Bill Cipher is a triangular dream demon formerly existent only in the mindscape who wished to gain access to the real world. He has been running amok in Gravity Falls, Oregon since being summoned by Stanford Pines over thirty years ago. He is known for his mysterious demeanor and sadistic humor. He is the main antagonist of Gravity Falls, although he doesn't play a central role in the series until season 2.
Trillions of years prior to the events of the series, Bill Cipher originated from the second dimension. Bill, however, despised living there, describing it as a dimension of "flat minds in a flat world with flat dreams." He liberated his dimension by burning it along with everyone he's ever known, including his own parents. He eventually took over a boiling, shifting intergalactic foam between dimensions—a lawless, unstable crawl space known as the Nightmare Realm. However, due to the Nightmare Realm's lawlessness and lack of any consistent physics or rules, it was fated to eventually self-destruct. After coming to learn of a prophecy that stated he could merge the Nightmare Realm with the third dimension, Bill manipulated countless humans over the eons so he could become a physical being and liberate that dimension as well.
Without a physical form, Bill could only access the dreams of the dimension's beings. Among his targets were the natives who lived in what would become a town called Gravity Falls, Oregon. He asked a shaman named Modoc to build an interdimensional gateway to the Nightmare Realm, but the result was made out of twigs. After Modoc learned of the prophecy that foretold of an apocalyptic event from his interactions with Bill Cipher, he lit himself on fire in an effort to stop Bill's reign. The valley was deemed "cursed land" by the natives, who evacuated around AD 1000. The natives discovered a way to defeat Bill by using a zodiac with ten symbols, and left behind a painting in a cave of their encounter with the demon, including how to summon him, and more importantly, a warning never to read it.
In the late twentieth century, a young man named Stanford Pines, who had spent the past six years investigating the town's plethora of unnatural creatures and oddities, hit a roadblock in his discoveries and was left without answers as to how the improbable aberrations of Gravity Falls had come to be. However, the uncovering of a cave filled with cryptic hieroglyphics gave him hope of achieving answers, as the message foretold of an entity containing unending knowledge. Despite the warnings against it, Ford repeated the incantation aloud, later summoning Bill into the man's mindscape, who recognized that Ford's brilliant but cocky and insecure nature and his near-friendless background made him an ideal pawn. Bill deceived the man by introducing himself as a muse who chose one brilliant mind every century to inspire. He told Ford that that the source of the town's anomalies was a dimension of weirdness that had leaked into his world. With Bill's assistance, Stanford drafted blueprints to create an interdimensional gateway beneath his home, and recruited his college friend Fiddleford McGucket and his mechanic process into the project. As construction went underway, Ford furthered his obsession with the all-knowing Bill, collecting memorabilia such as rugs and statues, modeling his home's architecture in his image, converting his private study to a place of worship, and even allowing the demon to move freely inside and outside of his own mind. As their partnership seemingly grew to friendship, McGucket became uneasy towards the true purpose and function of the device they had constructed.
On January 18, 1982, Ford and Fiddleford performed their first trial with the active machine, which quickly went awry as the dummy placed into the portal dragged Fiddleford along with it. Though his experience within the device was brief (as Ford had rescued him shortly thereafter), Fiddleford returned horrified with the visions he had endured while inside (specifically, Bill removing his exoskeleton to feed), predicting that an apocalyptic catastrophe would occur should the portal reach its full potential. McGucket begged Ford to destroy the machine, but he refused to give up the pinnacle of his life's work. McGucket abandoned the project, leaving Ford with suspicions of his own. During a confrontation with his former ally, Ford learned that Bill had tricked him into building a portal that would act as a gateway to the Nightmare Realm and allow the demon to bring his chaos and destruction into their universe. Horrified and betrayed, Ford shut down the project and created Project Mentem, a piece of machinery capable of bio-electrically encrypting one's thoughts and preventing Bill from wreaking havoc in the mindscape. Unfortunately, his fear of Bill's inevitable return grew stronger, leading him to take extreme security measures by abandoning his research and hiding the instructions on how to operate the portal. Bill, however, could not be so easily deterred, and spent the next thirty years waiting for the machine to reactivate.
Bill and the symbol he's based on, the Eye of Providence, appear frequently in Gravity Falls. He was the unseen creator of the cryptograms in the online game Rumble's Revenge. His name and existence is deduced by taking all the capital letters in the cryptograms from Rumble's Revenge, to form the message: "MY NAME IS BILL."
Events of Gravity Falls
A picture of Bill is shown briefly at the end of the opening theme. A similar picture is seen in the entry about him in Journal 2. Encircling him are various symbols that link to various characters in the show. Most notably, when he appears physically for the first time, he refers to Dipper, Mabel, and Soos, as "Pine Tree, Shooting Star, and Question Mark" respectively. The entry also makes special note of the glasses symbol, the author of the book seemingly having been alarmed by this. Underneath "Name: ???" is the text: "This odd, triangular being has appeared in my dreams every night for weeks."
His full name appears in his entry in Journal 3. Behind his name is a message encrypted with a symbol substitution cipher; when decoded it reads: "Liar. Monster. Snappy Dresser." There are various notes scattered about the page, such as "Is he watching me?" and "Bill has proven himself to be one of the friendliest and most trustworthy individuals that I've ever encountered in my life. What a guy! I honestly can't trust him more. Not evil in any way, Bill is a true gentleman." However, the latter note is crossed out and below another note reading "Can't Be Trusted!" can be found written in red ink. On the next page, a diagram of a human head and various aspects of its mind is shown, its top being opened up for a drawing of Bill to enter it. In the lower right corner of the page "DO NOT SUMMON AT ALL COSTS!" is written in large, red letters. The rest of the page is spattered with blood from Ford's right eye, which started bleeding after he was possessed by Bill.
"Dreamscaperers" is the first time Bill is directly addressed and introduced in the series. Gideon Gleeful, in an attempt to take over the Mystery Shack once again, summons Bill. Gideon tells him to steal Stan Pines' safe combination directly from his head, so that Gideon can steal the Shack's deed. Bill agrees once he knows it's Stan, but in return, Gideon would have to help him in his own plans, which are not revealed to the viewer. Gideon agrees immediately and the two shake on it. Unbeknownst to Gideon, Mabel and Soos witnessed the deal in the forest, and get Dipper's help to follow him into Stan's mind.
Once inside Stan's head, Bill confronts the trio and brags that he knows what they're all thinking. To prove his statement, he summons Xyler and Craz from Mabel's imagination. He tricks Mabel and Soos into looking for the memory of Stan's safe combination first, knowing they'd lead him straight to it. At some point Soos is separated from everyone else, and Bill takes his place. Once they find the correct memory he takes it and nearly escapes with it. But while he reads the combination out loud to Gideon (to whom he was connected), Mabel shoots the memory door into another memory of the bottomless pit with a nyarf dart. Gideon breaks off their deal, to Bill's fury. Bill turns his anger toward Mabel and Soos by bringing their nightmares to life and killing Xyler and Craz.
Dipper returns in a timely manner and tells Mabel and Soos that while they are in Stan's mindscape they can do whatever they want. They battle Bill and he is nearly defeated. And just as though it seems he will be forced out of Stan's head, he puts a stop to everything instead. Impressed, he decides to let them go, and after warning them of a mysterious darkness that will change everything they care about, he tells them that he'll be watching them. He leaves in a representation of the zodiac, almost identical to the one that appears in his entry in Journal 2.
Bill Cipher appears again in "Sock Opera," when Dipper is trying to figure out the password for the laptop from "Into the Bunker." He offers the laptop's password in return for a favor, but Dipper refuses the offer. Later, at the moment the laptop is on countdown for complete data erasure after too many failed password entries, he appears again and Dipper accepts the deal of trading a puppet to obtain the password.
Bill takes over Dipper's body as his "puppet" and destroys the laptop. He then follows Mabel to her puppet show in pursuit of Dipper's journal, which is being used as a prop in the show. After Mabel has been informed of Dipper's body having been stolen by him, he finds her with the journal as she is retrieving it for Dipper. He almost swindles her out of it but ends up in a fight with her. He ends up losing because Mabel uses Dipper's physical weakness and exhaustion to her advantage. As he collapses, he is thrust out of Dipper's body. Bill possesses the Dipper puppet afterward and says that he will return. However, Mabel activates the pyrotechnics of the play, destroying the puppets and removing any vessel Bill could use to talk to the kids.
In "Northwest Mansion Mystery," he appears on a tapestry hovering over a forest fire with two men either begging for mercy or worshiping him while skeletal corpses are underneath them, foreshadowing bad events.
At the end of "The Stanchurian Candidate," after a prison-bound Gideon fails to get his father elected mayor, he is shown to have drawn Bill Cipher's zodiac on his cell wall and hidden it behind a cat poster. The symbols on the zodiac have been changed around, and some have been altered. Gideon tears down the poster and completes the drawing by drawing Bill's eye before telling it he's ready to make a deal.
In "The Last Mabelcorn," Bill Cipher appears in one of Ford's dreams, telling him that he's been preparing for "the big day," going on to say that Ford can't keep the interdimensional rift safe forever. Bill throws a copy of the rift down to the ground, opening a red triangular portal in the sky and setting fire to Ford's mindscape. Ford yells at Bill to leave his mind, telling him he has no dominion in the real world. Bill leaves through the portal, telling Ford that "things change."
Far later in the episode, Bill appears in flashbacks as Ford explains his time spent with the demon to Dipper. In the past, Bill and Ford were partners. Bill could enter Ford's mind at any time, and with his help, Ford built the portal. However, after Fiddleford came out of the portal, traumatized by the horrifying things he saw, which were Bill's actual plans, Ford realized Bill had lied to him. He confronted Bill, who revealed his plan to merge the Nightmare Realm he comes from with the real world, causing the apocalypse. Ford broke off his partnership with Bill then and there, despite Bill's warnings that he couldn't stop the rift from happening. Ford shut down the portal and swore to never trust Bill again.
At the end of the episode, Bill watches from the Nightmare Realm as Ford and Dipper manage to create a "Bill-proof" barrier around the Mystery Shack by using moonstones, mercury and unicorn hair. Undeterred, Bill decides to possess someone outside the shack instead.
Near the end of "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future," Bill approaches Mabel by possessing Blendin Blandin, recognizing Mabel's wishes of wanting summer to never end. Bill (as Blendin) convinces Mabel to give him the interdimensional rift, which he says can be used for making a "time bubble" that can make time stop. Mabel gives Bill the rift, which he promptly smashes with his boot. Bill reveals himself and leaves Blendin's body, knocking out Mabel with a snap of his fingers and initiating Weirdmageddon.
In "Weirdmageddon Part 1," after opening the rift, Bill gains a physical form and imprisons Mabel in a bubble. He introduces himself to the people of Gravity Falls, claiming to be their new ruler as well as introducing his friends to the people. The townsfolk refuse to submit, but Preston Northwest welcomes him instead, offering to be one of his "horsemen of the apocalypse." Bill thinks about the offer, but instead decides to disfigure Preston's face, creating fear in the people. He begins "redecorating" the town by unleashing Eye-Bats that petrify and abduct the townspeople, summoning the Fearamid, and sending out bubbles that instill madness in everything they touch. Bill recreates the opening theme song in the process.
When Bill and his friends prepare to cause havoc, Ford attempts to shoot Bill back into the rift with his quantum destabilizer, but misses. When Bill notices Ford and Dipper, he blasts the clock tower. Ford, pinned under rubble, begins to tell Dipper that there's another way to defeat Bill. He is cut short when Bill appears, towering over Ford. Bill captures Ford and presents him to his friends, telling them that Weirdmageddon wouldn't be possible without Ford. Bill makes an offer with Ford and tells him it's not too late to join his side. Ford refuses, so Bill turns him into a golden statue to use as a back-scratcher. Dipper, who has gotten back to street-level, yells that he's had enough. Bill flies over to Dipper, asking the boy what he could possibly do to defeat him in one shot. Dipper flips through Journal 3, trying to find Bill's weakness. With no answers, Dipper panics, and leaps towards Bill, trying to punch him. In response, Bill knocks Dipper backwards, causing him to fly into a tree. Bill then telekinetically seizes the three journals, burning them in front of Dipper, with two crippled pages surviving. Bill tells 8 Ball and Teeth that they can eat Dipper for a snack. Bill then converts a random car into a sleek getaway ride for himself and his other friends. The car flies away to the Fearamid leaving Dipper, 8 Ball, and Teeth behind.
Bill and his friends are later seen having a rave party inside the Fearamid. Suddenly, the Time Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron, Blendin Blandin, and the Time Baby barge in, attempting to arrest Bill for possessing Blendin and almost destroying reality. Bill vaporizes the Time Police and Time Baby instantly, and the party resumes. 8 Ball and Teeth approach Bill, informing him they failed to eat Dipper. They ask him if he's worried about Dipper freeing Mabel, but Bill says he's not concerned, and that he has "someone on the case."
In "Weirdmageddon 2: Escape From Reality," Bill has been in power for four consecutive days. Most of the townsfolk have been petrified and stacked into a "massive throne of frozen human agony" for Bill. He announces his plan to take Weirdmageddon worldwide, and the demons make their way toward the edge of Gravity Falls. But instead of escaping to the rest of the world, they hit a strange force field-like energy dome that keeps Bill and his chaos stuck in the town.
Later in the episode, Bill is angered and unable to understand why he and his friends aren't able to extend their reach and leave Gravity Falls to dominate the world. He realizes that Ford is the only one able to understand the shield and contemplates his next move. He is interrupted by Keyhole, who informs him Gideon, Mabel's jailer, has failed to stop Dipper, allowing him and his group to enter Mabel's bubble. Bill is not worried by this, calling Mabel's bubble one of his most diabolical traps yet. He asks for Gideon and tells Keyhole to take the day off.
In "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls," Bill reverts Ford from his gold state. He explains to Ford that he, along with the rest of his friends, can’t escape Gravity Falls. Ford thinks that this is due to a natural magnetism attracting weirdness to Gravity Falls, the event he’s studied for years, a force so strong that it forms a barrier that prevents that weirdness from going outside the town. He says there’s a way to break this barrier, but he’d never tell Bill. Bill tries to persuade Ford by telling offering him unlimited power in a world without restrictions or laws. Ford again refuses, calling Bill insane. Bill decides to find the equation needed to break the barrier in Ford’s mind. However, Ford reminds Bill he can’t unless he makes a deal with him. Bill decides to try and find Ford’s weakness and force him to make the deal, chaining him up further.
Bill is later seen torturing Ford by blasting him with lasers until he agrees to his deal. Though Ford is in pain, he still refuses to give in. Before Bill can start torturing Ford again, he is interrupted by the Shacktron, a gigantic mech created by Old Man McGucket, with the help of Dipper, Mabel, and various townsfolk. They converted the Mystery Shack into a powerful machine to fight Bill and rescue Ford, who knows Bill's weakness. Bill finds it "adorable" that the refugees are fighting back, and orders his henchmaniacs to fight them. However, his minions are quickly defeated by the Shacktron, and Bill is upset as Ford congratulates Dipper and Mabel for their efforts. Bill realizes Ford cares about the twins, and wonders if torturing them will be more effective than torturing Ford. Bill turns Ford back into a gold statue, and flies over to the Shacktron. He attempts to crush the Shacktron with a giant fist, but it remains intact thanks to the "Bill-proof" barrier surrounding the Mystery Shack. Bill becomes enraged and repeatedly punches the Shacktron. The refugees use the dinosaur attached to the Shacktron's left arm to tear out Bill’s eye and distract him. Realizing now is their chance to rescue Ford, a team composed of the twins, Stan, Soos, McGucket, Wendy, Pacifica, and Sheriff Blubs is ejected out of the Shacktron, using parachutes made out of Mabel's sweaters to land inside the Fearamid.
Everyone lands right next to the human throne, but Dipper is unable to figure out how to unfreeze everyone. Gideon Gleeful, trapped in a cage hanging from the ceiling, explains that Mayor Tyler is the load-bearing statue in the human throne, and if he’s pulled out, the whole throne will fall apart. When Dipper does so, it sets off a chain reaction. As the chair collapses, Gideon’s cage is knocked to the ground and breaks, freeing him. The residents are returned to normal, and Ford unfreezes as well. When Dipper and Mabel ask Ford what Bill’s weakness is, he explains that the way to thwart Bill is by using a zodiac with ten symbols. When each person that correlates with a symbol stands on a drawn version of the zodiac and they hold hands, it can create a force strong enough to vanquish Bill. Meanwhile, Bill is still fighting the Shacktron. It manages to pin Bill to the ground, but Bill realizes its legs aren't inside the unicorn barrier. Bill utilizes this weak spot to flip the Shacktron over, tear off a leg, and smash it into the Shacktron, sending it flying. Back in the Fearamid, the townsfolk that aren't represented in the zodiac run away, leaving only Dipper, Mabel, Soos, Wendy, Gideon, Robbie, Pacifica, McGucket, Ford, and Stan. For a moment, it seems that they will be able to complete the ritual. However, after Ford corrects Stan on his grammar, Stan pushes Ford, breaking the link. The two begin to fight as Mabel and Dipper try to stop them. While they’re distracted, Bill looms above them, having beaten the Shacktron and regenerated his eye.
Bill sends a wave of fire at them, burning the zodiac away. He also traps Stan and Ford, binding them with ropes. The resistance prepares to fight against Bill, but the demon snaps his fingers and turns everyone but the Pines into tapestries showing their screaming faces. Bill then imprisons Dipper and Mabel in a triangular cell. Bill says he’ll spare the twins if Ford lets him into his mind, giving him one last opportunity. The twins yell at Ford not to do it, causing Bill to angrily fly up to them. Mabel quickly takes out her spray can and sprays Bill’s eye, distracting him again and freeing Stan and Ford. While Bill’s distracted, Dipper takes out his size-altering flashlight and enlarges the cell, making it so him and Mabel can walk through. He and Mabel goad Bill into chasing them down a long hallway. As Bill moves to follow them, Stan and Ford try to escape. However, Bill places them inside a larger cell like the one he put the twins in. Bill then changes into a monstrous red and yellow form and chases the kids throughout the Fearamid, threatening to disassemble their molecules. After recapturing the twins, he gives Ford an ultimatum—let him into his mind, or one of the twins will be killed. Ford reluctantly surrenders as Stan objects. Bill removes the cell and ties up Stan. Ford’s only condition to the deal is that he lets his family go. Bill accepts as he shakes hands with Ford. Bill’s physical form turns to stone as his mental form goes inside Ford’s mind.
Ford’s mind is a bleak white landscape with a single wooden door. When Bill opens it, he’s greeted with Stan playing paddleball inside the Mystery Shack. Stan reveals that while the demon was chasing Dipper and Mabel, he and Ford swapped clothes and pretended to be each other so that Bill would enter the wrong mind. In the real world, Ford takes out the Memory Gun, setting it to completely erase Stan’s memory. In the mindscape, Bill tries to call the deal off as the door shuts and the room becomes enveloped in blue fire. Stan explains his mind’s going to be erased with Bill in it. Bill tries to escape and resorts to bargaining with Stan, but Stan doesn’t budge. Bill’s form heavily glitches out as he speaks backwards messages. Stan punches the weakened Bill into nonexistence as his mindscape becomes consumed by fire. Following Bill's defeat, everyone is freed from the tapestries. Outside the Fearamid, Bill’s henchmaniacs are sucked back into the portal, with the bricks of the Fearamid not far behind. The portal itself closes and explodes into a great shockwave, returning the entirety of Gravity Falls back to its own version of normal. The only thing that remains of Weirdmageddon is Bill’s petrified physical form.
After the credits, Bill Cipher’s petrified form is shown in live action; isolated deep in a forest.
Although Bill was erased from existence by Ford and Stan, it is strongly implied that he can revive himself somehow, as shortly before disappearing he relays a distorted message that when reversed says "A-X-O-L-O-T-L! My time has come to burn! I invoke the ancient power that I may return!"
Bill's potential return is further implied in the Cipher Hunt, where Alex Hirsch warns the treasure hunters never to shake the statue's hand, even though he should be dead (Ironically, the group that found Bill shook his hand), as well as Stanley's final message to the hunters, beginning with him singing "We'll Meet Again" (what Bill sang in the finale) and even urging the hunters to shake Bill's hand as a congratulations, implying that Bill is alive and using his body to speak at periods.
Even more unsettling is the fact that the photo of Alex's voices (Stan, Soos, and Fiddleford) can be illuminated by a blacklight - this reveals Bill, alive, saying "STAY PARANOID!" and adding his signature. This also happens when one illuminates the photo of the Mystery Shack cast standing around the seemingly lifeless statue - doing so causes the cast and the statue to glow while the words "TRUST NO ONE!" appears.
It is unknown if the Hunt is canon to the TV series.
Bill is a cunning, eccentric, insane, psychopathic, and physically irreverent demon who finds most things amusing. He's outrageous and outlandish, as well as a quick talker and thinker. Though he may come across as simply annoying, he shouldn't be underestimated; for when he is angered, he's a force to be reckoned with as he will unleash his near-omnipotent powers on those unfortunate enough to make him angry. When accused of being insane, Bill proudly agrees with the statement.
Bill is not one who believes in rules. Instead, he follows his own selfish philosophy which means doing whatever he wants without care for the consequences. He thinks of laws and physics as senseless and displays an irresistible urge to break those rules down by causing absolute chaos however he can. The lives he ruins hold no merit to him and he finds amusement in tormenting and turning people's worlds upside-down. He also sees reality as an "illusion," and values its destruction.
When possessing Dipper's body, Bill is shown to be rather masochistic, hurting himself in various ways for the thrill of it, finding pain "hilarious." He seems to have little knowledge about the human body—specifically its physical limits. This comes back to harm him when he gains a physical form and endures pain when the Shacktron rips out his eye, temporarily weakening him, or when Mabel spray-paints it shortly after.
In "Weirdmageddon Part 1," he shows sadistic tendencies, such as when he shuffles "the function of every hole in [Preston Northwest's] face" and in "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls" when he decides to kill one of the Pines twins "just for the heck of it."
Bill is a yellow, triangular creature that bears a strong resemblance to the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States, which in turn consists of the Eye of Providence and an unfinished Egyptian pyramid. He has a single large eye rimmed with four short black lashes on its top and bottom. He moves around mostly by floating about, and rarely actually stands on his own two feet. He has thin, black limbs, wears a small, black bow tie, and has a tall, thin, black top hat that floats just above his head. His arms do not seem to be in any fixed position, and can be moved along his perimeter without any difficulty. He has also been seen carrying a small, black or yellow cane. Among the bottom part of his body is the pattern of a pyramid. When he gets mad, he turns red and his eye glows a light red. His exact age is unknown, although Ford describes him as "older than our galaxy, and far more twisted."
To summon Bill Cipher, one needs a picture of their intended victim. The eyes must be crossed out and the picture must be surrounded by eight candles in a circular formation. Then the following incantation must be recited: "Triangulum, entangulum. Meteforis dominus ventium. Meteforis venetisarium!" Your eyes will glow blue. The sky will turn grey as you enter the mindscape. You'll say "Asetnoheptus" ("backwards message" in reverse) 5 times. A triangle appears. One eye opens and it turns into Bill's normal appearance. However, it is shown that Bill has the ability to temporarily pull other beings into his plane of existence, if he so pleases, as seen in "Sock Opera."
Preventing Bill's chaos
In order to prevent Bill's chaos inside someone's mind, one must light nine candles and place their hand on the victim's forehead. Say the following incantation: "Videntis omnium. Magister mentium. Magnesium ad hominem. Magnum opus. Habeus corpus. Inceptus Nolanus overratus. Magister mentium. Magister mentium. Magister mentium." If spoken the reciter of the incantation's eyes will turn blue and will be brought to the victim's mind on how they picture, where they have to find a way to stop Bill themselves.
There are also three known preemptive methods to stop Bill from entering minds. The first known method is a shielding spell that involves moonstones, mercury, and unicorn hair, which also protects against his chaos when he gains corporeality. The second method is placing a physical barrier around the mind, such as Ford's metal plate, though Ford stated it's not the safest method. The last method is "encrypting" a subject's thoughts, making it too difficult for Bill to read. It is safer than the second method and more mobile than the first, but very time-consuming.
The Cipher File
Stanford Pines has a file containing information on Bill Cipher and various sighting of him throughout history. The file contains pictures and a page ripped out of a book, with images of a pyramid (presumably in Egypt) and the Eye of Providence. Another page in the file is titled "Alligans Contractus" (which is Latin for "Binding Contract" with a picture of an old man shaking Bill's hand, both of which are surrounded by a blue flame, signifying the man is making a deal.) There is also a trifold paper with three titled: Our World (with a drawing of a human head), Mindscape (with a drawing of a person and Bill and the coded message: Black and White), and Nightmare Realm (with a picture of Bill).
The page ripped out of a book ("book excerpt" on images to the right) reads:
"Pyramids, also known as square-cones, are found all around the globe and have deeply mysterious origins. Modern engineers marvel at their seemingly impossible construction, but many don't realize they're actually just the skeleton remnants of an ancient race of large triangular dinosaurs who had very blocky bones. The Cycloptostoneosaurus was a feared predator and roamed the plains of North Africa where it subsisted on a diet of warthogs and meerkat, is made tender by their carefree lives and trouble-free philosophies. The reign of the pyramid continued well into the 18th century where a young George Washington once saw one on summer vacation and swore that he would found a nation with the sole purpose of putting an image of it on the back of dollar bills. Pyramids today are mainly tourist attractions and setting for conspiracy movies. Like that one where the guy has to steal the Declaration of Independence. You know the one, "Conspiracy Hank Goes Overboard." If you ever get a skateboard go to Egypt and try riding down the side of a pyramid. I hear that's really encouraged."
Bill's abilities are focused around the mind and mental manipulation. He's described as a "dream demon" and displays some of the characteristics of a demon including creating contracts with his summoner. When he is summoned, he appears to put everyone and anyone observing into a trance-like dream. The effect is that the world seems to turn colorless, and he can manipulate the surrounding environment however he likes, as demonstrated by pulling out and returning a deer's teeth. The people observing are unaware they've fallen asleep until Bill leaves and then they realize their eyes have been closed during his whole meeting. Bill can enter people's minds through their dreams. Once inside a mind, he can manipulate anything, including his shape and form and changing the landscape. He can communicate with his summoner like a video call, using his body as a window. In fact, he can use his whole body as a projector and display images.
Once inside of a mind he can also easily pluck information from any others who are also inside and bring those ideas and images to life. The conjured images seem to take a life of their own such as the case with Xyler and Craz.
Bill is also at least close to omniscient. He knows "lots of things," including the truth of many well-known conspiracies as well as future events, such as the destruction of the Gideon-bot and that Gideon Gleeful would go to prison. To supplement this ability, Bill is able to see things from the eyes of any image of himself. This is why he is pictured throughout the show.
Bill also has the ability to remove people's souls from their bodies and take possession of the body afterwards. The person who is removed from their body is stuck in a ghost-like form in the mindscape, unable to affect the rest of the world, unless they find a vessel. This vessel doesn't have to be a living thing, as Dipper, who was a victim of this, used Mabel's sock puppets to warn her.
At first, Bill's abilities were limited to the mindscape, requiring him to possess someone to interact with the world. After smashing the interdimensional rift and creating a gateway from the Nightmare Realm, Bill can now exist in the physical world, along with his powers which were previously only limited to the mindscape.
In his physical form, Bill can now utilize his abilities at full power in the real world. He is virtually omnipotent as he can now do anything that would seem impossible, including bringing inanimate objects to life and turning normal people into statues. His abilities in his physical form includes: Apportation, Matter Manipulation, Mind Control, Reality Warping, Inter-universal travel, Time Manipulation, Dream Manipulation, Clairvoyance, Cross-universal awareness (is capable of viewing different realities), Innate Capability, Illusion Manipulation, Intangibility, Laser manipulation, Levitation, Molecular Manipulation, Nightmare Inducement, Possession, Precognition, Pyrokinesis, Size shifting, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Madness Inducement (can create bubbles that induce madness into whatever they touch), Regeneration, Fourth Wall Awareness (is aware of the real world and can "see" us), Soul Removal (did this when he possessed Dipper's body), and Resistance to reality warping and space-time manipulation. Bill is perhaps the most powerful villain in the show. He even surpasses Time Baby's own power, as he disintegrated Time Baby in "Weirdmageddon Part 1."
As powerful as Bill seems, he does have limitations. While Bill is able to haunt dreams as he pleases, it requires a deal in order for him to enter someone's conscious mind. The prophecy of the zodiac explained that if ten individuals gathered in a circle, they would be able to stop him, but this would not come true if they broke the chain. Upon entering the physical world, Bill is exposed to unpleasant bodily sensations including pain. He initially regards these things as "hilarious," but after prolonged periods of time, it takes a heavy toll on him while possessing Dipper's body, or when he must stop to regenerate his eye in "Weirdmageddon 3." In the mindscape, Bill is still nothing more than a thought in the the head and can be forgotten about through means such as the Memory Gun. Bill's own ego proves to be his most fatal flaw, not recognizing Stan's trick in the heat of the possibility of learning how to spread his chaos.
The following are sightings of Bill and the Eye of Providence outside his physical appearance.
|"Gravity Falls Main Title Theme"|| Top left of the scrolling page.|
For a brief flicker at the end of the opening.
|In a page of book 2, hidden in one frame at the end of the intro.|
|Multiple episodes|| The 'A' in Mystery Shack over the main entrance.|
First seen in "Tourist Trapped."
| On the rug in the Mystery Shack's gift shop.|
First seen in "Tourist Trapped."
| The red stained glass window on the main attic floor.|
First seen in "Tourist Trapped."
|"Headhunters"||The window in the room which stored the forgotten wax figures, and melted Wax Abraham Lincoln.|
|"The Hand That Rocks the Mabel"||"Bill Jar," a glass jar holding Gideon's paint brushes. In upper right corner of the image.|
|"The Inconveniencing"||The window under Wendy's hangout spot.|
|"Irrational Treasure"||On the right side of the negative twelve dollar bill.|
| "The Time Traveler's Pig"|
|On the back of playing cards.|
|"Fight Fighters"||On the screen of an arcade game.|
| "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel"|
|Carpet pattern, such as under the chair and to the front left of Gideon.|
|"Summerween"||On Dipper's shield.|
|"Carpet Diem"||On a tube of makeup-gel.|
|On the top of the spine of Boy Cray Cray.|
|"Scary-oke"||On the top left corner of Dipper's Big Mysteries board.|
|"Society of the Blind Eye"||Old Man McGucket tents his fingers to resemble him.|
|"Northwest Mansion Mystery"||On a tapestry in the Northwest Manor.|
|"Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons"||His name is displayed on the cash register.|
|"The Stanchurian Candidate"||Drawn on a wall in Gideon's prison cell, behind a poster.|
|"Roadside Attraction"||Carved in the wooden fence on the far left.|
- Intro: "Gravity Falls Main Title Theme"
- 101. "Tourist Trapped" (pictured)
- 103. "Headhunters" (pictured)
- 104. "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel" (pictured)
- 105. "The Inconveniencing" (pictured)
- 108. "Irrational Treasure" (pictured)
- 109. "The Time Traveler's Pig" (pictured)
- 110. "Fight Fighters" (pictured)
- 111. "Little Dipper" (pictured)
- 112. "Summerween" (pictured)
- 113. "Boss Mabel" (pictured)
- 114. "Bottomless Pit!" (pictured)
- 116. "Carpet Diem" (pictured)
- 117. "Boyz Crazy" (pictured)
- 118. "Land Before Swine" (pictured)
- 119. "Dreamscaperers"
- 120. "Gideon Rises" (pictured)
- 201. "Scary-oke" (pictured)
- 202. "Into the Bunker" (pictured)
- 203. "The Golf War" (pictured)
- 204. "Sock Opera"
- 205. "Soos and the Real Girl" (pictured)
- 206. "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" (pictured)
- 207. "Society of the Blind Eye" (pictured)
- 209. "The Love God" (pictured)
- 210. "Northwest Mansion Mystery" (pictured)
- 211. "Not What He Seems" (mentioned)
- 212. "A Tale of Two Stans" (mentioned)
- 213. "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons" ( )
- 214. "The Stanchurian Candidate" (pictured)
- 215. "The Last Mabelcorn"
- 216. "Roadside Attraction" (pictured)
- 217. "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future"
- 218. "Weirdmageddon Part 1"
- 219. "Weirdmageddon 2: Escape From Reality"
- 220. "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls"
- Oddity Creator (pictured)
- Mystery Shack Mystery (pictured)
- Postcard Creator (pictured)
- Fright Night (pictured)
- Rumble's Revenge (pictured)
- PinesQuest (pictured)
- Villains Unite!
- Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets (pictured)
"Deer teeth. For you, kid!"
"A darkness approaches. A day will come in the future where everything you care about will change... Until then I'll be watching you! I'll be watching you..."
"Look kid, you've been getting way too close to figuring out some major answers. I've got big plans comin' and I don't need you gettin' in my way. Destroying that laptop was a cinch. Now I just need to destroy your journal. Race ya' to the bottom of the stairs!"
"For one trillion years I've been trapped in my own decaying dimension, waiting for a new universe to call my own. Name's Bill! But you can call me your new lord and master for all of eternity!"
"Ha ha ha ho! This is just too perfect! Didn't you brainiacs know the zodiac doesn't work if you don't all hold hands? And what's better, you've brought every threat to my power together in one easy-to-destroy CIRCLE!"
- He is based on the Eye of Providence, which is most commonly seen on the back of the American dollar bill.
- His name is a combination of Bill, referring to the Eye of Providence which appears on dollar bills, and cipher, which is the algorithm for encryption or decryption.
- His name bears a resemblance to Lucifer, king of demons in Christian religion, as well as Iblis from Islamic culture.
- His name may also be an allusion to the Beale ciphers, a set of three ciphertexts, one of which allegedly states the location of a buried treasure of gold, silver and jewels estimated to be worth over USD $63 million as of September 2011.
- It may also be a reference to the names Lou Cipher (Lucifer) and Bill Zeebub (Beelzebub), which are common pseudonyms for Satan. Beelzebub is also viewed by some religions as one of the seven princes of hell and is known as the Lord of the Flies.
- Being a demon based on the Eye of Providence, Bill Cipher can also be seen as a reference to the Illuminati, a popular gag in pop culture.
- On the page about Bill in Journal 2, the −$12 bill says "semper vigilantem," which in Latin means "always watching."
- Bill has been shown to ignite a blue flame in his hand in order to seal a deal with one of his clients.
- Both Journals 2 and 3 contain sections on Bill, but whereas Journal 2 contains instructions on how to summon Bill, Journal 3 contains instructions on how to stop Bill if he is summoned.
- Additionally, Journal 2 states that his name is not known, while Journal 3 gives the name Bill Cipher. If we assume the journals were written in sequential order, Ford may not have had this information when he wrote Journal 2.
- In the game Rumble's Revenge, one of the translated cryptograms says "I will be returning to Gravity Falls….," foreshadowing his appearance in "Dreamscaperers."
- When Bill Cipher states that "reality is an illusion, the universe is a hologram," he is referencing both Einstein and The Matrix. This is also the ending message of Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger.
- In "Dreamscaperers," Gideon summons Bill with an incantation or spell of some sort. In reverse, Gideon is simply saying "backwards message" repeatedly.
- In "Sock Opera," when possessing Dipper, he states "It's been so long since I've inhabited a body!" suggesting he's either had a body before, or has taken another's body before.
- He was most likely referring to Ford, as shown in "The Last Mabelcorn."
- David Lynch of Twin Peaks was originally offered to voice Bill, but when he declined the offer, Alex Hirsch took over the role with a "bad impression of him."
- A code from "Sock Opera" says that he is made from pure energy, not skin and bones, which was also said by Bill when chasing Mabel.
- He was mentioned by Li'l Gideon in a Creepy Letters from Lil' Gideon.
- A puppet of Bill Cipher appeared at Comic Con before the preview of Season Two.
- When Alex Hirsch had originally conceived Bill's character, he had planned for him to be green as opposed to yellow, though he eventually switched to the latter after the appearance was too akin to a leaf.
- Bill is green in his cameo in "Fight Fighters."
- In Dipper's and Mabel's Guide to Mystery and Nonstop Fun!, he began talking about his "Nightmare Realm" bringing forth something. He then stopped, saying that he's getting ahead of himself. He also shared the following knowledge:
- Chairs have feelings and feel pain whenever you sit on one.
- The lunar landing was faked to hide the fact the moon doesn't exist. It's a two-dimensional disk hiding alien space surveillance.
- Western democracy is a sham propped up by an elite cabal of the super rich.
- It was stated by Alex Hirsch that, "Time Baby and Bill do not like each other, if they saw each other at a party they would be doing that 'awkward circle thing' where they're making eye contact but they're not talking to each other and everybody's like 'Do they know each other? Do they have a history?'."
- Bill is older than the Universe. In fact, he is older than time itself, as he is at least 1 trillion years old.
- Originally, in "Weirdmageddon Part 1," Bill was going to sing a song titled, "It's Gonna Get Weird." However, the song couldn't fit into the episode due to time constraints.
- Bill is seemingly destroyed when Stan's mind is erased with him inside it. His physical body, which turned to stone when he left it, remains in the Gravity Falls Forest. In fact, it was revealed near the credits that the writers have hidden this statue of his body somewhere in real life Oregon. Months after, Alex Hirsch started the Cipher Hunt; a worldwide scavenger hunt to find said statue.
- In the finale, it is revealed that Bill is from the second dimension.
- Bill's backstory parallels the novel Flatland, about a two-dimensional square who begins to question his plane of existence. This is further supported when Bill said in an AMA that "EDWIN ABBOTT ABBOTT [the author of Flatland] HAS A DECENT IDEA [about Bill's origin]."
- He also stated in the AMA that he used to have a family, but not anymore.
- It is stated in one of the Gravity Falls books that he watched as his dimension burned, suggesting that he committed the arson mentioned on that same page.
- Although he was erased from existence, it is strongly hinted that Bill can still revive himself somehow, as shortly before disappearing he relays a distorted message that when reversed says "A-X-O-L-O-T-L! My time has come to burn! I invoke the ancient power that I may return!"
- This is further implied in the Cipher Hunt, with many potential foreshadowings of Bill's existence shown.
- In the Rick and Morty episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez," Bill makes a quick cameo on a screen in the extraterrestrial couple's therapy centre.
- In a code on the "July 29th" page in the real-life Journal 3, Bill claims that, when Fiddleford was caught halfway in the portal, he saw him removing his exoskeleton to feed.
- Bill isn't the cause of Gravity Falls' weirdness. On the contrary, that weirdness is what attracts him to the town.
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