Changelings are humanoid creatures with discolored, slimy skin, hollow eyes, and a round mouth with many teeth. They can appear human, but their true nature is revealed in reflection. They feed on humans, specifically on synovial fluid.
They have been talked about throughout history as being the replacements for human children who are stolen away by monsters. The children are usually taken underground, and fed on by the mother changeling. The changeling that replaces the child looks the same as the original child, but is evil, and otherwise acts differently. They feed off the mother of the child they have taken the form of. They are very protective of their food source and will let nothing separate them from it and will kill anyone who gets in their way. The mothers get fed on gradually and will last a few months before death, at which point the changelings move on to the next neighbourhood.
Although they act somewhat like children, some mothers are able to notice that it is not their child. This is due to the mechanical way that changelings act, repeated spouting generic "childish" phrases, at times with little to no emotion behind them. Likewise, changelings have the habit of staring at people "like [they]'re lunch."
Changelings true form is discolored, slimy skin that appear to be moulting or covered with varicosities, hollow eyes and round mouth with many teeth. A changelings true form can be seen only in reflection in a mirror or other reflective surface.
Sam and Dean come across changelings in Cicero, Indiana. The activities of the changelings are orchestrated by a "mother" changeling, who disguises herself as an adult woman. The changelings steal children in the neighborhood from their beds at night and then take the real children's places in their family homes. The real children are kept alive, in cages, in the basement of a house abandoned mid-construction, for the "mother" changeling to feed off.
Meanwhile, the child changelings feed off of the human mothers' synovial fluid by suckling with their round, many-toothed mouths at the back of their necks. The changelings take their place in human homes as soon as they are formed, and feed off the mothers until they waste away. Any other humans who come between the changeling child and its prey are murdered. The mother changeling is finally killed by fire (Sam and Dean use a flamethrower). When the mother is killed, the children are destroyed also.
Powers and Abilities
- Super strength - They have superior strength to humans, however they are quite weak compared to most monsters. Young changeling are not strong enough to break through a door, while Dean was able to fight a full grown one on more-or-less equal terms.
- Lamprey-like mouth - They have sharp teeth that allow them to feed on humans, and a lamprey-like mouth, which leave a mark on the back of the neck.
- Shapeshifting - They can appear human, with their true appearance occasionally appearing in their reflection.
- Super agility - Are able to climb walls to snatch children.
- Invulnerability - Can only be killed by fire, but are not completely invulnerable, and can still be apparently stunned by blunt force, such as when a Mother Changeling was when Dean struck her in the face with a brick.
- Teleportation - One changeling demonstrated the ability to get out of a car that had sunk into a lake and appear back at "her mother's" house within minutes, soaking wet and unharmed. A Mother Changeling demonstrated that ability too, by suddenly vanishing when Sam fired a blowtorch at her.
- Fire - Setting a changeling on fire will cause its body to rapidly burn to ashes.
- Family - Killing a mother changeling will cause its children to die instantly.
- Mirrors - A changeling's true form is revealed in a mirror.
- Mother Changeling (deceased)
- Changeling Katie (deceased)
- Changeling Ben (deceased)
- Unnamed other Changeling Children (deceased)
In European folklore and folk belief, a changeling is the offspring of a fairy, troll, elf, or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. The apparent changeling could also be a stock, a glamorized piece of wood that would soon appear to grow sick and die.
In the past, European countries used to believe that a child who exhibited symptoms of autism had in fact been replaced with a changeling. As a result, some parents left these "fake" children to die in the woods.
- The book Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3, indicates that changelings can be any sort of magical creature, ranging from selkies (creatures that looks like seals, but can shed their skin to look human) to fairies, elves and trolls which are more common. "In the lore they're not called 'changeling parents', Sera Gamble explains. They're goblins and fairies and trolls, but we don't talk about fairies very much on Supernatural... except disparagingly when somebody talks about a creature that Dean is sure doesn't exist. He's like 'Yeah, fairies and unicorns..". Furthermore the book Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 6, indicates that changelings are in fact a type of fairy rather than a monster.