|“||"God locked the Darkness away where it could do no harm, and he created a Mark that would serve as both lock and key, which he entrusted to his most valued Lieutenant, Lucifer. But the Mark began to assert its own will, revealed itself as a curse, and began to corrupt. Lucifer became jealous of man. God banished Lucifer to Hell. Lucifer passed the Mark to Cain, who passed the Mark to you, the proverbial finger in the dike."||”|
The Mark of Cain, or simply The Mark for short, was the seal created in order to lock away The Darkness. God gave the Mark to Lucifer, who in turn passed it onto Cain to use as the source of The First Blade's power. It is one half of the weapon that Cain used against the rest of the Knights of Hell. Cain later transferred the Mark to Dean, so that the hunter could kill Abaddon. It was destroyed when Rowena cast a spell from the Book of the Damned, but unknowingly released The Darkness upon the Earth.
Because of its power and its influence over its bearer, the Mark of Cain has often been called "the first curse."
According to Death, before humanity and Earth existed, there was the Darkness. God and His archangels defeated the Darkness in a terrible war and after He locked it away, God created the Mark as a lock for the Darkness. He gave the Mark to Lucifer and it corrupted him into being jealous towards humanity. He passed it onto Cain and it corrupted him too. If the Mark is removed without being passed on, the Darkness will be released once more.
When Dean used the First Blade for the first time, he felt a murderous rage that did not dissipate after he killed a victim with it. It later gave him immunity to Abaddon's powers and telekinesis and have a telekinetic control of the blade, all with great concentration, allowing him to overcome and kill her. After killing Abaddon, this rage caused him to mutilate her corpse. He also displayed superhuman strength while fighting a vampire. Dean later showed precognition, receiving a nightmare about a slaughter he would later commit under the Mark's influence. When a human with the Mark refuses to give into its rage, it seems to keep them from being able to access its other abilities as when Dean fought Cain and didn't give into the Mark's rage, he displayed no extraordinary abilities which Cain noted. However, though mostly due to the devil's trap Cain was confined in that bound most of his powers, Dean proved capable of defeating Cain even without the Mark's abilities while Cain with the Mark's abilities couldn't defeat him.
When the bearer of the Mark receives a mortal wound that would kill them, the Mark transforms their soul into a Knight of Hell, so that it can live on, and never perish. It is also revealed that if the bearer does not satisfy the mark, by killing, it will slowly but steadily turn them into a demon (presumably to make them willing to kill). Castiel explains that the grip of the mark affects the bearer on more than just a purely physical level, and that cutting it off or even burning it off wouldn't work and it would require a source of great power. He even stated that it reaches back to the time of creation itself and that it predates the lore. According to Metatron, there is a way to remove it and it requires the First Blade to work. Conversely, Cain himself claims there is no cure. Metatron later admitted about lying about knowing how to remove the Mark though Rowena claimed it is simply a curse, the oldest curse in existence but even she doesn't know how to remove it.
It is later believed that the Book of the Damned contains a spell to remove the Mark of Cain from a human and fully cure its effects, but it comes at a price: If not properly handled, it will do far more harm than good. Rowena is eventually able to use the spell to remove the Mark from Dean's arm, but it released the Darkness as Death warned.
When the darkness is unleashed, it temporarily assumes the form of a human woman, wearing the mark on her upper chest. It is later revealed that she entered into a baby as it came into the world, the mark still on her chest.
Effects of the Mark
The Mark imbues its bearer with several powers as well as psycho-supernatural burdens which eat away at the bearer's character.
- Super Strength - The Mark grants the bearer enough augmented strength to overpower a lower vampire and shrug out of a lesser angel's hold. Dean was able to easily massacre a whole room full of grown, strong men, and emerge seemingly unharmed. Dean was able to effortlessly hoist Abaddon into the air while stabbing her with the Blade. Dean later effortlessly breaks free of ropes tying him to a chair and leather restraints. He also proves strong enough to beat Castiel, a Seraphim with ease. (Although Castiel wasn't trying to harm Dean at the time, merely subdue him) However, he was unable to defeat Metatron when he was in possession of the angel tablet.
- Murderous Rage - The Mark affects the bearer to where they constantly must kill something. If they don't, they'll eventually die as pointed out by Crowley. However, as demonstrated by Cain, this could be fought and Sam suggests that the bearer must want to at a conscious level for it to work. Metatron states that each time the bearer gives into the Mark's rage, they fall more and more under its power. After giving in to its power once more, Cain felt that it was better to let the Mark control his actions and not fight it. After Charlie Bradbury was murdered by Eldon Frankenstein, the rage caused Dean to slaughter his entire family and even kill an innocent boy. He also nearly killed Castiel under its control but stopped himself in the end.
- Telekinesis - The Mark grants the bearer the ability to summon the Blade to the hand that calls it.
- Resurrection - In order to ensure that The Mark is always connected to a living being, if the wearer dies, it will resurrect the bearer back to life as a demon, more specifically a Knight of Hell. This can be reversed through the Demon Curing Ritual though the wielder will still retain the Mark even after being rendered human again. However, Cain indicated that if one wielder of the Mark killed the other with the First Blade they wouldn't come back as he seemed to think his killing Dean would be permanent. He also seemed to believe Dean killing him would be permanent too.
- Immunity - The Mark allows the wearer immunity to demonic powers, as shown by Dean resisting Abaddon's telekinesis. It also granted Dean great resistance to the Demon Curing Ritual, causing him to retain demonic mannerisms long into the ritual even when he was made human enough to be immune to a devil's trap. However, the Mark did not make him completely immune and he was eventually cured. It doesn't typically grant immunity to magic, as the transfiguration spell still affected Dean. However, if the spell used is able to kill and obliterate the body of the bearer of the mark, it will shield him/her from it as to keep the host alive. As seen, the mark made Dean immune to a spell Rowena cast that should have ripped his body apart. It is possible if a spell was used to kill the bearer, but were to leave the body intact, the spell might kill the bearer before being resurrected as a demon.
- Super stamina - The Mark greatly enhances the bearers stamina. Dean was able to go without sleep and food for several days with no ill effects.
- Precognition - Dean had a nightmare that showed him in a room having slaughtered a group of men. It later came true.
- Immortality - According to Death, the Mark makes the wielder virtually immortal as its power is such that even Death himself can't reap the person with the Mark. This is because the Mark is needed to lock the Darkness away and needs a living host.
- Binding the Darkness - The main purpose and power of the Mark is to bind the Darkness in its prison. As long as the Mark exists, the Darkness is bound. If the Mark is removed without being transferred to someone else, the Darkness is released.
- Corruption - The Mark, due to its connection to the Darkness, has the power to slowly corrupt the wielder no matter how powerful a being they are. The Mark was able to corrupt Lucifer and Cain despite the former being a powerful archangel and came close to corrupting Dean before it was removed.
- Transference - The wielder of the Mark has the power to transfer it to another "worthy" person.
- Powering The First Blade - The Mark is the source of The First Blade's power, allowing it to kill anything in existence, as Cain himself said, "The mark and the blade work together. Without the mark, the blade is useless. It's just an old bone."
- This Mark was transferred to Cain by Lucifer. There are two possible scenarios in which Cain could have received this Mark; either Lucifer touched him using a vessel, or in his true form somehow.
- The Mark of Cain can only be worn by someone worthy, as explained by Cain. The conditions required to be considered such are unknown although Cain stated that Dean is very similar to him as both brothers sacrificed themselves in order to save Sam and Abel respectively. Dean inquired as to whether he needed to be a killer like Cain, to which he replied he did, meaning that the Mark can only be worn by people who have killed, as well as other requirements.
- It is quite possible, that if the bearer of the Mark concentrates and wills enough, they could become immune to demonic powers, as Dean Winchester was able to fight and become immune to Abaddon's telekinesis during their brief fight.
- It seems that the Mark is so mysterious that even the Men of Letters don't have any record about it.
- According to Sam, Cain didn't really transfer the Mark to Dean as much as copy it, as Sam states that Cain still possessed it.
- In The Things We Left Behind, Dean fell under the Mark's influence and went into a murderous rage without the First Blade and slaughtered six people.
- In The Hunter Games, the Mark glowed without being in the presences of the First Blade which drove Dean into another murderous rage; nearing killing Metatron while torturing him.
- In About a Boy, Dean loses the Mark while turned to the age of 14 again as he didn't have it then. The Mark returns when he returns to his proper age.
- Cain's comments in The Executioner's Song indicate that if one bearer of the Mark kills another with the First Blade they wouldn't come back, as Cain didn't seem to think Dean would be resurrected by the mark if he killed him. This is proven in fact when Dean killed Cain.
- In The Executioner's Song, Sam and Dean both felt that Dean giving into the Mark to kill Cain himself would likely cause him to lose control of himself completely. As a result, when Dean fought Cain, he didn't give into the Mark and displayed only normal human abilities. However, this proved enough for him to beat Cain, only calling on the Mark to power the First Blade so Cain could be killed and Dean retained his humanity.
- According to Rowena in Inside Man, the Mark is simply a curse, though the first curse in existence. Metatron also states that it is God-level or Lucifer-level power and only someone like Lucifer might know how to remove it. It is also not on the Word of God tablets.
- The Mark of Cain appears to scare even demons, as when Crowley, the King of Hell, saw the Mark, he made the sign of the cross.
- The Mark of Cain is the first object to contain a main villain that isn't a living being.
- According to Death, the Mark was created by God as both lock and key for the Darkness. However, in the episode O Brother Where Art Thou? She claims the be the original mark. Which implies either the mark has always been a part of her or in sealing her away, God somehow permanently made the Mark part of her.
- Season 9
- Season 10
- Season 11