|Type :||Spirit (Demon)|
|Notable distinctions :||Summoned at crossroads|
Serve as Hell's deal-makers
|Related to :||Human soul|
|Culture(s) of origin :||Christian folklore|
|Native range :|| Hell|
|First appearance :||Crossroad Blues|
Crossroads demons are a type of demon which make formal deals, pacts and bargains with humans; granting the human party's wish, in exchange for their soul after a deadline (usually ten years). Crossroads demons are distinguishable by their red eyes, and are so-called because they can be summoned at a crossroads to make a deal.
Crossroads demons are distinguishable from other demons in that they turn their vessels' eyes red. They possess similar powers to regular demons, including superhuman strength, demonic possession, invulnerability against conventional weaknesses and teleportation. They also possess the same weaknesses as mid- to low-level demons. Although very high-ranking crossroads demons can be very powerful due to their rank and position in Hell, regular crossroads demons have been implied to somewhat weaker than regular-level demons, since they're 'salesmen' rather than fighters.
The most notable and iconic (but not unique to them, and possessed by powerful other demons) ability that crossroads demons use is that through a deal, they can alter reality, others' emotions and life and death to bring the human party's wish true (although it would seem that demons' use of this ability is restricted to them fulfilling their end of a deal). Crowley once indicated that crossroads' demons' ability to make a wish come true in a deal is achieved through spellcasting and is not an innate ability - the spell requires ownership of a human's soul for the demon to be able to perform it and fulfil their end of the deal. Crossroads demons also have control over hellhounds as their primary means of taking their customers to Hell when their time expires, although a crossroads demon cannot control hounds that serve another demon.
Summoning and deal-makingEdit
One can summon a crossroads demon by burying a box containing several specific items - including graveyard dirt, a black cat's bone and a picture of the mortal summoning the demon - at the dead centre of a crossroads. A crossroads demon will usually then respond and appear at the crossroads, expecting to make a deal with the one who has summoned it. Having yarrow flowers growing around the crossroads would also seem to be a component of the demon-summoning ritual, but does not seem to be a necessity. When a crossroads demon is summoned, it and the human party will discuss the terms of the deal before sealing it - a deal is usually sealed through a kiss between the mortal party and the crossroads demon, although it can alternatively sealed through the human party signing a contract (although the former method is preferred due to the contract's length of several metres).
In a deal that a demon makes, the structure of the bargain is that one wish the human party has will be granted (with immediate effect once the deal has been sealed), and in exchange, the human party will have an appointed period of time to live before their contract comes due and their time expires. The deadline a human has on Earth before their deal comes due is usually ten years, but the appointed time can be anything between one year and 25 years. When the human party's established time limit on Earth has ended and their deal is due, a hellhound will be sent to kill the human and send their soul to Hell. The human party's soul will also be sent to Hell if they die before their contract has come due. The only known means of escaping a deal with a crossroads demon is if the demon party, or a higher-level demon such as the King of Hell, rescinds the deal or declares it null and void; or if the human party breaches an extra rule the demon party set in the deal, which will cancel the deal and reverse the human party's wish in the deal.
Once the deal has been sealed, the demon party will be bound to fulfil and follow up on their end of the bargain and cannot go back on it. The demon party is also unable to directly kill or harm the human party in a deal before their contract expires; although there is a loophole in the contract which the demon party can exploit to kill the human party before their time, through having another demon stage a freak accident that would be fatal to the human party. It would seem that the human party's contract in a deal is not necessarily held by the crossroads demon that made the deal, but can be held by the demon's superior.
Role in Hell's hierarchyEdit
Crossroads demons serve Hell by making deals on Earth with humans, so as to send their souls to Hell once their contract comes due and thus raise Hell's soul count. During the power struggle between Crowley and Abaddon for control of Hell, Crowley aimed to preserve the crossroads demons' deal-making system for Hell's integrity, while Abaddon aimed to completely take down the deal-making system in favour of the ways of conquest.
Though crossroads demons appear to be more self-serving and have little affiliation with Hell's affairs that involve war and soldiers, they are nevertheless part of the demon hierarchy themselves. Crossroads demons answer to the demon that holds the rank of King of the Crossroads, and also to the King of Hell. Crossroads demons apparently also have internal hierarchy, with some of them answering to other, higher-ranking demons such as the King of the Crossroads or Lilith.
Making a deal or pact with the Devil is a cultural motif, in which a person offers their soul to the Devil or another demon in exchange for favours and the granting of wishes. The most famous and notable example of a pact with the Devil in folklore is the legend of Faust's deal with the devil known as Mephistopheles, but the concept of deals with the Devil are also elemental to numerous Christian folktales. An example of a deal with the Devil in legend that is very close to the crossroads demon concept is the urban myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at a crossroads to achieve success.
- Crossroads demons have been nicknamed 'red-eyed demons' by fans due to their red eyes which distinguish them from other demons.
- The effect for crossroads demons' red eyes have changed over the course of Supernatural - commonly, a crossroads demon's demonic eyes are entirely opaque bloodred, but sometimes the demon's eyes' would instead be all-red but with pupils and irises still visible.