John's Journal is one of the iconic items of Supernatural. It provides an invaluable source of information about supernatural creatures and lore, and is a symbol of the Winchester 'family business'.
The journal was originally purchased by Henry Winchester, John's father, to use in documenting the knowledge he gained as one of the Men of Letters. It was delivered after he had disappeared, dying in 2013 unbeknownst to John. Inside the front cover the initials H.W. are embossed.
John kept his journal from early on in his hunting life. At the age of eight, it is from the journal that Sam finally discovers the truth about supernatural beings, and what his father's real job is.
The journal comes into Dean and Sam's possession when John leaves it in his motel room in Jericho, California, before disappearing. The Journal (which Sam and Dean most frequently refer to as "Dad's Journal") seems to hold a large body of John's Hunting knowledge, though not all. As time goes on, Sam & Dean comment on the information that John has left out of the Journal. Nevertheless, Sam and Dean frequently use it as their first point of reference when investigating a job. Interestingly, Sam and Dean never start their own journals.
The Official Website has a reproduction of John's Journal
- The Journal (decoding) - For screencaps of the Journal from the Official Website containing news clippings and other ephemera with John's notes transcribed.
- The Journal (diary entries) - For a transcription of the John's diary entries in the Journal
Significant Journal episodes
- 1.01 Pilot - John leaves the Journal in his motel room in Jericho, California; Sam and Dean claim it & use it to research the Woman in White. John leaves the coordinates for Lost Creek on a page with Dean's name.
- 1.02 Wendigo - After the Wendigo has taken all of their equipment, Sam takes Dean aside and asks for John's Journal that he opens to a page that shows John's entry on Wendigos that has a drawing that John made along with all of the Anasazi symbols that the Wendigo cannot cross.
- 1.04 Phantom Traveler - Sam reads a Rituale Romanum from the journal to exorcise the disaster-causing demon.
- 1.09 Home - Dean reveals the first line - "I went to Missouri and I learned the truth". There is a glimpse of the front cover of the journal (see screencap) from which we can find out about John's military history.
- 1.10 Asylum - The boys find reference in John’s Journal to kids who disappeared from the south wing of the Asylum in 1972
- 1.15 The Benders - While investigating disappearences in Hibbing, Minnesota, Sam reads that in the Journal John suggests the area could be the hunting grounds for a Phantom Traveler which is what he believes is causing the disapparences.
- 1.18 Something Wicked - After Dean explains that what they are dealing with is a shtriga that John had failed to kill years before, Sam discovers that he wrote nothing about it in his Journal.
- 1.19 Provenance - John's Journal records the history of deaths related to the painting. Sam connects up John's pattern with the painting's Provenance. This page we glimpse of the Journal appears in Jo's Blog, captioned "page from Gordon's logbook"
- 1.20 Dead Man's Blood - After learning of the death of Daniel Elkins in Colorado, Dean recognizes the name and finds Elkins address and phone number in John's Journal, causing them to realize that Elkins may be a hunter and friend of their father and they decide to investigate.
- 2.01 In My Time of Dying- Sam looks up Reapers in the journal. While he finds nothing to help Dean, Dean notes that reapers can alter human perception, and deduces that Tessa is a reaper.
- 2.08 Crossroad Blues - After trapping the Crossroads Demon, Dean recites an exorcism from the journal until the demon agrees to break Evan Hudson's deal.
- 2.09 Croatoan - Sam speculates that what's happening to people could be related to a theory in John's Journal, that Croatoan is the name of a demon associated with plague and pestilence, and calls what's going on "demonic germ warfare".
- 2.17 Heart - Sam finds lore in his father’s journal that suggests that if the “sire” of someone who is a werewolf is killed, they will be released from the curse. Sam reads from the journal: “Lycanthropy might have a cure if you kill the werewolf who bit you severing the bloodline” (It is later revealed that Bobby already knew that this theory wouldn't work, but it is unclear if John was ignorant of this or just never updated his journal to reflect it).
- 3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock - Sam and Dean commiserate over the fact that John said nothing in his journal about his Lock-up and the supernatural artifacts within it.
- 3.06 Red Sky at Morning - Sam reads from the journal to summon the ship's captain.
- 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas- In a flashback to 1991, Sam (aged 8) finds John's Journal, and discovers that monsters are real and the family's role in hunting.
- 4.03 In the Beginning- Dean has the journal with him when Castiel sends him back to 1973 and he uses it to track where Azazel will attack next. He shows Samuel how John documented all possible signs related to and appearances of Azazel, but claims that his father could see the future to account for some future dates.
- 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday- Dean reads the journal while he and Sam prepare a ritual in a graveyard to speak to the last person to die in the town of Greybull Wyoming.
- 4.19 Jump the Shark - Sam uses the journal to point out to Dean that Adam might, in fact, be their half-brother. A page that dated close to the time Adam would have been conceived had been torn out.
- 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil- Sam is seen studying John's Journal
- 5.03 Free to Be You and Me - Dean studies the journal while waiting for Castiel
- 6.01 Exile on Main St. - Now that he's not hunting, Dean has stored the Journal in a strong box containing his leather jacket.
- 6.08 All Dogs Go To Heaven - After hearing from Sam that they are dealing with a skinwalker, Dean goes to the journal to learn more about it, but Sam tells him all he needs to know before he can look inside.
- 6.12 Like a Virgin - While researching lore on dragons, Sam is going through John's Journal looking to see if John made any entries on Dragons to which Dean says there isn't, and Sam has a deja vu moment when he's sees John's entries on Skinwalkers and asks Dean if they hunted one lately to which Dean says no since he doesn't want to prompt any of Sam's memories about what happened when he didn't have his Soul.
- 7.11 Adventures in Babysitting - Sam uses John's journal to find out about Vetala. While there is information on how to kill them, John encountered a single creature, whereas they usually hunt in pairs. This means Sam is underpreapred when he tracks them down.
- 7.12 Time After Time - While Sam is on their laptop researching, Dean is studying John's journal looking for any monster or spirit that leaves a mummified corpse behind to which he replies " Nothing that turns a dude into a Cryptkeeper".
- 7.14 Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie - While trying to figure out what could be causing the weird deaths in Wichita, Kansas, Dean can be seen looking in John's Journal for clues to no avail.
- 7.18 Party On, Garth - Looking for what monster has claws and is invisible as one is attacking kids in Junction City, Kansas, Dean looks in the Journal for information, but isn't able to find anything.
- 8.03 Heartache - Dean looks through the journal while trying to find what it causing people's hearts to be ripped out. Later, he finds information on the Mayans and Cacao in the journal, leading them to realize that Brick Holmes made a deal with Cacao which is what led to the situation they are investigating.
- 8.04 Bitten - While investigating a case Sam and Dean research in John's Journal and discover that Werewolves within four generations of the Alpha Werewolf are "less feral and can transform before, during and after the lunar cycle." They also discover that John noted that Pureblood Werewolves can control themselves and can survive on animal hearts.
- 8.08 Hunteri Heroici - Castiel decides to become a hunter and as such, he reads John's Journal and admires John's handwritting.
- 8.12 As Time Goes By - Looking for information on the demon Abaddon, Sam searches through John's Journal and discovers that John tortured a demon that worked for Abaddon and learned that Abaddon is a Knight of Hell. While examining the Journal, Henry Winchester discovers that it is the one he ordered to be his own the day before he disappeared. Henry reads through the Journal and feels guilty for abandoning John and decides to go back in time to prevent this from ever happening. When he tells Dean that he can't understand how he feels after reading it, Dean says he can because he has read the Journal more times than Henry can imagine and he feels pain every time he reads it.
- 8.20 Pac-Man Fever - Looking for information on what could turn a man's insides to jelly and leave a blue handprint, Dean checks the Journal while Sam and Charlie Bradbury check other sources. Eventually Dean finds out from the Journal that they are dealing with a "bastard off-shoot" of a Djinn which can be killed the same way. Charlie expresses envy about the Journal saying she hates it and wants one.
- 9.11 First Born - Searching for information on a hunt John conducted where he interrogated a demon working for Abaddon who knew about the First Blade, the only weapon that could kill a Knight of Hell, Crowley approaches Dean for help and he checks the journal. In the journal, John mentions he tortured the demon, but doesn't leave any specifics besides it worked for Abaddon and he exorcised it. He also writes in the margin a group of numbers which refers to his lock-up and a T which refers to Tara, the hunter he worked the case with.
The Journal in Tie-ins
The Official Website is home to an electronic version of John's Journal. The first handful of pages have diary entries written by John immediately following Mary's death. You can read a transcription here.
Following the "diary entry" pages are mocked-up pages of the journal containing notes, newspaper clippings and other scribbles. You can find transcriptions & screencaps here.
The website implies John started the journal the day of Mary's funeral.
This book by Alex Irvine is a reproduction of John's journal from 1983 until the events preceeding the Pilot. It includes extensive notes on John's hunts, and tracks the family's life over these years.