| Demons in smoke form|
Demons possessing human bodies
|Notable distinctions :||Altered, contorted human souls|
Demonic black smoke
Changes vessel's eye colour
Weakness to angels and holy miscellanea
|Main weaknesses :|| The Colt|
|Related to :|| Human soul|
|Culture(s) of origin :||All worldwide cultures|
|Native range :|| Hell|
|First appearance :||Pilot|
Demons - sometimes colloquially referred to as devils, and referred to in the Word of God as Fallen Humanity - are dark, evil, malevolent spirits of Hell, originally invented by Lucifer. They are essentially human souls that have been severely mutilated and corrupted to a point of losing their humanity. Most demons are normally trapped in Hell, but some can reach the Earth, where they can take physical form by possessing human bodies.
Demons are created from human souls when said souls are mangled, warped, corrupted and mutilated "beyond human recognition;" (Black) burning away their humanity and feelings, and leaving a dark, cruel spiritual creature of pure malice and evil.
The usual way in which souls are turned into demons is by being constantly immensely tortured, corrupted and mutilated over a matter of centuries (most commonly in Hell by the demon torturers' hands). (Malleus Maleficarum onwards) Another way was via the effects of the Mark of Cain; if and when a human with the Mark died, the Mark would retain its hold upon the host's soul, and would revive the host but with their soul transformed into a demon. (Do You Believe in Miracles?)
After a soul has been turned into a demon, according to Ruby, some demons not only forget conscience and empathy and what it means to be human, but also that they ever even were human. (Malleus Maleficarum)
Demons' true form can be seen beyond their vessels' faces by other supernatural beings (such as angels), and by humans whose crossroads deal is up. (No Rest for the Wicked, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Reading Is Fundemental) Demons' true forms have been described as very awful-looking and horrific to look at. Dean Winchester, when able to see demons' true faces, described Ruby's as "an ugly old broad". (No Rest for the Wicked) Likewise, Anna Milton reacted with horror to a demon's true face and exclaimed, "What's wrong with your face?!" (I Know What You Did Last Summer) Glimpses of demons' true faces indicate them to look like human skulls in shape. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2, Abandon All Hope...)
In Hell, demons could at least sometimes, instead of appearing in their true forms, appear in ordinary-looking human forms. They could apparently also choose which human's form to take if they wished to impersonate someone this way. (Taxi Driver)
On Earth, demons manifest as long, slender clouds of black smoke and vapour; though there is one known demon whose smoke form on Earth is instead bloodred in colour. (What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, Road Trip, Blade Runners) Demons generate electromagnetic interference in this smoke form, especially when together in large numbers, which is sometimes visible as crackles of purple lightning within the demon smoke. (The Magnificent Seven, Jus in Bello)
Demons can enter and possess human bodies on Earth, with which to better interact with the physical plane than would be possible in their smoke form. When a human is possessed by a demon, the only distinguishing feature is that when the demon is expressing malice or showing its true nature, the host's eyes will change to demonic eyes. Demons' true eyes are usually pure-black, but it can vary depending upon the type and class of the possessing demon; Lilith and Alastair had white eyes, crossroads demons have red eyes, and several other special demons have been shown to likewise have different-looking eyes.
On Earth, demons can possess human bodies as vessels for them to use to physically interact with the corporeal world. Unlike angels, demons do not need a human's consent to possess them, and can force their way into any human body they want. Demons can also possess corpses as well as living bodies. (Phantom Traveller, Devil's Trap et al.) Humans are especially vulnerable to possession when feeling scared or anxious. (Phantom Traveller) Demonic possession can be blocked by wearing anti-possession charms. (Born Under a Bad Sign onwards) Demons usually possess a body by entering it in their smoke form through the mouth. Very powerful demons such as Azazel can even possess reapers' incorporeal forms as well. (In My Time of Dying)
Once a human is under demonic possession, they can behave much like they ordinarily would when the demon is incognito, but the demon's personality and behaviour takes full control once the demon is either exposed or revealing itself. Throughout the possession, the possessed person's consciousness is actually kept suppressed by the demon, although it can briefly "awaken," becoming aware of what the demon is doing with their body. The possessing demon can, if it opts to, give the human consciousness back control of their body while the demon remains dormant inside; (Lucifer Rising) or the human can briefly take back control from the demon through very strong willpower. (Devil's Trap, Sympathy for the Devil)
Demons are also capable of entering angels' possessed vessels, but unlike with other humans, the demon in question can't actually possess or control the person when they do so: the demon can simply enter the possessed person's mind an make contact with them, and the possessed body is rendered immobile in the real world while it has both an angel and a demon inside it simultaneously. It has also been shown than when a vessel contains both an angel and a demon this way, it will exhibit both angelic and demonic weaknesses simultaneously (being burned by holy water and being bound by angel-warding). When a demon enters an angel's vessel like this, it would seem that they can initially skulk around in the person's mind undetected, but once the possessing angel locates them inside the subconscious, the demon has no fighting chance against the angel and can easily be overpowered. (Road Trip, Hell's Angel)
Demonic possession apparently causes a chemical change in the vessel's circulatory system, making the vessel's blood become demon blood; (In My Time of Dying et al.) and whenever a demon uses their powers, they leave behind a trace of sulphuric yellow powder. It would appear that the amount of sulphur a demon produces depends on its power-level; most demons only leave very small traces of sulphur, (Phantom Traveller et al.) whereas Azazel left much thicker amounts of it. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1) The biological changes that demons cause to their vessels are said to be because when a body is under demonic possession, the demon infects every cell, muscle and body part. (Torn and Frayed) Like with angelic possession, demon-possessed bodies too will not age (in the case of living hosts) or decay (in the case of possessed corpses) for as long as the demon inhabits it. (I Know What You Did Last Summer, First Born, Mother's Little Helper)
During demonic possession, if a living vessel suffers any injuries, then while the demon inside will be unharmed and will force the vessel to stay animate, it will not heal or repair the damage; as a result, if a demon is possessing a living body that's sustained fatal injury during the possession, then the person will die once the demon leaves their body. (Devil's Trap et al.) Demonic possession apparently also doesn't afford the possessed body as much supernatural protection as angelic possession does; while angel-possessed vessels' eyes can safely look at an angel's incorporeal form, demon-possessed hosts have their eyes burned out, if not their whole bodies vapourised, by this just like unpossessed humans. (Lazarus Rising, Heaven and Hell)
Demons can leave their human vessels by exiting through the mouth, which is called 'smoking out' due to the smoke form demons take on Earth outside of vessels. A demon can either smoke out by will, or be forcefully expelled from its vessel by means such as exorcism. (Phantom Traveller onwards) When the demon leaves its host body, the former-vessel (if alive) will usually retain no memory from the possession, except for any times when the demon let the human be conscious while the demon used their body.
Among the methods of forcefully removing demons from their vessels, the most common is exorcism. Exorcism is a painful process for the demon, and once the exorcism rites are completed, the demon will be expunged from its vessel and sent back to Hell. (Phantom Traveller et al.) It seems to vary between demon exorcisms whether or not the vessel survives the process, although if the vessel suffered any fatal injury during demonic possession, then death is effectively certain. (Devil's Trap et al.) However, very powerful demons such as Abaddon, a Knight of Hell, are immune to exorcism. (As Time Goes By, Mother's Little Helper) If a demon's vessel ingests large quantities of salt, this can also force the demon out of the vessel body. (I Believe the Children Are Our Future)
Powerful angels can, when a demon attempts to smoke out, physically grab the demon's smoke form and force it back into its vessel. (The Man Who Would Be King) A smoking-out demon can also be stopped and sucked back into its vessel by saying exorcism rites in reverse. (What's Up, Tiger Mommy?) There are some spells that can lock demons inside their vessels and render them unable to smoke out or even teleport, as can some sigils carved onto the demon's host body. (Born Under a Bad Sign, The Devil You Know, Caged Heat) Gagging or otherwise obstructing a demon's mouth can apparently stop them exiting their vessel as well. (Heaven and Hell)
Through training, tutoring and development and the consumption of demon blood to boost their powers, special children can develop their abilities to affect and harm demons; they can torture demons, can pull them out of their vessels and send them back to Hell, (Lazarus Rising et al.) and can even kill demons when powerful enough. (On the Head of a Pin, Lucifer Rising) Ghosts can physically pull demons out of their vessels and physically interact with demons' smoke forms. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2)
Though not on quite the same level as angels, as spiritual beings, demons are capable of detecting and perceiving multiple forms of supernatural phenomena and miscellanea around them which would be invisible to humans. Demons can perceive and recognise each-other in vessels on Earth, as well as angels, and they can also naturally see into the Veil and perceive ghosts, reapers and hellhounds. (Death Takes a Holiday, The Devil You Know, Caged Heat) Demons can also sense radiant supernatural energies, such as those produced by a Hand of God or the Darkness's power. (Form and Void, Hell's Angel)
Demons are powerful entities which possess multiple supernatural abilities. Though generally quite inferior to angels, demons are still highly dangerous and formidable.
Amongst the basic abilities which all demons possess, demons can exercise telekinetic powers with which to move people and objects around and through the air with their mind and with hand gestures. Demons also give their vessels enhanced, superior levels of strength and stamina in physical altercations, demons can sustain their host bodies without any need for sustenance or sleep, and demon-possessed bodies exhibit enhanced senses.
Demons are capable of successfully practicing multiple forms of magic; including but not limited to, human magic-practice such as that commonly used by witches, and Enochian runes and rituals. (Shadow et al.)
Some black-eyed demons and higher possess abilities not seen in regular, low-level demons. One of the most commonly-seen and prominent is a teleportation ability which allows these demons to instantaneously teleport away from one spot on Earth and arrive at another across any distance, provided that they aren't in some way supernatural blocked or prevented. Demons can also biokinetically torture humans, manipulating their bodies internally to induce excruciating hemorrhaging. (Devil's Trap et al.)
Demons can also manipulate electronic equipment to their will, (Season 1, Season 2) and powerful demons' abilities can cause tremors at their immediate location. Some demons also possess elemental manipulation abilities, one of the most prominent examples of which was Azazel's ability to conjure destructive bursts of fire. (Pilot et al.) A few demons, particularly crossroads demons, have claimed to be able to read humans' souls and assess the person's emotional condition. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2)
The highest-ranking and strongest demons - such as the King of Hell, Azazel, Samhain, white-eyed demons and Knights of Hell - possess some powerful special abilities, plus the lesser demonic abilities enhanced to a much stronger and more formidable degree. Some of these high-level demons are even powerful enough to challenge angels and actually overpower them. (Heaven and Hell, On the Head of a Pin, The Executioner's Song)
High- enough ranking demons are more resistant against and less affected by anti-demon weapons such as salt, holy water, (Devil's Trap) the demon-killing knife, (I Know What You Did Last Summer, As Time Goes By) and - in cases such as Alastair - even smiting by angels. (Heaven and Hell) Some of these high-level demons - such as Azazel, Crowley and Alastair - can also teleport between Earth and Hell freely, without the need for great effort or outside assistance that lower demons usually require to escape Hell. (In My Time of Dying, The Man Who Would Be King)
Two of the most powerful demons known of all, Lilith and Samhain; both displayed the ability to generate massive bursts of intense, burning light from their palms, capable of obliterating targeted people in their path and even levelling entire buildings. (Jus in Bello, No Rest for the Wicked, It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester) Azazel could also, at least with the special children who had his demonic blood, contact and appear to them in their dreams much like how angels can. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1 et al.)
When a demon makes a deal with a human, this allows the demon party to perform supernatural feats that normally no demon, nor many supernatural entities known for that matter, would be able to pull off, although the demon's capability is limited solely to upholding their end of the bargain and granting the human party's wish. It has been implied that it is not an innate ability and is down to spellcasting. (The Devil You Know)
The feats a demon has performed through a deal include: resurrection, pathokinesis, healing any illness or injury, and warping and altering reality to the correct extent for the wish of the human that makes the deal with the demon. (Crossroad Blues, All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2, Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!, Trial and Error)
Harming and trappingEdit
Injuries and physical damage to a demon's vessel that would be fatal to humans - such as stabs, gunshot wounds and blunt force trauma - do not harm the demon itself unless the injuries are caused by special means such as supernatural weapons and creatures; although the demon still does not heal the physical damage to its vessel, and thus must smoke out of a vessel and find a new host if and when the vessel is badly crippled enough by sustaining enough damage. (Devil's Trap et al.)
There are several means of binding and trapping demons and of causing them pain and/or harming or incapacitating them. Like ghosts, most demons are unable to easily cross a line of salt or break the line, and physical contact with salt causes demons great pain and can even force them out of their vessels. Iron has very similar uncrossable and weakening effects on demons. However, high-level demons such as Samhain and Alastair are more resistant if not immune to iron. (It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, I Know What You Did Last Summer, On the Head of a Pin)
Holy water is known as well to badly burn demons like acid (although it does not cause physical damage to the vessel); steaming upon physical contact with a demon, and causing them burning pain. Due to this, holy water can be used to repel, stun or torture demons. (Phantom Traveller onwards) However, particularly strong demons appear to recover from the effects of holy water quicker than most demons, (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Reichenbach) and Azazel was completely unaffected by holy water. (Devil's Trap)
Staking a demon with Palo Santo will painfully immobilise the demon and pin it to a single spot. (The Magnificent Seven) It is known that low-level demons cannot cross onto hallowed ground, although demons ranking any higher than this can, (Salvation onwards) and that hex bags can hide people from all demons; including even the most powerful demons such as Lilith. (Jus in Bello onwards)
One of the most common means of trapping and binding demons is a devil's trap. Though demons can enter devil's traps unfazed, once a demon is inside the trap (positioned on top of or directly below it), it cannot get out; not physically nor by smoking out (unless being ejected by exorcism). The devil's trap will also bind the trapped demon's powers, depending upon how complex and powerful a trap is used and upon how powerful the demon in question is; low-level demons can be rendered powerless by practically any devil's trap, while stronger demons will still be physically trapped but still able to exercise their powers unless an adequately-powerful devil's trap is used. Also, Cain, an uber-demon, stated that a devil's trap would only be able to hold him temporarily. (The Executioner's Song)
A more creative utilisation of devil's traps against demons is to carve a trap's design onto a small object such as a bullet, then get said object inside a demon's vessel. When this happens, the trap's effects will bind and restrict the demon's physical movements and powers, and keep the demon bound in and unable to smoke out of its vessel. (As Time Goes By, King of the Damned)
On the downside, a devil's trap is only effective so long as its image remains intact and unbroken; if the image is damaged (i.e., if even a tiny gap is made in one of the lines that constitute the trap's design), then the devil's trap will instantly lose its power on demons. (Born Under a Bad Sign et al.)
Though little-known amongst hunters, (Season 1, In the Beginning) there are several methods of killing demons. A demon can be killed by a powerful supernatural-killing weapon such as: an angel blade, the demon-killing knife, the First Blade, Death's scythe, or the Colt. However, when these demon-killing weapons are used, to actually kill the demon, they must inflict conventionally-fatal damage (i.e., hit a critical area on the demon's vessel such as the chest or head) to actually kill it; any injuries inflicted that would be conventionally non-fatal to a human will merely harm, weaken and agonise the demon. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
Angels can kill demons, by placing their hand on the demon's vessel's forehead and then channeling their celestial power into the vessel, burning away the demon inside. This method of killing demons also kills the vessel. (Season 4 et al.) However, regular angels cannot kill very high-level demons such as white-eyed demons this way, (Heaven and Hell) and (if the said regular angel is cut off from Heaven and its powers more limited) then the angel won't even be able to use this ability to kill regular demons. (Abandon All Hope...) High-level demons are themselves capable of killing low-level demons without requiring a supernatural weapon. Primordial forces such as God, Death, and the Darkness can easily kill any demon no matter how powerful they are.
Though very little-known of, and thought even amongst demons to be a myth; when demons are on Earth, burning the remains of their original human selves' bodies will also destroy the demon. Any damage inflicted to a demon's bones with fire will also burn the demon, physically as well as spiritually; scathing the bones with flaming heat will agonisingly burn the demon internally, while completely setting the bones on fire will kill the demon and reduce its vessel to burning flames and ash. (Weekend at Bobby's)
There are some spells and rituals which can kill demons. One particular ancient spell recorded in the Word of God will, when activated, completely obliterate any demons in the vicinity; vessels and all. (We Need to Talk About Kevin, A Little Slice of Kevin) Ruby once claimed to know a ritual involving cutting out a virgin's heart which would, when carried out, destroy any and all demons within a one-mile radius while leaving their vessels unscathed. (Jus in Bello) The Defigere Et Depurgare is a unique spell which witches such as its creator can use to kill demons; it reduces the targeted demon's smoke form to a gruesome black sludge, which is gagged and vomited up by the demon's vessel as it perishes. (Girls, Girls, Girls) Though reputed as capable of kiling virtually any demon, Crowley proved to be just strong enough to survive it. (The Prisoner)
- "They don't want anything, just death and destruction for its own sake."
- ―Dean Winchester describing demons' malevolent actions and intentions.[src]
As corrupted human souls that have had their humanity stripped and burned out of them by centuries of severe torture and mutilation, (Malleus Maleficarum onwards) demons are primarily creatures of malice, spite, self-serving and cruelty more than anything else. Vicious and sadistic, they revel in chaos, pain, death and suffering (both seeing it all around them and themselves inflicting it onto others), and may engage in tormenting and killing others simply for the sake of it.
Most demons' primary drive overriding all others is self-preservation; most demons have been known to calculate their loyalties and choose whether to stay loyal or betray their allies and allegiances based around thoughts and factors such as avoiding having their own skins tortured or killed. However, there are a minority of demons who have shown true loyalty to their respective causes, allegiances and beliefs; primarily the religious demons who worship and put their belief in Lucifer, being true believers in Lucifer's cause of purging the Earth of humanity and taking over Heaven.
Demons have no qualms or quarrels over killing or torturing their own kind, even when it is isn't necessary. They have no compunctions against fighting and killing other demons who have conflicting or threatening goals, and may even casually sacrifice their fellow demons without any hesitation or remorse. However, some demons have still been observed to form bonds with and affection for certain others.
Though rarely seen or mentioned, it has been implied that demons sometimes engage in cannibalism and consuming humans: Lilith was known to eat human babies, (When the Levee Breaks) Crowley mentioned that demons ate his tailor after he was outed as a traitor to Lucifer, (The Devil You Know) and Father Max Thompson mentioned that the demon possessing Peter Kent had eaten his vessel's children. (Clip Show)
The presence of demons on Earth (particularly high-level demons such as Azazel) can cause omens in the form of natural phenomena around the area where said demons are present. These omens include increased electrical storms and other erratic weather, crop failures, temperature flunctuations, and disease outbreaks in animals such as cattle. These omens, side-effects and natural responses caused by demons' presence is said to be the Earth itself balking at the unholy demonic presence. (Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 1)
There is a complex ritual, invented by Father Max Thompson in 1958, which can be used to cure demons; restoring the demonized soul's humanity, and making it in its vessel a living mortal again. The ritual can cure both regular demons and uber-demons, and according to Sam Winchester, the lore indicates that all demons are susceptible to the cure. (Clip Show, Sacrifice, Soul Survivor)
The ritual must be performed on hallowed ground, and involves injecting the demon with purified blood on an hourly basis. After the eighth blood injection has been administered, to complete the ritual, the caster must then say the incantation, "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus. Hanc animam redintegra, lustra! Lustra!" And then the caster slits the palm of their hand and places it over the demon's mouth; this will complete the curing process on the demon. (Clip Show) However, for some reason, Demon Dean, an uber-demon, was successfully cured without the last step simply by the repeated purified-blood injections on consecrated ground. (Soul Survivor)
If the curing ritual is not completed through to the end (i.e., if the caster fails to perform the ritual's final step with the blood from their palm to the demon's mouth, to fully restore the demon's humanity), then the subject will remain a demon and most of the ritual's effects on them will wear off. However, the demon will still lastingly experience a few side-effects from the incomplete curing ritual's effects: after Crowley was put through an incomplete demon-curing ritual like this, he initially developed an addiction to injecting human blood (the effects of which reduced him to a soppy, neurotic and inattentive state of mind), and he also experienced more genuine and humanised empathetic emotions. (Devil May Care - The Prisoner)
Types and ranksEdit
The most common type/class of demons seen, black-eyed demons, excluding the Knights of Hell, are often either mostly self-serving; or are thugs, drones, soldiers, minions and henchmen for superiors and higher-level demons. They are distinguishable from most classes of demons in that they have pure-black eyes.
A class of demons who are often more self-serving and less affiliated with the demon hierarchy and leaders, crossroads demons offer tempting Faustian deals and bargains to vain or desperate humans; granting their wish in exchange for their soul after a length of time (usually ten years). They are distinguishable from other classes of demons in that they have all-red eyes.
A very powerful class of demons which outranks all others, white-eyed demons are at the top of the demon hierarchy and are second only to Lucifer. They are very resistant to most demon-killing methods, and are powerful enough to take on and overpower regular-level angels. The only two known white-eyed demons are Lilith and Alastair, both of whom are dead. They are distinguishable from other classes of demons in that they have all-white eyes.
Knights of Hell were very pure and strong demons, who are set apart from other demons in that they were created by Cain on Lucifer's orders, and could only be killed by the First Blade. Knights of Hell had black eyes like regular demons, although the Knights were far superior to black-eyed demons and in some ways even white-eyed demons. Knights of Hell seemed to be somewhat independent from Hell's hierarchy, acting as assassins and having authority to stage a coup if they choose. The Knights of Hell are at present extinct.
A special subset of the Knights of Hell, uber-demons were different from other demons, in that they possessed the Mark of Cain and were turned into demons by the Mark's effects on its host's soul. They had black eyes like Knights of Hell and regular demons, but they were far stronger than both. Uber-demons were very resilient (but not immune to) demonic weaknesses and the demon cure, and they could only be killed by the First Blade. Due to the effects of the Mark, uber-demons could be very violent, uncontrollable and dangerous towards other demons and humans alike.
Vicious and animalistic Zoroastrian shadow demons, daevas are sometimes used by other demons as hunters and killer pitbulls, but can attack their demon masters if their control is broken. Daevas are invisible on Earth and can only be seen by their shadows.
A lower-ranking but deadly and vicious type of demon, Acheri can manifest on Earth without a vessel; manifesting in the form of a little girl, but taking on a more demonic appearance when attacking.
A class of demons, recorded in Japanese folklore, which were always sent to Earth to cause certain forms of disaster, with each demon having its own form of disaster. Unlike other demons, the only known disaster-causing demon's (a plane-crashing demon) smoke form looked more like a swarm than smoke, and it possessed its vessels by entering through the eyes.
There have been several examples of demons who were in some way individually special or of a very unique class, or whom there has not been another demon like known.
- Azazel - Azazel was an elite-ranking demon who was very high up on Hell's hierarchy and subservient only to Lilith. He was distinguishable from other demons in that he had yellow eyes, turning his vessels' retinas and pupils a swirling bright yellow.
- Samhain - The demon from whom Halloween originated, Samhain was very powerful; he was able to summon and raise the dead in several forms from ghosts to zombies, and he could only be summoned from Hell through a special ritual once every 600 years. He is identifiable in that he has pale-grey eyes, turning his vessels' eyes dilated with grey irises. (It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester)
- Seven Deadly Sins - A group of seven powerful demons, each of whom possessed the ability to amplify and enhance one of the seven human vices they are named after in a subject human. Pride, Greed and Gluttony are dead. (The Magnificent Seven)
- Croatoan/Deva/Resheph - A demon of plague and pestilence, who is theorised to be the original creator of the Croatoan virus. (Croatoan)
The demons began thousands of years in the past. During Lucifer's rebellions against God but before his imprisonment in Hell, to spite God for choosing humans over him, Lucifer took a human soul and twisted and corrupted it until it became the first ever demon, Lilith. (When the Levee Breaks) From then on, all and any human souls that went to Hell after death would be tortured and twisted and corrupted until they themselves became demons. (Malleus Maleficarum onwards) During the time of the very earliest demons, Lucifer also passed his Mark on to Cain, turning the latter into a different breed of demon whose powers came from the Darkness, and had him make more demons like him. (First Born, Do You Believe in Miracles?, Brother's Keeper)
After Lucifer was imprisoned in the cage, he remained worshipped amongst demonkind as their religious God. (Sin City) Azazel tried to find the door to Lucifer's cage in hopes of freeing him, but most of the other demons just gave up on finding Lucifer. (Lucifer Rising)
Plan to release LuciferEdit
By the 20th century, Azazel was the tyrannical leader of the demons, with Lucifer absent, Lilith trapped deep in Hell, and the Knights of Hell practically wiped out and believed extinct. (Sin City) Azazel successfully made contact with Lucifer in 1972, and through Lucifer's instructions on how to free him from the cage, Azazel began creating special children as part of a secret master plan to free Lilith from Hell so that she could break Lucifer's seals and free Lucifer from his cage. (Lucifer Rising) Between 2005 and 2007, once a generation of his special children were ready, Azazel initiated his plan to bring about Lucifer's freedom by having the strongest special child open a devil's gate in Wyoming. (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2)
Though all the demons except Lilith, Azazel and Ruby (these three were the only ones in on Azazel's true master plan) believed that Azazel's intentions in creating the special children and opening the devil's gate were to release enough demons to war against humanity with the strongest special child as their leader, (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1) in actuality, Lilith was the only demon Azazel wanted to release from Hell through the gate, so that she could break Lucifer's seals. (Lucifer Rising)
In early May, 2007, Azazel succeeded in having his strongest special child open the devil's gate and release hundreds of demons including Lilith from Hell, but was killed in the process, (All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2) and thus the freed demons (who had been expecting to follow Azazel and Sam Winchester, but Sam had turned away from Azazel's plans) were initially left scattered and unorganised and unable to execute a proper war against humanity. Some demons wanted to follow Sam as Azazel had supposedly planned, while others began to follow Lilith. (Season 3)
Within a year after the hundreds of demons were released from the devil's gate, most of the demons were following Lilith as their leader, and Lilith had organised the demons together. After Dean Winchester, circa August 2008, unknowingly broke the first of Lucifer's seals, under Lilith's direction and leadership, the demons on Earth began breaking the other seals one-by-one and working in opposition to the angels to break 66 of the seals and free Lucifer. (Season 4) In mid-late 2009, after 65 seals were broken and Lilith was left the last remaining seal on Lucifer's cage to be broken, she and Ruby initiated the final phase of Azazel's master plan and allowed Sam to kill Lilith, which released Lucifer from Hell and started the Apocalypse. (Lucifer Rising)
During the Apocalypse, following Lucifer's release from Hell, Lucifer took command of virtually all the demons both in Hell and on Earth, who worked for Lucifer, the Whore of Babylon and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse against the angels and humanity and in Lucifer winning the Earth from Heaven and humans. (Season 5)
After the aversion of the Apocalypse and Lucifer's reimprisonment in his cage circa mid 2010, (Swan Song) the crossroads demon Crowley took over all the demons as King of Hell; (Family Matters) most of the demons fell under Crowley's command, but a few remained loyal to Lucifer and were against Crowley, who had these Lucifer loyalists hunted. (Caged Heat) After Crowley took over as King of Hell, him and the demons began working over the following 1 - 2 years to find a way to open a door to Purgatory so that Crowley could use the monster realm's power; (The Man Who Would Be King) but Crowley's intentions ultimately failed due to Castiel's interference. (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Shortly afterwards, the Leviathans were released from Purgatory and planned to take over the Earth and farm humanity as cattle. (Season 7) When the Leviathan leader refused to negotiate with the demons or give them anything and threatened to wipe them out, (Slash Fiction) Crowley had the demons refrain from attacking the Winchester brothers and stay out of their way so that the brothers could focus on defeating the Leviathans. (Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!) After the Leviathans were defeated, Crowley presumably lifted the demons' restriction against attacking the Winchesters. (Survival of the Fittest)
Within a year after the Leviathans' downfall, after one of the Word of God tablets was found by Crowley and he learned that the tablet recorded how to open and close all the gates of Hell, Crowley had his demons hunt and search for the prophet Kevin Tran so that Crowley could force Kevin to translate the Word for him (to learn the Trials of God to lock all demons in Hell forever before Sam and Dean did, so as to stop the brothers). Crowley also worked to retrieve another Word of God and learn its secrets after discovering that this Word was about angels. Though Sam and Dean almost completed the Trials of God to seal Hell, they ultimately stopped. (Season 8)
Hell's power struggleEdit
In the process of nearly completing the third trial, the Winchesters captured Crowley and kept him captive afterwards, and thus the demons mostly assumed Crowley dead, and the returned Abaddon stepped in to take advantage of the power vacuum and usurp control as new Queen of Hell. (Season 9) While some of the demons began to follow Abaddon, many of them remained uncertain and remained neutral, and eventually Crowley returned for a power struggle with Abaddon for rule over Hell. (Road Trip)
In Crowley and Abaddon's power struggle for control of Hell and leadership of the demons, Abaddon began to increasingly win the majority of following and support among the demons; with even Crowley's closest loyalists betraying him to and defecting over to Abaddon, and with Crowley's kingdom losing ground and strength among the demons. (Blade Runners, King of the Damned) However, the power struggle for Hell was ultimately ended when Abaddon was killed by Dean using the First Blade, (King of the Damned) and Crowley retook control and command over the demons in Hell and on Earth. (Do You Believe in Miracles?) Afterwards, a few rogue Abaddon loyalists remained, (Black) but the majority had been rounded up, and were executed by Crowley for treason. (Soul Survivor)
Demons and Hell have their own hierarchy, albeit not as rigid and controlled as pre-Apocalypse Heaven's was, with the strongest and most powerful demons seeming to seize and assume control of Hell and the demons. It is known that most high-ranking demons punish betrayal among their subordinates (be it working against their superiors or giving the enemy information under interrogation) brutally and severely, to the point that some lower-level demons prefer death to facing punishment by their demonic superiors for their betrayal.
Demons also have a religious belief system analogous humans', in that similarly to how some humans believe in God as their creator and higher power, some demons believe in Lucifer as theirs. (Sin City) However, according to Azazel, by 1972, most of the demons had either lost faith in Lucifer or had given up on finding him and releasing him from the cage; this was presumably changed by Lucifer's release from the cage in 2009. (Lucifer Rising)
Demons are widely despised and looked down upon with disgust by most other supernatural beings.
Angels in particular have a deep animosity with demons by nature, despising them as disgusting, abominable perversions. Demons in turn hate angels (with Alastair declaring them "sanctimonious fanatical prick[s]"), but low-level demons also mostly fear angels for their superior power and wrath.
Leviathans such as Dick Roman shared angels' intense hatred and disgust towards demons; Dick viewed demons as "bottomfeeding mutations" and "ugly, lazy, gold-digging whores" who were lesser than humans, and declared that demonkind deserved nothing short of complete eradication from the universe.
The Four Horsemen's views of demons, however, seemed to vary amongst them. The horseman Famine used and treated his own demon carers and minions as nothing more than expendable pawns, and would sacrifice them simply for his or his victims' sustenance. Pestilence, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely care about his personal demonic assistants, comforting one after snapping at her in anger.
Other demonic creaturesEdit
- "So, every religion in every world culture has the concept of demons and demonic possession, right? I mean Christian, Native American, Hindu, you name it."
- ―Sam Winchester on the prevalence of demons in lore.[src]
Demons are very common in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, and folklore, and are featured in lore all around the world; including Abrahamic, Hindu and Native American lore. Lore often depicts demons - also known as daemons or fiends - as malevolent, paranormal entities. Abrahamic traditions such as Christian demonology believe demons to be fallen angels, wicked and unclean spirits, and/or paranormal entities which cause demonic possession unless exorcised. Demons are also sometimes depicted in Abrahamic lore as the torturers and punishers of damned souls in Hell. Renaissance magic and Western occultism believes a demon to be a spirit which can be conjured and controlled.
- Demons are overall the main antagonists of Supernatural and among the show's most recurring creatures.
- The first demon to be properly introduced on Supernatural (the disaster-causing demon in Phantom Traveller) was notably different from the other demons that would later appear. This was the result of several retcons by the writers and producers as they developed the show's demon lore.
- Though demons' true forms have almost never been shown on Supernatural, if one looks carefully in All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2 when John is wrestling with Azazel in the latter's smoke form after pulling the demon out of his vessel, a skull-like face is visible. Also, when Lucifer's demons in Carthage, Missouri sacrificed themselves to raise Death, flashes of skull faces were visible as they were destroyed.
- In Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 4, Ben Edlund commented that he believes the reason some of demons' powers (teleportation, possession, telekinesis, intangible true forms) are similar to darker versions of angels', is because demons originally partially descend from angels through the first demon's creation by Lucifer.
- He also speculated that this relation through Lucifer's crimes against mankind and against God's love for humans could be the reason why angels seem to have a noticeably more intense and personal animosity towards demons than even most other demon-despising beings.
- According to Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting:
- Samhain is a blue-eyed demon (in It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, though Samhain's eyes are mainly grey, if one looks very closely it can be seen that his pinprick-sized pupils are blue in colour)
- Orange-eyed demons exist
- There are two other white-eyed demons besides Lilith and Alastair, though they're unknown; also, white-eyed demons are immune to exorcism
- As demons are severely-mutilated human souls rather than soulless spiritual entities, there has been some speculation amongst fans about what happens to a demonized soul when the demon dies.