|“||Your dad, he's in here with me. Trapped inside his own meat suit.||”|
Vessels, or Meatsuits, are humans who serve as the physical body or embodiment of spiritual, non-physical beings. At least some of these beings can be forcefully driven out through an exorcism while others can be driven out by the vessel.
Angels, of every variety, use possession as the means to interact with humans on Earth, and they require the vessel's permission before they can take any form of control, under a law mandated by God. Angels can bind Horsemen to their vessels, as shown by Lucifer, but if the vessel is dispossessed of the angel or is killed, the spell will break. Angels' true forms can fry humans to rotting corpses and their voices, outside vessels, can render humans deaf. Although, the Angel's true vessels can withstand their respective Angel's form and voices.
Angels have multiple people that can be vessels for them, but only one person is their "true" vessel. While in a lesser vessel, an angel's abilities are limited when compared with their true vessel, and, as evidenced by Lucifer and Hael, may be damaging to the human. Archangels require their true vessel, otherwise they will burn out the body they are inhabiting. Not all humans are even compatible to house angels, and those who are incompatible and house them, will explode.
Possessing a person has a downside as it renders them vulnerable to death by whatever they are vulnerable to by anyone that has that weapon. For example, an angel in a vessel can be killed by a human or a demon if they possess an Angel Blade when without a vessel, this would be impossible. When demons possess people, it also allows them to be killed when even an angel's powers are unable to kill them in their smoke form. However, the downside of this is that the person they are possessing is killed with them.
It is revealed that an angel that has become a human can themselves become possessed if they say "Yes." One angel believed that possessing Castiel in this way would make her stronger, but this is unconfirmed as Castiel killed her before she could force him to agree.
Demons possess the ability to restore their destroyed vessels with a ritual.
If a human bearing the Mark of Cain dies, he or she would be resurrected as a demon, with their former body serving as a vessel. This is demonstrated by Cain and Dean Winchester, both who became demons when they died bearing the mark.
More than one being may possess a vessel: for a short time, both Crowley and Gadreel possessed Sam Winchester before Sam expelled Gadreel and Crowley willingly left. Likewise, multiple Leviathans possessed Jimmy Novak for a short time, though the result was unstable.
According to Crowley, a person who is possessed can access the memories of the one possessing them and are aware of everything that being is aware of even if they don't remember it. With encouragement from Crowley, Sam is able to access a few of the memories of Gadreel.
Angel and Demon vessels don't seem to age no matter how long they are possessed: Cain possessed his original body since his death and his appearance never changed, while a demon possessed Sister Agnes for over 50 years and she didn't age either. Castiel specifically told Jimmy Novak that he wouldn't age while possessed by him so it is the same with angels.
Both angels and demons can inhabit a dead person though given that angels need their vessel's permission, this is likely unique to Castiel as he was resurrected by God in the body of Jimmy Novak while Jimmy was not brought back.
It is law that angels use vessels to interact within the physical world. But in order for this to happen, the angel must first gain consent of their would-be vessel, who must voluntarily agree to the transaction, and no angel can disobey it, and thus will only take a willing vessel and will not and can not force themselves into a human like demons, thanks to the laws of God. Even archangels aren't exempt from this. Because of that, and the fact that most humans cannot stand the sight of an angel's true form the angels have to find willing vessels. After finding a potential host, the angel will then communicate with the human through visions in order to explain themselves and ask for the human's consent to gain control of their body. Such as when Castiel contacted Jimmy Novak through his household electronics and showed him a vision of what was to come. However, Lucifer tormented his vessel in order to get his consent through psychological hallucinations. Angels who have manifested within a vessel have superhuman abilities that easily surpass the power of a demon. It is unknown whether angels supress their hosts like demons, but Jimmy described having Castiel inside him like being "strapped to a comet" and when Lucifer possessed Sam and let him speak, albeit through his own reflection, he referred to it as taking "the gag off." It has been shown however that if the vessel has enough strength of will, they can overpower the angel for at least a short time and retake control. This is true with demons as well, but for both the vessel must be exceptionally strong-willed. Its also been shown that an angel can choose to let their vessel take complete control and not even know that they are there but they can take control themselves when they wish without further permission.
Archangels however are much more powerful than regular angels and as a result their presence in a human "hollows them out" leaving a vacant empty shell once they leave the human with recovery unknown. However, this may be more of a lack of care on the part of the Archangel that causes this as Michael tells Dean that this won't happen to him if he allows Michael to use him as his vessel, despite Castiel saying that it will and that he will leave the young John Winchester who he is possessing "better than new." John is shown to be unaffected by the possession, though he was possessed for a shorter time than Raphael's vessel Donnie Finnerman who had also endured only a short possession and was left catatonic. If they aren't using their true vessel, the one they are using will decay over time, as shown with Nick.
Angels can leave the host whenever they want to or if they are called away by the higher ups, leaving the vessel with little or no memory of the time they were occupied. The process also doesn't kill the human either as angels heal their vessel's wounds completely unlike demons who's vessels have their wounds return after the demon is exorcised or leaves. Also, as angels do not need to eat, a vessel may find themselves extremely hungry after being freed from possession.
A difference between angelic and demonic vessels is that while demons are unaffected by injuries to their vessels, they don't actually heal them and when the demon leaves their vessel through choice or exorcism, if the vessel has been fatally injured, the vessel will die. This tends to happen with vessels who have been possessed over a long period of time while vessels who have possessed for a much shorter period of time may survive, though traumatized. In the case of angels, when their vessels take injuries, they heal the injuries and the vessel will live if the angel leaves no matter how severe or fatal the injuries the vessel took over its possession. In one case an angel offered to use this aspect of taking a vessel to heal Sam Winchester of the damage he got from doing the Trials of God, something he could not heal by himself with his normal powers but apparently could with enough time through possession.
A vessel of an angel, due to their consent being needed for possession, can actually expel the angel possessing them if they wish to. Gadreel and Dean kept Sam from knowing of his possession by the angel to prevent this very thing from happening, but Sam, after learning of Gadreel's possession of him, managed to expel the angel once he knew the truth. Another aspect of this is that it's shown that even with a willing vessel if an angel leaves for any reason, they need the vessel's permission a second time when they return: Castiel needed Jimmy Novak's permission again after being pulled back to Heaven and Gadreel's original vessel had to give him permission once more when he was expelled by Sam.
Castiel's vessels are applicable through the Novak lineage.
- Jimmy Novak - Religious family man who was selected by Castiel to act as his vessel. Acts as Castiel's first on-screen vessel until Castiel is pulled back to Heaven. Jimmy allows Castiel to possess him a second time to save his daughter from possession by the angel. Jimmy later died when Raphael smote Castiel and while Castiel was brought back, Jimmy wasn't though Castiel continues to occupy his body.
- Claire Novak - Briefly allowed Castiel to possess her to save her family but he eventually left her for her father.
- Sam Winchester - When Dean suggested Castiel possess Sam to help him expel Gadreel, Castiel confirmed it was possible but he would need Sam's permission also.
- Dean Winchester - As Castiel can possess Sam, it is likely he can possess Dean as well if he has his permission.
All descendants of Cain and Abel are capable of successfully containing Michael without discomfort.
- Cain - The first true vessel of Michael.
- Dean Winchester - Metaphorically the Sword of Michael, he was preordained from the birth of humanity to host Michael.
- Henry Winchester - Since Henry is a descendent of Cain and Abel and a member of the Winchester bloodline, it's assumed that he could be a possible vessel for Michael.
- John Winchester - He was chosen by Michael to serve as an alternate vessel so that he could save Mary Winchester (to ensure Sam and Dean were born) and converse with Dean.
- Adam Milligan - He was chosen by Michael as an alternate vessel.
- Sam Winchester - As revealed by Michael, Sam is a descendant of Cain and Abel so it can be assumed that Sam has the ability to contain Michael. However, Michael would likely not use him as he is Lucifer's true vessel.
The requirements to host Uriel are unknown.
- Uriel's vessel - Uriel's primary vessel on the series.
- Uriel's second vessel - Vessel briefly used by Uriel in the past. Possibly the same man as the first.
The requirements to host Zachariah are unknown
- Zachariah's vessel - An unknown man used as Zachariah's vessel on Earth.
Through being related to Cain and Abel, although not a huge aspect. It's crucial to consume immense quantities of demon blood (meaning gallons) to host Lucifer without damage. Even Sam, Lucifer's true vessel, had to drink gallons of demon blood before he gave Lucifer consent to posses him.
- Abel - The first true vessel of Lucifer.
- Sam Winchester - He was preordained from the birth of humanity to host Lucifer. All of the events that occurred had prepared Sam to be Lucifer's vessel, such as Azazel feeding Sam demon blood when he was a baby so that he could gain special psychic abilities, Ruby training Sam's abilities so that he could kill Lilith and break the final seal and getting him addicted to demon blood (to presumably prepare him to host Lucifer), etc. Sam was briefly possessed by Lucifer before regaining control and throwing himself (while being possessed by Lucifer) and Michael (possessing Adam) into the Cage. Unlike the vessels for Michael, Sam is the only one in the Winchester family that can be the true vessel for Lucifer. Michael is able to use alternate vessels in the Winchester family other than Dean (his true vessel) such as Henry, John, Adam and even Sam himself (although Michael would most likely not use Sam).
- Nick - He was chosen by Lucifer to serve as his vessel until Sam agreed to say "yes" to him.
Requirements to be a suitable vessel for Raphael isn't known, however he possess two different vessels over time.
- Donnie Finnerman - was chosen by Raphael to serve as a vessel.
- African-American Woman - Anonymous and unclear of origin, this woman assented, and got possessed by Raphael.
The requirements to host Gabriel is strictly unknown.
- Gabriel's vessel - Nothing about this vessel is known but he had to give his assent to Gabriel, some millenia ago.
Samandriel apparently doesn't have any specific requirements for his vessel as he stated he just grabbed the nearest one.
- Alfie: Samandriel possessed a young fast food worker named Alfie.
Gadreel seems to be able to possess anyone who is suitable as long as they give him consent.
- Gadreel's vessel - Nothing is known of this man except that Gadreel possessed him after falling to Earth. He later abandoned him for Sam Winchester and the man was left with no memory of the experience. He later agrees to Gadreel possessing him again after Sam expels the angel and acts as his vessel until his death.
- Sam Winchester - In order to heal Sam of the damage done to him by the Trials of God and to recuperate from injuries he himself sustained falling to Earth, Gadreel takes Sam as his vessel, but lets him remain in control with no knowledge of it though he is able to take control at will. He eventually takes full permanent control of Sam, but with Crowley's help, Sam expels him.
Hael needs someone capable of holding an angel properly or the body will decay.
- Gloria Lewellen Jacobson - According to the death records of Hael's vessel, her name was Gloria Lewellen Jacobson and she was 19 years old.
- Jimmy Novak/Castiel - As her vessel was decaying, Hael planned to possess Castiel and his vessel Jimmy Novak as Jimmy was stronger and could more easily contain an angel.
Ephraim apparently only needs someone capable of safely being a vessel.
- Ephraim's vessel - Ephraim's vessel was a devout man who became obsessed with the Reverend Buddy Boyle and let Ephraim in when he asked. This was Ephraim's first and last vessel.
Thaddeus apparently doesn't have any specific requirements for someone to be his vessel.
- Cory - Thaddeus possessed a singer named Cory.
Abner apparently doesn't have any specific requirements for his vessel.
- Alexander Sarver - Abner possessed an abusive man named Alexander Sarver.
Rebecca is apparently able to possess anyone who gives her consent.
- Darlene Foster - Rebecca possessed a young woman named Darlene Foster.
Josiah apparently doesn't have specific requirements for a vessel.
- Sean Flynn - Josiah used a young man named Sean Flynn from Omaha, Nebraska for a vessel.
Flagstaff apparently doesn't have any requirements for a vessel.
- Flagstaff's vessel - Flagstaff took a young doctor as her vessel.
Hannah apparently has no specific requirements for a vessel.
- Caroline Johnson - Hannah possesses Caroline to manifest on Earth. After year of possessing her, Hannah returns to Heaven so Caroline can go back to her husband.
Unlike angels, demons do not need permission to possess a human's body. They can also occupy corpses.
- George Phelps - Possessed by the Disaster Demon to crash Flight 2485.
- Chuck Lambert - Possessed by the Disaster Demon in order to kill Chuck, a survivor of Flight 2485.
- Co-Pilot - Possessed by the Disaster Demon to crash Flight 424 and kill stewardess Amanda Walker who survived Flight 2485. Exorcised from the co-pilot by Sam Winchester before it could succeed.
- Meg Masters - It is not known what the demon's real name is but she occupies Meg and probably names herself after her. Even after Meg Masters dies, she retains her name as Meg. The demon is eventually exorcised but the real Meg dies of the injuries she sustained while possessed.
- Meg - The demon Meg first possesses Meg Masters, taking her name as her own, but later possesses Sam Winchester and a girl from Cheboygan who wanted to be an actress. Dies in the girl's body at the hands of Crowley.
- Tom - A young man possessed by Azazel's "son." Helps capture John Winchester while possessed, but both the demon and the young man are killed when Dean Winchester shoots him through the head with the Colt to save his brother.
- John Winchester - John is possessed by the demon Azazel to trap his sons and get The Colt. John briefly manages to regain control, allowing Sam to get the Colt and shoot Azazel in the leg. Azazel loses control, but Sam can't bring himself to kill his father and Azazel flees John's body.
- Trucker - In an attempt to kill the Winchesters, a demon possesses a trucker and rams the Impala, fatally injuring Dean and slightly injuring Sam and John. The demon attempts to finish the job, but when Sam pulls the Colt on him, he flees the trucker who survives his possession.
- Azazel - Possesses two unknown men to go feed Demon Blood to Sam Winchester and Rosie Holt and later possesses John Winchester to get the Colt. Flees John to survive and later possesses a janitor at a hospital when summoned by John to make a deal to save Dean's life. Possesses the janitor up until both he and his vessel are killed by Dean with the Colt.
- Dean's Crossroad Demon - Possesses a young woman in a flashback where she makes a deal with Robert Johnson, possesses another young woman when Dean summons her and flees her body after breaking her deal with Evan Hudson, possesses another young woman to make a deal with Dean to resurrect Sam and yet another when Sam summons her to break Dean's deal. Dies with the young woman when Sam shoots her with The Colt.
- Sam Winchester - Briefly possessed by the demon Meg who tries to force Dean to kill him by making Dean think he has turned evil. After Bobby Singer burns off the symbol tying her to the body, they attempt to exorcise her, but she flees instead. Crowley later briefly possesses him to help him expel Gadreel but leaves him without doing anything further afterwards.
- Walter Rosen - Possessed by Envy who uses him to make a young woman kill another young woman. After he is captured by the Winchesters, Tamara and Bobby Singer, Tamara exorcises Envy, but Walter doesn't survive the exorcism.
- Ruby - Ruby first possesses an attractive young blond woman, but after Lilith supposedly sends her back to Hell, she possesses "some secretary" before possessing a Jane Doe. She later possesses a maid but returns to Jane Doe and dies in her body at the hands of Dean.
- Isaac - Possessed by Wrath after being killed by Gluttony to trick the Winchesters, Tamara and Bobby Singer into opening the door to their house. Stabbed with Palo Santo by Tamara and later exorcised by Bobby.
- Casey - In Elizabethville, Ohio, a demon possesses Casey and uses her to manipulate the people of the town into giving into their baser instincts. Both demon and vessel are killed by Sam Winchester with The Colt.
- Father Gil - Priest possessed by a demon in Elizabethville, Ohio and the lover of the demon possessing Casey. Both demon and vessel are killed by Sam Winchester with The Colt.
- Tammi - Woman possessed by the demon Astaroth to manipulate a coven of witches into selling their souls to her for power. After a fight, both Tammi and Astaroth are killed by Dean Winchester with the Demon-killing knife.
- Karen Singer - Karen was possessed by a demon and her husband, Bobby, not knowing what was going on, fatally stabbed her trying to stop her. Eventually Rufus Turner exorcised her and Bobby became a hunter.
- Lilith - Throughout seasons 3 and 4, Lilith possessed four different people: a brunette girl when she goes after the police station in "Jus In Bello," the Freemont's daughter and Ruby's initial vessel in "No Rest For The Wicked" and a "comely dental hygienist from Bloomington, Indiana" in "The Monster at the End of This Book" and "Lucifer Rising" and dies in the hygienist's body.
- Alastair - First appears on Earth by possessing a pediatrician, but his original vessel is destroyed by the light Anna Milton emitted when she regained her Grace and became an angel again. Possessed another man to confront Sam and Dean in a cemetery, but fled when Sam tried to exorcise him with his power. Alastair possessed a third man to continue with his efforts to kill two Reapers and break one of the 66 Seals, but was captured by angels. Killed by Sam Winchester with his psychic powers while possessing that man.
- Bobby Singer - Bobby was possessed by a demon working for Meg to find out the location of the Michael Sword. When ordered to kill Dean by Meg, Bobby managed to regain control of himself for a moment and stab himself with the demon-killing knife. The demon died and while Bobby himself survived, he was left paralyzed until a demon deal restored his legs.
- Julia Wright - Julia is possessed for nine months in 1997 by a demon who impregnates her with a Cambion. She regains control when giving birth to her son Jesse Turner and uses road salt to force the demon to leave her body. The demon later returns in 2009 to possess her once more to locate Jesse. The demon nearly succeeds in convincing Jesse to join it, however, Jesse, after being convinced to do the right thing by Sam, exorcises the demon with his powers.
- Crowley - According to Crowley, his meatsuit is that of a moderately successful Literary Agent from New York. Not much else is known about this vessel. He later briefly possesses Linda Tran, Sam Winchester and Andre Devlin.
- Nora - A teenage girl who got into witchcraft, Nora is possessed when Trevor summons a demon in order to have it kill Dean and collect a reward. The demon kills Trevor and goes after Dean who fails to kill her. However, Dean and Gary Frankle exorcise the demon together, sending it back to Hell and saving Nora.
- Brady - Brady is a young man and friend of Sam Winchester who was possessed by a demon during college to get close to Sam. He introduced Sam to and killed Jessica Moore and later worked for Pestilence. Both demon and vessel were killed by Sam in revenge after getting Pestilence's location from him.
- Christian Campbell - Christian is possessed by a demon working for Crowley to keep an eye on Samuel Campbell and his operation. Both vessel and demon are killed by Dean Winchester when he tortures Meg.
- Lisa Braeden - After kidnapping Lisa, Crowley has a demon possess her in case Dean manages to rescue her. When Dean does arrive to rescue her and her son Ben, the demon takes Ben hostage and taunts both him and Dean, but Dean starts to exorcise the demon. To force him to stop, the demon makes Lisa fatally stab herself, but Dean finishes the exorcism anyway and the demon is sent back to Hell. Lisa survives as Castiel later heals her.
- Jeffrey - Jeffrey was a willing host to a demon and actually enjoyed being possessed before being captured, tortured and exorcised by Dean. Tried to get the demon to possess him again but failed.
- Nora's son - Possessed by Jeffrey's Demon instead of Jeffrey himself. Exorcised by Nora Havelock.
- Don Harding - A witch who was sacrificed by his sister Tracy Davis and became the vessel for the demon Samhain. Eventually exorcised by Sam.
- Cindy McKellan - This nurse was possessed by a demon who served as Lilith's "chef". After being captured by Sam and Ruby, the demon released control of Cindy as a means of taunting Sam. Despite his initial reluctance, Sam sacrificed Cindy in order to drink her demonic blood. 
- Channing - Possessed to keep an eye out for Kevin Tran. After Kevin escapes, Crowley has the demon leave Channing and then kills her.
- Linda Tran - Possessed by Crowley to get The Word of God tablet. After Dean nearly kills him, Crowley flees Linda who survives, but is at first catatonic. 
- Josie Sands - Possessed by Abaddon to infiltrate and destroy the Men of Letters. Is abandoned and left to die when Sam douses Abaddon and Josie in Holy Fire. Abaddon later gets Josie's body restored to act as her vessel, but it is unclear whether or not Josie herself is resurrected. Its later revealed that she volunteered to allow Abaddon to possess her to save Henry Winchester from possession. If Josie was resurrected, she is killed again when Dean Winchester kills Abaddon in her body with the First Blade. (As Time Goes By) (Sacrifice) (Devil May Care)(Mother's Little Helper)(King of the Damned)
- Peter Kent - Family man possessed by a demon and made to devour his own children. In 1958, Father Max Thompson captured him and performed the Demon Curing Ritual on him. The ritual worked for the first time and the demon in Peter became human.
- Colette - Possessed by Abaddon to try to force Cain into working with the Knights of Hell again. Instead, Cain slaughters all of the Knights but Abaddon and demands she leave Colette. Unable to convince Cain, Abaddon starts to cause fatal damage to Colette's body and flees her when Cain starts to stab her with the First Blade, causing Cain to kill Colette who was still alive.
- Del - Young man possessed by a demon working for Crowley and keeping Linda Tran and Candy prisoner. Both demon and vessel are killed by Linda Tran.
- Snooki - Possessed by a Crossroad Demon and summoned by Sam and Dean to locate Crowley. Exorcised after giving them what they want.
- Andre Devlin - Briefly possessed by Crowley to learn the location of the First Blade. Retained no memory of the brief experience.
- Mother Superior - Possessed by Abaddon as part of her plan to steal souls from people. Abandoned for Josie Sands.
- Sister Agnes - Possessed by a demon working for Abaddon as part of her plan to steal souls to create her own army. Possessed from 1958 to 2013 where both the vessel and demon are killed by Sam Winchester.
- Jake - Young man possessed by a demon as part of a test organized by Crowley for Dean.
- Drew Neely - Man possessed by a demon who then went on to kill his family. Was possessed for three years and the demon was a loyal follower of Abaddon until her death. Attacked Dean after getting his location from Crowley but was killed by Dean with the First Blade.
- Gerald - First possessed a man to help Raul run a demonic brothel but fled him when Rowena killed Raul with a spell. He then possessed a construction worker to report in to Crowley and was eventually killed by him in that body due to Rowena's lies.
- Eve's vessel - Not much is known about Eve's vessel, except that she was a young virgin who was kidnapped by Eve's dragons.
Leviathan can possess any human body they come in contact with. They obtain the memories of their vessel and replace their blood with black goo. The Leviathan can transform its initial vessel into any other creature whose DNA it absorbs.
- Castiel - Served as the initial vessel for all the Leviathan. When his body was destroyed, the Leviathan escaped into the water supply.
- Annie - A little girl that was the vessel for the Leviathan that would later become Dr. Gaines.
- Edgar - The human vessel chosen by Dick Roman's Second-In-Command. Retained throughout the rest of the season.
Reapers can possess people to manifest in physical form and interact directly with humans.
- April Kelly - A Reaper possesses April Kelly to find Castiel.
Some ghosts are powerful enough to possess people.
- April - A student at Truman High School possessed by Dirk MacGregor, Jr.
- Three students - Dirk possesses three other students, one to get revenge on a bully, another to attack Sam and another to try to stop Sam and Dean from burning his lock of hair.
- Eddie - Bus driver possessed by Dirk to keep his lock of hair safe from Sam and Dean.
- Louise - Motel maid possessed twice by Bobby Singer to get revenge on Dick Roman.
- Mary Lew - Possessed by the Specter Vance Collins to get revenge on her husband for cheating on her years before.
- Scott Lew - Possessed by Vance Collins to get revenge on Jeff Bult for destroying their tire company.
- Doug Wallace - Possessed by Vance Collins to take revenge on his overbearing boss.
- Dean Winchester - Possessed by Vance Collins to get revenge on his brother Sam for abandoning him in Purgatory.