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Malleus Maleficarum

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Title Malleus Maleficarum
Series Supernatural
Season 3
Episode 9
Written by Ben Edlund
Directed by Robert Singer
Previous episode A Very Supernatural Christmas
Next episode Dream a Little Dream of Me
Episode list Season 3


Unrequited love becomes vengeful witchcraft, which in turn leads Sam and Dean to a coven of suburban witches whose black magic is drawn from a much more sinister source.


Sturbridge, Massachusetts - We open to a couple coming home after a party. The woman (Janet Dutton) says she needs a few minutes and goes to the bathroom. The husband (Paul Dutton) goes to get a bottle of wine from the fridge. The scene cuts to someone chanting something like Latin as they light a candle. We cut back to the woman - she's getting ready for bed, and about to brush her teeth. She opens up a new toothbrush, and at the same time the mystery chanter also unwraps a toothbrush that looks as though it was stolen from Janet. The chanter cuts her hand with a dagger over the brush, letting her blood drip onto the bristles. As the chanting goes on, we see the woman in the bathroom touch one of her teeth, which has loosened, and moments later, it falls out. One by one, her other teeth fall out, until she is spitting them out with mouthfuls of blood into the sink. She calls out for her husband, but the door slams shut and locks itself before he can get to her. The mysterious woman continues to chant, and stabs her dagger into the toothbrush in anger. Finally, the bathroom door unlocks, and Janet's husband is able to get into the bathroom, only to find his wife dead in a pool of blood on the floor...

The Dutton Residence - Dean is interviewing Paul Dutton, posing as a CDC official, while Sam searches the bathroom for clues. Dean asks Paul if Janet had any enemies, and the husband replies that she didn't, and adds that everyone loved her. The way he reacts to the question and hesitates before answering suggests that he might be lying. The boys leave, and outside Sam shows Dean what he found ion the house. It's a small hex bag with bird bones, rabbit's teeth and other dark magical objects. This leads the brother's to deduce that a witch is involved - something Dean finds highly annoying, yelling, "I hate witches! They're always spewing their bodily fluids everywhere. It's downright insanitary!" The brothers climb into the Impala, where Sam suggests that someone Janet knew had an axe to grind with her. The boys agree that if they can figure out the motive, they can find the murderer. Dean drives off down a rain-filled street.

Unknown Street - A woman is gardening when she sees her neighbor, Amanda pulls up. Amanda climbs out and the neighbor (Elizabeth) calls out to her. Elizabeth is worried, because Amanda didn't show for "book club" the previous evening. Amanda unconvincingly states she has been busy and scurries inside her house before she can be questioned further. We see that Amanda hand is bandaged around the palm, suggesting that it was she who was the mystery chanter who killed Janet Dutton. Inside her house, she walks to the oven and pulls out a plate with a rotting chicken covered with flies and maggots.

Nighttime, Paul Dutton's Car - Paul is sitting in his car eating a burger. He flicks on the radio and he's obviously thinking about everything that has happened. We flashcut back to Amanda's - she places the plate with the rotting chicken onto the table, and pulls out the dagger from earlier. She begins to chant, stabs the chicken with the dagger and mutters, "This dinner was cooked for you, Paul Arthur Dutton. Now you're going to eat it!" Back in the car, the radio changes station and Dutton's burger, which he sat on the seat, has maggots crawling in it. After he takes another bite, he beings to gag, and chokes on the burger. As he clambers from the car, Sam and Dean roar up in the Impala. Sam quickly searches Dutton's car and finds another hex bag. Once he's torched it, Dutton recovers. Dean questions Dutton again, knowing he lied earlier. Dutton confesses he had an affair but broke it off because the girl was unbalanced. Back at Amanda's house, the candles all blow out and suddenly her wrists are slit - three times each. She screams 'no' before colapsing dead in a pool of blood.

Amanda's House - Sam and Dean break in to find the girl dead. It's a weird twist to the tale. Dean thinks maybe Amanda thought she'd killed Paul and then killed herself, but Sam finds yet another hex bag. Dean says it looks like they have a little 'witch-on-witch violence.' Sam thinks it's the work of a coven.

The 'book club' - Elizabeth walks into a house where two other women, Tammi and Renee are waiting. Elizabeth is concerned about what's happened to Amanda and wants to stop the 'book club.' The others really don't want to stop, even though they know Amanda killed Janet. Renee points out all the good things the 'book club' has gotten them, including holidays, a promotion for Elizabeth's husband, etc. They turn out the lights, put a black pentacle embellished cloth on the table, followed by a large heavy book. More candles are lit and all three join hands and begin to chant.

Elizabeth's Garden - Elizabeth is on her knees digging when Sam and Dean walk up and introduce themselves as detectives Bachman and Turner. Sam says they're asking neighbors and friends about Amanda's death and brings up the fact she had some seriously occult items in her house, suggesting it wasn't suicide Elizabeth is clearly shaken until two other women appear - Renee and Tammi. Renne is kind of sarcastic with Dean and the boys leave.

Nightime, Impala - Dean says he thinks Elizabeth is a witch. Sam agrees saying she's had too much good luck lately winning things and more. It's not natural. In fact, so has Renee. It looks like the boys have found their coven. Sam says the women need to be stopped and Dean is surprised. He points out the women are human, which Sam counters with 'They're murderers' Dean nods and says 'burn witch burn.' Unexpectedly, the Impala breaks down and Ruby is waiting for the brothers in the middle of the road. She tells them they have to leave but Dean gets out the Colt, he doesn't trust her. The pair verbally spar a little, but Ruby is insistent the boys get out of town - she's not worried about the witches, but who they're serving - a demon so strong the Winchesters won't be able to handle it. There's more Dean and Ruby fighting and Dean almost shoots her. Sam tries to stop him, and Ruby vanishes.

Conquistador Motel - The brothers go back to their motel and argue about Ruby. Dean isn't happy that Sam lets Ruby string him along. Sam points out that she might be useful and says they're at war. Dean asks Sam if he's feeling okay because he's changed - he doesn't care about killing people anymore. Sam tells Dean he isn't acting like himself anymore because Dean is leaving (the deal) and he has to learn to be more like Dean if he's going to continue and fight the war against evil. Dean wants to argue more, but he suddenly gets sick, he grabs his stomach saying its like a bunch of knives inside him. He says it must be the coven as he colapses on the floor, spitting blood. Sam jumps up and searches like crazy for another hex bag, but when he can't find one he grabs the Colt and races off in the Impala after the witches.

The 'book club' - The three women are again in a circle chanting when Sam bursts in with the Colt and tells them to stop. They back off, looking afraid. Flashcut back to the brothers motel and as Dean writhes in his own blood on the floor, Ruby bursts in, she tosses him on the bed and pours something into his mouth. Back at the 'club,' Sam tells the girsl stop the spell or die. One of them says they were only getting Renee a lower mortgage rate. Flashcut back to the motel - Dean has recovered and asks Ruby what she gave him. She says it's witchcraft and leaves. Dean is obviously surprised by what she just did for him. At the club, Sam points the Colt at each woman in turn, Elizabeth and Renee have both had something out of the club, but Tammi hasn't. He finally points the gun at her, and after a brief moment of denial her eyes flash over black. Sam tries to shoot her, but the bullet is stopped when she holds up her palm. It falls to the floor, useless.

Tammi tosses Sam and holds him up the wall. Renee argues with her, and is subsequently killed. The demon explains that by chanting and swearing their services, the other women effectively sold their souls to her. Elizabeth pleads, saying she didn't know, but it's no good, Tammi says they knew what they were doing when they dabbled with the occult. The demon then turns to Sam, saying she and her demon friends have been looking for him. Not as a leader, but because they have a leader already - and he doesn't like Sam. Basically, Sam has to be taken out of the equation. Tammi tells Sam 'bye bye' and starts forcing him through the wall with her power. Dean bursts in with his shotgun, but he too is then slammed against the wall and held there.

Things are looking pretty bad for the Winchesters when Ruby shows up. She tells the 'Tammi' demon that she wants to rejoin forces with her - that she lured the brothers here as an offering. She walks closer, and at the right moment lunges at Tammi with her demon-killing dagger. Tammi catches Ruby's arm and the pair engage in a brawl. Tammi gets the upper hand on Ruby, but while this has been going on, Elizabeth has begun a little spellwork of her own unnoticed.

Meanwhile, Tammi grabs Ruby's collar, and while holding her looks to the brothers. She explains that Ruby was once a witch many years ago. She basically sold her soul to the demon, just like the four modern day witches they'd come here to deal with. Tammi then starts her own little exorcism to send Ruby back to hell. Black demon-smog starts to come from Ruby's mouth, but then Tammi starts to gag. She brings up a mouthful of blood and pins and finally realizes Elizabeth has been using a spell! She turns, Ruby forgotten and kills Elizabeth with one movement of her hand.

Momentarily weakened, though, Dean, Sam and Ruby are released from her demon-grasp. Seizing the chance, Dean grabs Ruby's special blade and stabs Tammi with it multiple times. She drops to the floor, dead. Dean pulls his brother to his feet, helping him after his near brush of death with the wall. They pause at Ruby, but she tells them to go, she'll clean up the mess.

Conquistador Motel, Nighttime - Sam is freshening up and Dean is outside when all the lights start to go off. Dean looks around, and sure enough Ruby appears. He asks if its right that she was once human and she says yes, back when the plague was big, she was a human. In fact, every demon she's ever met was once human. She explains that when you go to hell, you forget what you are. Dean says he saw Hellraiser, he gets it, and she responds that yeah, Hellraiser was pretty close. She also tells Dean that sooner or later hell will burn away his humanity when he goes there. He says there's no way to save him from going and Ruby admits that there isn't, but she lied to Sam to get him to talk to her. She needs Dean to help her, to help her get Sam ready to fight the demon war. Once Dean is gone, Sam has to be ready.

Ruby moves to leave, but Dean calls her back asking 'Ruby, why do you want us to win?'

Ruby: 'Isn't it obvious? I'm not like them. I don't know why, I wish I was, but, I'm not. I remember what it's like...'

Dean: 'What what's like?'

Ruby: 'Being human.'

Dean looks down, unsure how to take this all in, and when he looks back up, he's alone. The scene fades to him looking around in an emotional turmoil at what he's been told.

Featured Supernatural BeingEdit

Featured MusicEdit

"Every Rose has its Thorns" by Poison

"I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins


  • Though this is not the first time witchcraft is seen being used, it does mark the introduction of human witches.
  • The main antagonist of the third and fourth season, Lilith, is referenced for the first time by the demon possessing Tammi.
  • Demons are revealed to be corrupted versions of human souls through torture in Hell.
  • This is the first time Dean actually sees Ruby in person, although they have been in the same place at the same time before in "Magnificent Seven" and "Sin City."
  • When Dean sarcastically says "So the devil may care after all?" to Ruby at the end of the episode, she quietly replies, "I don't believe in the Devil," referencing the demons' belief in Satan as their god (first shown in "Sin City"). The next season's finale, "Lucifer Rising", revealed that Ruby's goal in aiding the Winchesters all along was in fact part of a ploy to free Lucifer from his imprisonment in Hell.


  • Before it aired, this episode was initially titled "Witch Hunt". It was also supposed to feature a demon framing a group of innocent women as witches to have them murdered, but this idea was dropped because it was too similar to the plot of previous Season 3 episode "Sin City".
  • The title of this episode, "Malleus Maleficarum" (meaning: Witch Hammer) is the title of a book first published in 1486, which basically served as the Inquisitor's how-to manual of identifying and destroying witches during the Inquisition.
  • This episode is widely regarded as a spoof of the TV series Charmed (which shares some similarities to Supernatural in the sense that both feature siblings battling paranormal forces of evil); the German dub of "Malleus Maleficarum" even features the witches being voiced by same voice actresses who voiced Charmed lead protagonists Piper and Phoebe Halliwell and Paige Matthews.
  • Sam and Dean's agent names Bachman and Turner refer to the band Bachman Turner Overdrive.


(Ruby bursts into the room as Dean is dying.)
Dean: "You wanna kill me? Get in line, bitch!"
(Ruby gets Dean, throws him onto the bed, and starts pouring a liquid down his throat.)
Ruby: (panting) "Stop ... calling me ... bitch!"

Dean: "You saved my life."
Ruby: "Don't mention it."
Dean: "What was that stuff? God, it was ass. It tasted like ass..."
Ruby: "It's called 'witchcraft', shortbus."
Dean: "You're the shortbus ... shortbus."

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