A group of teenagers in Richardson, Texas, visit a reputedly haunted house, but the thrills turn tragic when they find the body of a girl hanging in the cellar. By the time the police arrive, however, the body is missing.
Two months later Sam and Dean, who are engaged in a prank war, decide to investigate and track down Craig Thursten. He relates the legend, told to him by his cousin Dana, of Mordechai Murdoch. Murdoch was a farmer who lived in the house during the 1930s and who killed his daughters, hanging them in the cellar.
Sam and Dean visit the house, which has symbols from many different origins freshly painted on the walls and floor. While searching the house, the boys run into Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spengler, paranormal investigators who run a website called Hell Hound's Lair. Sam and Dean do some more research, but can’t find any evidence to support the legend of Mordechai Murdoch. They are preparing to leave when they hear that the previous night a girl did die in the house – hung from the rafters.
Returning to the house they again run into Ed and Harry -– and the spirit of Mordechai who chases them from the house and is not slowed by a blast of rock-salt. Back at their motel, the boys try and work out what is happening. Mordechai’s spirit appeared to have slit wrists, which was previously not part of his legend. The story on the Hell Hound's Lair website has also changed.
Dean recognizes one of the symbols painted in the house, and he and Sam return to visit Craig. The symbol is from a Blue Oyster Cult album cover, and Craig works in a record shop. Craig admits that he and his cousin painted the symbols and spread the rumor about Mordechai as a prank. Sam postulates that Mordechai is a tulpa – the manifestation of a thought. One of the symbols painted in the house is a Tibetan spirit sigil, which assists in concentrating mental energy. Sam thinks that as people view the website, they are willing into reality what they read there. In order to “kill off” Mordechai, the boys tell Ed and Harry that they have found out that being shot with iron rounds will kill him. They wait for the boys to post it on their website and for enough people to view it that it becomes real.
Sam and Dean return to the house to finish off Mordechai, but Ed and Harry are there and tell them the server crashed, so the new legend will not manifest. As Mordechai attacks them, Dean sets the house on fire, figuring that without that part of the legend Mordechai won’t exist. Sam and Dean bid farewell to Ed and Harry, Sam with a prank call from a Hollywood producer and Dean with a fish in the back of their car. The boys call a halt to their own prank war – for now.
All right, about a month or two ago this group of kids goes poking around in this local haunted house.
Dean: Haunted by what?
Apparently, a pretty misogynistic spirit. Legend goes, it takes girls and strings them up in the rafters. Anyway this group of kids see this dead girl hanging in the cellar.
Well, I knew we were going to be passing through Texas. So, umm, last night, I surfed some local... paranormal websites. And I found one.
Dean: And what's it called.
Dean: Lemme guess, streaming live out of mom's basement.
Sam: Yeah, probably.
Yeah. Most of those websites wouldn't know a ghost if it bit 'em in the persqueeter.
Well, supposedly back in the '30s this farmer, Mordachai Murdoch, used to live in this house with his six daughters. It was during the Depression, his crops were failing, he didn't have enough money to feed his own children. So I guess that's when he went off the deep end.
Well, he figured it was best if his girls died quick, rather than starve to death. So he attacked them. They screamed, begged for him to stop but he just strung 'em up, one after the other. And when he was all finished he just turned around and hung himself. Now they say that his spirit is trapped in the house forever, stringing up any other girl that goes inside.
Looks like old man Murdock was a bit of a tagger here in his time.
Sam: And after his time too. That reverse cross has been used by Satanists for centuries but this sigil of sulfur didn't show up in San Francisco until the '60s.
That is exactly why you never get laid.
Huh. So you guys ever really seen a ghost before, or...
Ed: Once. We were, uh... we were investigating this old house and we saw a vase fall right off the table...
Harry: By itself.
Ed: Well, we, we we we didn't actually see it, we heard it. And something like that...it uh... it changes you.
Yeah. I think I get the picture. We should go, let them get back to work.
Hey Sam. I dare you to take a swig of this.
Sam: What the hell would I do that for?
...I double dare you.
What the hell is this symbol? It's buggin' the hell outta me. This whole damn job's buggin' me. I thought the legend said Mordechai only goes after chicks.
Sam: It does.
All right. Well I mean that explains why he went after you, but why me?
What if Mordechai is a tulpa?
Sam: Yeah, a Tibetan thought form.
Ahh, yeah, I know what a tulpa is. Hey, why don't you get dressed, I wanna go grab something to eat.
So there was an incident in Tibet in 1950. A group of monks visualized a golem in their heads, then meditate on it so hard, they bring the thing to life out of thin air.
That was 20 monks. Imagine what 10,000 web surfers can do. I mean, Craig starts the story about Mordechai, then it spreads, it goes online. Now there are countless people all believing in the bastard.
Dean: People believe in Santa Claus. How come I’m not gettin’ hooked up every Christmas?
Sam: ‘Cause you’re a bad person.
Sam: That's a Tibetan spirit sigil. On the wall of the house. Craig said they were painting symbols from a theology textbook. I bet they painted this, not even knowing what it was. Now that sigil has been used for centuries, concentrating meditative thoughts like a magnifying glass. So people are on the HellHounds website, staring at the symbol, thinking about Mordechai ... I mean I don't know, but it might be enough to bring a tulpa to life.
Ed: We have an obligation to our fans, to the truth...
Dean: Well I have an obligation to kick both of your little asses right now.
Dean: I barely have enough skin left on my palm.
Sam: I'm not touching that line with a ten foot pole.
Harry: So this morning, we got a phone call from a very important Hollywood producer.
Dean: Oh, yeah? Wrong number?
I have a confession to make.
Dean: What's that.
Sam: I, uh... I was the one that called them and told them I was a producer.
Dean: Yeah well I'm the one who put the dead fish in their back seat.
Yeah truce. At least for the next 100 miles.
Aw, what's the matter Sammy, scared you're going to get a little Nair in your shampoo again huh?
- Nair is a popular hair removal product made by Church & Dwight.
Well, good for you Morrissey.
- Morrissey is a British singer and lyricist, best known as the vocalist for the the Smiths during the 1980s.
I hate rats.
- This could be a reference to Harrison Ford's character "Indiana Jones", who has a similar aversion to snakes. (His father, Henry Jones, reveals in Indiana Jones III that he doesn't like rats.) Harrison Ford also plays Han Solo in Star Wars, a character, Dean has been related to by series producer Eric Kripke.
No. Would John Edward go? We've lost the cops, let's find our center and get some work done. Okay? All right?
- John Edward is a psychic medium and was the star of the show Crossing Over with John Edward from 1999 to 2004.
Tell me Craig, you, uh, you into BOC? Or just scaring the hell outta people? Now why don't you tell us about that house ... without lying through your ass this time.
- BOC stands for Blue Öyster Cult, whose hook-and-cross logo appeared on the episode (as well as two songs). The logo itself is tied to the Greek Titan, and father of Zeus, Kronos.
The door to Ed and Harry's trailer has several bumper stickers. They say "Paranormal Scouting Unit," "Step into the Light Carol Ann" (a reference to the movie Poltergeist
), "I'd Rather Be Surfing," "Clean House - Get Exorcized," and "Visualize Using Your Turn Signals."
This stuff here... this is our ticket to the big time right here. Fame, money, sex. With girls. OK? Be brave. WWBD. What Would Buffy Do. huh?
Harry: What would Buffy do. But Ed, she's stronger than me.
- Ed and Harry's "WWBD: What Would Buffy Do?" is a reference to the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The power of Christ compels you, the power of Christ compels you. The power of Christ compels you!
- A line taken from the 1973 movie The Exorcist, from the Roman Catholic rite of exorcism.
This was the first Supernatural
episode to air on a Thursday night. Prior to this episode, Supernatural
had its regular time slot on Tuesday nights.
In the record store, Dean pulls a Kansas record out of the stack. The show has not yet used Carry On Wayward Son, and the album shown is Point of No Return, which does not contain what will become the show's unofficial theme song. But it is a glimpse into the show's future musical journey.
The location of this episode, Richardson, Texas, is Jensen Ackles
' home town. However, the real city of Richardson is a major suburb located within the Dallas metroplex, not a rural town as depicted in the episode.
The website in this episode, "Hellhounds Lair" was an actual tie-in website created by the producers of the show. On it were the pictures from the character's ghost
encounter and stories submitted by fans. Fans are allowed to submit their own scary stories with the understanding that they will not be paid if any ideas are used by the show. However the URL to the website now redirects to the official CW website.
Sam and Dean stay at Wyeth’s Western Inn in Richardson, Texas. The room features a Wild West theme.
When Sam checks the Hell Hound's Lair website in the hotel room, the posts on the main page are all dated June 7, 2006, but the "Mordechai Murdoch Hell House" post is dated "Sat June 10, 2006" and Sam indicates, this post is not the same as the one he read the night before they arrived.
In the cafe where Sam discovers he has been pranked with itching powder a man hands Dean two drinks and says "There you go gents", although some viewers heard it as "There you go Jensen".
The pranks depicted in the episode are as follows:
- Dean puts a plastic spoon in Sam's mouth while he is asleep, takes a photo, then turns the music on really loud, waking Sam up and startling him.
- Dean mentions putting Nair in Sam's shampoo bottle as part of a prank war when they were younger.
- Sam turns on the windshield wipers and turns the car radio's volume all the way up, startling Dean with a tango song when he starts the car.
- Dean puts itching powder in Sam's underwear while he's in the shower.
- Sam glues Dean's hand to a beer bottle.
- Sam calls Ed & Harry, pretending to be a producer offering them a movie.
- Dean puts a dead fish on the back seat of Ed & Harry's car.