Men of Letters

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Sam and Dean enter the Men of Letters secret bunker

We're preceptors, beholders, chroniclers of all that man does not understand. We share our findings with a few trusted hunters – the very elite. They do the rest.

Henry Winchester, 8.12 As Time Goes By

History

The Men of Letters is a global secret organization of scholars who research the supernatural. They undergo a period of teaching in areas of arcane knowledge and rituals and, if they pass, are initiated into the most secret knowledge. They saw hunters as a necessary evil in doing their work, but viewed their use of violence with contempt.

  • The symbol of the group is the Aquarian Star.
  • Membership of the group is predominately male but women can become members.
  • Membership appears to be largely hereditary.
  • Albert Magnus is the name members use when going incognito. Albertus Magnus was a German Dominican friar from the 13th century who advocated the peaceful coexistence of religion and science.
  • In 8.12 As Time Goes By, it's stated that they have stored in the Bunker their collected knowledge: "every object, scroll, spell ever collected for thousands of years under one roof... the safest place on earth, warded against any evil ever created." The key to this place was placed in a box, and given to Henry Winchester by Larry Ganem to protect it from the demon Abaddon.
  • There were a number of of Men of Letters Chapter Houses located across the United States. When Sam searches in a journal for the address of the St. Louis chapter, other chapters are noted including Roswell (Area 3682 bunker, Roswell, NM), Missoula, (1 North Central Street, Missoula, MT), Canton (43211 Chino Street, Canton, MI). The St. Louis Chapter house where the Werther Box was hidden was at 2111 De Fay Street, St. Louis, MO.

In 2013, Sam and Dean learn of the Men of Letters existence from Henry Winchester, their grandfather who was an initiate and one of the only survivors of the order. After defeating Abaddon, they found the Men of Letters Bunker and moved in, taking on their roles as Legacies and continuing the work of the order, using the Bunker's resources to aid in their own fight against evil.

In 2015, the former head of the Grand Coven, Olivette, told Rowena how the Men of Letters had led a pogrom against witches, and had taken all their books of lore and spells. She says that the Men of Letters had bunkers "all over the world" and that they were too well protected by spells for the witches to enter. The Grand Coven is aware that the American chapter had been decimated in the 1950's, but that the Bunker had recently become inhabited by Sam and Dean Winchester.

Record of Membership

Men of Letters Record of Membership

Known Allies

Known Adversaries

The Men of Letters Massacre of 1958

The order was seemingly destroyed by a Knight of Hell -- Abaddon -- on August 12, 1958. The surviving members Henry Winchester, and an elderly Larry Ganem, both died at the hands of Abaddon in 2013.

The only other known survivors of the Men after the deaths of Henry and Larry were Cuthbert Sinclair, a member of the group who was expelled in 1956 due to his experimenting with spells, and Clive Dillon who after he returned from Oz was able to retire from the order, under a secret identity. Both men were killed in 2014, Cuthbert by Dean Winchester and Clive by Charlie Bradbury.

Episodes

8.12 As Time Goes By

In 1958 Abaddon, one of the Knights of Hell, was sent by party or parties unknown to kill the members of the group who were gathered in Normal, Illinois. They were gathered for the initiation of Henry Winchester and Josie Sands.

After possessing Josie, Abaddon killed David Ackers and Ted Bowen, and blinded Larry Ganem. She then went on to burn down their quarters before following Henry through the portal created by his blood spell, which took him to 2013. Henry has with him the Key to the Bunker - which contains where all the knowledge the Men of Letters have collected. It is later learned that the organization has been disbanded after the Abaddon incident. The only known survivors of that incident were Henry and Larry, but both of them were killed by Abaddon in her search for the Box in 2013.

8.13 Everybody Hates Hitler

Sam and Dean travel to the Men of Letters Bunker in Lebanon, Kansas and find it abandoned, having apparently been deserted in response to Abaddon's attack. Searching for any groups of hunters that worked for the Men that might still be active, Sam and Dean find a case dealing with the Judah Initiative, a group of Rabbis that worked with the Men during World War II.

8.16 Remember the Titans

Looking for information on how to break Zeus' curse which is affecting Prometheus' son Oliver, Sam and Dean search through the Men's books in the Bunker and find the journal of Greek hunter Dracopolis which the Men had translated into English. From the journal they learn how to summon, trap and kill Zeus.

8.22 Clip Show

Sam and Dean discover that the Men of Letters recorded every demonic possession for 300 years up until their destruction in their files. They possessed a rating system for the type of possession with a possession like the one in The Exorcist being a Class 2 Infernal Event. Sam and Dean discover a file for a Class 5 event labeled "weird!!!" and find a film taken by initiate Josie Sands of a different type of exorcism that fails. They learn from Father Simon, one of the priests that took part in the exorcism, that the Men of Letters were interested as the other priest, Father Max Thompson, had a theory that a demon could be cured and turned back into a human being. The exorcism was a failed attempt at doing that. Thanks to the discovery of this file, Sam and Dean eventually learn of a way to cure a demon and complete the third trial.

After Sam and Dean put Abaddon back together, she reveals that she was the one that killed Father Thompson and learned about the Men of Letters and Josie Sands from him which is what led to her attack that destroyed the Men of Letters.

9.04 Slumber Party

In 1935, two Men of Letters, James Haggerty and Peter Jenkins travel to the recently finished Bunker to work on cases that come up, but get bored quickly. Sometime later, Dorothy contacts them to help her kill the apparently-invincible the Wicked Witch of the West, but the Wicked Witch breaks free and possesses Jenkins, forcing Haggerty to kill him. Dorothy binds herself and the Wicked Witch to stop her and Haggerty spends the rest of his career trying to find a way to save Dorothy and stop the Wicked Witch. He eventually comes upon the idea of using poppy seed extract from the Oz books and makes a deal with a fairy to get some. In the present day, Dean accidentally releases Dorothy and the Witch and working together with Charlie Bradbury, they stop her once and for all, solving the Men's old case.

9.09 Holy Terror

Kevin is able to discover a sigil with the aid of the Men of Letter's archives and the angel tablet that suppresses the angel possessing a human.

9.11 First Born

After discovering that Sam still possesses some of Gadreel's grace, Castiel looks through the Men's archive for further information. Castiel discovers from one of their books that is written in Enochian that part of an angel's grace stays inside their vessel when they leave it and that it is harmless to the vessel. However, he also finds a confidential file written by Man of Letters James Haggerty that states that the Men believed that if the grace was extracted, it could be used in a tracking spell to find the angel but they were never able to test it as they couldn't find anyone to use it on. Sam and Castiel try the spell, extracting the grace with one of the Men's implements, but Castiel is forced to stop when the procedure nearly proves fatal to Sam. Though they get some of Gadreel's grace, it proves to be not enough for the Men's spell to work.

9.16 Blade Runners

While looking for the First Blade, Sam and Dean learn it was acquired by a man going by the name Magnus, the alias used by the Men when they want to remain incognito. Looking through the Men's files, Sam and Dean figure out that Magnus was Cuthbert Sinclair, the Men of Letters master of spells who designed most of the warding that protects the Bunker and was kicked out of the society. Originally, he wanted to make the Bunker completely invisible and only accessible by spell. After tracking down Magnus, Dean is forced to kill him with the First Blade to save himself and Sam.

9.17 Mother's Little Helper

Investigating a possible demonic possession in Milton, Illinois, Sam learns that in 1958, shortly before their initiation, the Men of Letters sent Henry Winchester and Josie Sands on a field mission to investigate a similar occurrence to help them gain experience. During the mission, Henry expresses doubt about joining the Men as he worries about leaving his family. Eventually, Henry and Josie find the four demons responsible and exorcise two. One of the others, the Knight of Hell Abaddon proves immune and plans to possess Henry to investigate and infiltrate the Men of Letters. Josie convinces Abaddon to possess her instead and she does, telling the remaining demon, Sister Agnes to pretend to be exorcised so she can trick Henry and to continue their work once she is gone. The ploy works and Henry leaves with Abaddon, unaware of the truth of what was going on, that the demons were really stealing people's souls. The experience also causes Henry to lose all doubt about joining the order.

In the present, at the Bunker, Dean goes through the Men's files while on his obsessive hunt for Abaddon and Sam joins him after learning that Abaddon is stealing people's souls in order to create her own demon army loyal only to her, meaning they need to stop her as soon as possible.

10.11 There's No Place Like Home

Looking for a way to repair the Key to Oz, Sam and Charlie Bradbury investigated its history with the Men of Letters. They discovered that a member named Clive Dillon found the Key and traveled to Oz with it though he left the Key behind. L. Frank Baum used the Key to go to Oz to rescue him and during that time his daughter Dorothy got stuck in Oz herself. After Clive's return, he retired and the Men of Letters put him in a sort of witness protection, hiding him under the name Michael Carter in Junction City, Kansas where he was still alive in 2015. Sam and Charlie track down Clive in hopes that he can help them fix the Key to Oz so Charlie can return and get the Wizard of Oz to reunite her and her dark self. Clive reveals what isn't in the Men of Letters' file on his adventure: he was kidnapped by an evil witches' coven and split into his good and dark selves as well. The Wizard of Oz is Clive's dark half and is trying to gain power in Oz. In order to save Oz, Clive summons the Wizard by shooting himself and Charlie then kills Clive and the Wizard.

10.16 Paint It Black

Olivette reveals that the Men of Letters used their political power to whip the church and people of Europe into a frenzy over the Grand Coven, leading to many of the Grand Coven's best being burned at the stake or forced into hiding. The Coven's most powerful spells and potions were plundered by the Men of Letters and hidden in their bunkers across the world.

10.17 Inside Man

When Sam and Castiel need to find a way to make contact with Bobby Singer in Heaven, they pay a visit to Oliver Pryce -- a psychic who was being trained by the Men of Letters to control his abilities before the 1958 massacre. With Oliver's help, they succeed in reaching Bobby and planning a prison break for Metatron.

10.18 Book of the Damned

Trying to figure out who they are dealing with that wants the Book of the Damned, Sam and Dean bring the Men of Letters files on various supernatural families to their meeting with Charlie Bradbury. Eventually Dean determines from the tattoo that Charlie saw that they are dealing with the Styne family which the Men of Letters files describe as an evil family who cause destruction.

10.19 The Werther Project

Looking for a way to read the Book of the Damned and find out how to save Dean from the Mark of Cain, Sam turns to Rowena who reveals that the only witch who could decode the book, Nadia, was murdered by the Men of Letters. However, she kept a decoding codex that the Men took when they killed her. Sam finds the minutes of a meeting which discusses the codex and Cuthbert Sinclair's expulsion from the Men of Letters. Listening to a tape of the meeting, Sam learns that Cuthbert hid the codex in a creation of his called the Werther Box that kills those who try to open it. Cuthbert tells Markham that it is to protect the codex from the Grand Coven who will want it back and refuses to disclose how to disarm the fail-safe spell which had killed two Men of Letters (Fletcher and Martinez), even to keep from being kicked out of the order. Markham orders the Box hidden and guarded at the St. Louis chapter house where Cuthbert had created it. After Abaddon destroys the Men of Letters, the house is abandoned until Suzie and her family move in and she tries to open it, causing her family to kill themselves.

In order to get the codex, Sam travels to the old chapter house where he is joined by Dean. Sam unsuccessfully tries to disarm the spell and unleashes it upon himself, Dean and Suzie. Suzie kills herself while Dean falls into a catatonic state where he imagines he is in Purgatory with Benny Lafitte who encourages him to kill himself. With the help of a hallucination of Rowena, Sam realizes that only the blood of a Man of Letters or a Legacy can break the spell. Sam spills his blood, but learns that the Box needs all of his blood to break the spell. Sam nearly sacrifices himself, but Dean breaks free of the spell and saves him. Dean then adds his own blood to the mix and the fail-safe spell is broken. They get the codex and Dean destroys the Werther Box just in case.

11.11 Into the Mystic

When Sam and Dean are hunting a Banshee, they meet up with another hunter named Eileen Leahy. Her grandfather was Edward Durban II, a Man of Letters that was inducted in 1939. A man who was part of a small delegation that was sent to Europe. Eileen's parents were killed by the same Banshee the Winchesters are hunting. Eileen's mother knew of some celtic spells and used one to banish the Banshee just before she died. The Banshee's shriek caused Eileen's ears to bleed rendering her deaf as it was killing her father. Eileen is adopted by another hunter named Lillian O'Grady who taught her everything she knew about hunting before she died of cancer when Eileen was 16. At some point, Eileen learned about her role as a legacy and her parent's knowledge of the supernatural. Eileen eventually gets her revenge by killing the Banshee after it was trapped by Mildred Baker. Sam invites her to come over to the bunker whenever she wants.

11.14 The Vessel

In 1943, Delphine Seydoux, a Woman of Letters steals the Hand of God from the Nazis while working with a Man of Letters named Clifford Henshaw who was based in the Lebanon, Kansas Bunker.

In 2016, Sam finds out about the Hand of God being stolen by Delphine from history books and the fact that the Nazis learned that she was a Woman of Letters. Believing the Hand of God to be a viable weapon against Amara, the two then look through the Bunker's records and find a report in French written by Clifford Henshaw, a Bunker-based Man of Letters in 1943 that they translate using the Internet. They learn that after Delphine stole the Hand of God, Henshaw arranged for Delphine to transport the weapon back to the Bunker on the USS Bluefin, but the submarine was sank en route and the contents never recovered. As a result, the Hand of God never made it to the Bunker. In order to get at the Hand of God, the Winchesters then call what they believe to be Castiel to the Bunker but is in fact Lucifer. Lucifer is surprised that any of the Hands of God survived the Flood and the twentieth century and tells them that he can get them to the past. After an argument about who will go, Lucifer takes Dean back in time to the Bluefin, leaving Sam behind in the Bunker.

After Lucifer is blocked by warding from getting aboard the Bluefin, Sam looks through the Men of Letters records and finds a Spell of Gathering that could get rid of the warding but would need an archangel's power to work. After Sam offers to use his soul to help "Castiel" power the spell, Lucifer reveals himself to Sam and nearly kills him before being stopped by Castiel.

In 1943, Dean attacks Petey Giraldi and uses his clothes to sneak through the Bluefin until he finds Delphine. Delphine is suspicious as no one on the sub knows her name until Dean identifies himself as a Man of Letters and mention Clifford Henshaw. Dean explains to Delphine and the sub's crew that he's from the future and the sub will soon be found by a German destroyer and sunk. Moments later, a German ship is reported approaching and Delphine realizes the Nazis are coming for the Hand of God. Delphine explains that the warding on the Bluefin is of a type her mentor taught her before he died to protect her and the Hand of God from supernatural interference. Dean realizes it also protect against angels and tells Delphine that they need to clear it so that he can get off the Bluefin before it sinks. When Delphine is reluctant, Dean tells her "Men of Letters to Men of Letters" that the submarine sinks but the Allies still win the war. However, he needs it for a war unlike anything she can imagine in the future. Despite Dean being a stranger, Delphine believes him as he's another member of the Men of Letters and shows him the Hand of God which is a piece of the Ark of the Covenant. Delphine then goes to clear the warding from the sub so Dean can get the Hand of God back to the Bunker in the future. As the German destroyer attacks, Delphine tells Dean he has to kill her to destroy the warding she has carved into her own chest as part of her mission. Before Dean can decide, the destroyer disables the Bluefin and the commander turns out to be a member of the Thule Society. In order to stop the Thule and the Nazis from getting the Hand of God, Delphine absorbs its power and uses it to destroy both the Bluefin and the German destroyer while Lucifer returns Dean to 2016.

11.16 Safe House

Sam looks through the Men of Letters files which he has added to his computer for information on soul eaters. Sam discovers that despite what the lore said about soul eaters being impossible to kill, the Men of Letters found a way and added it to their archives.

11.23 Alpha and Omega

As the sun begins dying, Lady Antoia Bevell arrives at her home in London, England. Inside she meets with her housekeeper, Anna, who says her son is taking a nap and has her tea ready for her in the next room. As Toni sits for her tea, she watches the news reports regarding the suns 6% decrease in energy output, she soon gets a phone call about what is happening to the sun and proceeds to a cellar entrance adorned with the Aquarian Star and descends downstairs into a secret office. As she continues talking, she she looks at a large cork board covered with information about the Winchesters, which include mug shots, newspaper clippings, family tree’s, etc... and tells the man on the phones she understands and is on her way before hanging up.

As Sam and Castiel enter the Bunker Toni stands out of their line of site, her hand dripping with blood. As Toni greets the two, she places her hand on the angel banishing sigil on the wall, causing Cas to disappear. As Sam reaches behind for his gun, Toni draws on him and tells him "don't." Toni then introduces herself to Sam, stating she is from the Men of Letters London Chapterhouse. She tells him she was sent to bring him in, if the world didn't end, citing his and Dean's past involvement with archangels, Leviathans and the Darkness. Telling him the "old men" have had enough and that he has done more damage than good due to playing with thing he and Dean do not fully understand. As Sam begins protesting Toni presence, he starts to walk towards her. Toni warns him to stop, but Sam continues walking towards her telling her to put the gun down, as she won't pull the trigger, at which point Toni fires the gun and the shell casing clatters on the floor.