Yes, the same thing will happen to you. It might take centuries, but sooner or later Hell will burn away your humanity. Every Hell-bound soul, every one, turns into something else. Turns you into us. So yeah. Yeah, you can count on it.
Demonology is the study of demons. This resource discusses demon history, creation, characteristics, types, and specific examples of demons who – when not possessing humans – appear as smoke.
- 1 Creation & Culture
- 2 Hell
- 3 Characteristics
- 4 History relative to the Winchesters
- 5 Featured Demons
- 6 Types of Demons
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Creation & Culture
Demon Sunday school story. God prefers humans to angels. Lucifer gets jealous and then he gets creative. And he twists and tempts a human soul into the very first demon as a 'screw you' to God. It's what got him locked up in the first place.
The first demon was created by the archangel Lucifer, after God banished him from Heaven for refusing to revere humans. In revenge, he took a human woman -- Lilith -- and stripped away her humanity to make her the first demon. Other demons would follow, such as the four Princes of Hell, who would act as Hell's generals in Lucifer's war against Heaven. For this offense, God commanded Michael to imprison Lucifer in a cage in Hell. In a final act before being imprisoned, Lucifer passed on his Mark to Cain, and hand picked humans for Cain to turn and train into becoming the Knights of Hell.
Demons have a belief system analogous to humans, according to the demon Casey, but while humans believe in God as their higher power, demons view Lucifer as theirs. No demon had ever actually seen Lucifer according to Casey in 2007, however in 1972, Azazel was able to make contact with Lucifer after performing a ritual where eight nuns were slaughtered at St. Mary's Convent in Ilchester, Maryland.
All demons were once originally humans, who become demonic when tortured in Hell until their humanity is burned away. Prior to becoming demons, it is unclear on what criteria the human spirits are judged as being worthy of Hell, other than selling one's soul to a crossroads demon or being a witch.
According to Crowley, some demons live together in "nests."
The Hierarchy of Demons
- White-eyed Demons – The demon chiefs of staff.
- Princes of Hell – Yellow-eyed demons who served as generals of Hell's demon army, the first generation of demons created soon after Lilith.
- Knights of Hell – Some of the first souls handpicked by Lucifer to become demons.
- Red-eyed Demons – The demon deal-makers.
- Black-eyed Demons – The soldiers, thugs, henchmen, minions.
Hell is like, um... Well, it's like Hell. Even for demons. It's a prison, made of bone and flesh and blood and fear. And you sent me back there.
Whether Hell existed prior to or was created sometime after Lucifer's rebellion is unknown. It is a place where demons are produced from human souls after centuries of torture. Human souls can get sent to Hell after making deals or agreements with crossroads demons or other demons. Hellhounds hunt and then kill humans who made a demonic agreement and then the human's soul is sent to Hell. Black-eyed demons are constantly being created, and they occupy positions on Earth under the demon-favored term for their human shell or "meatsuits." Time itself is also altered in Hell, as four months on Earth is equivalent to forty years in Hell.
Azazel was a significant leader among demons, directed as he was by Lucifer in the plans involving the Special Children, and the plot to release him from his prison. Following Azazel's death, Ruby and Lilith continued the plan until their deaths and Lucifer's release. After Lucifer's re-imprisonment, Crowley declares himself King of Hell. Abaddon later wars with Crowley for rule of Hell for several months before being killed by Dean with the First Blade.
The exact structure of Hell remains undefined, although Ruby reveals "there's a real fire in the pit, agonies you can't even imagine." Meg describes this place as "...a prison, made of bone and flesh and blood and fear." Dean is seen suspended from hooks embedded in him when his soul arrives in Hell. Angels can bypass Hell's defenses, enter and retrieve human souls, as Castiel and other angels laid siege to Hell to save Dean. Death can enter Hell and bring souls back to Earth, as shown when he retrieves Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage. The King of Hell has limited access to Lucifer's Cage, as Crowley was able to raise Sam's body from the Cage after assuming command over Hell, but it is later revealed to be Castiel who raised Sam's body from Perdition. Soon after Crowley's ascension as King of Hell, he made some changes to Hell, transforming a section of it into a never-ending queue. There is also a portal in Purgatory that reapers use as a backdoor into Hell to retrieve souls. The part of Hell accessible through the portal, at least in 2013, takes the form of a dungeon.
In the furthest reaches of Hell resides Limbo, a place where Crowley would send his more unruly souls. Limbo is a dark and barren land littered with the skeletons of the damned, while thunderous clouds crackle above. However, Lucifer's Cage resides just beyond Limbo, where it is surrounded by black storm clouds and suspended by chains.
You demons. You think you're something special. But you're just spirits. Twisted, perverted, evil spirits. But, end of the day, you're nothing but ghosts with an ego.
Demons usually do not have bodies of their own, except in the case of Acheri demons, who can "manifest" as human children. Other demons appear as black smoke in their incorporeal form. Their presence may leave traces of sulfur. They manifest by possessing humans, alive or recently deceased, via demonic possession.
Exorcism will drive the demon from its human host and return it to Hell. A possessed human may incur physical damage while the demon is present, including fatal injuries, but will survive until they are dispossessed. A high volume of dispossessed individuals die; Dean commented that demons seem to enjoy wearing out their meatsuits. Humans possessed by demons exhibit black, red, yellow or white eyes depending on the demon involved.
Demons' abilities and weaknesses vary depending on the apparent rank of the demon. Demons share many strengths and weaknesses with ghosts.
- Telepathy and telekinesis - Demons can read minds. Some can influence an object's movement with their minds.
- Superhuman strength and enhanced endurance - While hosting a demonic entity, a human's body can be made to perform extraordinary feats and resist damage. However, when the demon leaves, the host often dies of its injuries.
- Seeing reapers - Like angels, demons can perceive entities that are invisible to human beings, like reapers.
- Can resurrect or heal people, but only if a deal is made.
- Capable of overpowering Alphas; a group of demons captured the Alpha Vampire on Crowley's orders, though only after it had been injected with enough dead man's blood to bring down a nest of regular vampires, and when they all attacked at once.
- Mind control - Demons can influence and control the actions of human beings.
- Pyrokinesis (known: Azazel, Brady, Crowley)
- Injury to humans by thought (shown: Azazel)
- Destruction of objects with telekinesis (shown: Crowley) and with the "fiery white light" (shown: Lilith, Samhain)
- Overpowering or possessing reapers (overpowering: Alastair, possessing: Azazel)
- Resurrecting people at will (Crowley, claimed).
- Ability to exorcise and send lower-tier demons back to Hell with a single touch. (Abaddon)
- Smiting other demons with a touch. (Cain)
- Ability to partially enter a human's body to extract information (Abaddon)
- While in Hell turning demons to dust with a snap of their fingers (Crowley)
- Ability to smell someone and know their previous location (Crowley)
Vulnerabilities & Preventative Measures
Preventing possession and location
- Exorcism - When a demon is exorcised via ritual, it returns to Hell.
- Preventative charms - After Sam is possessed, Bobby gives the boys charms to protect against possession.
- Preventative symbol tattoos - Sam and Dean reveal that they have the protection symbol tattooed on their chests.
- Hex bags - Hex bags can be used to help disguise and hide a person’s whereabouts from demons.
- Holy water - While most have some vulnerability to holy water, higher level demons, such as Lilith and Azazel, appear immune.
- Consecrated ground - Some demons are able to enter consecrated ground such as churches, as shown by:
- Meg in 1.21 Salvation
- Father Gil in 3.04 Sin City
- Alastair and Ruby in 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer
- Azazel in the flashback scene in 4.22 Lucifer Rising
- Lilith and Ruby in the present in 4.22 Lucifer Rising
- Crowley and the demon possessing Channing in 8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin
- Crowley and Abaddon in 8.23 Sacrifice
- Abaddon, Sister Agnes and two other demons in 9.17 Mother's Little Helper
- Salt - Most cannot cross a line of salt and they feel intense pain when they come in contact with it. Hunters use it in shotguns to wound them.
- Iron - They cannot cross an iron line, and can be hurt with an iron rod.
- Palo Santo - Burns in a similar way to holy water, and can kill demons if staked in a fatal spot.
- Devil's trap - A symbol that is marked on the floor or ceiling that can trap a demon within it. If carved into a bullet and shot into a demon, it will bind the demon to their meatsuit and make it impossible for them to move or escape.
- Holy fire - While not capable of killing a demon, it will cause them great pain as shown when Meg was tossed into a ring of it by Castiel to act as a bridge out and when Sam doused Abaddon in it causing her so much pain she fled her meatsuit.
Means of Killing Demons
- The Colt - Until season three, the only method of permanent dispatch was to shoot them with the Colt and one of the original bullets. Bobby Singer rebuilds the Colt with Ruby's help so that it can kill demons with new ammunition.
- Ancient demon-killing knives of the Kurds - The demon Ruby had a knife that can kill demons. It was later revealed that this knife is one of the demon-killing knives made by the Kurds.
- Angels - Angels have the power to kill demons with a touch.
- Sam's powers - Late in season four, Sam's powers also allow him to kill demons.
- Death's scythe - It is mentioned multiple times that Death's scythe can also kill demons.
- Burning earthly remains - Demons, like spirits, can be killed by burning the bones of the bodies they had as humans, before they became demons.
- Spells - According to Ruby, there is a spell that can kill every demon in a one-mile radius; as long as the meatsuits haven't been killed already, they will survive the spell. The spell was never seen used, but it is known to require the heart of a virgin to work. Demons can also be killed by a spell described in the Word of God tablet that completely destroys both the demon and the meatsuit. Kevin Tran and his mother refer to this spell as a "demon bomb" and it requires ingredients from all over the world. According to Kevin, just the first three ingredients are nearly impossible to get. Crowley's mother, the witch Rowena, invented yet another spell that kills demons and apparently their meatsuits as well. This spell requires a hex bag be held by the demon as the witch recites the incantation.
- Angel blade - An angel's blade is also capable of killing demons.
- Angel sword - As the sword version of an angel blade, it can presumably kill demons.
- The First Blade - The First Blade, combined with the power of the Mark of Cain, can kill any demon, including the Knights of Hell. The First Blade is the only known weapon capable of killing a Knight of Hell.
History relative to the Winchesters
[to Sam] Stay right there, dreamboat. Can't hurt you. Orders. [to Dean] You, on the other hand? Hurting you's encouraged.
The most essential aspects of demon history that relate to Sam and Dean begin in 1972. That year, Azazel makes contact with Lucifer by sacrificing a dozen nuns at a convent. He is then instructed to find a "special child" who would be essential in breaking the 66 Seals that are the lock to Lucifer's Cage. Azazel embarks on his plan and in 1973 makes a deal with Mary Winchester for the life of her fiancé, John Winchester. Ten years later he returns and feeds demon blood to an infant Sam Winchester. He kills Mary when she tries to intervene, driving John to become a hunter.
Throughout Sam's childhood, Azazel has demons possess people in Sam's life to keep an eye on him. When Sam leaves hunting for college, he pursues a normal life. To combat Sam's transition, Azazel has a demon possess Sam's friend Brady. Brady introduces Sam to Jess. They fall in love, and Azazel orders her death as a means of propelling Sam back into hunting - and the path to becoming Lucifer's vessel.
John has been searching for the demon that killed his wife for decades, and after Sam returns to hunting, he and Dean join the effort to avenge Mary. They require, and eventually obtain, the Colt, the only weapon that can kill this demon. Azazel also needs the weapon, and possesses John in an attempt to acquire it. He does obtain the gun by later making a deal with John, saving Dean's life in exchange for his soul and the gun. John is sent to Hell.
Eventually Azazel takes Sam, along with other Special Children he has created over the years, to a ghost town where he intends for them to fight to the death. He will allow the sole survivor to live, and has tasks for that individual to perform. One of the other candidates - Jake - kills Sam. To resurrect Sam, Dean sells his soul. Later, it is Jake who helps Azazel open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming, loosing demons on the Earth before Bobby and Ellen can close it. During this confrontation, Dean finally kills Azazel with the Colt, and some help from the spirit of John Winchester, who escaped Hell through the gate.
The demons unleashed by the opening of the Devil's Gate are very powerful, and include Lilith, the first demon. It is revealed that she held the contract for Dean's soul. The demon Ruby also escaped Hell through the gate. She gets close to Sam and gains his trust. She tries to encourage him to use his powers, but he initially resists. The brothers do what they can to combat Lilith and the other escaped demons, but eventually Dean's time is up, and he is killed by hellhounds. Grief stricken after Dean's death, and his failure to save him, Sam grows careless. He is saved by Ruby, who at last convinces Sam to use his powers, ostensibly to save people from demonic possession, with the promise that he will one day be able to kill Lilith, and avenge Dean. The use of his powers requires him to drink demon blood.
In the mean time, the demons are anxious to begin freeing Lucifer. The first seal on Lucifer's Cage is prophesied to be broken when "a righteous man spills blood in Hell." When John Winchester makes his deal with Azazel for Dean's life, he is sent to Hell and tortured continuously. The plan is that he will break the seal - but he manages to resist until he escapes. Dean's deal gives the demons another opportunity to break the first seal. They are successful when Dean, after thirty years of torture by Alastair, surrenders and becomes a torturer.
Dean is saved from Hell by Castiel, who informs him about the seals, and the effort to free Lucifer. Lilith and other demons work to break the required sixty-six seals while Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel try to block their progress. They are unsuccessful, and eventually only one seal remains. Sam chooses to kill Lilith with Ruby's help, leaving Dean behind. Lilith is killed by Sam, high on demon blood, and it is discovered that Lilith is the final seal. Her death frees Lucifer. Ruby has been playing Sam all along in order to get him to kill Lilith and free the Devil. The higher level angels have been complicit in letting this happen, as Michael wishes to kill Lucifer.
Lucifer rises. With demon aid Lucifer wreaks havoc, instigating the Apocalypse. Most demons are anxious to serve him, either because they revere him or because they fear him. Even Meg is glad to follow him. An exception is the demon Crowley, who suspects that Lucifer will kill off the demons as soon as he has destroyed humanity. He gives aid to Sam and Dean, including providing them with the Colt, and then helping them to locate two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Lucifer requires a vessel, and while he finds a temporary one in Nick, Sam is the vessel he needs. In the same manner, Michael needs Dean. The demons attempt on several occasions to capture Sam, and put a price on Dean's head. Sam eventually allows Lucifer to possess him, and is able to overpower him and throw him, along with Michael, into Lucifer's Cage.
Following Lucifer's defeat, Crowley assumes control of Hell. He resurrects Samuel Campbell and begins a quest to find Purgatory, but is apparently killed by Castiel before succeeding. In reality, he is working with the angel to reach the monster souls in Purgatory and share their power. Crowley tortures monsters in an attempt to find the entrance, with limited success, until Castiel captures Eleanor Visyak. They gather the necessary ingredients to open the gate at the next eclipse, but Castiel reneges on their original agreement, so Crowley seeks out Raphael, and makes a deal with him instead. They are not able to stop Castiel from absorbing all the souls in Purgatory, and Crowley flees. Castiel, despite his powers, spares Crowley, leaving him in charge of Hell.
After the Leviathans emerge from Castiel, Crowley attempts to create a partnership with their leader, Dick Roman. Dick thinks demons worthless, and declines, so Crowley instead supports Sam and Dean's efforts, restraining demon activity that would harm their anti-Leviathan quest. However, demons, possibly working on Crowley's orders, come into conflict with them a few times over the fallen angel Castiel.
After Dean and Castiel kill Dick, Crowley makes his move: he kidnaps the prophet Kevin Tran, captures the demon Meg who is against him and assisting the Winchesters and brings in an army of demons to deal with the leviathans remaining in SucroCorp who are now disorganized and confused as their leader is dead.
After capturing Kevin, Crowley begins an effort to open the Gates of Hell and release all demons upon the world using information from a Word of God tablet and Kevin. However, Kevin betrays him and escapes, revealing to Sam and Dean the possibility of using the tablet to do the opposite: to close the gates forever and banish all demons from the Earth permanently, something they are now determined to do. At first, the Winchesters and Crowley each hold one half of the tablet and are both determined to get the other half. After torturing the captured Samandriel, who is eventually rescued by Sam, Dean, and Castiel, Crowley learns that there is a tablet on angels which the angels fear as if it falls into demon hands and they use it, they could cause great evil with it. Crowley begins a search for the tablet, but Sam, Dean and Castiel locate it first with the help of Meg whom Crowley kills while Castiel goes on the run with the angel tablet.
Some time afterwards, Sam sneaks into Hell and rescues Bobby Singer from the demons that are holding him captive and torturing him. Crowley attempts to stop Sam from releasing Bobby's soul into Heaven, but is stopped by Naomi. Shortly afterwards, Crowley captures Kevin and his notes on the demon tablet, leaving Sam and Dean with no clues on how to complete their mission to close the gates of Hell. Crowley manipulates Kevin into reading his half of the demon tablet, but Kevin eventually realizes the truth and is rescued by Metatron taking with him Crowley's half of the demon tablet. From it and Metatron the Winchesters learn that the third trial is to cure a demon, but at the same time, Crowley gets the angel tablet from Castiel and tells Kevin that he doesn't need him or the demon tablet anymore as he has many deals and plans in the works as well as the angel tablet. Crowley later starts killing people the Winchesters have saved to force them to surrender the demon tablet to him and give up the trials, but they manage to capture him instead and use him for the third trial. They also retrieve the angel tablet from him. Crowley starts to become human, but his attempt to summon help summons Abaddon who wants to take over Hell. Sam douses her in holy fire, destroying her meatsuit and driving her away, but stops before completely curing Crowley as Dean learns that he will die if he completes the trials.
Crowley is held captive by the Winchesters who want to use him to find all the demons on Earth and kill them. He eventually agrees to give them what they want if they help him with what he wants. At the same time, Abaddon gets her meatsuit restored and starts a crusade to take over Hell and Earth and tries to kill the Winchesters and get the location of Crowley from them, but is forced to flee when the angel Gadreel intervenes. Abaddon works to take over Hell, voiding all deals and collecting the souls early. Eventually Crowley is released in exchange for successfully helping Sam expel Gadreel and he starts a war with Abaddon over who will rule Hell. To this end, Crowley forms a reluctant alliance with Dean to find the First Blade, the only thing that can kill a Knight of Hell. The two find the demon Cain who killed the other Knights and transfers the Mark of Cain to Dean along with giving him the location of the Blade so he can kill Abaddon and when he is done, Cain himself. As the Blade is at the bottom of the ocean and they need as many allies as possible against Abaddon, Dean and Crowley maintain their alliance. Working together, the Winchesters and Crowley locate and retrieve the First Blade, but Crowley takes it until such time it can be used on Abaddon, not trusting Sam and Dean not to use it on him. Dean subsequently becomes obsessed with hunting Abaddon and Sam joins him after he learns that she has created "factories" all over the place where demons loyal to her steal people's souls to create an army of demons loyal only to her. Eventually even Crowley's loyal lieutenants switch to Abaddon's side and she kidnaps his son Gavin MacLeod to force him to help her trap the Winchesters. Crowley gives Sam and Dean the location of the First Blade, claiming he's found Abaddon and calls off the hellhound he has guarding it. Once the Winchesters have the First Blade, Crowley tells them where to find him, but not before subtly warning Dean its a trap. At the hotel where Crowley and Abaddon are located, Dean sends Sam on a wild-goose chase and confronts Abaddon alone. Abaddon incapacitates Crowley with a devil's trap bullet and overpowers Dean. However, the Mark of Cain gives him immunity to her powers and telekinesis and Dean finally manages to stab Abaddon with the First Blade, killing her. The Winchesters spare Crowley despite having him at their mercy and he takes his son somewhere safe so he won't return to his own time and die. Crowley and his demons later aid Dean in his search for Metatron and after Metatron kills Dean, Crowley visits him to give him the First Blade. With that, Dean resurrects as a demon himself.
Azazel is a powerful yellow-eyed demon. He is a greatly respected General of Hell commanding an army of black-eyed demon soldiers. Two of his black-eyed subordinates include Meg and Tom, whom he refers to as his "children." Azazel also refers to Lucifer as his "daddy." His actions involving the Winchester family are motivated by Lucifer's orders; after searching for and discovering the door to Lucifer's Cage in 1972, sacrificing a group of nuns in order to speak with Lucifer, Azazel receives orders from the Devil to find "a very special child" (eventually revealed to be Sam Winchester). Azazel makes deals with prospective parents he favors, asking only for permission to enter their houses in ten years, not telling them what he plans to do in their homes at that point. The night the deal comes due, he enters their homes to feed Demon Blood to their six-month-old children, which he does to prepare the infants to one day house Lucifer. Parents like Mary Winchester who interrupt the feeding are killed in Azazel's signature style: telekinetically pinned to the ceiling, their abdomens slashed open, and burned alive by Azazel's pyrokinetic powers. The special children develop demonic powers in 2005, and Azazel spends much of 2007 arranging for them to kill each other off so that only the strongest remains to be Lucifer's vessel.
Azazel is hunted by the Winchesters for over twenty years in revenge for Mary, and later, Jessica. When John makes plans to kill him with the Colt, Azazel sends Meg to kill the hunter and take the gun, a move which results in both of Azazel's "children" "destroyed." Azazel ultimately makes a deal for John's soul and the Colt in exchange for Dean's life. Having been ordered by Lucifer in 1972 to free Lilith from Hell so that she can break the 66 Seals, Azazel arranges for the Devil's Gate to be opened in 2007 for her to escape through. He plans for his demon army to also be released, for the last-surviving special child to command during the Apocalypse. Although Azazel's plan to free both Lilith and the army is a success, Azazel himself is ultimately killed by the combined efforts of Dean with the Colt with the help of John's spirit, who had also escaped Hell.
Azazel's presence in an area will be presaged by cattle deaths, electrical storms, and temperature fluctuations, and can stop clocks and disrupt electrical devices. He is pyrokinetic (can control fire) and impervious to holy water, and also demonstrates the power to cause internal bleeding and grievous wounds with his mind. Notably, he once possessed a reaper and used her powers to his own advantage. Like crossroads demons, Azazel can raise the dead, but only after he has sealed a deal with someone and only through the power of a reaper. After Azazel makes an agreement with Mary that would allow him access to baby Sam, he raises John from the dead. He also saves a dying Dean after making a deal with John.
Meg is Azazel's black-eyed "daughter" and an apprentice of Alastair's. Her true name is unknown; she is referred to as "Meg" after the name of the host in whom she first appears (Meg Masters). Under Azazel's orders, Meg makes contact with Sam while he is alone, but is not allowed to stop him from returning to Dean. She makes plans to kill John Winchester and later to retrieve the Colt as well. She is ultimately exorcised by Sam at Dean's command, with Bobby's assistance. Azazel believes the exorcism to have "destroyed" her, but months later, she is revealed to be alive and to have escaped Hell, where she had been imprisoned. She does not resume aiding her father when she resurfaces, instead seeking revenge against the Winchesters by possessing Sam and attacking and killing more hunters. She is ultimately forced to leave Sam's body and flee to escape being exorcised again.
After the Apocalypse is set into motion, Meg reappears as a follower of Lucifer's, trying to kill Dean to avert his destiny as the one who will slay Lucifer. After Lucifer is imprisoned, she emerges as the leader of the remaining Lucifer loyalists. Hunted by Crowley to protect his position as King of Hell, Meg and her subordinates seek to kill him. Meg forms an uneasy alliance with the Winchesters to try and kill Crowley, later reforming said alliance to protect Castiel and defeat the leviathans. After they succeed in defeating the leviathans, Meg is captured by demons working for Crowley, and is tortured by Crowley for the location of Lucifer's crypt. She is eventually rescued by Sam, Dean, and Castiel, only to be killed by Crowley with an angel blade while buying time for the Winchesters and Castiel to escape with the angel tablet.
Tom is a black-eyed demon, who along with Meg was referred to by Azazel as one of his children. Tom makes his first appearance in 1.21 Salvation, where he and Meg try to negotiate a trade for the Colt from John Winchester. Realizing that they have been tricked by John, they chase and eventually capture him. In 1.22 Devil's Trap, Sam and Dean find out where Tom is holding John captive, and go about trying to rescue they're father. During their escape Tom ambushes and proceeds to beat on Sam, until Dean uses the Colt and shoots Tom in the head, killing him.
Ruby is a black-eyed demon who makes her first appearance in 3.01 The Magnificent Seven. She saves Sam using a knife that can kill demons. It is revealed that Ruby was a witch that sold her soul during the Middle Ages, and became a demon in Hell. She continues to follow and speak to Sam during season three, suggesting that she knows how to save Dean from Hell. After Dean's death, Ruby becomes a teacher to Sam, helping to use his powers and providing the demon blood needed to improve them. In the end, Ruby is revealed as a confidant of Lilith and she plays a critical role in the plan to free Lucifer by setting Sam up to break the final seal. After her exposure, Dean kills her with her own knife.
Lilith is the first demon created by Lucifer. She has white eyes. She is first mentioned in 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum. Her initial onscreen appearance is in 3.12 Jus in Bello. On that occasion, as well as in 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked, Lilith chooses to manifest inside a little girl. In later episodes Lilith does possess adult women. She is extremely powerful among demons, exhibiting both telekinesis and a destructive power that appears as a bright white light. Sam is immune to her powers.
Lilith controls a large number of demons, some of which constitute her "entourage." This group includes a "chef" responsible for supplying Lilith with baby's blood. With the assistance of these demons, Lilith endeavors to free Lucifer by breaking the 66 Seals. Lilith held the contract that sent to Dean to Hell, where he broke the first seal, and she raised the Witnesses, selecting spirits that would attack hunters. Lilith is herself the final seal on Lucifer's Cage; her death at Sam's hand frees Lucifer.
More information on Lilith in Jewish Mythology can be found here.
Alastair is a torturer in Hell, and specifically was Dean's torturer. Described by Ruby as "Practically the Grand Inquisitor downstairs. Picasso—with a razor." He first appears in pursuit of Anna Milton in 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer and 4.10 Heaven and Hell. He reappears in 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday and attempts to break a seal by killing two reapers, but is captured by angels. He is destroyed by Sam in 4.16 On the Head of a Pin.
Alastair is known to be a very powerful demon. He has white eyes (iris and pupil). He tortured both Dean and John, and in both instances offered to end the torment if they would become torturers themselves.
It is Alastair who reveals the first seal was broken when Dean accepted this offer. Alastair can send angels back to Heaven, is resistant to Ruby's knife, and is resistant to an angel's power of exorcism, as shown when Castiel tries to expel him in 4.10 Heaven and Hell. Once Sam begins drinking Demon Blood again, Alastair's powers become ineffective on him; soon after, Alastair is killed by Sam's own powers.
Crowley was the leader of the crossroads demons, and has referred to himself as "King of the Crossroads." He has red eyes, and his corporeal form is red smoke. As a human his name was Fergus Roderick MacLeod, and he was born in Canisbay, Scotland in 1661. He sold his soul to a demon, thus ending up in Hell and becoming one of them.
According to Becky, he was Lilith's right hand demon prior to her death, and takes possession of the Colt from Bela. He keeps the Colt for over a year, and when Sam and Dean track him down to find the weapon in order to kill Lucifer, Crowley gives it to them freely. Crowley believes that once Lucifer succeeds in wiping out the human race, he will then destroy all the demons, who are lesser still than humans. His beliefs are backed up when Lucifer sacrifices several demons to raise the horseman Death saying: "They're just demons."
After giving the weapon to the Winchesters, and following their inability to destroy Lucifer with it, Crowley becomes a target for demon retribution. When he learns that Sam and Dean have another means of stopping the Devil, he decides to help. He leads them to Brady, who gives them the location of Pestilence, and after borrowing Bobby's soul, locates Death.
Following Lucifer's defeat, Crowley assumes leadership of Hell. He claims responsibility for resurrecting Sam and Samuel Campbell, and for holding back Sam's soul. He manipulates Sam, Dean, and Samuel into capturing Alphas so that Crowley can interrogate them about the location of Purgatory. He appears to be killed when Castiel burns his bones, but this is a ruse to hide their partnership. Castiel breaks their agreement to split the souls in Purgatory, so Crowley attempts a deal with Raphael, which ends disastrously when Castiel gets the souls first. Castiel kills Raphael, but spares Crowley to continue as the leader of Hell.
When the Leviathans appear, Crowley attempts to make a deal with their leader, Dick Roman, but is rebuffed. Crowley turns his support to Sam and Dean, and curtails demon activity that would be counter-productive to their efforts to destroy the Leviathans.
After Sam and Dean defeat the Leviathans, Crowley starts a determined effort to open the Gates of Hell and allow all demons out into the world by capturing Kevin Tran and forcing him to translate the Word of God demon tablet.
In order to do the third trial to close the Gates of Hell, Sam and Dean capture Crowley and try to turn him human, but they ultimately stop before completing the process, allowing Crowley to revert back to his normal mannerisms. He remains a prisoner of the Winchesters who want to get the name of every demon he has on Earth; Crowley gives up the names of two demons as freebies, but will only give the Winchesters more information if they agree to a "Quid Pro Quo" arrangement. He is later released by Dean after agreeing to save Sam from Gadreel. By briefly possessing Sam himself, he succeeds and starts to fight against Abaddon to win over Hell. He later forms an alliance with Dean to get the First Blade, the only weapon that can kill Abaddon. Abaddon eventually uses Crowley to lure the Winchesters into a trap, but he gives them the First Blade and warns Dean of the trap. As a helpless Crowley watches, Dean confronts Abaddon and empowered by the Mark of Cain, finally kills her, restoring Crowley to full rule of Hell. Despite having Crowley at their mercy, the Winchesters spare him, but Crowley, not wanting his son, brought to the present by Abaddon to return to his time and die, takes him away from them. Crowley aids Dean in locating Metatron and visits him after he dies to encourage his resurrection as a demon.
Abaddon is an incredibly powerful black-eyed demon who is one of the first demons ever created, and a Knight of Hell, part of an elite group of demons believed to have been destroyed by archangels. In fact, after she and the other Knights kidnapped Cain's wife, he killed them himself, accidentally killing his wife while Abaddon possessed her. Abaddon slaughters the Men of Letters and follows Henry Winchester through time to get the key to the greatest storehouse of supernatural knowledge that ever existed, but is defeated by Henry and Dean after Henry shoots a bullet with a devil's trap into her brain, binding her in her meatsuit. Dean then says that he is going to cut her into pieces and bury them in concrete, trapping her forever. She is later put back together by Sam and Dean in order to cure her of being a demon as the third trial to close the Gates of Hell, but she escapes while they are distracted. She later attacks Crowley and Sam after Crowley calls for help after being captured, planning to take over ruling Hell herself. However, Sam douses her in holy oil and lights her up, forcing her to abandon Josie Sands' body and flee in her smoke form. Abaddon later has Josie's body restored and begins a crusade to take over Hell and Earth. She tries to kill Sam and Dean and get Crowley's location from them, but flees when Gadreel reveals himself nearby. Abaddon then works to reshape Hell, using Crowley's absence to take over. After being freed by the Winchesters, Crowley starts a war against her, allying with Dean to find The First Blade, the only weapon that can kill Abaddon. After finding out about Crowley's search, Abaddon starts her own and starts having demons loyal to her steal innocent people's souls to build her own army of demons loyal only to her. After attempting to lure the Winchesters into a trap with the help of Crowley, Abaddon was killed by Dean with the First Blade after the Mark of Cain made him immune to her powers.
Cain is the biblical Cain who, became a demon after making a deal with Lucifer to guarantee Abel passage into Heaven. Cain eventually killed himself, but the Mark of Cain transformed him into a demon and the first Knight of Hell. Cain became the most feared demon in existence, the Father of Murder who formed and led the Knights of Hell. When he met and fell in love with Colette, Cain retired from his ways, but when the Knights kidnapped Colette to draw him back, he slaughtered all but Abaddon with the First Blade, the weapon he used to kill Abel. After accidentally killing Colette, Cain followed her wish for him to retire completely and tossed the Blade in the ocean and eventually became a bee keeper in Missouri. He is tracked down by Dean and Crowley who are looking for the First Blade to kill Abaddon. After watching Dean fight several demons single-handedly, Cain decides he is worthy of the Mark of Cain, the Blade's source of power, and he gives it to him along with a warning of a terrible price that comes with it, and the location of the First Blade. Cain's only request is that Dean return one day and kill him too. Returning to his old ways, Cain teleports Dean and Crowley to safety then takes on an entire demon army alone. Falling back under the Mark's influence, Cain descends into madness, believing that his bloodline is "tainted" and deciding to slaughter it despite it being "legion." He draws the attention of Sam and Dean and they team up with Castiel and Crowley to trap and kill him. After a brutal fight between them, Dean kills Cain with the First Blade when he refuses to give up killing once more.
After being killed by Metatron, Dean is turned into a Knight of Hell like Cain as a result of the Mark of Cain. He became sadistic and could care less about Sam. Eventually, Sam captures him with the help of Crowley and cures him.
These anonymous demons appear as grunts, and seem to work for high-classed demons, sometimes appearing in actual groups. They are often used by high-level demons when they are going up against other strong forces or when a specific task must be completed. Sometimes, they are silent, while other times they speak. A large group of them are patrolling, in the act of protecting Lilith, in 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked. Alastair uses them in 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer and again in 4.10 Heaven and Hell. More are seen in 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday. Lucifer sends a group of them to care for Famine in 5.14 My Bloody Valentine. As the Apocalypse looms even further, Lucifer is accompanied by two elite demons in 5.22 Swan Song. A group of them capture the Alpha Vampire under the instruction of Crowley in 6.07 Family Matters. In 8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin and 8.10 Torn and Frayed groups of henchmen guard Crowley's bases where he is holding the future prophets and Samandriel respectively.
Types of Demons
Daevas are a low class of demons that are almost completely invisible to humans; the only part of them that humans can see are their shadows. They are described as "demonic pitbulls." Meg once used a group of daevas to commit unexplainable murders with the goal of ultimately luring the Winchesters into a trap she'd set. However, Meg had had to use a spell to control them and they immediately attacked her when the spell was (temporarily) broken, demonstrating that at least black-eyed demons lack control over daevas and that daevas have no real interest in serving higher-up demons. It is unknown if daevas are vulnerable to standard demonic weaknesses, but it is shown that they can be temporarily banished if their shadows are dissipated by extreme light.
Acheris are a lower rank of demon that are able to manifest as children. Ava Wilson was shown to be able to summon and control Acheris, and used them to trap the other Special Children in Cold Oak and to kill them. Acheris are susceptible to the weakness that affect other demons and spirits, like being dispelled by an iron rod, as well as not being able to cross a salt barrier.
I mean, demons, they don't want anything, just death and destruction for its own sake.
These demons are the most common types, but they are not a homogeneous group. They occupy positions on earth and in Hell, as they are constantly being deployed and produced throughout Hell. They appear to hold different ranks in demon society and display a range of abilities and powers. They are grouped together because when they possess a human, they can turn the hosts eyes entirely black at will. Most black-eyed demons serve a higher ranking demon or entity. Both Lilith and Crowley have black-eyed body guards; others serve as members of an entourage, like Lilith's "personal chef." One group of the demons is assigned by Lucifer to care for Famine. They are subject to the typical demon weaknesses - holy water, salt, exorcism, the Colt, Ruby's knife, and the devil's trap. Some of the more powerful black-eyed demons, such as Meg, are impervious to hallowed ground:
- Pastor Jim: I know what you are. You can’t be here. This is hallowed ground.
- Meg: Please. Maybe that works in the minor leagues, but not with me.
Tammi, the demon in 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum, was one of the strongest black-eyed demons encountered. Like the yellow-eyed Azazel and the white-eyed Lilith, she can pin both Sam and Dean to a wall telekinetically. Tammi also stops a bullet from the Colt in mid-air when Sam tries to shoot her. She provides power to witches in exchange for their souls.
The Knights of Hell are black-eyed demons who were amongst the first fallen humans, handpicked by Lucifer. They were rumored to have all been killed by the archangels. They all have the powers of other lower-ranking demons, but at least one has shown abilities and powers far beyond that of any other demon seen so far.
These stronger black-eyed demons often have an advanced knowledge of magic and spells that helps them achieve their goals. Tammi and Ruby both made extensive use of hex bags. Meg uses a black altar to control daevas in 1.16 Shadow. Later, while she is possessing Sam in 2.14 Born Under a Bad Sign, she manages to resist exorcism for a time using a binding link with him. Both Meg and Brady communicated via the goblet of blood with the Yellow-Eyed Demon and Pestilence respectively. Abaddon knew a spell to travel through time.
As with most demons, their appearance can be accompanied or presaged by odd weather phenomena and electrical interference, as well as the presence of sulfur. Demons are also associated with EVP.
Crossroads demons are another fairly large class of demons, though they do not appear to be nearly as large as the black-eyed demon class. Unlike black-eyed demons, all crossroads demons have red eyes, though their exact eye color varies from completely red to red with black pupils. Crossroads demons appear to be roughly on the same level as black-eyed demons; it is unclear which class ranks higher, if there is indeed a power difference. A crossroads demon makes deals with people, granting wishes in exchange for claiming their "clients'" life and soul at a later date; the standard date is ten years to the day, though they can choose to give either a shorter or longer amount of time to the client. These deals are sealed with a kiss. However, crossroads demons can refuse an offer if they choose. Non-crossroads demons who can also make deals include Lilith and Azazel.
It appears that crossroads demons sometimes independently hold the contracts to the deals they've struck, as one is able to break her contract with Evan Hudson; however, the same demon is unable to break her contract with Dean Winchester later on, as after she makes the deal with Dean, the contract transfers hands to her "boss." It is implied by her calling this "boss" a "he" that the demon in question is Crowley, himself a crossroads demon who has called himself "The King of the Crossroads," dealing primarily with clients he sees as "big fish." Lilith, dubbed "The Queen of the Crossroads," ultimately ends up holding Dean's contract, along with all other crossroads deal contracts, and is described as the demon all crossroads demons - Crowley himself included - work for. Crowley has demonstrated the ability to break the contracts of other crossroads demons, and it is implied that Lilith can as well.
White-eyed demons are the highest-ranking class of demons, second only to Lucifer himself in the hierarchy of Hell and serving as his "chiefs of staff." Only two confirmed white-eyed demons, Lilith and Alastair, have appeared. Another demon, Samhain, may be classified as a third white-eyed demon, but unlike Lilith and Alastair, his eyes have pale gray irises and black pupils. Lilith is known to be the first demon created by Lucifer and Alastair is hinted to have been the second, making it quite likely that white-eyed demons are the oldest class of demons. They are powerful enough to be on par with angels, with Lilith demonstrating the angels' ability to generate a powerful white light that destroys anything she wills it to with the effects being compared to an explosion, as well as high resistance to Sam Winchester's demonic powers, and Alastair demonstrating high resistance to Ruby's Knife as well as complete immunity to the smiting power of angels and the power to overpower and defeat angels in direct combat.
The Princes of Hell were the first generation of demons created by Lucifer after the creation of Lilith, but before the Knights of Hell. Distinguished by their yellow eyes, members of the Princes of Hell include(d) Azazel, Ramiel, Asmodeus, and their sister Dagon. These demons were created by Lucifer to act as generals in a demonic army, but at some point in time the Princes of Hell, other than Azazel, abdicated their rank and went to live quiet lives on Earth.
The Knights of Hell were an order of black-eyed demons who served as elite soldiers of Hell. Henry Winchester stated that they had been among the first demons and had even been hand-picked by Lucifer himself. Cain was the first of the Knights and went on to create the other Knights on Lucifer's orders. The group wreaked havoc on Earth for centuries under Cain's leadership, with one of his Knights, Abaddon, growing close to him and becoming his lover. The Knights of Hell are linked to the Mark of Cain, which is known to have directly transformed two humans into Knights upon their deaths. The Knights are said to have been "very pure, very strong" demons, and Cain especially possessed extraordinary power, above and beyond most demons, including Crowley after the latter became the King of Hell, with Cain displaying the power to kill demons with a touch - something no other demon on the show has demonstrated. Almost all the Knights of Hell were killed by Cain when they kidnapped Colette Mullen, with only former members Cain and Abaddon still alive but the organization itself defunct. The Men of Letters mistakenly believed that all the Knights of Hell had been wiped out, and by archangels. Abaddon eventually resurfaced in 2013 in an attempt to gain power in Hell, but was killed by Dean. After dying and turning into a demon, Dean temporarily became a Knight himself before being cured. Afterwards, as Cain descended into madness from the power of the Mark of Cain, Dean killed him, thus rendering the Knights extinct.
- Binsfeld's Classification of Demons
- Demon Blood
- Demon Smoke
- Devil's Trap
- Hell Gates
- Holy Hell
- Knights of Hell
- Wikipedia's entry on Demonology
- 3.04 Sin City
- 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum
- The Essential Supernatural: On the Road with Sam and Dean Winchester
- 4.10 Heaven and Hell
- 5.22 Swan Song
- 2.14 Born Under a Bad Sign
- 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked
- 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer
- 3.12 Jus in Bello
- 3.01 The Magnificent Seven
- 8.12 As Time Goes By
- 4.20 The Rapture
- 4.16 On the Head of a Pin
- 4.22 Lucifer Rising
- 6.04 Weekend at Bobby's
- 8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin
- 8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin
- 8.10 Torn and Frayed
- 10.07 Girls, Girls, Girls
- 4.03 In the Beginning
- 1.22 Devil's Trap
- 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?
- 1.16 Shadow
- 2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One
- 1.21 Salvation
- 1.04 Phantom Traveler
- 2.08 Crossroad Blues
- 3.05 Bedtime Stories
- 5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight
- 5.10 Abandon All Hope...
- 3.15 Time Is on My Side
- 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters
- Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3
- 7.08 Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!
- 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book
- 9.23 Do You Believe in Miracles?
- 9.11 First Born
- 8.23 Sacrifice
- 9.21 King of the Damned
- 10.05 Fan Fiction
- 10.03 Soul Survivor
- 10.14 The Executioner's Song