|“||None of them died what you'd call ordinary deaths. See, these ghosts -- they were forced to rise. They woke up in agony. They were like rabid dogs. It ain't their fault. Someone rose them... on purpose.||”|
— Bobby, to Sam and Dean on the Rising of the Witnesses
in Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
The Rising of the Witnesses is one of the 66 Seals that was broken by Lilith. She forced the ghosts of people who witnessed the supernatural to rise. She specifically used ghosts of people that hunters could not save, causing them to go after the hunters and kill them. Carl Bates, R.C. Adams, Olivia Lowry, and a hunter named Jed all died when the Witnesses rose and killed them by pushing their arms into the hunters' bodies and exploding their chests from the inside out.
HistoryAfter discovering the bodies of the dead hunters, Bobby hurried back to his house and instructed Sam and Dean to do the same. Bobby was eventually attacked by the ghosts of two little girls whom he could not save when he first started hunting, and taken captive to his salvage yard. When Sam and Dean stopped for gas on their way home, Sam was attacked by the spirit of Victor Henriksen in the washroom, but Dean arrived in time to blast it with rock salt. When Sam and Dean arrived at Bobby's place and split up to look for him, Dean was attacked by the ghost of Meg Masters, while Sam rescued Bobby from the salvage yard. Dean managed to subdue Meg's ghost with an iron chandelier. The three of them soon regrouped and retreated to Bobby's Panic Room, where they prepared shotgun shells and defenses against the Ghosts. Bobby identified the symbol that Sam and Dean both saw branded on the hands of Meg and Victor as the "Mark of the Witness," and resolved that whoever rose them used a spell so powerful that it branded their souls. Bobby determined that whoever did it had big plans, a spell called the "Rising of the Witnesses." Bobby figured out that it was part of an ancient prophecy from the book of book of Revelations, and that it was a sign of the The Apocalypse.
After a fierce struggle, Bobby, Dean and Sam managed to send the Witnesses to rest with a spell.
Castiel visited Dean in the middle of the night and told him about the 66 Seals, and revealed that Lilith was the one who had cast the spell. Although the Witnesses were returned to rest, the seal was still broken and other seals would follow. He also told Dean that the Witnesses managed to kill 20 other hunters elsewhere before they were banished.