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The Winchesters season 1 is currently streaming on The CW and HBO Max.


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When you find him, say "Poughkeepsie." It's our go word. It means "drop everything and run."
Dean instructs Crowley in the use of the word.
in Road Trip
Oh, and, Dean, you need to get a move on. It's a good day's drive from Poughkeepsie.
What are you talking about? We're not even near there.
Yeah, like I said, you need to leave Poughkeepsie right away.
Crowley warns Dean of Abaddon's trap.
in King of the Damned

Poughkeepsie is the Winchesters' secret distress signal to each other meaning that something is wrong and they are to drop everything and run.


While trying to save Sam Winchester from his possession by the rogue angel Gadreel, Crowley offers to enter Sam's head and help to wake him up. Dean Winchester orders Crowley to tell Sam "Poughkeepsie" as a signal. When Crowley gets into Sam's head, Sam refuses to listen to him until Crowley goes "Poughkeepsie" which catches Sam by surprise that Crowley would know the word. Crowley insists that he knows it because Dean sent him, but Sam still has a hard time believing him until Crowley picks up Dean's gun and shoots him as proof.

Months later, Crowley uses Poughkeepsie to warn Dean that he is helping Abaddon lead the Winchesters into a trap. At first Dean doesn't realize what Crowley is trying to say, but eventually gets it and sends Sam on a wild-goose chase to protect him while he goes to fight Abaddon alone. Though Abaddon hears Crowley use the word, she doesn't pick up on the fact that its a warning though Abaddon correctly predicts that Crowley will ultimately try to betray her. After Abaddon is killed, Crowley reveals to a surprised Sam that he had used Poughkeepsie to warn them of the trap and realizes that Dean hadn't told Sam from his reaction to the news.

Years later, while trying to get Dean to remember the truth and cast Michael out of his body, Sam suddenly remembers Poughkeepsie and says it to Dean, finally catching his attention. After Sam says it a second time, Dean remembers what Michael did in his body and realizes the truth.



  • The exact reasoning behind the choice of word is never explained.
  • Two of the times that the Winchesters are known to have used it, one is possessed by an angel and the other is trying to help them expel the angel from their body.