Dean: I saw Hellraiser, I get the gist.
Ruby: Actually, they got it pretty right, except for all the custom leather.
– Dean and Ruby discuss Hell, 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum
Hell was created sometime after Lucifer's rebellion. It is a place where demons are produced from human souls that go to Hell and become demons after centuries of torture. Black-eyed demons are constantly being created, and they occupy positions on Earth using meatsuits, whereas white-eyed demons are scarce in numbers, but are extremely powerful. Time itself is also altered in Hell, as four months on Earth is equivalent to 40 years in Hell.
Hell did consist of endless racks which human souls hang from while being tortured. After taking charge of Hell, Crowley transforms it into a place where torture is exemplified by endless queuing.
Angels can bypass Hell's defenses, allowing them to enter Hell and retrieve human souls while in groups, as Castiel and other angels laid siege to Hell to save Dean. Death can enter Hell and bring souls back to Earth, as shown when he retrieves Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage.
Crowley also refers to Hell as "Hades" and, after having made numerous changes to it, Castiel didn't recognize Hell at first.
Hierarchy and Denizens
Alliances and affiliations in Hell exist but they tend not to last for long periods. Hell's hierarchy exists, but is not as rigid and controlled as Heaven's.
Human souls can get sent to Hell after making deals with Crossroads Demons or other demons. Hellhounds capture then kill the person when their their time is up. See Deals and Pacts for information on characters who have made demonic deals.
Azazel was a very powerful demon who was a confidant of Lucifer. He was described as a "tyrant" by Casey, which suggests he may have been a prominent leader of Hell. Lilith was a leader of many demons before her death. Tammi was a demonic witch who appeared to be more powerful than average demons. Ruby is another strong demon who eventually proved instrumental in releasing Lucifer by secretly manipulating Sam Winchester so that he would kill Lilith, breaking the last seal. Other more specific positions include King of Hell, King of Crossroads demons, and demons who are well known torturers in Hell like Alastair and Meg. Lucifer is revered as the creator of demons, though few have been able to contact him in his isolation. Lucifer directed Azazel in the plans involving the Special Children, and the plot to release him from his prison. Following Azazel's death, Ruby and Lilith took over his plan covertly. When he is freed, the demons serve him, with the exception of Crowley. After Lucifer's re-imprisonment, Crowley declares himself King of Hell.
Winchesters in Hell
Dean Winchester and John Winchester both go to Hell after they make agreements with demons. Dean bargains with a Crossroads Demon to resurrect Sam, and after much debate agrees to go to Hell after one year. John bargains with Azazel to resurrect Dean in exchange for The Colt, but Azazel only consents when John's soul is added to the bargain.
Dean spends the equivalent of forty years on Alastair's rack in Hell, roughly 4 months on earth. John spent almost a century there. Initially, the demons intended for John to break under Alastair's torture so that he would become a torturer himself, which would break the first seal. John never gave into the demon's offer, but Dean eventually does, breaking the first lock on Lucifer's Cage. Eventually, a group of Angels, including Castiel, lay siege to Hell to rescue Dean. Dean's soul is ultimately rescued by Castiel.
I enjoyed it, Sam. They took me off the rack and I tortured souls and I liked it. All those years; all that pain. Finally getting to deal some out yourself. I didn't care who they put in front of me, because that pain I felt, it just slipped away. No matter how many people I save, I can't change that. I can't fill this hole. Not ever.
– Dean, 4.11 Family Remains
Sam Winchester goes to Hell when he is imprisoned in Lucifer's Cage along with Lucifer, Michael and Michael's vessel, Adam Milligan. He is rescued by Castiel, although his soul remained in the Cage until it was retrieved and restored to him by Death. The damage to Sam's soul was hidden from him by a mental wall erected by Death. When Sam starts to remember events from the time he was soulless, a crack appears in the wall and he passes out for 2-3 minutes, re-experiencing his time in Hell. He tells Dean that those minutes 'felt like a week'.
Escape from Hell
Azazel was able to move freely between Hell and Earth, and Alastair appeared to be able too. Crowley is able to move freely between Hell and the mortal realm, and Castiel has been able to enter and return.
The majority of Hell's occupants are trapped and can only escape through portals connecting Hell and Earth known as Devil's gates.
Samuel Colt built a giant devil's trap and a special lock to keep the Devil's Gate in Wyoming shut. When Jake Talley uses the Colt to open the Gate, scores of demons escape, as do souls including John Winchester.
Demons can be released from Hell via a summoning ritual performed by a powerful witch or a foolish novice with access to a grimoire. A specific demon can be summoned, as in the case of Samhain, or any random demon may arise. When Samhain is summoned, a tear opens in the ground and he emerges as a demonic cloud to possess a dead body.
Demons that are exorcised from their hosts appear to leave the immediate vicinity and are presumably drawn back down to Hell. Those that are exorcised by Sam's powers spill onto the floor and sink through the earth, leaving a burning patch on the ground.
Castiel reports that angels laid siege to Hell to rescue Dean before he broke the first seal, but did not reach him in time. Eventually, it is Castiel who rescues him.
Restriction and Confinement
Escape from Lucifer's Cage
This Cage was built to secure the Archangel Lucifer. The mouth of the Cage was heavily secured by 600 locks. Only a fraction of these, called The 66 Seals, needed to be broken to release Lucifer. The four individual rings belonging to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, once merged together, can also open the Cage. Once secured, not even Archangels can leave the Cage without a door being opened from the outside.
Castiel says that Lucifer's Cage is too well-guarded for even angels to access, but it is revealed that he tried to free Sam, bringing out his body but not his soul. Death, the fourth and most powerful of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is able to retrieve Sam's soul from the Cage in order to return it to him.
It is hinted that collecting Heaven's weapons could give one the power to release Lucifer and Michael, as Raphael attempted to do so, but was killed before he had the chance.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum
- ↑ 4.10 Heaven And Hell
- ↑ 2.14 Born Under a Bad Sign
- ↑ 3.16 No Rest For The Wicked
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 6.20 The Man Who Would Be King
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 5.22 Swan Song
- ↑ 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
- ↑ 2.01 In My Time Of Dying
- ↑ 4.11 Family Remains
- ↑ 4.16 On The Head Of A Pin
- ↑ 6.13 Unforgiven
- ↑ 4.07 It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
- ↑ 6.07 Family Matters
- ↑ 6.11 Appointment in Samarra