In the 19th century, Luther Shrike made a deal with Barthamus to heal his terminally ill son. Barthamus held up his end of the deal, but allowed Luther's son to die a few years later of drowning. Luther was eventually dragged to Hell by Barthamus' hellhounds when the terms of his deal were up, but by then he had managed to get his hands on Barthamus' human bones. Using the bones as leverage, Luther forced Barthamus to resurrect him and grant Luther immortality on his property. Luther held onto Barthamus' bones to force Barthamus to leave him alone.
Following Crowley's ascension to the throne of Hell, Barthamus became the King of the Crossroads in his place. At an unknown point in time, Barthamus made a deal with Alice and kept his hellhounds from taking her soul to Hell in exchange for Alice working for him.
In The Scorpion and The Frog, Barthamus sends a demon to steal a Nephilim tracking spell under the guise of doing it for Asmodeus. Once the demon has the spell, Barthamus kills him and his vessel with an angel blade.
After killing the demon, Barthamus contacts hunter Dean Winchester to offer a deal: the spell in exchange for the Winchesters helping Barthamus steal back his human bones from Luther Shrike. Barthamus brings in Alice and Grab to help with the job and threatens to give the spell to Asmodeus instead if the Winchesters don't help. The Winchesters reluctantly agree to the deal and Barthamus later appears outside of Luther's house to force Alice to keep helping following the death of Grab.
Moments after the Winchesters and Alice learn the truth from Luther, Barthamus appears and decapitates Luther with a machete, stating that Luther never should've left his house. Barthamus tells the shocked Winchesters that Luther had it coming and dismisses letting Luther's son die as the "fine print" that Luther never read. Barthamus pays Alice with a roll of cash and offers the Winchesters the second half of the Nephilim tracking spell. However, disgusted with what Barthamus has done, the Winchesters both refuse to trade Barthamus' bones for the spell.
With the Winchesters refusing to cooperate, Barthamus takes Alice hostage to "reopen negotiations." Barthamus demands that the Winchesters turn over his bones in exchange for Alice's life, promising to "snap her neck like kindling" if they try to burn his bones and kill him. The Winchesters reluctantly slide Barthamus' bones out and Barthamus sends a terrified Alice out to retrieve them, disapprovingly stating that the Winchesters could've had the spell but they "couldn't make it easy."
Barthamus watches in amusement as Alice apologizes to Dean who tells her to "take care of you" and gestures to Barthamus' bones where Dean has left his lighter. Not noticing this, Barthamus orders Alice to hurry up. Alice walks over to the bones, then, as Barthamus watches on in shock, uses Dean's lighter to set them on fire. With a scream, Barthamus catches on fire and burns to ash along with his vessel, killing Barthamus. The fire from Barthamus' destruction ignites the tracking spell, destroying it as well.
Outwardly, Barthamus presents the personality of a businessman who takes pride in his work, something he attributes mainly to being a Crossroad Demon. Barthamus states that he sees himself as "a natural disruptor" and that the Winchesters are kindred spirits in this way. Barthamus appears affable and willing to make a deal that is mutually beneficial, though he doesn't hesitate to use some blackmail to pressure the Winchesters into helping him. Barthamus is shown to have a distrust of Asmodeus that extends beyond his distrust for the Winchesters.
In reality, Barthamus is pure evil with a callous disregard for life, especially if it gets him what he wants. Barthamus had no compunctions against using another demon to get what he wanted and then killing the demon to cover up his actions. Upon learning that Grab was dead, Barthamus didn't care at all and simply compelled Alice to continue the job. When Luther Shrike's son drowned a few years after Barthamus saved him following a deal with his father, Barthamus simply stated that "accidents happen" and he couldn't be held responsible. He would later claim that he was a businessman and Luther just didn't read the fine print.
When making deals, Barthamus shows a willingness to complete the deal, but in general not to renegotiate it unless it is to his benefit. Such renegotiating included not collecting on Alice's deal in exchange for her working for him, but not appearing to ever let her go. Barthamus may have promised to break her deal completely depending on the amount of work she did for him as when Barthamus offered a roll of money to pay Alice, she was visibly unhappy. After killing Luther Shrike, Barthamus still attempted to complete his deal with the Winchesters despite everything that had happened and was annoyed when they wanted to "welch" on the deal because of what he had done.
Barthamus was shown to greatly hate Luther Shrike because Luther blackmailed him for two hundred years. Barthamus went so far as to describe Luther as sadistic, a murderer and not a good person. How much of Barthamus' claims regarding Luther's evil nature is unclear because he was trying to get the Winchesters to see Luther as evil, but he was very likely lying or at the very least, greatly exaggerating. Barthamus also considered Luther "a blackmailing piece of garbage" despite the fact that it was Barthamus' own actions that pushed Luther to become and do what he did. Barthamus enjoyed killing Luther, taunting that Luther never should've left his house and stating that "he had it coming" as an excuse for his actions.
Despite his intelligent and strategic mind, Barthamus possessed an arrogance and overconfidence that was his undoing. Barthamus was so overconfident in securing the Winchesters help and not getting betrayed by them despite their history of killing demons due to their common goal that he was genuinely shocked when they refused to turn over his bones because of their morality. He also never appeared to suspect that Alice would take the chance to betray him as moments after threatening her life, he sent her to retrieve his bones. When Alice grabbed Dean's lighter to set Barthamus' bones on fire, Barthamus simply stared at her in shock over her actions and as a result, reacted too slowly to prevent his own death.
One prominent aspect of his personality is that Barthamus, no matter what he is in the middle of, is always outwardly calm and even casual. Moments after decapitating Luther, Barthamus casually tossed his machete into Luther's truck and stated that "he had it coming." When threatening to kill Alice and describing what he would do to her, Barthamus remained outwardly calm about the situation. Even when angry, Barthamus would remain calm instead of becoming raging mad about it.
Powers and Abilities
- Demonic Possession - Like all demons, Barthamus required a vessel to walk the earth.
- Immortality - As a demon, he would never die or age unless killed. At the time of his death, he was over two hundred years old.
- Invulnerability - As a demon, he was invulnerable to all normal methods of harm.
- Super Strength - Barthamus stated that he could snap Alice's neck "like kindling" and held her prisoner effortlessly with just one hand.
- Super speed - Barthamus stated that he was fast enough to kill Alice in "half a second" and indicated that he possessed a great deal of speed.
- Teleportation - Barthamus could teleport anywhere he wished on Earth. Barthamus was able to appear next to Luther in a split second and decapitate him after having not been there just moments before. Barthamus was also able to appear outside of Luther's front gate in a matter of seconds.
- Reality Warping (through deals) - As a Crossroad Demon, Barthamus could warp reality to fulfill the deals he made with people.
Barthamus possessed all the weaknesses of a regular demon.
- Warding - The warding on Luther's property was able to keep Barthamus out.
- Burning His Human Bones - By threatening Barthamus' bones, Luther Shrike was able to leverage his way out of Hell. By burning them, Alice killed Barthamus.
- Barthamus is the second Crossroad Demon to be killed by burning their bones. Bobby Singer killed a female Crossroad Demon the same way in Weekend at Bobby's.
- Barthamus' bones being used as leverage to force him to "renegotiate" his deal with Luther Shrike is similar to how Bobby Singer used Crowley's human bones to break his deal in Weekend at Bobby's.
- Barthamus' death appears to have broken his deal with Alice as the hellhounds do not come after her once he is gone. This is unlike when Duke's death only resulted in the hellhounds coming after Gunner Lawless who was also forced to serve the Crossroad Demon holding his deal in exchange for not going to Hell.
- Technically, Sam also counted as a man who had been to Hell and back since he traveled to Hell in Taxi Driver to rescue Bobby Singer's soul, as well as his fall into Lucifer's Cage and his visit in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Devil in the Details to talk to Lucifer. However, Barthamus may have been unaware of this or needed someone who had died and gone to Hell and then come back.
- It is unknown how Luther managed to threaten Barthamus' bones from Hell to force him to renegotiate. Presumably Luther used a third party on Earth to threaten the bones while he was in Hell.
- It is unknown where Barthamus got Dean's cell phone number from, but he appears to have had Dean on speed dial. In return, Dean's caller ID displayed Barthamus as Unknown.