Ghost loop lore: Are ghosts stuck in never-ending loops?

Supernatural introduced the idea that ghosts can get stuck in never-ending loops. Where did the ghost loop lore come from?

It’s always interesting to look back at older episodes of Supernatural and explore the lore. Ghost loop lore is one of those elements that’s interesting, as the series about the Winchester brothers isn’t the only one to use the idea that ghosts are stuck in never-ending loops unless they get help.

The Magicians introduced that early on into its canon, continuing it into Season 3 when fans traveled into one of the alternate timelines. But where has this idea of ghost loops come from? Is it based on anything real?

Supernatural ghost loop lore

In Season 2, Episode 16, the series introduced the idea of ghost loops for the first time. It’s only been used a handful of times since, but was certainly a moving tale the first time. Sam shared how he can sometimes feel sorry for ghosts, while Dean grew as a person to realize that not all ghosts were bad.

Molly was the ghost in question. She didn’t realize she was dead. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, she would relive the night in question until the vengeful spirit of Jonah Greely “killed” her.

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Photo credit: Supernatural/The CW by
Sergei Bachlakov, Aquired via CW PR

The connection to real ghost lore

The idea of ghost loop lore does have a connection to real ghost lore. When we discussed vengeful spirits, we looked at how they had unfinished business that would keep them connected to the Earth. That’s the same for ghosts stuck in a loop.

Not all spirits become vengeful. Some don’t even realize they’re dead. In the case of Molly, she had unfinished business that kept her tethered to the Earth without realizing. That unfinished business was finding her husband and understanding everything that had happened. Once she finally learned the truth, she was able to move on to the afterlife.

Some ghosts can also find themselves trapped in their final days or final actions. This is the ghost loop lore used in The Magicians but also introduced in Supernatural Season 2 with Molly. Her final actions are the ones she keeps reliving, leading to the chase through the woods.

Sometimes the ghosts can turn vengeful while in the loop. However, they’re often connected to something else within the loop, such as the ghost of Jonah Greely connected to Molly’s spirit in “Roadkill.

What do you know of ghost loop lore? Where have you seen it used before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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