Whilst anyone can practice magic, witches (normally, exceptions do exist) have greater knowledge and power over harnessing mystical forces. More simply, the difference a witch and another human who uses magic is that the witch understands to formula, while the human is only repeating. Witches have existed for many centuries, and are found in many races' lore. The source of their power is stated to be most commonly demons (easiest way, though perhaps not the best), in doing so the demons gain their souls. It is however also possible to learn witchcraft without outside help, as some witches have been shown to be self-taught; in fact, some witches have been stated to have nothing to do with demons whatsoever.
Witches commonly form covens, but this is not a necessity. They are also often social, and meet with other witches.
Some witches have familiars, however, this is comparatively rare.
Although witches aren't inherently evil, most nonetheless often turn evil (or at least have moments of disregard) as their power can corrupt them, or they make deals with demons for more in exchange for their souls. Dean compares it to crack, stating that once they get it, "it's surprising what they will do."
According to Rowena, there are three kinds of witches, what the Grand Coven refers to as the Borrowers, the Naturals and the Students. The Borrowers are witches who get their power from demons, the Naturals are born with a natural gift for magic and the Students are people with no innate magical power who are taught by other witches to harness magic. Of this the Borrowers make up the vast majority, while the Naturals are the rarest.
- Ruby (Deceased)
- Tammi (Deceased)
- Renee Van Allen (Deceased)
- Elizabeth (Deceased)
- Amanda Burns (Deceased)
- Don Harding (Deceased)
- Tracy Davis (Deceased)
- Charlie (Deceased)
- Lia (Deceased)
- Gary (Retired)
- Trevor (Deceased)
- Nora (Retired)
- Don Stark
- Maggie Stark
- Howard (Deceased)
- Nora Havelock
- Delta Mandotta
- James Frampton
- Spencer (Deceased)
- The Wizard of Oz (Deceased)
- Katja (Deceased)
Powers and Abilities
There are significant differences in power between witches, with some being powerful enough to stun even low-level Leviathans, while others can hardly even defend themselves against human attackers. As such, not all witches have the same abilities. Below is a list of powers demonstrated by different witches over the course of the show.
- Spell Casting - The act of changing and/or controlling events through the use of charms, hexes, rituals, etc. Powerful witches like Don Stark can easily cripple a Leviathan, however he states he can't kill them. Witches commonly require rituals and objects to direct the spells, such a Hex bags, or enchanted objects like Tarot cards or coins.
- Hexing - A common use of magic; this causes the person at whom the spell is aimed to die by manipulating the environment around them.
- Telekinesis - The act of controlling and manipulating the movements of objects and people by mere mental influence.
- Electrokinesis - Some witches may be able to generate electricity through a spell, though it is not proven.
- Biokinesis - Some witches can use magic to manipulate the human body.
- Tracking - Some witches can use magic to track down others.
- Summoning - Some witches have used spells to summon demons.
- Reality Warping - Some are able to alter reality through magic, but this is usually only to a very small degree.
- Longevity - Some witches have been shown to live much longer than typical humans. Some are even potentially immortal, but they can still die as easily as normal humans, provided the attack can get through any invulnerability spells.
- Pyrokinesis - One witch was able to conjure fire.
- Astral Projection - One witch was able to project both his own awareness as well as those of Sam and Dean out of their bodies. Another was able to use a spell to spy on her son.
- Memory Manipulation - One witch was able to transfer memories into the mind of another witch. He was also able to bring forth memories of Hell and Lucifer's cage in Dean and Sam respectively.
- Granting Invulnerability - One witch was able to charm himself so that he survived being hit by a car without a scratch, and also implied that being hit by bullets would only tickle him.
- Teleportation - One witch showed the power to teleport over short distances.
- Super Strength - One witch was strong enough to lift a full-grown familiar into the air and slam him down with ease. Another was strong enough to rip victims to shreds with his bare hands.
- Power Granting - One witch was able to make her loyal servant immortal.
- Potion Brewing - The act of brewing and concocting paranormal elixirs that contain supernatural properties.
- Grimoires - Certain witches use books and tomes that provide instruction on incantations, spells and sigils.
- Candles - Materials used to amplify a witch's spells.
- Hex Bags - Materials used to curse, kill, enchant or protect another person.
- Herbs and Roots - Materials used as ingredients for brewing magical potions.
Despite their great powers, witches are still mortal humans, and can die just as easily as them, unless they use magic to enhance or protect themselves.
- Iron - It appears that some, of if not all, of a witch's powers can be blocked with iron, as James couldn't astral project until his iron chains were removed. Likewise, he most likely couldn't use magic to escape, as he asked Dean and Sam to remove the iron chains(though it should be noted that astral projecting transforms one into a living ghost, and ghosts cannot cross iron).
- Witch Killing Spell - A spell that Bobby taught Sam and Dean; once prepared, it kills any witch it hits, and makes it impossible for them to use magic to protect themselves. It has a very small area of effect, as it killed one witch but left another who was standing only a few feet away unharmed.
- Mortality - Based off the fact that witches are still human, they share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.). However, it is known that especially powerful witches can overcome these weaknesses.
- Season 10
- Out of all the "creatures" that Sam and Dean have faced, they have the poorest record against witches; only three of them have been defeated by the Winchester brothers specifically. More often than not, they were killed by a demon that they were associated with (who, ironically, are easier to dispose of) or other witches.
- Its stated that the main source of most witches power is demons, however there has only been one proven case of this (and three possible but unproven ones). And several cases have been disproven. This is later explained by Rowena as it being the most popular method, but is not the only way to be a witch.