- "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 describing Purgatory.[src]
|Whereabouts :||Unclear; Hell-adjacent|
Sometimes referred to as beneath Earth
|Filming location :||TBA|
Purgatory appears as an endless forest almost always in gloom, mist or overcast. Purgatory's quality of light also seems to change sometimes between dark and relatively bright, as though night and day; although it does not seem to closely parallel Earth's night and day cycles, as it was at one point bright in Purgatory while it was night on Earth. (Taxi Driver) It has also been implied that unlike with Hell, time in Purgatory runs at at least approximately the same speed as on the earthly plane; a year on Earth was said to be equivalent to a year in Purgatory, (Season 8) and entering Purgatory apparently did not disrupt Sam Winchester's countdown to how long he had to return to Earth. (Taxi Driver)
Like with Hell and Heaven, dead human and monster souls in Purgatory manifest in physical forms identical to their living bodies from when they were alive instead of the incorporeal form their spirits would take on Earth. (Season 7, Season 8) The dead monsters can be 'killed' in Purgatory the same ways a living being on Earth can be killed; (Season 8) it is unknown what happens to them after this. (Blood Brother)
Likewise, Leviathans seem to manifest differently in Purgatory to how they do on Earth; being able to shift between their ooze form and a human form in Purgatory at will, (Season 8) unlike with how the freed Leviathans manifested upon reaching the Earth. (Hello, Cruel World) Leviathans can still be immobilised by decapitation in Purgatory. (Blood Brother, A Little Slice of Kevin)
Purgatory is apparently devoid of synthetic tools, but it possesses enough basic objects such as wood, bones and rocks for the inhabitants to utilise for crafting primitive weapons for themselves. Purgatory's landscape is apparently fixed as well and does not naturally alter its reality, as certain rivers and locations there are used as reference points. (What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, Taxi Driver) It would also appear that unlike with other spiritual realms such as Heaven and Hell, the forms and objects in Purgatory are in fact truly corporeal rather than just spiritual imitations, as Dean Winchester's blade crafted and built from and with Purgatory's non-synthetic resources was capable of existing on the physical plane when Dean took it back to Earth with him. (Season 8)
Purgatory was generally considered a dark and bloody place, (Like a Virgin, We Need to Talk About Kevin) with one Leviathan even calling it worse than Hell, (There Will Be Blood) and was to a degree to be feared; but some who had been there such as Benny Lafitte also considered Purgatory pure and, in a sense, something to be appreciated as well as feared. (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
There are several known means of entering and exiting Purgatory, although most of them are widely little-known of. For each and every monster on Earth, if and when they die there, their souls go to Purgatory afterwards as their afterlife destination to hunt and prey on each-other for eternity. Likewise, when Leviathans die on the mortal plane, their essence will return to Purgatory. (Survival of the Fittest) Reapers can cross between Purgatory and the earthly realm easily, and can even transport both living mortals and deceased souls with them. (Taxi Driver) Though Castiel and Crowley claimed that neither angels nor demons had ever found a way of accessing Purgatory before them, (The Man Who Would Be King) incursions of angels were apparently capable of breaching and forcing their way into Purgatory. (A Little Slice of Kevin)
There is one ritual, requiring an intricate sigil drawn in the blood of a human virgin and a creature native to Purgatory, which when activated by the rites and incantations, will open a doorway to Purgatory and allow the transfer of all the monster souls and Leviathans in Purgatory between the monster realm and the mortal plane. However, this ritual will only work if it is performed during a lunar eclipse. (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Meet the New Boss)
Purgatory has a portal, believed to have been installed by God as a failsafe in case any humans ever became trapped in Purgatory, which will transport anyone who enters it back to the mortal realm but will only work in these respects for humans (although monster souls can also pass through the portal if they are carried inside the human's body). (We Need to Talk About Kevin, A Little Slice of Kevin, Taxi Driver) There is also a secret 'backdoor' portal to Hell in Purgatory, located by a stream in Purgatory where three trees grow together, that allows whomever knows of the backdoor to use it to travel between the two realms. (Taxi Driver)
There was a spell which could summon Eve back to Earth from Purgatory, requiring an incantation and a virgin girl sacrifice, which would allow Eve to emerge from Purgatory and possess the virgin sacrifice as a vessel. (Like a Virgin) It is also known that when a Leviathan is killed and sent back to Purgatory with the bone of a righteous mortal washed in the three bloods of the fallen, a side-effect of the bone is that anyone near the killed Leviathan at the time is transported into Purgatory with it. (Survival of the Fittest, We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Inhabitants, denizens and hierarchyEdit
Purgatory is inhabited by the Leviathans and by the souls of all the monsters that have ever died, with Purgatory containing 30-40 million monster souls by 2011 - 2012. There is little to no apparent hierarchy or societal structure in Purgatory, with the monsters there largely on the run from and hunting each-other, although some of the monsters (particularly the Leviathans) do sometimes work together and act in small organised groups.
According to Death, when God feared that his first beasts, the Leviathan, would devour his other creations if left unchecked, he created Purgatory as a prison and locked the Leviathans inside to protect the rest of the universe from the Leviathans' destructive hunger. (Meet the New Boss)
At some point, Purgatory became home to Eve, and would afterwards function as the destination for the souls of all of Eve's monster progeny when they died on the mortal plane. (Season 6 onwards) By 2011 - 2012, there were 30-40 million monster souls in Purgatory. (The Man Who Would Be King)
In 1937, H.P. Lovecraft and an occult dinner party successfully opened a door to Purgatory in their efforts to create an interdimensional doorway, which released one creature from Purgatory. The creature subsequently killed those involved, to try and prevent the doorway from ever being reopened. (Let It Bleed)
Circa late 2011 - early 2012, when Eve sought vengeance on Crowley for torturing her children in his search for a way to open a door to Purgatory, (Mommy Dearest) she had a group of dragons summon her back to Earth from Purgatory with a human virgin sacrifice (Like a Virgin) so she could lead retaliation among the monsters against Hell for Crowley's actions, and Eve was subsequently killed in this effort. (Mommy Dearest)
Shortly after Eve's death, Castiel successfully performed a ritual to open a door to Purgatory, and absorbed everything inside Purgatory (including all the monster souls and Leviathans) into himself. (The Man Who Knew Too Much) However, when the Leviathans began to take control, Cass, Dean Winchester and Bobby Singer used the ritual to reopen the door and successfully sent the monster souls and at least some of the Leviathans back to Purgatory; but a very large number of Leviathans held on inside Castiel and thus weren't returned to Purgatory and were released onto the human world. (Meet the New Boss)
Some months later, Dean and Castiel successfully defeated the Leviathans on Earth by killing Dick Roman and sending him back to Purgatory, but Dean and Cass were also transported to Purgatory in the process and marooned there for a year. (Survival of the Fittest) During that time, Dean and Castiel were hunted intensely by the Leviathans and the deceased monsters there (due to the rare phenomenon of a human and an angel appearing in Purgatory), until eventually they escaped - Dean (and the deceased vampire Benny Lafitte) escaped back to Earth through Purgatory's escape portal, and Castiel was rescued by Naomi's angel incursion into Purgatory. (What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, Blood Brother, A Little Slice of Kevin)Some months later, Sam Winchester entered Purgatory, courtesy of the rogue reaper Ajay, to rescue Bobby's soul via the backdoor to Hell. Sam successfully broke Bobby out of Hell, and afterwards escaped with Bobby from Purgatory back to Earth via the escape portal. (Taxi Driver)
In Christian lore such as the Roman Catholic teachings, Purgatory (sometimes instead called the "final theosis" or "final purification") is the spiritual realm of temporary punishment, where humans who die with non-mortal sins are spiritually purified and made ready for Heaven. Due to being intended as a place where souls are made holy enough to then be sent to Heaven, Purgatory is an impermanent and intermediary afterlife destination which precedes Heaven. The requirements to be sent to Purgatory in death are generally implied to be dying in a state of grace but failing to achieve a sufficient level of holiness in life.
- Survival of the Fittest
- We Need to Talk About Kevin
- What's Up, Tiger Mommy? (flashback)
- Blood Brother (flashback)
- A Little Slice of Kevin
- Taxi Driver
- The Werther Project (illusion)
- According to Bobby in Like a Virgin, Purgatory is just one of many names for the monster realm as well as the most pronounceable, and numerous other names the monster realm is known by are listed in Eve's dragons' book on Purgatory.
- It has been mentioned in Family Matters, Blood Brother and Taxi Driver that Purgatory is located adjacently to Hell.
- In Season 8, there was a grey tinge to the atmosphere in Purgatory, while in Survival of the Fittest Purgatory's atmosphere was the same colour as Earth's.