|“||Everybody was scared of Luther. They called him a monster. He was too big, too mean looking and just too different. It didn’t matter that he was the kindest man I ever knew. It didn't matter that he never hurt no one.||”|
— John Garland, to Sam and Dean, Yellow Fever
Luther Garland was a lonely lumber mill laborer who after being brutally killed, returned as a buruburu.
BackgroundEditLuther was a kind and gentle man who was treated badly in life because of his menacing appearance. He was failed by many people, including his brother. One of the only people to show him kindness was Jessie O'Brien, a woman he worked with at Cassity & Sons Lumber Mill. Jessie was very nice to Luther, and he developed a crush on her, which her husband Frank did not appreciate. When Jessie went missing, Frank went to confront Luther at the mill and discovered the many portraits of his wife that Luther had drawn. Convinced that Luther was responsible for Jessie's disappearance, he pointed a shotgun at Luther, ordered him outside, pistol-whipped him, and then tied a chain around his neck and dragged him up and down the mill road behind his truck until his body was scattered. Frank was never arrested for his crime.
Having died in abject fear and misery, Luther returned as a Buruburu, according to Bobby, a ghost of Japanese lore that is created from fear and becomes fear. It kills by bringing about ghost sickness, which spreads like a virus. Thus, Luther's spirit delivered the ghost sickness unto Frank O'Brien, who transmitted it to his good friend Sheriff Al Britton (who allowed Frank to get away with Luther's murder) and two fellow softball tournament attendees in a nearby town. Dean also contracted ghost sickness, which Sam surmised was from contact with Frank's body at the morgue. Sam also observed that all of the victims were men for whom the use of fear was a major theme in their lives.
In the throes of his ghost sickness, Dean coughed up a wood chip. He was reasonably freaked out by it, but Sam regarded it as a clue that the answers they sought were at the lumber mill. There they found Luther's employee badge next to drawing they recognized to be Jessie O'Brien. When Dean picked up the drawing it ripped, and all of the machinery in the mill mysteriously turned on. Dean saw Luther's ghost appear in the corner and alerted Sam to it with his terrified look. Sam blasted it with rock salt, and it dissipated. Dean, somewhat useless in his extreme state of fear, ran away. Sam sidelined him and called on Bobby for help.
Realizing that they would never be able to salt and burn all of Luther's scattered remains, Bobby and Sam came up with a plan to "scare his ghost to rest," which began with Sam enraging Luther's spirit by ripping up his drawings of Jessie. This drew him out and he attacked, but Sam was able to bind him in iron chains, and then Bobby recreated the gruesome road-haul. This caused enough fear to vanquish the buruburu. Dean, who was back at the hotel near to death by ghost sickness, was saved in the nick of time.