Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate a house haunted by the ghost of Mordecai, a man who killed his six daughters during the 1930s. The brothers discover a website dedicated to the Mordecai legend and realize the town is unknowingly conjuring up the evil spirit through the site.
The episode was written by Trey Callaway and directed by Chris Long.
Four kids go to an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. It’s got strange symbols on the walls and a spooky story about something that lives in the root cellar and strings up women. One of the jocks scoffs, but his friends stare – at the dead woman dangling from the rafters. When the cops get there, the body is gone. Sam reads about the house on a paranormal website and decides they should check it out. Dean is skeptical, especially when the teenagers all give conflicting stories. Craig, who first told the teens about the house, tells what he heard: Mordecai Murdoch, who lived in the house during the depression, went nuts and hung his six daughters rather than watch them starve to death. Now he haunts the house, killing any girl who enters.
The guys check out the house, where they see symbols painted on the wall, including a cross with a hook on the bottom. They also find Ed and Harry, a couple of “paranormal investigators,” searching the house. They’re the ones who run the site Sam found. The geeks are scornful of Sam and Dean – they don’t know how professionals really work! Sam checks the history of the house, and finds it doesn’t mesh with the story. He and Dean decide that there really isn’t anything to this tale. They repair to the bar. Meanwhile, a trio of teens approaches the house, and one girl goes in on a dare. A spooky figure follows her – and strings her up. She dies.
The cops are patrolling around the house, trying to keep any other kids from getting in. Ed and Harry appear, and the cops chase them. Sam and Dean use the distraction to sneak into the house. They search the place, and Mordecai appears behind them. But this time, he’s got an axe, and it looks like he’s slit his wrists. He attacks the guys. They fire their shotguns full of rock salt, but Mordecai keeps coming. The guys flee. They burst out of the house just as Ed and Harry come back. The geeks see Mordecai manifest in the door, but he’s disappeared by the time the cops catch them again.
Ghosts usually follow a very specific pattern, but Mordecai keeps changing his M.O. Sam checks the website and finds a new story about Mordecai – one that involves axes and wrist-slitting. Dean finally remembers where that cross-and-hook symbol came from – a Blue Oyster Cult album cover. They confront Craig in the record store where he works. Craig confesses that he and his cousin Dana thought it would be funny to spread the story about a haunted house – they found the abandoned house and copied symbols from Dana’s comparative religions textbook on the walls. They even staged the original haunting that Craig and his friends saw. Then the story got posted on Ed and Harry’s website, and it seems to have taken on a life of its own.
Sam figures out that one of the symbols painted on the wall was a Tibetan sigil used to focus thoughts. With enough focus, those thoughts can manifest as a tulpa. Tulpas can’t be destroyed with rock salt, because they don’t follow the same rules as regular ghosts – they just take on the characteristics that believers give them in their thoughts. To get rid of Mordecai, they’re going to need help. The guys go to Ed and Harry’s trailer and ask them to take down the website. Ed and Harry refuse. Sam reluctantly tells them new information they discovered about Mordecai – that he killed himself with a gun, and is said to be terrified of iron bullets. If he’s struck by one of these bullets, he’s banished forever. Ed and Harry immediately run off to post the story. Sam and Dean resolve to wait a while until enough readers believe this is the truth about Mordecai, then go kill the tulpa.
The guys lure the cops away from the house again and prepare to kill Mordecai. Once again, they find Ed and Harry in the house, ready to make their fortune by capturing Mordecai on tape. Mordecai manifests, and the guys fill him with iron bullets. He disappears. They prepare to leave, but Mordecai shows up again, this time attacking the geeks. Apparently the server crashed not long after they posted the story, so not enough people read it – Mordecai is still immune to bullets. Ed and Harry escape when Sam distracts Mordecai. Dean douses the house with lighter fluid. He drives Mordecai away from Sam, then sets the house alight. One consistent thread throughout all the Mordecai stories was that he was trapped in the house. Since they can’t kill Mordecai, they can destroy the house and stop anyone else from coming in. What if the story changes? Sam asks. We’ll come back and kill him again, Dean replies.
as Harry Spangler
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as Second Teenage Boy
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Official Episode Stills:
Episode Screen Caps:
“Fire of Unknown Origin” by Blue Oyster Cult
“Burnin’ For You” by Blue Oyster Cult
Harry: Yeah, so if you guys don’t mind, we’re trying to conduct a serious scientific investigation, here.
Dean: Oh yeah? What do you got so far?
Ed: Why don’t tell ‘em about EMF, Harry?
Harry: (in mock modesty) Well…
Harry: Electromagnetic Field. Spectral entities can cause energy fluctuation that can be read with an EMF detector (pulls one out from his bag). Such as this bad boy right here. 2.8–wow, it’s hot in here. (Sam lets out a whistle).
Sam: I have a confession to make, I was the one who called and told them I was a producer.
Dean: Yeah well I was the one who put the dead fish in the back of their car.
Dean: (to Ed and Harry) Would you look at that? Action figures in their original packaging. What a shocker.
Sam: That was your great idea? To burn the house down?
Dean: People won’t go in any more.
Dean: Yeah, truce… at least for the next hundred miles.
Ed: Okay, we’ve got an obligation to our fans, to the truth…
Dean: Well I have an obligation to kick both of your little asses.
Sam: Dean, Dean, hey, hey, just forget it, alright. These guys… I could probably ***** slap them both.
Dean: I don’t know, Sam. I mean, I hate to agree with authority figures of any kind, but you know, the cops might be right about this one.
Ed: Harry, look at me, right here, okay? You are a ghost hunter, okay?
Harry: I know Ed, but I’ve never actually seen a real ghost before, okay. Like a real ghost, like an apparition…
Ed: This stuff right here, this is our ticket to the big time – fame, money, sex…with girls, okay? Be brave, okay… WWBD. What would Buffy do, huh?
Harry: What would Buffy do. I know, Ed, but she’s stronger than me.
Dean: Hey, Sam, I dare you to take a swig of this.
Sam: What the hell would I do that for?
Dean: I double dare you!
Dean: Why don’t you tell us about that house – without lying through your ass this time?
Dean: Man I hate rats.
Sam: Would you rather it was a ghost?
Dean: So, you guys ever seen a real ghost before?
Ed: Once. We were investigating this old house and we saw a vase fall right off the table.
Harry: By itself.
Ed: Well, we-we-we didn’t actually see it, but we heard it. And something like that, it changes you.
Harry: What are you guys doing here?
Dean: What the hell are you doing here?
Ed: Uh, we belong here, we’re professionals.
Dean: Professional what?
Dean: Most of those websites wouldn’t know a ghost if it bit them in the pursqueeter.
Dean: What’s the matter, Sammy? You afraid you gonna get a little Nair in your shampoo again, huh?
Sam: All right. Just remember you started it.
Dean: Oh, bring it on, baldy.
Sam: What the hell kind of spirit is immune to rock salt?!?
Ed: Sweet Lord…
Harry: of the Rings – run!!
Dean: People believe in Santa Claus – why aren’t I getting hooked up every Christmas?
Sam: ‘Cause you’re a bad person.
Dean: I barely have any skin left on my palm.
Sam: I’m not touching that line with a ten foot pole.
Dean: I thought the legend said the Mordecai only goes after chicks.
Sam: It does.
Dean: Alright, well I mean that explains why it went after you, but why me?
Sam: It kinda makes you wonder. Of all the things we’ve hunted, how many exist just because people believed in them?
Dean: Looks like old man Murdoch was a bit of a tagger during his time.
Sam: And after his time, too. The reverse cross was used by satanists for centuries, but the sigil of sulphur didn’t show up in San Francisco until the ’60’s
Dean: Exactly why you never get laid.
The LP which Dean picks up when browsing in the record store, and for which we see the cover very clearly before he puts it back, is Point of Know Return, by Kansas. Kansas sing one of the show’s most regularly used songs, Carry On Wayward Son.
There are two instances where the brothers go into the house and the cops are outside watching the place. Both times, they manage to get the cops to go into the woods for something, to distract them from the house, while they go in and fight the ghost. There is no way that the cops wouldn’t have heard all of the shotgun blasts, which should be heard from miles away.
When the guys are in the restaurant, the laughing statue flip flops as if the film was reversed. In one shot the fish faces one way, but when Sam pulls the string the fish faces the other way.
Sam glues Dean’s hand to the bottle of beer with super-glue, but super-glue dries really fast. There is no way it could sit on a bottle of beer and still be wet. It would have dried long ago.
When Sam and Dean are in the restaurant eating waiting reading the new post on hellhoundslair.com you can see Dean eating when Sam turns the computer, then there is a closeup of Dean where he’s talking but he never swallowed the food, then they cut to a profile of Dean and he’s chewing again.
In an interview in TV Guide, Eric Kripke, the show creator, admitted that he got so many requests from the viewers to see Jensen and Jared with “less on”, that he added the towel scene in this episode for Jared to be shirtless.
Jensen Ackles (Dean) and Jared Padalecki (Sam) were both born and grew up in Texas; Jensen was born in Dallas and Jared was born in San Antonio. Jensen Ackles went to elementary, junior high, and high school in Richardson, Texas, which is where this episode takes place.
The symbol from the Hell House was from a Blue Oyster Cult album. Burnin’ For You and Fire of Unknown Origin are by Blue Oyster Cult.
Ed: Sweet Lord…
Harry: of the Rings – run!!
Lord of the Rings is a fantasy novel series by J.R.R. Tolkein (and three movies based on it) concerning the adventures of a group comprised of humans, elves and hobbits to destroy an evil ring.
Ed: I was thinking that Mordecai just had like a really super-high attack bonus.
Alluding to role-playing games – an “attack bonus” is typically added to a die roll made to determine if you hit a monster, or to see if a monster hits you. Needless to say, a monster with a super-high bonus would be very tough indeed. Common to Dungeons & Dragons, Spycraft, Champions, and other such games.
Ed: Remember – WWBD. What would Buffy do?
Referring to Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)
Ed: No. Would John Edward go?
Referring to the host of Crossing Over on the SciFi Channel and syndication, and a new series as of this episode’s airing in 2006, John Edward Cross Country. John Edward purportedly speaks with the deceased for the benefit of the living.
Spengler and Zeddmore
This is another allusion to the movie Ghost Busters, whose members included Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddmore.
INSIDE THE LEGEND