, which root more deeply; the statement might also suggest a continuing abundance of luxuries for the wealthy while staples such as bread are scarce, though not totally depleted. Alternatively, the preservation of oil and wine could symbolize the preservation of the Christian faithful, who used oil and wine in their sacraments.

See also