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Season 1, Episode 4

AirdateOctober 4, 2005
Written byRichard Hatem
Directed byRobert Singer

DateDecember 2, 2005 - December 6, 2005
LocationCatasauqua, Pennsylvania
Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Lehigh Valley Airport, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania

Dead in the Water Bloody Mary

Episode Transcript
Commentary Transcript


Official WB description On TransNational flight 2485, a man possessed by the spirit of the Phantom Traveler causes the plane to crash, leaving only five survivors left alive. Dean and Sam must exorcise the angry spirit before it attacks the survivors. The brothers realize the only way to do that is to take the battle to the skies.


December 2, 2005United Britannia Flight 2485 crashes
December 4, 2005Jerry calls Dean and Sam; Jerry explains about the crash; Dean makes fake Homeland Security IDs; interview Max Jaffe and Mrs. Phelps
December 5, 2005Boys buy first suits; investigate plane wreckage; Chuck Lambert's plane crashes; Dean and Sam investigate Chuck's plane crash
December 5, 2005 (night)United Britannia Flight 424 takes off; Dean and Sam exorcise the Airplane Demon; flight makes emergency landing
December 6, 2005Dean and Sam say goodbye to Jerry; Dean and Sam call John and get his voicemail


A very nervous George goes into the airport bathroom to wash his face before flying. Another man enters and tries to reassure him that flying is safe. When this man leaves, a strange black entity emerges from the nearby air vent and enters George through his eyes. The now possessed George gets on board his flight. The welcoming stewardess notices his eyes are all black, but shrugs it off. Forty minutes into the flight, George asks the passenger beside him the time. He then comments, "Time really does fly", before saying he is going to stretch his legs. A young man near the exit notices George heading for the emergency release handle and shouts for him to stop when he reaches for the handle, but somehow George manages to open the door and it blows off, hitting the plane's tail. The plane goes into a dive and everyone starts screaming in fear and panicking.

It is 5:45 a.m. and Dean is awakened from his slumber by Sam. Sam has not slept for a while now. He says what they do preys on his mind. Dean says he is never afraid like that, but Sam pulls a huge knife from under Dean's pillow and is not convinced. Dean's cell phone rings, interrupting their conversation.

It is a man Dean and John once did a job for in the past. He says he needs their help again. Dean and Sam meet Jerry in an aircraft workshop. He had a ghost problem once before at his home, but this time, the problem is work related. He plays them the voice recorder of the downed airliner and they all hear a horrid noise. Jerry says he does not think the plane had mechanical failure, which is what the authorities think. Apparently, there were 7 survivors, including the pilot. Dean and Sam ask for access to logs, flight recordings, etc., as well as the wreckage. Jerry says he can get them everything but access to the plane's remains.

Dean goes to a copy shop and fakes two Homeland Security IDs. Sam is waiting outside, having checked out the noise on the voice recorder. It is clear now that something is saying "No survivors".

They go visit the young man who last saw George trying to open the plane's emergency exit. He is one of the seven survivors and has admitted himself to the psychiatric hospital because he is afraid of what he saw. He tells the brothers he knows it is impossible for George to open the exit, as it had two tons of pressure on it, and yet he did. He tells them George had strange black eyes too. Next, Dean and Sam visit George's widow, from the information from the flight manifest. George's wife tells them he was just an ordinary guy going to a dentist's convention. This disappoints the brothers as they had assumed he might be some evil creature masquerading as a man.

The boys decide they need to check the wreckage to get any kind of clues and for that they need suitable attire. They go shopping and come out of the store dressed in black suits. Dean says he feels like the Blues Brothers. They gain access with their fake IDs and go check out the plane's remains. They find an odd residue on what is left of the emergency exit's handle, but then the real Homeland Security agents appear and the boys have to make a quick exit, taking a sample of the residue with them. The substance from the handle is sulfur, and they conclude they are dealing with some kind of demonic possession.

Chuck, the downed plane's pilot, is about to take his first aircraft up since the crash. It is only a small prop plane, but he is still very nervous as he waits. The strange black entity appears and seep into Chuck's eyes. Chuck takes the plane up; his nerves are now strangely gone. After 40 minutes, he deliberately crashes into a field near a place called Nazareth.

Dean and Sam look up demons and possession on their laptop. Sam finds a Japanese item stating that disasters are caused by certain demons. Dean says this is something bigger than usual and he wished their dad was there. His cell rings- it is Jerry with more bad news about Chuck's plane going down. The boys visited the site where Chuck crashed and found more sulfur residue. They realize the demon is using some kind of biblical reference because it is crashing planes after 40 minutes in flight. It has crashed several over the years. The number forty apparently signifies death. They also figure it is going after all the survivors from the flight because they should not have lived.

Sam rings the rest of the survivors to see if any plan to fly. Apparently, only one does - Amanda Walker, the stewardess. Their only problem is, they cannot contact her and her flight leaves soon! Dean floors the gas and prays. The boys arrive at the airport and Dean has Amanda paged. He tells Amanda a lie to stop her from flying, but the ruse does not work. She goes to board the flight, the black entity lurking. Sam says they have to get on the plane with Amanda and exorcise the demon or everyone on it will die. Dean confesses he is afraid to fly; Sam offers to do it alone but Dean does not like that idea.

Dean gives in and boards the flight, but he is obviously pretty scared. Sam tells him he has to stay calm because it is most likely to possess someone uneasy or under pressure/stress. They only have 40 minutes to find who the demon has possessed. Dean goes to check Amanda. He tests her by saying God's name in Latin but the test fails! Dean goes back to Sam and as the plane encounters turbulence Dean hits panic mode again. Sam calms him and explains the exorcism is in two parts. The first one makes the demon leave the body it has possessed, but it also makes it more powerful- it can survive without a human host! They must make sure they read out both parts of the ritual to banish it back to hell. Dean does not like the sound of this. He uses his home made, "Walkman spook detector" to check out the passengers; he finds nothing. They now have 15 minutes and are getting nowhere, before the meter picks up on something. The demon is in the co-pilot!

Dean and Sam enlist Amanda's help. They tell her the plane will go down if she does not lure the co-pilot to them. She admits something was strange on the original flight and tells them she saw George's black eyes too. Eventually she goes to get the co-pilot, still not really understanding what is going on. He arrives and the brothers try to subdue him. Sam recites the exorcism while Dean grapples with the demon, tossing holy water on him and fighting him down. The demon screams that it knows what happened to Sam's girlfriend Jess, but then is forced from the body it is in and the black entity vanished into an air duct. Immediately, the plane starts to take a dive and people begin to scream. The lights flicker and Sam drops the journal he has been reciting from. In the darkness and mayhem he has to grapple to retrieve the book! The plane plummets and a terrified Dean is pinned to a wall panel. Somehow, Sam manages to grab the book at the last minute and finish the exorcism. A huge electrical discharge flares around the plane and it levels out. The Winchester boys have saved the flight.

Later, people are being tended to by paramedics or questioned by the authorities about what happened on the plane. Amanda mouths thanks to Dean and Sam and they walk away. Sam is upset that the demon knew about Jess. Dean says the thing knew his fears and probably lied. Later as the boys head for their car, Jerry thanks them for all they have done. Dean asks Jerry how he got his cell phone number, as he has not had it long. Jerry tells them their dad's voicemail points to Dean's number. This was a surprise as last time they checked their father's number was not working, so Dean rings and hears the voicemail. This means their dad could still be alive somewhere, but why has he not contacted them directly? The two drive off in their Impala as the screen fades to black.


Main Cast Recurring Cast
Guest Cast


  • Black Sabbath - Paranoid
    (plays on the way to the warehouse)
  • Rush - Working Man
    (plays in the Impala when they try to get Amanda Walker on the phone)
  • Metallica - Some Kind of Monster
    (hummed by Dean on the plane)
  • Blues Sarenco - Load Rage
    (playing on a girl's headphones, as Dean is checking for EMF on the plane)


  • Dean - Dr. James Hetfield - James Hetfield: lead signer and rhythm guitarist of Metallica, 1981-present
  • Dean - Jerry Wanek, Homeland Security - Jerry Wanek, Production Designer and Co-Producer of Supernatural

Supernatural Beings

Interesting Things

Shirts the Boys Have Worn
PersonShirt Counts
Dean1 Black
1 Blue
3 Gray
1 Red
1 Suit
Sam2 Blue
3 Gray
1 Suit
Items That Have Shown Up
Items Shown
Holy Water
John Winchester's Journal
Quotes People Have Said
According to the... (Sam)1
Check this out (Dean)1
Get this.../So get this... (Sam)1
Total Count of Species
SpeciesNumber of Characters
Who Died and How
CharacterCause of DeathKilled By
George PhelpsOther demon reasonAirplane Demon
Captain Chuck LambertOther demon reasonAirplane Demon

Pop Culture

The episode number, 1.04. is a possible allusion to the famed Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, which crashed in the seventies. Afterwards the airline did salvage parts. Then the passengers on planes that received parts started reporting seeing either the pilot or the co-pilot. It was said that they would help save those planes on occasion. Although the airline denied the planes were haunted they did eventually remove those salvaged parts and the haunting stopped. The incident was made into a book and a movie, both with the same name, The Ghost of Flight 401. In this case, the reverse is happening - a demon is inhabiting his originally intended victims and attempting to cause the planes to crash.
Dean: Did you get any sleep last night?
Sam: Yeah, I grabbed a couple hours.
Dean: You liar. 'Cause I was up at three, and you were watching the George Foreman infomercial.
George Foremam is a famous heavyweight boxer who is now best known for late night ads where he advertises his electric grill.
Sam: Yeah, he told me. It was a poltergeist?
Man: Poltergeist? Man, I loved that movie.
Poltergeist is a 1982 horror flim directed by Tobe Hooper, about a family that moves into a house built on an Indian burial ground. It is said that the movie was cursed due to very strange events happening to actors on and off of the set.
Dean: Man, I don't care how strong you are. Even yoked up on PCP or something, no way you can open up an emergency door during a flight.
PCP or Phencyclidine, a recreational drug, can have effects of euphoria, loss of ego boundaries, aggressive behavior and can induce feelings of strength and power, as the drug causes pain receptors to the brain to be blocked. It is also referenced in several Buffy: The Vampire Slayer episodes. Gangs of vampires were blamed as gangs on PCP.
Dean: Man, I look like one of the Blues Brothers.
Sam: No, you don't. You look more like a... seventh-grader at his first dance.
The Blues Brothers were a comedic R&B duo comprised of John Belushi and Dan Akroyd that originated on the late night sketch show Saturday Night Live and later made two movies (one of which, was not well received). The pair's usual attire were black and white suits, ties, hats and sunglasses.
Dean: This goes way beyond floating over a bed or barfing pea soup. I mean, it's one thing to possess a person, but to use them to take down an entire airplane?
Reference to the films The Exorcist, in which a little girl is possessed by a demon. Among her afflictions are levitating objects and projectile vomiting. Like The Poltergeist, there are several legends that follow the Exorcist. Unlike the Poltergeist, the Exorcist has a very interesting set of trivia. Could also be a reference to Ghostbusters in which a woman is possessed and levitates over her bed.
Dean: Miss Walker. Hi, this is Dr. James Hetfield from St. Francis Memorial Hospital.
James Hetfield is the lead singer/rhythm guitarist of Metallica.
Sam: You're humming Metallica?
Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. Metallica was formed in 1981 when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by frummer Lars Ulrich in a local newspaper. The band's current line-up comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. The band's fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship placed them as one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Anthrax, Megadeath, and Slayer.


Writing the Episode

  • There really was a Flight 401 that crashed. Afterwards the airline did salvage parts. And then passengers on planes that received parts started reporting seeing either the pilot or the co-pilot. Although the airline denied the planes were haunted they did eventually remove those salvaged parts and the haunting stopped. The incident was made into a book and a movie, both with the same name, The Ghost of Flight 401.
  • Christo is not Latin for "God" but Greek for "The Anointed One" (as in the title "Christ"). Moreover, it should be "Christus" or "Christe" - "Christo" is in either the dative or ablative case, and therefore means something like "to Christ" or "by Christ".

Casting Characters

  • Brian Markinson, who plays Jerry Panowski, also played Stan Thompson, father of Sam's partner Amelia Richardson in 8.08 Hunteri Heroici.
  • The first guy to die, when he opens the emergency exit door on the plane, was an acting coach on the set of "Wendigo".
  • The copilot who had the demon was actually a stunt man. He had a chest cast on for the filming, and took all the punches that Jensen threw at him like a trooper. The entire scene with him was filmed about a month after the rest of the episode was shot, because they had run out of time to shoot during the normal timeframe.
  • Jensen has said he felt that he hit the stride of being Dean by this episode.Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 133


  • Filming Locations: Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Alaskan Airlines Terminal Gate 13, where Jensen and Jared regularly catch their 5:30am flights to Los Angeles.
  • The producer had to bail at the last minute, and Robert Singer was called in to direct.Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 33
  • "All the airplane stuff we built on computers, every single shot. None of it existed. ... Background plates and CG clouds, we had to model the airplanes, texture them, and light them." - Ivan Hayden, visual effects supervisorSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 34
  • The first flight we see crash was United Britannia Airlines flight 2485, although the official episode description lists the flight as being a TransNational one.
  • One of the driving shots (driving past the Nazareth 2 miles sign, with the plane smoke) during this episode seems to be the same footage used in Born Under a Bad Sign (driving past the Twin Lakes 100 miles sign, no plane smoke).
  • The plane flying over Dean and Sam at the end of the episode is an Air Canada plane, as the series is filmed primarily in British Columbia.
  • In the closed captioning the number given was: 785-555-0179. Presumably the original script, from which the caption text was derived, had the 555- number but then they changed it for the actual on-screen dialogue. 785 is the Kansas area code.
  • Sam is eating a donut in the hotel at the beginning of the episode, when Dean is talking on his cellphone to Jerry. However, no donut is seen on camera. Jared claims he ended up eating 15 donuts during that scene.
  • The comment of "Poltergeist? Man, I love that movie!" was added in post-production and was not said during that walk with Jerry, Dean, and Sam.
  • The scene filmed outside of Copy Jack had difficulties filming because of the sound issues. There were large trucks, people yelling, construction next door, and Jared's cell phone kept ringing in his pocket.
  • On the set of the Riverfront Psychiatric Hospital a chess game was set up. Jared is quite the chess player, and ended up playing several games there.
  • Outside the house of George Phelps' widow, there was a pickup rugby game being played in the field across the street. There was also a woman who played with her dog in the background. She would play with the dog where ever they were shooting.
  • "That was the first time we used the black suits. Because these guys are who they are, a real generic guy's suit is what they have. There were ill-fitting, a little short... but that was the plan, so that they were a little bit off, so that they don't look like the real [Homeland Security agents] when you see them later." - Diane Widas, costume designerSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 33
  • Laying out the airplane in the airplane hanger was a huge area. Large pieces were dragged in from various sources.Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 34
  • Jared sliced his thumb open when he was collecting the sulfuric residue off the emergency door hatch. Since then, the actors have only been given dull knifes.
  • Someone from YVR security had to be on the tarmac with the actors when they filmed. Super high security.
  • Jared had a Professor of Latin's phone number he could call for help in pronunciation of the Latin in the demon exorcism.


  • The Meaning of Episode Titles: "Phantom Traveler" names the monster of the week - the demon traveler on the plane.
  • Transcript of DVD commentary with Jensen and Jared by stir_of_echoes is here.
  • The subtitles on the DVD sections are:
    1. Fear of flying.
    2. 40 minutes; Flight #424.
    3. Amanda.
    4. Satan is my copilot.
    5. Voice message.
    6. End Credits.
  • Supernatural was picked up for a full season after the airing of this fourth episode. It was unheard of to be picked up so fast, as if the world predicted it would become an amazing success.
  • "'Phantom Traveler' was the first time that I felt the brothers really started connecting and were totally believable. That was a big thing for the show in general." - Jerry Wanek, production designerSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 33
  • Dean's cell number is 785-555-0179.
  • If you watched the version of this episode that aired on December 13, 2005, you heard the number they showed in closed captioning for Dean's cell number. They changed it from the original airing. They also changed the message you will hear if you call the original number that John said. If you call 866-907-3235 now, you will hear "Dad? We really need to hear from you. Leave me a message, text me, check your email. Anything. We have new info."
  • This episode features the first time that we see the black smoke, black-eyes, and sulfur residue that indicate demonic possession.
  • The Demon's eyes change later in the series as well; in this episode there is a small sliver of white on the outer edge of the eyeball, the rest is black. Later the whole eye will be filled in.
  • "I think the worst comment I had, I read on the internet where someone said it looked like a miniature, and we were like, 'Yes! It looked real - it looked like a miniature, but it looked real!" - Ivan Hayden, visual effects supervisorSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 35
  • The holy water causes tissue damage to the host, when it is used on the demon. In later seasons, this wouldn't be the case.
  • Dean has a serious fear of flying, also referred to as flying phobia, flight phobia, aviophobia.
  • "I liked that script a lot. That it set into everyone's fear of the plane going down. There was a lot of humor in that one, which I enjoyed doing, and Jensen was great. It was revealing of the character - we learned that this guy that we've seen for three episodes prior to that, who seemed to be fearless, had this Achilles heel, he's afraid to fly. That put another layer on it. That one was a lot of fun to do." - Robert SingerSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 33
  • Chris Coopers' prop department made the EMF meter, and it is actually made of an old walkman.Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 35
  • While using the EMF meter to seek out the demon, Dean comes across a passenger who bears heavy body modifications which causes the meter static. It is unknown whether this person bears any supernatural qualities.
  • The use of "Christo" to make a demon reveal itself is never mentioned throughout the rest of the series.
  • For a brief period after the episode aired, when you called Dean's 866-907-3235 number you'd get the following message: "This is Dean Winchester. If this is an emergency, please leave a message. If you are calling about 11-2-83, page me with your coordinates." 11-2-83 is the date of Mary Winchester's death.
  • Executive producer Bob Singer was asked at the start of season 12 by Entertainment Weekly what episodes did he consider his favorite. He listed Phantom Traveler, because it was the first time the boys were funny; Faith; All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1 and 2; Monster Movie; Changing Channels; and The French Mistake. - EW
  • The Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1 has "Load Rage" credited as Nichion Sounds Library. However, in listening to the episode, it is Blues Sarenco that wrote the piece. Nichion Sounds Library is a music publishing company that solicits material for use in TV, film, games, etc.
  • Inside the Legend: Phantom Traveler
  • Inside the Legend: Phantom Traveler Part 2 (exorcism)


  • This is the first time the boys receive a job via John's cell number, but not the last.
  • This marks the first episode the boys hear something about their dad, and he must be alive to have changed his voicemail message on his cellphone.
  • This episode marks the first time the boys dress in suits and impersonate federal agents.


  • The twin-engine plane had the registration number C-GBBP when it was on the ground. In flight, it was shown as C-GUTV.
  • When Dean and Sam got to the airport Sam said they had half an hour to get on the plane because the plane left at 8pm. But earlier when they were in the car he said that it was a five-hour drive and they would never make it in time. That would make it 2:30 in the afternoon but when he said that it was dark outside.
  • After the demon is exorcised from the copilot, Sam turns his head and sees the demon enter the vent, although his line is, "Where'd it go?"


Dean: You liar. 'Cause I was up at three, and you were watching the George Foreman infomercial.
Sam: Hey, what can I say? It's riveting TV.
Dean: Man, I look like one of the Blues Brothers.
Sam: No you don't. You look more like a... seventh-grader at his first dance.
Sam: Are you okay?
Dean: No, not really.
Sam: What? What's wrong?
Dean: Well, I kind of have this problem with, uh...
Sam: Flying?
Dean: It's never really been an issue until now.
Sam: You're joking, right?
Dean: Do I look like I'm joking? Why do you think I drive everywhere, Sam?
Sam: All right. Uh, I'll go.
Dean: What?
Sam: I'll do this one on my own.
Dean: What are you, nuts? You said it yourself, the plane's gonna crash.
Sam: You're humming Metallica?
Dean: Calms me down.
Dean: Dude, stow the touchy-feely, self-help yoga crap, it's not helping.
Dean goes over to the Impala's trunk, unlocking it and opening it. Dean divests himself of weapons, then closes the trunk.
Dean: I feel naked.