- Dean Winchester: "It's human. More or less. Has human drives, in this case it's money. But it generates its own skin, it can shape it to match someone else's features; y'know, tall or short, male..."
- Ronald Reznick: "So, so it kills someone and then takes their place?"
- ―Dean Winchester to Ronald Reznick on shapeshifters.[src]
|Type :||Creature (Monster)|
|Notable distinctions :||Transforms into and mimics others|
Retinal flare visible on camera
|Main weaknesses :||Silver|
|Related to :|| Eve|
|Native range :|| Earth|
Purgatory (souls only)
|First appearance :||Skin|
Shapeshifters - sometimes called shifters for short - are a supernatural species which possess the ability to perfectly transform into and mimic anyone.
Shapeshifters possess the ability to transform into any other person. Once the transformation is complete, the shapeshifter will be physically completely identical to the person it is imitating, even mimicking the person's DNA and fingerprints. (Skin)
There seems to be two different breeds of shapeshifter, with the difference between them being how they change their form. The more common, well-known and regular breed; sheds its previous form's skin, nails and teeth to allow those of the new form it is taking to grow in their place. The time it takes for the shapeshifter to fully transform seems to vary between individuals; some can take up to several hours to fully change form, (Skin) while others take only a matter of minutes (Nightshifter, Two and a Half Men) or even just one second. (Ask Jeeves) The other shapeshifter breed, on the other hand, instantaneously changes form without shedding, and could sometimes shapeshift clothes as well as their body. (Two and a Half Men, Blade Runners, Bloodlines)
Shapeshifters can also mimic injuries that would be quickly fatal to humans (such as a slash to the neck) without the shifter doing this suffering any real injury to itself. (Nightshifter) When a shapeshifter mimicks someone, it can also access the thoughts and memories of the person it is mimicking, provided that the person is alive, which allows the shifter to much better imitate and impersonate them. (Skin) Shapeshifters' ability to alter their physical form is not limited to copying other individuals; shifters can also transform into fictional individuals and inhuman forms, (Monster Movie) and can change characteristics of their current form such as hair colour. (Bloodlines)
Shapeshifters can turn their eyes a bright yellow-silver colour when they look directly into bright light or are showing malice or revealing their true supernatural nature. (Skin, In the Beginning) A notable method of exposing shapeshifters is through cameras, as shifters possess an invisible retinal flare which shows up on cameras. Also, shifters' skin tears off easily even when they are not transforming. (Nightshifter, Monster Movie, Two and a Half Men) Dogs can recognise shapeshifters, regardless of whatever form the shifter is currently in, as shifters' presence drives dogs mad. (Skin, Two and a Half Men)
Shapeshifters are in fact a gene, in that any children a shifter has with a human will also be a shapeshifter. (Two and a Half Men, Ask Jeeves) Shapeshifters apparently aren't immortal, and can age and grow ill like humans. (Bloodlines) They also appear to, regardless of the physique of whatever form they are currently in, possess superhuman levels of strength, agility and resilience; being able to jump through windows from buildings' second floor and suffer little if any injury, and show extremely fast movements and reflexes when threatened. (Skin, Two and a Half Men)
Despite apparently not being natural predators which feed on humans like other monsters do, shapeshifters do still seem to have a tendency towards killing sprees. It was also once implied that at least some shifters feed on human flesh. (There Will Be Blood) Instead of being motivated by a craving to devour humans or a hatred of humanity or pure cruelty, shapeshifters who begin killing humans are usually motivated by suffering from human vices and emotions, such as greed, lust, cruelty, revenge and emotional pain. (Skin, Nightshifter, Monster Movie, Ask Jeeves)
Silver is harmful to shapeshifters and can be used to kill them. Shifters' skin burns upon contact when broken by silver, (Two and a Half Men, Ask Jeeves) silver-inflicted flesh wounds can cripple and weaken a shifter, (Bloodlines) and a shapeshifter can be killed by shooting or stabbing it in the heart with silver. Though silver is the most commonly-used means of killing shapeshifters, it has been shown with the Alpha Shapeshifter that shifters can also be agonized and killed by iridium weapons. (Caged Heat)
Shapeshifters have presumably existed as a species for at least 10,000 years. The species started with the Alpha Shapeshifter, when the Alpha was created by Eve and subsequently became the progenitor of the shapeshifter species. (Two and a Half Men)
In 2010 - 2011, when the Alphas and their monster children began increasing their numbers and building up armies for Eve's plans to overrun the Earth with monsters, shapeshifters including the Alpha Shapeshifter began copulating with humans by mimicking said humans' respective sexual partners, to create more shapeshifters. (Two and a Half Men) These plans to create more shifters to build up the shapeshifters' numbers was presumably stopped by Eve's death. (Mommy Dearest)
Hunts and encountersEdit
- One shapeshifter in St. Louis was on a killing spree in early 2006, mimicking men and then torturing and killing said men's lovers while these men were not home, which in turn framed the men. The shapeshifter was killed by Dean Winchester via a silver bullet to the heart. (Skin)
- In early 2007, a shapeshifter in Milwaukee was robbing local banks, using its shapeshifting ability to cover its tracks, escape capture and frame others for its crimes. This shifter was eventually killed when Dean Winchester stabbed it through the heart with a silver knife. (Nightshifter)
- In late 2008, a shapeshifter which found comfort and inspiration in classic monster movies transformed into various iconic movie monsters and attacked and killed people at the 2008 Oktoberfest celebrations in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The shifter was shot and killed by Jamie with a silver bullet. (Monster Movie)
- The Campbell family became aware of and attempted to track the Alpha Shapeshifter in 2011 when it was spawning new shifters for Eve's monster armies, and they also unsuccessfully attempted to keep one of the Alpha's new shapeshifter children from the Alpha and its subordinate shifters. (Two and a Half Men)
- According to Bobby Singer, among the spikes in monster activity caused along the I-80 by Eve's presence was a group of six shapeshifters acting out. The shifters were taken out at the cost of two hunters' lives. (...And Then There Were None)
- Shapeshifters were among the creatures Cuthbert Sinclair kept in his hidden mansion. One shifter in Sinclair's possession acted as a decoy against Sinclair's enemies after him who entered the mansion, by posing as Sinclair. The shapeshifter used this technique to fool Sam when he and Crowley entered the mansion, then tried to take Sam by surprise but was quickly killed by him. (Blade Runners)
- A family of shapeshifters, the Lassiter family, were one of the five mafia-esque monster families ruling Chicago's underworld, and had a rivalry with the werewolf Duval family. The Lassiters were on the brink of war with the Duvals after Sal Lassiter was murdered, until Sam, Dean, Ennis Ross and David Lassiter investigated, and revealed that a rogue hunter was the true culprit. (Bloodlines)
- Bunny LaCroix had an affair with a shapeshifter, which resulted in the birth of Olivia. When Olivia was born, her shifter father came for her and murdered Lance LaCroix, before Bobby Singer killed the shifter himself. Bobby agreed to spare Olivia and let Bunny raise her, on the condition that Bunny keep her locked up in the attic. However, in 2014, after her mother had died, Olivia snapped and went on a killing spree against her mother's family due to their greed and disrespect towards Bunny; Olivia killed Colette, Stanton, Phillip and Detective Howard, while taking on the forms of Bunny, Phillip and Lance to cover up her identity as the killer. After she was discovered to be the shapeshifter, Olivia attempted to kill Sam and Dean to posthumously get revenge on Bobby for sparing her and bringin the horrible life she had on her, but was killed by Dean with a silver shot through the heart. (Ask Jeeves)
- Alpha Shapeshifter (deceased)
- Bobby John
- David Lassiter
- Emma Cooper
- Mandroid (deceased)
- Margo Lassiter
- Olivia (deceased)
- Pop Lassiter
- Sal Lassiter (deceased)
- St. Louis shapeshifter (deceased)
Many cultures around the world have legends and folklore of shapeshifting creatures, among which are supernatural creatures which possess an innate shapeshifting faculty, and people using magic or subjected to curses.
- Before it was revealed in Two and a Half Men that shapeshifters are in fact a gene, it was originally thought that they were randomly-occurring, mutant-like freaks of nature in which humans were born with the ability to transform into others.
- The difference between the two shapeshifter breeds was never explained or even addressed in the show.