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The portal to Purgatory is opened, moments before Eve rises from its depths.

It's like the backside of your worst nightmares. It's all blood and bone and darkness. Filled with the bodies and souls of all things hungry, sharp, and nasty.

Bobby Singer, 6.12 Like a Virgin


Purgatory is a realm where the souls of supernatural creatures go after they die, it was originally created by God to contain the first beasts, the Leviathans, for fear they would consume the whole of creation. Its physical location is separate from both Heaven and Hell, though it has been referred to as being "Hell adjacent" on two occasions. Crowley estimated that there were 30-40 million souls residing in Purgatory.[1]

After the Apocalypse was averted, Crowley would make a deal with a desperate Castiel to locate Purgatory in order to access and use the power of the souls housed there.[1] The two instigate a plan where they use a resurrected Samuel Campbell to capture the Alpha monsters who they are convinced know its location, in exchange for Samuel's compliance, Samuel would be rewarded with a promise to resurrect his daughter Mary.

When dragons raise Eve,[2] the progenitor of all monsters who had been in Purgatory for 10,000 years, Castiel and Crowley know that capturing her could give them access to Purgatory, but the plan is thwarted when she is killed by Dean Winchester.

Eleanor Visyak, an old friend of Bobby Singer's, is revealed to be a creature that escaped Purgatory in 1937. Castiel and Crowle capture and fatally torture her in order to obtain her blood and the secret ritual which could open a doorway to Purgatory. After Castiel opens the portal, he imbibes millions of souls and proclaims himself the new god.[3]

The "human exit" out of Purgatory.

Desperate to stop Castiel's wrathful rampage on Earth, Sam, Dean and Bobby bind Death in order to kill Castiel. Castiel releases Death, who reveals to the trio that Castiel has taken in not only the souls of monsters, but the Leviathans as well. He tells them that they need to re-open the door to Purgatory and return the souls, and arranges for another lunar eclipse so they can perform the ritual. Castiel, realizing the error of his ways, returns to Crowely's lab, where the Winchesters and Bobby open the door to Purgatory, allowing Castiel to return the souls, but the Leviathans were too strong and were able to hold on inside of Castiel, eventually completely taking over control of his vessel.[4]

After killing the Leviathan leader, Dick Roman, Dean and Castiel were transported to Purgatory due to the blowback from using the weapon designed to kill Leviathan. Castiel disappears soon after their arrival and Dean spends a year trying to find Castiel and escape while battling the monsters who live there. A vampire named Benny Lafitte tells Dean there is a way a human can escape Purgatory, and that he will help Dean find it in exchange for Dean taking him through the portal. Dean escapes Purgatory with Benny's soul inside his arm, allowing him to resurrect the vampire. Eventually angels, under the command of Naomi, invade Purgatory and rescue Castiel at the cost of many lives.[5][6]

When Sam needs to travel to Hell to rescue Bobby Singer's soul as part of the second trial to close the Gates of Hell, a rogue reaper named Ajay takes him to Purgatory where there is a "backdoor" to Hell, a portal located behind a boulder between three trees that grow together. Sam is able to use the portal to travel to Hell and back with Bobby. When Ajay is killed by Crowley, Sam and Bobby end up trapped in Purgatory, however, thanks to the sacrifice of Benny, who allowed Dean to kill him, returns to Purgatory and leads them to the exit portal, but stays behind to hold off a group of vampires rather than escaping again.[7]

In order to get a Leviathan Blossom for the spell to trap God, Dean and Castiel return to Purgatory and force a Leviathan to help them. The Leviathan reveals that Benny was killed after helping Sam the last time and that Eve, returned to Purgatory after Dean killed her, and is seeking vengeance for their actions against her "children", putting a bounty on Castiel's head. Despite several Leviathans attempt to take Castiel to Eve, Dean and Castiel are able to retrieve the blossom and escape before the portal to Purgatory closed again.[8]


Dean and Benny in Purgatory.

Purgatory appears as a vast forest where the souls of monsters hunt and kill each other. Like Hell, time appears to operate differently in Purgatory, with days appearing to last much longer compared to Earth. Unlike Hell or Heaven, Purgatory does not appear to have any particular hierarchy or structure among the monsters, outside of Eve, who lays claim to the souls of all her children. Though, the various monsters are free to attack and kill whom they wish without apparent repercussions. Raw materials such as wood, stones and bones are also crafted by monsters to make weapons.

When a vampire told the Leviathan Edgar to "go to Hell", Edgar stated that Purgatory is worse than Hell. Dean similarly described Purgatory as "Bloody. Messy. 31 flavors of bottom dwelling nasties." However, both Dean and Benny Lafitte also described Purgatory as being "pure".

When a Leviathan dies, once its body has rotted away, it will produce a special flower known as a Leviathan Blossom, which can only be found in Purgatory. The blossoms appear as tan husks which have bloody red centers where three red protrusions have burst through the top of the egg like husks.


Purgatory was originally created to serve as a prison for the Leviathans, however, at some point a natural evolution appeared to take place, giving birth creatures native to Purgatory such as Eve and Eleanor Visyak. The creature known as Eve would somehow make her way to Earth, where she would give birth to children, the Alphas, who in turn would propagate their various monster species through crossbreeding and infecting humans. Upon death, the souls of the children of Eve would find themselves in Purgatory.

To aide in survival, some monsters appear group together in nests / packs as seen with vampires and gorilla-wolves. When a monster is killed in Purgatory, it's death appears to be permanent. What happens with the monster soul is unknown, as even an angel such as Castiel questioned the metaphysics of a soul dying in their "heaven."

The corpse of a Purgatory inhabitant.
A nest of vampires descend on Sam, Bobby and Benny.

Opening Rituals

1. Writer H.P. Lovecraft opened a door to Purgatory on March 10, 1937. A creature came through and took on the form of Eleanor Visyak. The ritual used is unknown.[3]

2. Using a ritual from an ancient manuscript, dragons open a portal to Purgatory, and use a virgin sacrifice to free Eve.[2]

Ego coniuro vos, insolubiliter ad mei potenciam aligati!
Ad me...Sine prestolacione venire...
Debeatis aperiat!
Huc sine mora debeas mater!

The sigil used to open a doorway to Purgatory.

3. Crowley and Castiel torture Eleanor Visyak and find a ritual to open a door to Purgatory. Castiel uses the ritual, which involves drawing a series of sigils in a mixture of the blood of a virgin and the blood of a Purgatory native. A spell is then recited on the night of the lunar eclipse:[9]

Ianua magna Purgatorii Great door of Purgatory
Clausa est ob nos That is closed for us
Lumine eius ab oculis Its light is kept away
Nostris retento From our eyes

Sed nunc stamus ad limen hius But now we're standing on this threshold
Ianuae magnae et demisse Of the Great door, and humbly
Fideliter perhonorifice Faithfully, respectfully
Paramus aperire eam Are preparing for its opening

Creaturae terrificae quarum ungulae Terrible creature, whose claws
Et dentes nunquam tetigerunt And teeth have never touched
Carnem humanam aperit fauces Human flesh, is opening its jaws
Eius ad mundum nostrum nunc Toward our world now
Ianua magna Great door
Aperta tandem! Open at last!

The spell needed to open a door to Purgatory.

4. After Death agrees to engineer another lunar eclipse, Dean uses the same ritual and blood to reopen a portal to Purgatory, allowing all the monstrous souls inside Castiel to return -- except those of the Leviathans.[10]

5. When Dick Roman is killed using the bone of a righteous mortal from the Leviathan tablet, his death opens a portal back to Purgatory which pulls Dean and Castiel there with him.[11]

6. Apparently in case humans ever accidentally got transported there, God put in a portal that humans could use to escape, but no other monster could use. Benny leads Dean and Castiel to the location of the portal that he had been told about, which opens in reaction to Dean's presence. Carrying Benny's soul in his arm, Dean is able to make it through just before it closes, allowing him to later resurrect the vampire, but Castiel purposely lets go, wanting to stay. It is unclear if an angel would have made it through the portal anyway.[12][13] Sam is later able to use this portal to escape with the soul of Bobby Singer after briefly getting trapped in Purgatory himself.[14]

7. Angels were able to travel into Purgatory to rescue Castiel, but this cost the lives of a number of angels. How they were able to enter Purgatory was not revealed.[13]

8. Reapers can travel back and forth from Purgatory at will and can take mortals with them.[14]

9. Along with the portal to Earth, a hidden portal exists to Hell that acts as a "backdoor" into the realm. Rogue reapers use this to transport souls between Earth and Hell for a price and Sam uses it to rescue Bobby Singer.[14]

10. The archangel Michael was effortlessly able to open a twelve-hour portal to Purgatory with just a snap of his fingers even while restrained by the angel cuffs.[15]


6.07 Family Matters

After resurrecting Samuel Campbell, Crowley has him tracking down high-ranking creatures, especially Alphas, so that he can question them about the location of Purgatory. Crowley says he is interested in Purgatory for "development purposes."

Location, location, location. I'm a developer. Purgatory is vast, underutilized, and Hell adjacent, and I want it.

Crowley, 6.07 Family Matters

6.10 Caged Heat

Crowley tortures and interrogates the Alpha Shapeshifter for Purgatory's exact coordinates. The Alpha refuses to reveal its location, claiming ignorance, so Crowley angrily retaliates by decapitating it with a sword. Later in the episode, Crowley appears to be killed when Castiel burns a pile of old bones.

6.11 Appointment in Samarra

Death encourages Dean to continue his and Sam's current investigation. He is most likely referring to their investigation into Crowley's pursuit of Purgatory. He also tells him that "it's about the souls."

You throw away your life because you've come to assume that it will bounce right back into your lap. The human soul is not a rubber ball. It's vulnerable, impermanent, but stronger than you know and more valuable than you can imagine.... Right now you're digging at something. The intrepid detective. I want you to keep digging, Dean... It's about the souls.

Death, 6.11 Appointment in Samarra

6.12 Like a Virgin

Purgatory is revealed not only to be the place where supernatural beings go after death, but also to be the place where the "Mother of All" is located. A group of dragons are collecting virgins in an attempt to raise the Mother from Purgatory and allow her to walk the Earth once again. Sam and Dean discover an ancient manuscript made of human skin that Bobby ultimately deduces is a manual for accessing Purgatory and bringing forth Eve.

Toward the end of the episode, this plan is carried out by the remaining dragons, who use the knowledge gained from the manuscript to open a door to Purgatory. They take one of their captives and throw her into the fiery chasm below. Out of the portal, the girl rises again as Eve.

6.19 Mommy Dearest

Eve tells Sam and Dean that Crowley is alive and still torturing her children to find Purgatory.

6.20 The Man Who Would Be King

In a flashback, Crowley convinces Castiel that if they find Purgatory they can split the souls inside, so that Castiel can defeat Raphael and Crowley can secure his position as the leader of Hell. In the present, Crowley is dissecting Eve for clues that might lead them to Purgatory, but to no avail. He insists that if Eve were alive, and not killed by the Winchesters, she could have led them there.

6.21 Let It Bleed

Bobby reveals that there was another person who attempted to open the door to Purgatory: a horror writer named H.P. Lovecraft. In 1937 in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft held a dinner party with five other people, and they performed a ritual to open a portal that led to Purgatory. Eleanor Visyak emerged through the door as an invisible force that possessed Lovecraft's maid. She then may have proceeded to kill all of the ritual participants over the next year, though she denies this and the person shown in the killing scene of H.P. Lovecraft does not fit her description (though it was shadowed).

6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much

Castiel and Crowley continue their attempt to access the souls in Purgatory. Having captured Eleanor Visyak, they torture her until she reveals the ritual and what they need for it. They must draw a sigil using a mixture of virgin blood and the blood of a "Purgatory native" and say the ritual words on the night of the lunar eclipse. They use the blood of Eleanor, and then Crowley adds the virgin blood and gives the mixture to Castiel. Castiel decides to deny Crowley his share of the souls, giving Crowley the option to "flee or die." Crowley allies himself with Raphael in retaliation, and the two force Castiel to leave while they conduct the ritual themselves. Castiel deceives them by switching the correct blood mixture with dog blood and performing the ritual by himself. He then proceeds to absorb the souls of Purgatory all at once and destroys Raphael after Crowley teleports away. Sam tries to kill Castiel with an angel blade, but Castiel proves immune. He then declares himself to be the new God.

Castiel returns the souls to Purgatory.

7.01 Meet the New Boss

Death tells Sam, Dean and Bobby that in order to control Castiel, they need to re-open the door to Purgatory and return the souls. He arranges for another lunar eclipse so they can perform the ritual. Dean and Bobby open the door to Purgatory and help Castiel return the souls, however The Leviathans are too strong, and stay on earth inside Castiel taking full control of his vessel.

7.23 Survival of the Fittest

Every soul here is a monster. This is where they come to prey upon each other for all eternity.

Castiel, 7.23 Survival of the Fittest

Dean and Castiel succeed in slaying the head Leviathan, Dick Roman, with the righteous bone soaked in the blood of the fallen: a fallen angel, the ruler of fallen humanity, and the father of fallen beasts. Upon death, Dick explodes so violently that Dean and Castiel are pulled into Purgatory along with him. They awake to find themselves in a dark wooded area, with shadows and shapes moving in the trees. Dean asks how they can escape, to which Castiel replies they'll likely be torn to pieces instead. Castiel then disappears leaving Dean alone surrounded by the souls of monsters.

Dean, Benny, and Castiel in Purgatory.

8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin

Some time after being separated from Castiel, Dean, armed with a makeshift blade he made in Purgatory, interrogates a vampire for Castiel's location and decapitates him when he doesn't get a response. He is attacked by another vampire, but is saved by Benny, a vampire, who decapitates Dean's attacker and reveals that God put in a way out for humans that get trapped in Purgatory. Benny offers Dean a deal: he'll lead Dean to the portal if Dean allows his soul to hitch a ride out with him when he goes and warns him never to trust anyone in Purgatory.

A year after being trapped, Dean escapes Purgatory with Benny's soul, ending up in the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine. Dean resurrects Benny and later tells Sam that Castiel died in Purgatory, that it got hairy near the end and Castiel "let go," but doesn't elaborate on how he escaped. During a later conversation with Dean, Benny agrees with Dean that Purgatory is "pure" and wishes he appreciated that fact like Dean did.

8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?

In a flashback, Dean and Benny interrogate a rugaru on the location of Castiel and after getting it, Dean kills the monster with Ruby's knife. The two find Castiel who admits he abandoned Dean as he knew many powerful monsters including the Leviathans would be after him. They inform him of the escape method Benny knows, though Benny admits that he doesn't know if it will work for an angel and convinces him to reluctantly join them in their search for a way out. Later, in another flashback, Castiel is shown reaching out for Dean and the two losing their grip on each other.

8.05 Blood Brother

It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn't it? If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?

Castiel, 8.05 Blood Brother

In a flashback, Dean, Benny and Castiel come under attack by three monsters and kill them all, bringing up the question where monsters go when killed in Purgatory? They argue about the fact that Castiel's presence is drawing monsters to them and that he may not be able to make it through the way out as he's not human or former human, but are forced to run when Castiel detects Leviathans nearby. Two leviathans ambush them and Dean decapitates one while the other gets the drop on Castiel and nearly kills him before Benny decapitates her.

Dean leaves Purgatory through the portal.

8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin

In flashbacks, Dean, Benny and Castiel make their way through Purgatory to the portal which Castiel is still not sure will let him out as he is not human. As they argue about the portal, it opens nearby in reaction to Dean's presence and Dean casts a spell to absorb Benny's soul into his arm. Dean and Castiel head for it, but come under attack by two Leviathans. They defeat and decapitate the Leviathans and head for the portal again which is closing. Dean gets through as it closes, but Castiel purposely lets go as he wants to remain behind in Purgatory. Dean remembers this as losing his grip on Castiel, but Castiel later shows him the truth.

In the present, Castiel is rescued from Purgatory by other angels under the command of Naomi though it costs several their lives.

8.19 Taxi Driver

When Sam needs to travel to Hell, rogue reaper Ajay takes him to Purgatory as there is a portal into Hell there behind a boulder located between three trees that grow together. After telling Sam to meet him where he was dropped off in precisely 24 hours, Ajay leaves. After killing a vampire, Sam finds the portal and heads into Hell.

Ajay's entrance to Purgatory begins to manifest.

After rescuing Bobby Singer, the two return through the portal to find no sign of Ajay as he has been killed by Crowley. Trapped, they are attacked by three more vampires, but are saved by Benny who has returned to Purgatory through death to save Sam at Dean's request. Benny leads the two to the portal out and Sam absorbs Bobby's soul into his arm, but Benny, who never intended to return to Earth, stays behind to hold off more vampires. Sam escapes through the portal with Bobby's soul as Benny is overwhelmed.

10.19 The Werther Project

While under the influence of the Werther Box, Dean hallucinates that he is once again in Purgatory. Once he is fully emerged in the hallucination, he is attacked by a Leviathan, and just as it is about to eat Dean, it is decapitated by Benny. Dean is fully aware that he is dealing with his subconscious, and as he and Benny wander through "Purgatory" to try and find a way back to reality, Dean ends up only walking in a circle. As Benny attempts to talk him into killing himself, Dean continues to rebuke the idea, revealing that the Werther has no affect on himself due to the Mark of Cain. Dean takes Benny's weapon and stabs him with it, breaking the enchantment and sending him back to reality.

15.08 Our Father, Who Aren't in Heaven

Michael reveals to Dean and Castiel that one of the ingredients for the spell to trap God is a Leviathan Blossom, a flower that only grows in one place: Purgatory. As such, the archangel opens a twelve-hour portal to Purgatory for the two in the Bunker.

15.09 The Trap

Dean and Castiel return to Purgatory in search of a Leviathan Blossom. The two are able to capture a Leviathan that was stalking them, who reveals that Leviathan Blossoms grow in the soil around the rotting corpses of dead Leviathans. After Dean threatens him with borax shotgun shells, the Leviathan agrees to lead them to a field where they can collect the blossom. When questioned about Benny, the Leviathan reveals that he is a legend in Purgatory for escaping and returning, but that he is dead, and was torn apart by vampires for helping Sam escape years ago.

After reaching the Leviathan Blossoms, Castiel falls into an angel trap and the Leviathan reveals that Eve, who returned to Purgatory when Dean killed her, is seeking revenge for the deaths of the Alphas and Castiel stealing all of the Purgatory souls for his war against Raphael. Several Leviathans ambush the two, knocking out Dean. When he wakes up, Castiel, the Leviathans and the blossoms are gone. With only a short time until the portal closes, Dean makes his way back to it and finds Castiel near the portal. Castiel had surrendered himself to the Leviathans to save Dean. As the Leviathans tried to take him to Eve, Castiel saw an opening and broke free and stole a blossom as he made his escape. With only a few minutes left until the portal closes, Dean and Castiel return to Earth, leaving behind the Leviathans who are chasing them.

Purgatory in Lore

See also