The Sanctuary Network
The Sanctuary Network

Gregory Magnus is a renowned scientist, an expert on abnormals, and the father of Helen Magnus.


Web Series

Episode 0x05 - "Webisode 5"

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Episode 0x06 - "Webisode 6"

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Season 1

Gregory was born in Devonshire, England, in 1829. He became a renowned physician as well as a researcher of the Abnormal world. By the late 19th century he was considered one of the top scientists of his day. He married a woman named Patricia Heathering, who gave birth to a daughter, Helen, in 1850. Helen followed in his footsteps as a doctor, and after she was denied any opportunities to actually practice, was introduced to the world of the abnormals by him.

He later disappeared during an expedition to Mecca; Helen believed him to be dead, but he had in fact found a way into Hollow Earth and lived with the people of the underground city of Praxis for 65-Praxian-years. Eventually, he tried to return to the surface in order to make contact with Helen, but was kidnapped and enslaved by the Cabal in mid-late 2007.

Episode 1x10 - "Warriors"

In late 2008, he reappeared under the name Charles L. Denton and without any memory of his former life. After Helen learns that he was now himself an Abnormal and that an insect called a "Scarab" is controlling him, and surgically removes it, he regains his original memories, and decides to set out on his own, not wanting to endanger his daughter and the Sanctuary Network.

Episode 1x12 - "Revelations, Part I"

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Episode 1x13 - "Revelations, Part II"

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Season 3

Episode 3x02 - "Firewall"

In early 2010, he was seen in a vision by Dr. Will Zimmerman after communicating with Kali. He gave Will two numbers and a symbol which led Helen Magnus to unlock a Holomap of a city, therefore starting a new mission for the Sanctuary team.

Episode 3x06 - "Animus"

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Episode 3x07 - "Breach"

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Episode 3x10 - "The Hollow Men"

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Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana"

Magnus and her team later encountered Gregory alive and well in Hollow Earth, where he had earned the trust of the people of Praxis, including their leader, Ranna Seneschal. His contacting Helen and giving her the clues to find Hollow Earth was a major transgression that was forgiven only after the Sanctuary team helped save the life of the Hyperspecies Abnormal named Kanaan and had apparently defeated the threat of Adam Worth. Gregory decided to stay in Praxis for the time being in order to learn more about the secrets of Hollow Earth.

Episode 3x20 - "Into the Black"

In early 2011, Gregory Magnus was presumably killed when Praxis was destroyed by Adam Worth in an attempt to power up the Kellorem Device, a machine he was building to travel back in time to save his daughter's life. However, Helen Magnus and John Druitt only recovered his broken walking stick from Ranna's destroyed chamber, not his body.

Season 4

Episode 4x08 - "Fugue"

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Episode 4x11 - "The Depths"

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There is some confusion as to how Gregory Magnus has lived as long as he has. He does not have his daughter's gift of Longevity; yet he continues to outlive her supernaturally advanced age. Sam Egan, one of the only two writers of the first season, addressed this in a commentary track on Episode 1x10 - "Warriors", in which Gregory Magnus was reintroduced into the story. Egan stated that he purposefully neglected to provide an explanation for Gregory's apparent lack of aging, but wanted to hint to the audience that he was in fact cryogenically frozen by the Cabal.[4] However, this was later retconned in Season 3 Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana" when it was revealed to Helen by Ranna Seneschal that Gregory had spent 65-Praxian-years as a well-respected citizen in the city of Praxis in Hollow Earth. Making it so that Gregory achieved his Longevity thanks to the advanced medical science there.


Death of Spouse

While not explicitly stated, the overall consensus by the audience was that Patricia had died while Helen was very young, leaving Gregory to raise her as a single parent. Gregory being a widower and sole parent easily explains how he is clearly very beloved by Helen and has been such a heavy and prominent influence in her life.


  • In Episode 1x10 - "Warriors", Helen mentions to Charlie that her father Gregory Magnus was born in the year 1829 (month and day unknown). Being that Helen was born on August 27th, 1850, it would mean that Gregory was 20 / 21-years-old at the time of her birth.
  • Being that his birth year is 1829, this posses some continuity issues such as seen in Episode 0x05 - "Webisode 5" where Helen is apparently around the age of ~15-years-old, making Gregory roughly 36-years-old. In the webisode, he is already seen to be graying and walking with a cane as if he were a lot older than that. Not to mention, by then he is already a very highly-respected physician with his own practice at such a considerably young age; having enough leeway to sway medical boards up to a certain point.
  • In Episode 4x01 - "Tempus", in the year 1898 Gregory is said to be "having a wonderful time on the Dark Continent" by Dr. James Watson. This would make Gregory 68 / 69-years-old then.
  • In Episode 4x11 - "The Depths", Helen says that her father mounted an expedition in 1909 to find the fabled giant feathered serpent said to be living high up in the Bolivian Andes. Gregory would have been 79 / 80-years-old at the time. This is the last known year viewers are told about Gregory's activities on the surface before he disappears sometime later from Helen's life on his trip to Mecca / Praxis.
  • In Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana" Ranna Seneschal states that Gregory was a well-respected citizen in Praxis for "65 years" until he became a fugitive by accessing the Avatar Chamber illegally. Years in Praxis must be counted differently, lasting longer than surface solar years as 65-normal-years would leave an unexplained time gap. 2010 - 65 = 1945. This would have made Gregory (a normal human at the time) 116-years-old when he found Praxis, which is highly unlikely considering that Gregory does not possess Helen's natural Longevity. The last year Helen recounts is 1909 [5], when he would have turned 80-years-old that year, leaving a gap of 36 years in between. In the episode, Dr. Will Zimmerman mentions that Praxis calculates time differently down there when he and Fallon are going over Adam Worth's history.
[Pure Speculation / Not Proven Alternative Theory]: Otherwise, Gregory could have found Praxis in 1909, undergone a Longevity treatment, lived there for 64-normal-years until 1973, then left and got stuck in ice for 34+ years until sometime in mid-2007 when he was found by the Cabal, then returned in late-2008 to live in Praxis for the entirety of 2009 until early-2010, and now has been on the run for the last unknown amount of several weeks since Episode 3x02 - "Firewall" - according to Adam Worth in Episode 3x07 - "Breach" saying that Helen has knowingly had the map for 'weeks' since he sent Tabors to visit the Sanctuary. However, this theory cannot work as Gregory getting frozen in ice for so long would cause an issue, as the way Ranna talks, it indicates that Gregory had been a consistent resident in Praxis; where a disappearance of 34 years would have been highly noteworthy / suspicious considering Praxis' weariness and ease of distrust of surface dwellers as well as their swiftness to persecute.

Note: Gregory being at least 79 / 80-years-old at the time he left for Mecca is interesting as in Episode 1x10 - "Warriors" his 'Charlie' persona is said to be turning 61-years-old in upcoming March 2009. That is an 18 / 19 year physical age difference. Actor Jim Byrnes himself was born September 22nd, 1948, making him 60-years-old when the episode aired in mid-December 2008; the writers borrowed his age.

Character Traits

As seen in Season 3 in Episode 3x02 - "Firewall", Gregory is referenced as usually being 'cryptic' in passing along information to Helen and to others. However, throughout the rest of the show he is seen to present behavior completely opposite to this judgement.

  • Gregory has been quite open out his fringe line of work with his colleagues as seen in Webisode 5, as Gregory tries to convince two other doctors / scientists to continue to allow him to do his work, trying to bring them in on "unlocking secrets". They as well as the medical board, however, have grown tired of all of his considered outlandish theories (practically forcing Gregory to continue his most important work underground out of ire from his peers). Helen even understood this as in Episode 1x10 - "Warriors", she calls him the "leading scientific light of their day" (essentially pushing boundaries to enlighten the scientific community at large of what's truly out there).
  • Gregory only kept Helen in the dark from his work for as long as he did in order to protect her from the ridicule and backlash that he has received throughout his medical career dealing with Abnormal science (something that was already affecting her as the board refused to grant her entrance into the London school to gain a license to practice medicine 3-times as a way to punish Gregory [6]). Once he let her fully into his world of research, Gregory passed on to her all of his highly detailed medical journals to which Helen is seen referencing in several episodes, such as i.e. Episode 1x10 - "Warriors", Episode 2x04 - "Hero", and Episode 4x08 - "Fugue" in order to help solve Abnormal cases. He also frequently sent her his research findings from his trips as seen in Episode 4x01 - "Tempus", keeping her and Dr. James Watson in the loop of his travels. 
  • Possibly due to his age, Gregory doesn't seem go on his science and medical expeditions alone. He frequently travels with a team by his side, furthering that he doesn't generally work in secret or without clear intent. Twice, Gregory is known to be the sole survivor of a group. Once, during his trip to Bolivia in 1909[5] (relaying back his strict findings for everyone to leave the creature alone), and again, while as a fugitive in Hollow Earth trying to treat Kanaan.[7]
  • In Episode 1x10 - "Warriors", Gregory was only reluctant to share the information that he knew due to being under the Cabal's spy persona of "Charles L. Denton". Once Helen operated on him, releasing his true mental nature, he was very forthcoming about everything.
  • In Episode 3x02 - "Firewall" right before Henry Foss and Bigfoot confirm to Kate Freelander about Gregory being "cryptic", Helen says that he never gave her a gift without significance, making it contradictory as to how she doesn't know what her 26th and 34th birthday gifts really are outside of being a paper weight and a book, respectively.
  • In Episode 1x12 - "Revelations, Part I" and Episode 1x13 - "Revelations, Part II", viewers learn that Gregory had told Helen and the rest of the The Five exactly where he had hidden the vial of Source Blood and how to retrieve it, passing along detailed instructions of what to do and what to expect; even leaving a map (coded in Latin to prevent strangers from reading it) explaining where each person's test was. Each particular test was also personally suited for each person, making it very easy for them to retrieve their keys.  

The only time Gregory is actually known to have been 'cryptic' in his behavior was in how he relayed his message to Will in the form of a brand on his arm while accessing the Avatar Chamber as seen in Will's memory during Episode 3x02 - "Firewall"; something Helen called her father out on at the end of Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana", asking for him to be "a bit less cryptic" the next time he contacts her.

Potential Genetic Abnormality

In the Magnus bloodline, there is a very subtle commonality seen present between Gregory, Helen, and Ashley which is the innate ability for their bodies / cells to survive after being subjected to very cold temperatures / cryopreservation. Both Gregory (before ret-con) [1] and Ashley (as a 6-7 week old embryo) [8] are living-proof of being able to be successfully thawed and reanimated from a completely frozen state (after being in it for almost a century's worth of time) without sustaining any cellular damage while Helen was able to survive the deathly cold waters of the icy North Atlantic Ocean following the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.[9]

Disclaimer: While this 'ability' being an actual inheritable genetic trait between the three characters is officially unspoken by the creators / producers (as they've likely never noticed this similar connection before), it is not out of the realm of possibility for them to possess it as other cold-related abnormal abilities do exist in-universe. Mentioned during one of Dr. Magnus' lectures, an abnormal person is described as being able to control their own body temperature; dropping it well below life-sustaining levels for days at a time.[10] More similarly-related abilities are found in creatures called Migoi who have physical adaptations to arctic climate environments, such as by having anti-freezing factors in their blood [11] as well as the ability to survive being frozen in solid blocks of pure ice for an unknown length of time.[12]

Continuity Issue | Knowledge of Praxis

In Episode 3x02 - "Firewall", Helen states that her father never gave her a gift without significance. Gregory's message to her through Will of a pair of numbers along with a symbol indicate two gifts she received for her 26th and 34th birthdays, respectively. The gifts are a Praxian "paper weight" holographic map device for her 26th birthday, and a folded paper map of Praxis found in a rare 1st edition book of Michelangelo's architectural designs for her 34th birthday. This indicates that Gregory knew of Praxis at some point before August 27th, 1876, long before his disappearance to Mecca / Praxis sometime in or after the year 1909, after returning as the sole survivor from his trip to Bolivia.[5] This has the audience question Gregory's cryptic behavior as to:

  • Why he separated the connected gifts by giving them to Helen 8 years apart; hiding the paper map itself in a book as an outward disguise.
  • Why he never told Helen the true significance of the gifts and that they were even connected; making her line at the end of Episode 3x02 - "Firewall" contradict this behavior.
The gifts he gave her always held significance, implying that she always knew the real reason as to why she received it; Helen knew her father's mindset and behaviors very well so it's highly unlikely she would misinterpret his intention(s) behind why he gave her something. It does not make much sense as to why Gregory would give her a gift to let her believe it was for one reason, only for the actual reason to have been intentionally kept secret from her for over a century until there was a dire reason for it to be known.
Note: At the time Gregory gave her the two gifts, it was before either Gregory and Helen had knowledge of or had each personally gained or activated the ability of Longevity, meaning that the secret behind these gifts could have easily died out from sheer length of time alone; outside of considering potential death to either person from mortal injury or illness at any point.

Being that Gregory was found to have lived in Praxis for 65-Praxian-years as of early-2010, it calls into question whether or not Gregory had left on his trip in the early-1900's to actually travel to Mecca or if it was just a cover all along to find Praxis instead. Another scenario could be that Gregory indeed went to Mecca and then continued on to Praxis from there, to not return until supposedly mid / late-2007 in the form of a human ice cube.

  • It is unknown why Gregory has never told Helen about his knowledge of the city of Praxis ever existing after personally knowing about it for at least 35 years (sometime before 1876 up through to 1909) and why he never told her of where he was going. Helen had been quite close to her father and seemly always kept up-to-date with his travels, frequently being the recipient of her father's collected research data from his expeditions; as seen in Episode 4x01 - "Tempus", the London Sanctuary foyer was full of shipping crates sent back to her, arriving the day before from Mozambique. It's quite odd that he wouldn't message his next destination. Why keep his travels a secret from her before he even goes? It's not until a person gets to Praxis that knowledge of the city and communications to and from it are restricted to help keep it hidden.

Since Gregory did ultimately find Praxis, it means that he would have had to figure out how to access the map, understand Cuneiform (which was only just successfully deciphered in 1857, 19 years prior to Helen receiving the gift), and then correctly operated the map interface to locate a Keystone. That keystone would then need to be retrieved and properly inserted into the map interface to find its corresponding gateway. Afterwards, the final step requires that the keystone would then need to be taken to the gateway itself and inserted into the lock mechanism to open the passageway that eventually leads into Hollow Earth.

  • It is unknown how or when Gregory came into possession of the Holomap and for how long had he studied it to be able to figure it out. Keep in mind that Gregory was working on highly advanced technology in an era when surface digital computer systems didn't exist nor were even conceptualized yet.[13] It took innovative technological genius Nikola Tesla and Helen several weeks / months in the 21st century to get anywhere remotely close to solving it; In the end they needed help from Adam Worth to demonstrate and explain to them how it worked.

Being that Gregory gave Helen the map device for her birthday in 1876, Gregory would had to of had a Keystone already by then, holding on to it and remembering the gateway location for over 35+ years before even traveling to the location at some point after the start of the year 1909.

The whole situation overall doesn't make much sense as to:
  1. Why would he wait so long to travel to the city?
  2. Why give away the map in the first place, as well as: A) In separated pieces across several years, and B) Not even tell the person who has it what it truly is and how to even properly use it?

Note: An easy explanation for all of the issues in this section stem from the fact that the writers / creators retconned Gregory's whereabouts for the last century. They brought the character back and wanted to incorporate him into the new Hollow Earth arc, haphazardly trying to have Gregory leave cool 'breadcrumbs' (gifts) for Helen to find and follow. It's highly doubtful that at the end of Episode 1x10 - "Warriors" that writers had even thought up the Season 3 idea of Hollow Earth yet as it was revealed that the writing process for a season typically doesn't start until funding had been secured and the show was set to begin filming the first episode of the season within a month or less.[14] [15]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Episode 1x10 - "Warriors"
  2. As of early 2010 in Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana".
  3. Gained from Praxis in Hollow Earth.
  4. Sam Egan, Ryan, Robbins, Brenton Spencer. (2009). Audio Commentary for Episode 1x10 - "Warriors". [Sanctuary: The Complete First Season (DVD) Disc 3]. E1 Entertainment.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Episode 4x11 - "The Depths"
  6. Episode 0x07 - "Webisode 7"
  7. Episode 3x11 - "Pax Romana"
  8. Episode 1x02 - "Sanctuary for All, Part II"
  9. Episode 2x08 - "Next Tuesday"
  10. Episode 1x07 - "The Five"
  11. Episode 1x05 - "Kush"
  12. Episode 4x07 - "Icebreaker"
  13. History of Computers on Wikipedia
  14. YouTube - Sanctuary Dragon Con 2011 Friday Panel - Amanda Robin Chris Part 2 18:20-18:51 1 month to plan storylines.
  15. YouTube - Amanda Tapping VIP Panel Armageddon Expo Auckland 2011 - Part 1 6:41-8:35 Story arc writing time maybe 1 month. Money to script from financiers.