Doc Benton legend: The search for the Elixir of Life

SUPERNATURAL"Time Is On My Side" -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov / The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
SUPERNATURAL"Time Is On My Side" -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov / The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

Doc Benton was a human looking to live forever in Supernatural Season 3, Episode 15. Did you know he is also based on a very real Doc Benton legend?

The early years of Supernatural include a lot of real legends and references to real historical people. Supernatural Season 3, Episode 15 was no different. That mad surgeon on a path of immortality was based on the very real Doc Benton legend.

As part of the series on the legends, it’s important to look through the Supernatural lore and the legend it’s adapted from. You may have heard of it as the search for the Elixir of Life.

Doc Benton in Supernatural

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Portrayed by the one and only Billy Drago, Doc Benton was originally a normal everyday 19th-century surgeon. However, he went on the search for immortality. Possibly his focus on saving human life led to a fear of the afterlife; of something he wasn’t sure would happen. He used his skills and knowledge to create the Elixir of Life.

The downside to his immortality was that his organs, skin, eyesight, etc. would all eventually fail. He’d need to replace them and they only way to do that would be through killing other people. He went from normal surgeon to zombie monster.

It was possible for Doc Benton to survive for some time without organs. John Winchester had cut out his heart but Benton found a replacement. It took shutting him in a fridge and burying him six-feet-under was the Winchester brothers’ option to stop him forever.

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The real Doc Benton legend

Doc Benton
SUPERNATURAL “Time Is On My Side” — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov / The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

As for the real Doc Benton legend, the story goes that a young bright but poor boy, Thomas Benton, was sent to Germany to study to become a doctor. While there, his parents died and when he returned home, he went crazy and became a recluse, living in the woods (that might explain Supernatural‘s Doc Benton doing all his surgery in a cabin).

Thomas Benton had received a trunk from one of his professors. When he opened it, he found research into the Elixir of Life.

As Thomas Benton became a recluse, animals and then people started turning up dead. The townspeople thought it could have been linked to Benton, only to find his cabin was abandoned. Legend has it that Thomas Benton runs around in a black cape and now has white hair.

Whatever the doc had been up to, there are people who still believe that whatever exists of him now is still out there. After all, there are various reports over the centuries of this black-cloaked figure, vintage hunting boots, and ghostly track marks.

It’s not quite the legend Supernatural shared, but it’s still creepy and you can see where the adaptation came from.

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Did you know about the real Doc Benton legend? What stories have you heard? Share in the comments below.

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