|“||"You demons. You think you're something special, but you're just spirits -- twisted, perverted, evil spirits, but end of the day, you're nothing but ghosts with an ego."||”|
Demons are malevolent spirits created by Lucifer. They are created from corrupted human souls that have endured extensive torture in Hell by Alastair and other demons. They become corrupted and extremely evil, and also very powerful, in this process. The species as a whole functions as the series' primary antagonists and are the most recurring supernatural creatures in the series. Similar to Angels, they require a Vessel to walk the earth, though are able to roam in their smoke form.
|“||"My soul did a stint in Hell, where it became demonized. Then I had to possess another person so I could traffic with the living."||”|
After humans were fully evolved, God created a paradise on Earth called the Garden of Eden. He placed humanity in the Garden, and declared them his favorite creations.
He told all the angels in Heaven to bow down before the humans, and serve them. The archangel Lucifer refused to bow down before a species that was younger, and inferior to him. He claimed that they were "flawed, and murderous." He declared war against God, and was eventually cast down to Earth.
God placed Gadreel (his most trusted angel) to guard Eden from the fallen Lucifer. Lucifer somehow managed to break past Gadreel's defense, and snuck into the garden. As a payback to God, he corrupted Lilith's (Adams first wife) soul, and made her into the first demon. Once a beautiful human soul, Lilith was now a twisted, corrupted cloud of black smoke.
Lucifer, still in the garden, corrupted the minds of the humans, and tricked Adam and Eve (Adam's other wife) into eating the fruit. God cast humanity out of the Garden for disobeying him.
Adam and Eve had two sons, named Cain and Abel. Lucifer was able to manipulate Abel into listening to him, rather than God. Cain saw what Lucifer was doing, and offered his own soul, so that Abel could go to Heaven. Lucifer agreed to the deal, but Cain had to be the one to slay Abel.
Cain then fashioned a blade out of the jawbone of an ass, and Lucifer placed a mark on Cain's arm, which powered the blade. Cain took the mark and blade, and slaughtered Abel, sending his soul to Heaven.
God then created a personal cage for Lucifer, which was locked by 66 seals. Ironically, the last seal that needed to be broken, was the death of Lilith, the first demon he created, and the reason he was placed in Hell.
Before he was locked away, Lucifer ordered Cain to create more demons. After slaying Abel with the blade, the mark gave him a murderous rage, making him have to kill humans to feel better. The more he killed, the better he felt, but the less he killed, the worse he felt.
Eventually, he couldn't bear the murder, and didn't want to become the killer the mark wanted him to be, so he took his own life with the blade. The mark didn't want to let go of Cain, so instead it transformed his soul into a demon, and the first Knight of Hell.
Following Lucifer's orders, Cain picked early humans, and transformed them into demons, more specifically, Knights of Hell. He trained the Knight to be ruthless, merciless, and they pillaged the Earth.
Humans became wicked, and started going to Hell instead of Heaven. There, their souls were tortured, twisted and corrupted, where they became demons. Those demons make deals on Earth, condemning more souls to Hell, where they too will be corrupted into demons.
|“||It might take centuries, but sooner or later hell will burn away your humanity. Every hell-bound soul, every one turns into something else. Turns you into us.||”|
Although an ordinary demon is featured as a villain of the week in the fourth episode of the series, "Phantom Traveler", demons do not become actively involved in the show until the introduction of Azazel's "daughter"—possessing a girl named Meg Masters—in the second half of the season. She follows Sam and Dean Winchester, and later unsuccessfully sets a trap for them using their father. Following the release of hundreds of demons from the Devil's Gate at the end of Season 2, demons become the greatest, most common enemies the Winchester Brothers face in the series. At the same time, Dean Winchester kills Azazel with the Colt, creating a power vacuum.
Due to Azazel's death, the demons are initially disorganized and unable to execute their master plan. Some demons want Sam to lead them, while others follow Lilith. By the beginning of Season 4, however, Lilith has taken control of most of the demons and directs them to break the 66 Seals needed to free Lucifer. Under her direction, the Seals are broken, and Lilith allows Sam to kill her, thus breaking the Final Seal and setting Lucifer free. Throughout Season 5, Lucifer has command over nearly all demons. Dozens sacrifice themselves to assist him in raising Death. Others serve the Horsemen Pestilence and Famine, as well as the Whore of Babylon. Eventually, Lucifer is defeated and banished back to Hell.
In Season 6, in the aftermath of Lucifer's re-imprisonment, most demons have fallen under the command of Crowley, the current King of Hell. However, some demons, such as Meg, oppose his rule. Throughout Season 6, Crowley and his demons secretly assist Castiel in finding a way to open the doors to Purgatory in order to gain access to the millions of monsters souls inside. They succeed but Castiel betrays Crowley and absorbs all the souls for himself.
During the course of Season 7, the demons take a backseat to the Leviathans as the series' main antagonists. Under Crowley's orders, the demons refrain from attacking the Winchesters, so that the boys can defeat the Leviathans though the Winchesters come into conflict with rogue demons and ones hunting Castiel. However, with the death of the Leviathan leader Dick Roman at the end of the season, the demons are now poised to return to their original role as enemies of the Winchesters, having aided in finishing the last of the Leviathans on Earth.
At the start of Season 8, the Winchesters learn of a second tablet that holds the key to banishing all demons from Earth and closing the Gates of Hell forever. Their quest puts them in direct conflict with Crowley. Through the season, Sam and Dean come into conflict with the demons multiple times over Crowley's various goals. Eventually, after the Winchesters complete the first two of three trials needed to seal the Gates, Crowley keeps demons away from them to keep them from being used in the trial, but Sam and Dean capture him to cure him as the third trial. Crowley starts to become human, but Sam is convinced by Dean to stop after he learns from Naomi that Sam will die if he completes the trials. During the season, the Winchesters occasional enemy/ally Meg is killed. The demon Abaddon arrives in 2013 from 1958 and is defeated by Sam and Dean, but not killed. She eventually escapes after the Winchesters try to use her as the third trial and starts opposing Crowley's rule, wanting a "regime change." Sam manages to defeat her when she tries to kill Crowley, but she merely flees her vessel after it is set on fire with Holy Oil and is not killed.
In Season 9, Crowley is held captive by the Winchesters at the Men of Letters base and ultimately offers a deal in exchange for the name and location of every demon on Earth. At the same time, Abaddon has a ritual performed to have her vessel Josie Sands restored and begins a crusade to take over Hell and Earth. Her first attempt to kill the Winchesters fails thanks to the angel Gadreel. Abaddon has since been reshaping Hell in Crowley's absence, making it more chaotic and voiding all deals, taking the souls early. After Gadreel takes full possession of Sam, Dean makes a deal with Crowley to save him: in exchange for his freedom, Crowley helps Sam expel the angel. Crowley then starts a war against Abaddon for rule of Hell. To this end, he forms a reluctant alliance with Dean to find the First Blade, the only weapon that can kill a Knight of Hell. The two locate the retired demon Cain, the Father of Murder and founder and slaughterer of the Knights of Hell. Cain eventually agrees to help, giving Dean the Mark of Cain so that he can wield the Blade and the location of the First Blade which is at the bottom of the ocean. Even though Dean understands that Crowley was just using him to get the Blade, the two maintain their alliance as they need each other to defeat Abaddon who is the greater enemy. Eventually, working together, the Winchesters and Crowley find the First Blade, but Crowley takes it until they can locate Abaddon as he doesn't trust Sam and Dean not to try to kill him. Dean becomes obsessed with hunting and killing Abaddon and Sam joins him in this after learning that Abaddon is stealing souls to create an army of demons loyal only to her. Abaddon, using Crowley's son Gavin as leverage, forces Crowley to help her trap and kill the Winchesters. Crowley leads them to the First Blade, but subtly warns Dean that it is a trap when telling them where to meet him. In a final confrontation, the Mark of Cain grants Dean immunity to Abaddon's power and telekinesis, allowing him to gain the upper hand and finally kill her. Sam and Dean leave Crowley alive, but take the First Blade with them. Crowley however escapes with his son to spare him from returning to his time and dying. Crowley later reveals that Cain, the Father of Murder did not want to kill and committed suicide but the Mark of Cain proved too strong, forcing his return as a demon. The same thing happens to Dean who transforms into a demon.
In Season 10, Dean has become a demon and a Knight of Hell. Crowley wants Dean to rule by his side, but Dean is uninterested and proves too out of control for even Crowley. As a result, Crowley helps Sam capture Dean and saves Castiel to help deal with him. Sam manages to cure Dean of being a demon and he returns to hunting with his brother. At the same time, with Abaddon dead, Crowley regains control of Hell and punishes demons who transgressed against him, particularly by serving Abaddon. However, Crowley grows bored of his role and has to deal with the appearance of his mother Rowena who tries to manipulate him to gain power but fails. Cain eventually resurfaces, but is killed by Dean with the help of Sam, Castiel and Crowley. Eventually, Crowley helps remove the Mark of Cain from Dean's arm, but comes under attack by Castiel who is under a spell while the Darkness is accidentally released.
|“||They don't want anything, just death and destruction for its own sake.||”|
— Dean, describing demons
Demons are the result of human souls going to Hell and being tortured until no humanity is left in them, thus turning into demons - dark, malicious spirits that revel in pain, chaos, and death. According to Ruby, most demons forget what it means to be human. Some have even forgotten that they were once human. In general, demons engage in torture and destruction because it is fun or to avoid being tortured themselves. Some demons, however, are true believers in Lucifer's agenda to "cleanse" Earth, and actually consider themselves morally superior to humans.
There are many ways of becoming a demon, from making a deal with a Crossroad Demon, to being a witch, and making a deal with another demon. They manifest on Earth in the form of a long, slender cloud of black smoke. Crowley appears as the only exception, appearing as a blood-red cloud. Their true forms have not been shown onscreen, however Dean has seen their true forms, before he was taken to Hell. He says they look horrible even going as far to call Ruby "one ugly broad." However, their true form has been hinted at by Azazel's cloud showing a skull-like face, and when a demon is killed by any blade it reveals a skeletal fiery organ beneath, suggesting that a demon's true form is a fiery skeletal form wreathed in fire and smoke.
Once a soul becomes a demon, it gains the basic demonic powers (possession, superhuman strength, etc.) and from there, it can work its way up the ladder to positions of greater authority and power within Hell (possibly by torturing other souls). Often when a demon has used its powers, they leave a trace of sulfur in the nearby space, or if on a person, around the victim. This can give away the demon's presence, indicating to hunters that they are hunting a demon. Very powerful demons leave much more sulfur than average, as evidenced when Azazel kidnapped Sam. Some demons are sent back to Earth to accomplish certain tasks, such as causing disasters, spreading diseases, assassinating hunters, or manipulating people into committing crimes that will get them sent to Hell. To do this, they have to take a vessel or "meatsuit" in order to physically exist.
When they possess humans, they usually enter through their mouths. On one occasion, a demon entered a human via the eyes (as seen in the episode Phantom Traveler). Possessed humans often look exactly the same as they did before possession, the only noticeable change being that their eyes will sometimes change color (black, red, white, grey, or yellow depending on the demon possessing them). Demon possession also causes a chemical change in the circulatory system of the host; demon blood is known to be a unique serum and has certain attributes when ingested. Whenever they use their powers, they leave a trace of sulfur in the form of yellow dust. Angels and other supernatural beings can see the true faces of demons underneath their vessels.
Often under possession the human begins speaking and acting like the demon would. Upon exorcism the human - if they survived - retains no memory of their time during possession (unless they have been "awake" during possession, in which case the time of possession is a nightmare for them). The possessed humans also gain the powers of whichever demon is possessing them. Unlike angels, whose possession of a human vessel has to be with the vessel's consent, demons forcibly possess humans. People suffering from stress, fear or panic can be vulnerable to demonic possession. Demons abhor the name of God (which in Latin is Dio or Deus, but shown on the show as Christo).
Demons apparently cannot leave a host body if they are gagged by an encripted gag; Sam and Dean make use of this tactic against the Phantom Traveler via blindsiding it and taping its mouth shut, while both Meg and Ruby have been gagged while undergoing torture to prevent them from fleeing their hosts.
Demons have no quarrel with killing or torturing their own kind to achieve their goals. Tom, for example, tested the fake Colt by shooting his demonic "sister" Meg (Salvation). When pitted against other demons due to their individual goals, Ruby, Crowley, and Meg herself have killed their own kind without pause or remorse. High-ranking demons will casually sacrifice their underlings without hesitation. At the same time, though, some demons forge bonds with their siblings. Azazel, for example, referred to Meg and Tom as his "children" and was angered when Sam and Dean exorcised Meg and killed Tom (Devil's Trap).
It is revealed that demons, although being tortured and twisted human souls, can be cured. Father Max Thompson, a member of Men of Letters, tried to find this cure, having made several experiments, but always ending with the demons' escape. Finally, he found that it is necessary to perform it on sacred ground and use purified blood to heal a demon. He injected his own purified blood into the demon hourly eight times and after the eighth he recited the exorcism achieving the cure. (Clip Show) Sam later used this cure successfully on Dean, a Knight of Hell, but he only needed to inject him with the purified blood.
Powers and Abilities
After their spiritual decay is complete, demons develop supernatural abilities. It is unknown how demons' powers increase. However, it seems they do not gain it purely from age as Crowley is far more powerful than Meg and Ruby despite being hundreds of years younger than them.
These abilities are possessed by all demons.
- Demonic Possession - Like angels, most demons (only known exceptions are Acheri, daeva and Hellhounds) require a human vessel or "meatsuit" to travel on Earth. Unlike angels, they do not need a person's consent. Also unlike angels, demons can possess corpses. It is easier to take control of people who are in states of heightened emotions or fear. When possessing a human, the Demon invades their muscles, bones and brains and can also access their host's memories while possessing them (even if it is a brief possession). This ability can be thwarted by Anti-possession tattoos. Also under certain circumstances, the person being possessed can regain control if his or her will is strong enough. They can also possess humans who are already possessed by an angel (and probably by another demon), but the only problem is the angel can neutralize it, because angels are naturally stronger than demons. In many cases, the demon will ride the host hard for fun and once they vacate, the host will die. If the demon is strong enough, it could probably be able to forcibly possess monsters and gods' forms.
- Electromagnetic Interference - Demons, like spirits, often disrupt nearby electronics with their presence. Large numbers of demons can cause thunder storms.
- Flight - Only when in their smoke forms.
- Immortality - Demons have an indefinitely long lifespan and an arrested aging process.
- Invulnerability - Injuries that would be fatal to humans, such as broken necks or gunshot wounds, have very little - if any - effect on demons. They can only be killed by special weapons or rituals. Unlike angels they don't always heal their vessels. If the "meatsuit" receives too much damage they simply find another human to possess, leaving their former vessel to die.
- Super stamina - Demons never tire, and do not require food, water, oxygen, or sleep to sustain themselves. Sam states that they also do not get hot or cold and Dean states they do not need to urinate.
- Super strength - Demons possess superior physical strength compared to that of humans; capable of physically overpowering humans. Demons can also overpower most monsters. Once, a demon (the Phantom Traveler demon) ripped open an airplane hatch with over 2 tons of pressure at over 1,000 feet above the ground. The higher ranking the demon, the stronger it is. The highest ranking demons can overpower low-level angels.
- Supernatural Perception - Demons are able to see hidden supernatural activity and beings, such as Reapers, ghosts, and hellhounds.
- Supernatural Senses - Demons have an enhanced sense of smell and taste, demonstrated as Crowley could identify Castiel was in Dean's Impala and that he and Raphael had been using dog's blood. A demon possessing a waitress claimed she could smell Sam's soul.
- Telekinesis - Demons can move or suspend objects and other beings with their minds. Higher ranking demons can use this ability to pin their victims to walls or kill people by snapping their necks.
- Soul Extraction - Demons have the ability to forcefully remove a person's soul from their body.
Used by some (mostly upper and some mid-tier), but not all, black-eyed demons, as well as higher-ranking demons.
- Biokinesis - Some demons can manipulate the biology of other beings. Azazel, for example, was able to torture Dean by causing him to hemorrhage. Meg was also able to cause Crowley to cough up blood in a similar manner. Astaroth stopped Elizabeth's heart with a wave of her hand and Abaddon caused people to bleed from their eyes. Crowley was even able to cause a girl to explode by snapping his fingers.
- Electrokinesis - Displayed by Azazel and Crowley. They could manipulate electronic equipment to their will. Also the demon possessing Isaac's corpse was able to switch on an old radio.
- Invisibility - Some demons can become invisible to humans.
- Pyrokinesis - Some demons can generate and manipulate fire. Azazel, Abaddon and (probably) Brady have demonstrated this ability. Crowley can also manipulate fire; he has lit a fire place by raising his hand, extinguished a Holy Fire circle by snapping his fingers, and also pretended to set himself on fire.
- Telepathy - Dean mentions that some demons can read minds. Envy used this ability to gain intimate knowledge about Tamara's past without ever encountering her before or possessing her.
- Soul Reading - Some demons, particularly Crossroad Demons, can assess the condition of one's soul.
- Spell Casting - Some demons can practice witchcraft, much like witches, like altering the range/space they occupy. Other demons are adept in Enochian magic which they use to protect themselves from Angels. Alastair knew of a spell that could allow him to banish an angel back to Heaven. Meg and Casey knew of spells that they could use while inside a Devil's Trap, allowing them to break free. Astaroth was extremely skilled in magic and used it to kill witches, almost kill Dean and severely hurt Ruby.
- Teleportation - Knights of Hell, white-eyed demons, red-eyed demons, and powerful black eyed demons are able to teleport from one place to another, without occupying the space in between.
- Terrakinesis - Some demons can create small earthquakes. This was once used to destroy a Devil's Trap drawn by Kevin Tran. Abaddon was also able to create an earthquake with her presence that broke a Devil's Trap restraining Crowley.
- Voice Mimicry - Crowley was able to mimic his original hosts voice while possessing Mrs. Tran in order to taunt the Winchesters. Though never confirmed, it is hinted at that Ruby may have been the one that sent Sam a voice text of Dean, distorting what Dean would have really said.
- Thermokinesis - Certain demons such as Lilith and Crowley can emit great heat through their skin resulting in severe burns to whatever they touch. Lilith used this power to scald Sam when forcefully kissing him and later to burn through a Devil's Trap. Crowley once caused Ruby's knife to burn red hot by merely snapping his fingers, forcing Dean to drop it. (We Need To Talk About Kevin).
- Healing - Used by Crowley, he is the only demon who has shown the ability to heal others out of the context of a deal, albeit a small wound. (All Dogs Go To Heaven)
- Weather Manipulation - Some demons such as Meg and Father Gil are able to alter the weather to a limited extent such as creating sudden gusts of wind. More powerful demons like Azazel can create stronger winds and Abaddon could trigger thunder and lightning merely by screaming.
- Regeneration - At least some demons can heal their hosts from any physical injury they sustain. Meg was able to heal several broken bones after falling from a window. Crowley, Meg and Ruby have all been shot on several occasions and show no signs of injury following the incident. Crowley has also healed his vessel after being severely burned by an angels white light and being stabbed through the shoulder by an angel blade. However, after leaving their host, any injuries the body has sustain reappear and the host dies. Oddly, while Crowley has vacated his vessel several times, many of his injuries (such as his burns) did not reappear on his host (though his host seems to have died so it is possible some of his injuries did reappear).
Knights of Hell, Multicolored, White-Eyed demons, Crowley and Azazel are the only ones to use these powers. They also possess all the previous abilities at enhanced levels and are incredibly strong. Lilith and Alastair are known to be powerful enough to fight and even overpower angels who rank low on the celestial chain of command. They will still flee when confronted by Archangels.
- Access to/from Hell - High ranking demons such as Azazel, Alastair, and Crowley can easily teleport themselves back and forth between Earth and Hell, without the need for any complex summoning ritual or assistance. This however, varied among high-tier demons, as some were kept imprisoned due to unknown reasons and methods.
- Dream Walking - Displayed by Azazel only on the special children. He could enter and control the dreams of his targets.
- Mind Manipulation - Displayed by Crowley only, he was able to grant his illiterate son the ability to read simply by touching his head.
- Enhanced Immunity - As a general rule, the more powerful the demon, the more resistant they are to harm and common anti-demon methods such as salt and holy water. High ranking demons like Alastair are immune to the Killing Touch of normal angels and both he and Abaddon are immune to the killing effects of the Demon-killing knife though it causes them pain. The Knights of Hell could only be killed by the First Blade and Cain, the original Knight, is completely immune to the knife to the point it doesn't even hurt him. Azazel is completely immune to holy water, and salt. He is so far the only demon shown to have immunity to those anti-demon methods.
- Memory Manipulation - Displayed by Crowley and Azazel. Crowley stated that he "scrubbed" Kevin's short term memory and Azazel was able to erase Dean's memory of his conversation with Tessa. (In My Time of Dying)
- Summoning - Displayed by Samhain. He could summon and control various monsters, ghosts and zombies.
- Exorcism - Displayed by Abaddon and (possibly) Lilith. She forced a demon out of its host and back to Hell by choking its vessel. Lilith also claimed that she sent Ruby to Hell and then possessed her vessel.
- White Light - Used by Lilith (Jus In Bello, No Rest for the Wicked) and Samhain (It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester). High ranking demons can use this to generate massive amounts of destructive energy that can obliterate large areas. This ability is extremely rare and are otherwise present only in the more powerful angelic beings.
- Memory Extraction - By inserting part of her essence into her victim, Abaddon could access their memories (even their subconscious memories) and gain information about what they had seen and heard.
- Demonic Smiting - Cain, one of the first and most powerful demons, displayed the power to smite other demons similar to angels, but with a red glow rather than a white one.
- Animal Communication - Crowley displayed the ability to understand Olivette when she was communicating with him in the form of a hamster.
- Sedation - Crowley was able to render an entire diner full of people unconscious in the blink of an eye.
These powers can generally only be accessed in the context of a Faustian Deal or performed in Hell.
- Healing - In the context of a deal, crossroads demons can heal themselves and others of any wound as demonstrated by Azazel and Crowley. While in Hell, demons such as Alastair can heal any wound applied to their victim, so that they can continue to torture them again and again.
- Reality Warping - Crossroads demons, and a few other Demons can grant humans a wish in exchange for their souls. It is worth noting that Azazel did not need to take souls, and could grant wishes from his own power, which he did in exchange for permission to enter the homes of special children, on their 6-month birthday. Lilith also claimed she could make deals without taking a soul but this was never confirmed. While in Hell, demons can alter reality to torture people in ways that are beyond human imagination. One of the reasons Alastair despises being on Earth is because reality is "too concrete" and there are too few resources for torturing people efficiently.
- Resurrection - One of the wishes demons can grant is the resurrection of a loved one. Crowley claims that, since he is now the king of Hell, he is strong enough to resurrect anybody in his care without a deal. He demonstrated this by resurrecting Samuel Campbell in Season 6; the 'patriarch' he 'took off the bench' in order to capture Alpha creatures, which Crowley hoped would lead him to the door of Purgatory. Azazel also displayed resurrecting, the young John Winchester after he killed him, in the context of a deal. He couldn't however resurrect Dean (possibly because he hadn't crossed over yet)- instead, he possessed a Reaper, who he used to do it for him.
- Shapeshifting - Demons can take any form they wish while in Hell. Several demons were able to take the appearance of Sam and Dean while torturing Bobby Singer in Hell.
- Mind Control - The Seven Deadly Sins each possess the ability to force humans to carry out lethal actions based around the sin they represent. For example, Envy forced a woman to kill another to obtain a pair of shoes, Sloth forced a family to remain seated so they would dehydrate and starve to death and Gluttony forced Isaac to drink drain cleaner. This ability appears to be unique to the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Summoning - Samhain was able to summon ghosts, zombies and other supernatural creatures. He is the only demon known to possess this ability.
Harming, Misleading or Trapping
- Devil's Trap - A Devil's Trap will hold a demon in place and prevent its escape. No matter how powerful the demon is, they are bound by the Trap. The Trap will also keep demons from using their powers. Castiel's Enochian circle was able to completely bind even Alastair's abilities. It also locks the demon inside its host unless it is exorcised. For some reason, a demon inside a trap is usually unable to do anything to damage the integrity of the circle, which would allow its escape. A Devil's Trap engraved into a bullet and shot into Abaddon's head was shown to limit her movements like a normal Devil's Trap would and to bind her to the body she was possessing.
- Salt - Demons are unable to cross a line of salt and can do very little to damage the line at all. They cannot open doors lined with salt if opening it would break the line. Salt can also be used to torture demons by making them ingest it or by injecting them with saltwater. Forcing a Demon to ingest salt will drive them out of their host. It can also be put into shotgun rounds to hurt and knock back demons. However, Azazel is immune to this weakness and Crowley was hardly affected by rock salt shots, but he still found the experience painful.
- Holy water - Holy Water burns demons that come into contact with it, like acid (though it does no damage to the human host, only the Demon). It has proved to be very effective against demons, as only Azazel and Lilith have been thought to be immune to it. However, certain high-tier demons seem to develop some resilience to it as Ruby practically laughed when Sam was about use it against Alastair because it would barely slow him down and, while it caused them pain, it only affected Crowley and the Seven Deadly Sins for a very brief period of time.
- Iron - A demon can't touch iron without its skin burning or cross it if it is used to erect a barrier, much like salt. Samhain and Alastair were immune to this weakness and Astaroth had some resistance to it. In large groups, Demons are able to overcome this weakness, as the Demon army was able to break an iron Devil's Trap in order to escape.
- Palo Santo - Basically a wooden, hybridized version of salt and holy water. When a demon is stabbed with it, it causes the wound to smoke and painfully pins the demon to a single spot, immobilizing them long enough to perform an exorcism. Palo Santo isn't commonly used by many hunters due to the fact that it damages the hosts the demons are possessing. (The Magnificent Seven)
- Flesh Sigil - By carving a particular sigil into a demon's possessed flesh, it is possible to lock the demon within its host and disable its powers, the most important one being teleportation. However, demons with these sigils are not bound to a single place and can roam around freely if not restrained by some other means. (The Devil You Know)
- Holy Fire - Though not fatal to demons as it is to Angels, Holy Fire can cause demons extreme pain, as demonstrated when Castiel threw Meg into Holy Fire (Abandon All Hope...) and when Sam doused Abaddon in Holy Fire, causing her so much pain she fled both the scene and her vessel (Sacrifice). Another demon committed suicide by dousing himself in Holy Fire (Soul Survivor)
- Purified blood - The blood of a person who has confessed his/her sins or is blessed by a priest is shown to be able to hurt demons if injected into them. This hurts Knights of Hell more than regular demons.
Banishing and Killing
- Angels - Demons are inherently weaker than angels and therefore, are highly susceptible to the powers of angels. Even low-tier angels are able to easily overpower and kill almost all demons except the most powerful ones, demonstrating the apparent disparity in power between the two supernatural species. Only the highest ranking demons in the hierarchy of Hell could fight and overpower low-tier angels. Furthermore, in extremely large groups, Demons can over power regular angels, as shown when Crowley's army defeats Castiel's guards. However, even the most powerful demons are completely no match for Archangels and Seraphs who can easily destroy them.
- Death - Death can reap anything in existence, including demons, reapers, monsters, angels, and gods.
- Exorcism - Will pull the demon out of its host and send it to Hell. Hosts may not survive. Before Sam and Dean learned that demons could be killed by the Colt or Ruby's Knife, exorcism was the only known method used by hunters, to stop demons. Reciting the exorcism backwards will force the demon back into its host. Very powerful demons are immune to exorcism (eg. Abaddon).
- Eve - As Eve is the primordial monster and mother of all monsters, she is able to kill even the most powerful demon. She has demonstrated the ability to even block the powers of angels, further displaying her power.
- God - Being nearly omnipotent and omniscient, God can kill any demon He so desires.
- The Darkness - As an nearly omnipotent indestructible entinity, The Darkness can kill any demon it so desires.
- Hellhounds - Although normally docile towards demons, hellhounds can overpower and kill demons just as easily as they can kill humans.
- Leviathans - As monsters that predate the existence of angels, Leviathans have been shown to be capable of overpowering and killing even Seraphim. As such, even the most powerful of demons are completely no match for Leviathans and can be easily killed by them. Furthermore, Leviathans view demon kind to be a "mutation" and in one instance, called demons to be "unimpressive", displaying a collective sense of hostility towards demons.
- Physical Damage - Though demons themselves cannot be harmed by conventional means, severe damage sustained by their vessels (such as severed limbs) will greatly reduce their effectiveness in combat. Unlike angels, most demons are unable to heal their vessels. As such, if the vessel accumulates too much damage, the demon will be forced to vacate its host and search for a new vessel. However, some Demons choose to heal their host's injuries but this is relatively rare.
- Ruby's Knife - The knife originally belonged to Ruby. It will kill a demon that is within a host if the wound dealt is a fatal one. Upper level demons are more resistant to the pain of the knife, and the knights of Hell cannot be killed by the knife. The only demon that the knife had no effect on was Cain. the only definitive examples being Alastair, Abaddon and Cain. However most demons (with the exception of Cain) find contact with the knife extremely painful even when not lethal.
- The Colt - Much like Ruby's Knife, it will kill any demon that is shot while within a host if the shot is a fatal one. It is more powerful, however, as it affects upper level demons as well, even when the Knife does not.
- Bones - If the bones belonging to the demon are burned, the demon will be killed much like a vengeful spirit. This can also be used to torture demons. This until recently was believed to be merely a rumor, however Bobby tested this method against a Crossroads Demon resulting in her death. Crowley may have been aware of this method as he tried to convince Bobby it was "a myth". This tactic is very difficult to use; as it requires to know the location of a demon's bones, it may be necessary to have extensive information on their human biography, and many demons themselves can no longer remember they were ever human at all, let alone particular details of their earthly life, including their names.
- Death's Scythe - Death's Scythe can kill demons, as it is capable of reaping just about anything. Crowley confirms this when he gives Dean the scythe. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
- Ingestion of Salt - Under some circumstances, the ingestion of large quantities of salt can force a demon to vacate its host. (I Believe The Children Are Our Future)
- Unknown Virgin Sacrifice Spell - Ruby claimed to know a spell that would destroy any demon within a one mile radius. Not much is known about the ritual except that it requires cutting the heart out of a virgin. (Jus In Bello)
- Higher demonic ranks - Common demons are often afraid that they will be killed if they disobey their masters. Crowley claimed that he killed a "hive" of demons in season 5, although he most likely used a hellhound or demon-killing weapon. This goes for the other demons as well. As the strongest demon, Cain is able to smite lower level demons with red light. Crowley is able to snap his fingers, and turn lower level demons into dust, however, it is unknown whether he destroyed the demon or banished it back to Hell.
- Demon bomb - The Word of God tablet on demons describes a spell which can completely destroy demons. Kevin Tran is able to cast this spell and it is shown to work, disintegrating two demons and their vessels. (We Need To Talk About Kevin) Following instructions Kevin made in a notebook, Sam and Dean are later able to turn this into a bomb that Sam uses to kill three demons. (A Little Slice of Kevin) Sam and Dean later use it to kill four demons while rescuing Samandriel. (Torn and Frayed)
- Demon Cure - It's possible to turn a demon into a human again if, in a sacred ground, a human injects his own "pure" blood in a Demon. The blood must be given hourly for eight hours. In the last dose, the blood must be fresh and the donor must tell before the exorcism: "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, hanc animam redintegra, lustra, lustra". (Clip Show) Alternatively, the curer only need inject the purified blood and it will cure the demon. (Soul Survivor)
- Angel Blade - In Torn and Frayed, it is shown that an Angel Blade can be used to kill a demon. Sam uses one to kill two demons while rescuing Samandriel. It was earlier implied when Castiel drew his blade against Crowley. Crowley and Meg use Angel Blades to kill other demons when necessary. Even Abaddon has been shown to use an angel blade on occasion (Road Trip) and it appears to be Crowley's method of executing demons who have committed crimes against him. (Soul Survivor)
- Archangel Blade - It is thought to be even more powerful than an angel blade.
- Angel Sword - As a larger form of Angel Blade, the Angel Sword have the same power of killing Demons just like the blade.
- The First Blade - The First Blade, combined with power from the Mark of Cain, is capable of killing demons that even other weapons can't such as the Knights of Hell.
- Defigere Et Depurgare - A spell created by the witch Rowena which is capable of killing some demons.
- Special Children - Sam Winchester developed special abilities almost especially tailored to hurt or kill demons. Due to training from Ruby and ingestion of demon blood, he first developed the power to pull demons out of humans. Later the powers advanced to killing demons outright, much like the knife or the Colt. Although unknown, it is assumed the other special children would have also been able to do this as well, had they survived, trained, and ingested demon blood.
- Ghosts - Ghosts can pull Demons from their vessels as shown when John Winchester's spirit grabs Azazel.
- Hallowed Ground - Low level demons, are unable to enter hallowed ground, however stronger ones can. It is unclear if this includes cemeteries as well as churches. (Salvation)
- Hex bags - Hex bags can be used to hide people from demons as well as angels.
- Witches - Witches can harm demons with some spells, as shown when Elizabeth caused Astaroth to cough pins. However, it seems that they cannot kill Demons and witches gain most of their powers from Demons, which implies they are relatively powerless against them. (Malleus Maleficarum)
- Knights of Hell - As the second oldest breed in existence, Knights can harm if not kill low to mid-level demons, Cain was able to snap weaker demons necks with no effort and can smite them. Abaddon could excorsise demons with her bare hands, or use an Angel Blade to kill them. Dean was able to kill weaker demons by using his bare hands, or use The First Blade instead.
Types of Demons
The most common and standard class of demons on the show, black-eyed demons possess only basic powers, such as super-strength and telekinesis. Effective defenses against these demons include Holy Water, salt, iron, a Devil's Trap, etc. Stronger black-eyed demons, such as Meg, are not barred in entering hallowed ground and one demon, Tammi, is shown to have the ability of causing internal bleeding and extensive magical knowledge, such as when she recites a ritual to exorcise Ruby from her body. Tammi was also able to stop a bullet shot from the Colt in mid-air. Although the Knights of Hell are black eyed demons, they are far more powerful and possess much greater abilities.
- Main article: Crossroad Demon
Red eyed demons are one level higher than black eyed demons, and have more powers, such as teleportation and deal making. Since red-eyed demons have the ability to teleport, they are usually stationed as crossroad demons, so they can teleport to the crossroads without having to be forcefully summoned. As crossroads demons, they make deals with humans, granting them one wish in exchange for their soul. In a period of time, normally ten years, a Hellhound will be sent after the deal maker, and drag him to Hell where he will become a demon. While stationed as crossroad demons, red-eyed demons generally posses attractive females, presumably to attract men to make a deal. If favored by the Ruler of Hell, or anther higher demon, red-eyed demons can be promoted from a crossroads demon to a higher position.
- Main article: White-eyed demons
White-eyed demons are considered the generals of demons. They're terrifyingly powerful and they rank the highest in the hierarchy of Hell, just under Lucifer himself. They inspired fear in their subordinates as all other demons seemed to be terrified of them. Being as powerful as they are, they were resistant to many demonic weaknesses. They were even capable of holding their own against regular angels. So far, the only known demons of this type are Lilith and Alastair, the former of which was the very first demon to be created.
- Main article: Azazel
Azazel is the only yellow-eyed demon to appear in any episode thus far. Besides having a unique durability threshold, advanced telekinesis, he could manipulate fire, control dreams, make electrical devices go haywire, and could even possess Reapers. The initial leader of the demon army, Azazel was the designer of the master plan to free Lucifer from Hell. He was impervious to Holy Water and most other conventional defenses against demons.
Knights of Hell
- Main article: Knights of Hell
Knights of Hell are very powerful demons, said to be some of the first demons; handpicked by Lucifer himself, they were created and trained by Cain, the Father of Murder and himself the first Knight. Legend among Men of Letters had it that archangels have destroyed all but one, but in truth Cain himself killed them. Knights possess a number of abilities not seen from other types of demons. They are also nearly invulnerable, being immune to many defenses against demons, including exorcism rites and even the demon-killing knife. The only weapon that can kill one is The First Blade. With Abaddon's death and Dean being cured, Cain was the only Knight left until Dean killed him after Cain began killing again.
Cambions are demon/human hybrids, which are created when a demon reproduces with a female human virgin, by using said human as a vessel. Jesse Turner is the only known Cambion. Their powers far exceed that of any Demon and grow to much greater levels when Lucifer is out of his cage.
- Main article: Jesse Turner
Throughout the course of Supernatural, the Winchester brothers have battled demons that are unique in some way. Examples of these demons include:
- The Multicolor-Eyed Demon, Samhain, the origin of Halloween, who can be summoned through three blood sacrifices every 600 years.
- The Seven Deadly Sins, the physical embodiment's of the Seven Cardinal Vices.
- The Daeva, Zoroastrian shadow demons, who are sometimes used by other demons to attack targets, but are difficult to control, and can turn on the demon controlling them. They do not seem to require a host.
- The demons that cause disasters, a rare type, each causes a specific type of disasters, both natural or man made as on the episode Phantom Traveler (causing airplane crashes). They are also quite unique, as their form on Earth resembles insects more than smoke, they enter their victims through the eyes, and only the iris's turn black when possessing a victim. They can also possess inanimate objects such as cars and planes.
- The Acheri, demons that appear as young girls with feline features. They do not seem to require a host.
- Hellhounds - Demonic canines that drag souls to Hell upon their deal expiring. They do not require a host.
- Deva/Reshef - Demon of Plague and Pestilence and the creator of the Croatoan Virus. May be one of the Demons that causes disasters.
- Jesse Turner, a boy born from a woman while possessed by a demon, was meant to become the Anti-Christ, destined to help Lucifer not only destroy humanity, but also destroy the Host of Heaven. Lucifer's presence on Earth increased his powers tremendously. Even though he was still a child, he was powerful enough to turn Castiel into a toy figure. However, thanks to Sam and Dean's encouragement, Jesse rejected his destiny and went into hiding.
- Azazel (deceased)
- Lilith (deceased)
- Alastair (deceased)
- Meg (deceased)
- Ruby (deceased)
- Abaddon (deceased)
- Tom (deceased)
- Dean's Crossroad Demon (deceased)
- Cindy McKellan's demon (deceased)
- Christian Campbell (deceased)
- Dean Winchester (cured)
- Gerald (deceased)
- Cain (deceased)
- Astaroth (deceased)
- Brady (deceased)
- Casey (deceased)
- Channing's Demon
- Cecily (deceased)
- Disaster Demon (exorcised)
- Duane Tanner
- Ellsworth (deceased)
- Father Gil (deceased)
- Guy (presumably deceased)
- Jackson (deceased)
- Jason (deceased)
- Jeffrey's Demon (exorcised)
- Julia Wright's demon (exorcised)
- Marcus (deceased)
- Raul (deceased)
- Red (deceased)
- Rosco (deceased)
- Samhain (exorcised)
- Viggo (deceased)
- Merrick (Unseen)
- Seven Deadly Sins (three deceased, four exorcised)
- Jesse Turner (Cambion)
- Waitress (exorcised)
- Belial (tie-in Novels only)
- Judas (tie-in Novels only)
- H (tie-in Novels only)
- Eisheth (tie-in Novels only)
- Agrat Bat Mahlat (unseen) (tie-in Novels only)
- The first demon ever to appear (the disaster demon in Phantom Traveler) was notably different from the other demons that would later appear. This was the result of several retcons by the writer as they developed the demon lore.
- Demons' true forms are almost never seen on Supernatural, but if one looks carefully in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 2 after John pulls Azazel out of his vessel, a decaying skull-like face is visible within Azazel's smoke form. This is arguably also seen in demons stabbed with the demon knife or an angel blade, when their vessels flash orange and the skeleton beneath is visible. From this, it's possible that a demon's true form when disembodied, in fact, resembles an animated human skeleton engulfed by smoke.
- Crowley's true form took on a reddish smoke, as opposed to the usual black color.
- In Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting, Samhain was described as a Blue-eyed demon. It also states that orange eyed demons exist and that white eyed demons are immune to exorcism.
- Demons are the main antagonists of the Show, and the most recurring one. Up to date four main villains have been demons, specifically Azazel, Lilith, Crowley and Abaddon. Likewise three secondary villains have also been demons, specifically Meg, Alastair and Ruby.
- In Frontierland, Samuel Colt kills two demons who, upon death, flash blue opposed to the regular red-orange. It is never explained how the demons differed from others. Azazel's demonic son, Tom, also shared this trait when he was killed by the Colt.
- In Taxi Driver, it is implied that demons do not need vessels to appear human while inside Hell, as one on-screen demon (and many more off-screen) were able to appear as Sam Winchester without possessing him.
- It appears that the King of Hell can turn demons to dust with just a snap of his fingers as Crowley did to an unnamed demon. Whether this destroys the demon or merely banishes it back to Hell is unknown.
As the primary antagonist of the series, Demons, along with Angels, are arguably the most recurring supernatural creatures in the series, appearing in a total of over 90 to almost 100 episodes.
- Pilot (silhouette; later revealed to be Azazel)
- Phantom Traveler (Introduced)
- Scarecrow (Meg)
- Shadow (Meg)
- Devil's Trap
- In My Time of Dying
- Crossroad Blues
- Hunted (Offscreen)
- Born Under A Bad Sign (Meg)
- All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1
- All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 2
- The Magnificent Seven
- The Kids Are Alright (Ruby)
- Sin City
- Bedtime Stories
- Malleus Maleficarum
- Dream A Little Dream Of Me (in one of Dean's dreams)
- Jus In Bello
- Time Is On My Side
- No Rest For The Wicked
- Lazarus Rising
- Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester (Ruby)
- In The Beginning (Azazel and Ruby)
- Metamorphosis (Ruby)
- Yellow Fever (as Dean's hallucination)
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
- Heaven and Hell
- Criss Angel Is A Douchebag (Ruby)
- Sex and Violence (Ruby's voice)
- Death Takes A Holiday
- On The Head Of A Pin (Alastair and Ruby)
- The Monster at the End of This Book (Lilith)
- The Rapture
- When the Levee Breaks
- Lucifer Rising
- Sympathy for the Devil
- Good God, Y'all (as hallucinations created by War)
- Free To Be You and Me (offscreen)
- I Believe The Children Are Our Future
- Abandon All Hope... (Crowley's first appearance)
- Swap Meat
- My Bloody Valentine
- 99 Problems
- The Devil You Know
- Two Minutes to Midnight
- Swan Song
- Exile on Main Street (as a hallucination created by the Djinn poison)
- Weekend At Bobby's
- Family Matters
- All Dogs Go To Heaven (Crowley)
- Caged Heat
- Mommy Dearest (Crowley)
- The Man Who Would Be King
- Let It Bleed
- The Man Who Knew Too Much
- Meet The New Boss (Crowley)
- Slash Fiction (Crowley)
- Season Seven, Time For A Wedding
- Repo Man
- The Born-Again Identity
- Reading Is Fundamental
- There Will Be Blood (Crowley)
- Survival of the Fittest
- We Need To Talk About Kevin
- What's Up, Tiger Mommy?
- A Little Slice of Kevin
- Torn and Frayed
- As Time Goes By (Abaddon)
- Goodbye Stranger
- Taxi Driver
- The Great Escapist
- Clip Show
- Devil May Care
- Slumber Party (Crowley)
- Heaven Can't Wait
- Road Trip
- First Born
- Blade Runners
- Mother's Little Helper
- King of the Damned
- Do You Believe In Miracles?
- Soul Survivor
- Girls, Girls, Girls
- The Things We Left Behind
- The Hunter Games
- The Executioner's Song
- Paint it Black
- Inside Man