|“||We are preceptors, beholders, chroniclers of all that which man does not understand.||”|
— Josie Sands
in Mother's Little Helper
Josie Sands was a Men of Letters initiate. She became possessed by the demon Abaddon before she could be inducted, and was forced to destroy the very organization she had been preparing to join. Despite Josie's body being destroyed by Sam Winchester, Abaddon was able to restore her body in order to continue using Josie as her vessel before being ultimately killed by Dean Winchester.
Josie attended Catholic school. Her time there was so negative that it caused her to develop a lifelong hatred of nuns.
Josie became an initiate for the Men of Letters. She was close friends with fellow initiate Henry Winchester, whom she worked with even up to their final test prior to their initiation to become full-fledged Men of Letters. Josie was in love with Henry, but could not pursue him because he was already married to Millie Winchester. Furthermore, Abaddon later told Josie that Henry only loved her as a sister.
In March 1957, Josie was in St. Louis, Missouri, participating in experiments to "cure" demons by magically restoring their humanity through a new ritual. She filmed the efforts of Fathers Max Thompson and Simon as they tried to cure a demon on March 8. However, the cure made the old woman it was used on die abruptly and violently, and allowed the demon to escape. Josie was surprised and confused by the experiment's results, but stopped filming at Father Thompson's demand. The event, labeled Case 1138 by the Men of Letters, was classified as a Type 5 Infernal Event and Josie's film was filed away in Room 7B (the dungeon area) of the Men of Letters bunker. By August 3, 1958, Josie had stopped attending Father Thompson's experiments, and so was not present to film his successful curing of a demon. When Abaddon attacked and killed him two days later, he gave up information to her under torture on Josie.
Within the week of Father Thompson's death, Josie and Henry went on their "last assignment" before their official induction into the Men of Letters. Claiming to be members of the Inquisition, they traveled to St. Bonaventure Convent in Milton, Illinois to investigate the circumstances surrounding Sister Mary Catherine's double-murder and suicide, suspecting paranormal involvement. There, they discovered that demons stealing people's souls. While they managed to exorcise two of the demons and save Sister Julia Wilkinson, they were overpowered by the demons' leader, Abaddon, who was immune to their attempt to exorcise her. Josie revealed to Abaddon that she and Henry were Men of Letters. When Abaddon was about to possess the unconscious Henry, Josie pleaded with the demon to spare him and take her instead, trying to persuade the Knight by saying that she would be useful because people would underestimate Abaddon in a woman's body as opposed to a man's. Amused by Josie's love for Henry, Abaddon gave into Josie's pleas and possessed her, planning to use her to study the Men of Letters up-close and then destroy them once and for all.
Josie subsequently lost all control of her body to Abaddon, who masqueraded as her in order to fool everyone who knew Josie and to keep the Men of Letters from suspecting that Josie had become possessed. The only person aware of what had happened was Sister Wilkinson, who did not say anything after Abaddon threatened her.
On the day of Josie's initiation, she was forced by Abaddon to go in and slaughter the Elders of the Men of Letters who were supposed to induct her. Abaddon then forced her to attack Henry, as Abaddon wanted the key to the bunker he had been entrusted, and brought Josie into the future, the year 2013, to keep pursuing him. Henry tried to appeal to his friend to resist the possession, but Abaddon stated that Josie was "indisposed"; if Josie was conscious to hear Henry's pleas, she was evidently unable to reclaim control from Abaddon.
Both Josie and Abaddon at once were stabbed in the back by Dean Winchester with the demon-killing knife, but they survived, Abaddon because she was too powerful to be killed by it and Josie because she remained possessed. As Abaddon likely had to leave Josie's body to possess Larry Ganem's wife, it is possible that Josie died of the stab wound at that point, as a host can only die of fatal wounds once the demon leaves her body. If true, Abaddon then returned to Josie's body, regardless of whether or not Josie was still alive, once she acquired the information she needed from Larry and the hostage she wanted in the form of Sam Winchester. If Josie was indeed still alive, she was forced to kill Henry before falling victim to the same fate as Abaddon: a bullet in the head, her body chopped up and buried, and stuck inside her own mind for weeks, if not months.
Josie's body parts were later (mostly, as they left off her hands) stitched back together by Sam and Dean so that they could cure Abaddon to complete the third trial. Before they could, however, Abaddon seized an opportunity to escape by controlling one of Josie's severed hands and making it pull out the devil's trap bullet incapacitating her. She then reattached Josie's hands to her wrists herself. However, Josie's body was destroyed beyond even Abaddon's ability to repair and use when she was burned alive in holy fire by Sam Winchester. If Josie had not died from being stabbed with the demon-killing knife, she died from the holy fire at this point.
Josie's body was later restored with a ritual to act as Abaddon's vessel once more though it is unclear if Josie was resurrected by the ritual or not. Abaddon continued to use Josie in her efforts to take over Hell as she considered Josie a "worthy" vessel until she confronts Dean and the First Blade. Dean kills Abaddon with the First Blade in their final confrontation and if she was resurrected, Josie was killed again too. Dean, in the rage the Mark of Cain brings on, mutilates Abaddon and thus Josie's body until Sam stops him. Josie's body is last seen on the ground mutilated and with her eyes burned out.
- Henry apologized to Josie for saying that she does not understand his fear because she does not have a family. His lines indicate that Josie's family had all died sometime before she and Henry investigated St. Bonaventure Convent, that she was unmarried and childless, or possibly both.
- Abaddon's reaction to learning that Josie was to be part of the Men of Letters ("A woman amongst the Men of Letters?...Well, ain't that a blast.") implies that a woman joining the Men of Letters was highly unusual.
- Josie's and Henry's reactions to the crest of the Knights of Hell revealed that Josie did not know about the Knights, whereas Henry did. Ironically, Josie would become possessed by a Knight in the same episode, and would ultimately die as a result.
- Josie displayed the Men of Letters' view on hunters. When Abaddon assumed that she and Henry were hunters, Josie scoffed, then described the Men of Letters in far more flattering way. This gave her confidence when she was confronting Abaddon, asking, "You do know what we're capable of, demon?" Abaddon's dry remark of, "Yes. I know what you think you're capable of, but perhaps I should see for myself," makes it appear that Abaddon thought that the Men of Letters (or perhaps only Josie) had an overly high opinion of themselves.
- It is unclear if Abaddon recognized Josie in their encounter as the Josie Sands Father Max Thompson had told her about, as Josie did not tell Abaddon her name; in fact, Sister Wilkinson told Sam that Josie and Henry had used fake names at the convent and that she had only learned their real names later on. Abaddon possibly connected the dots anyway when Josie revealed herself to be affiliated with the Men of Letters, but if so, she did not reveal to Josie that she knew about her from Father Thompson, nor did she mention the demon-curing experiments at all. If she did not already know, then Abaddon definitely learned of Josie's identity when she possessed her and gained access to her mind.
- Despite setting Josie on fire to defeat Abaddon, Sam apparently didn't allow Josie to burn to ash as her remains were shown to be heavily charred but intact when Jason dragged her body into the tub to restore it for Abaddon. Apparently Sam and Dean also abandoned her body in the church, likely because of Sam's state at the time instead of burning or otherwise disposing of Josie properly.
- Sam and Dean's surprise after Abaddon's return in Josie's body indicates they thought her body was destroyed beyond any repair despite Sam apparently not allowing her to burn to ash.
- Abaddon has an unusual attachment to Josie as a vessel: other demons have shown a preferred vessel like Crowley, Ruby and Meg but not to the point that they'd restore the vessel after destruction instead of simply finding a new one as displayed by both Meg and Ruby. Its unknown why Abaddon was so fond of Josie beyond simply feeling she was a "worthy" vessel like Dean. This may have been a further method of torture for Josie if she was resurrected or a preference on the demon's part that other demons did not have.
- Season 8
- Season 9
- Mother's Little Helper
- As Time Goes By
- Clip Show
- The date that Abaddon killed Father Thompson and the date Josie was slated to be inducted into the Men of Letters were exactly one week apart (August 5, 1958, and August 12, 1958). Therefore, the events of Mother's Little Helper, in which Abaddon meets and possesses Josie before the latter's initiation, must take place sometime within that week.
- Devil's Trap
- It is unclear how much time passed between As Time Goes By and Clip Show. However, as both "days" and "years" are extremely unlikely, it seems safest to assume that it was "weeks" or perhaps more likely, "months."