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Sam examining John's salt ring.

Rock Salt/Rock Salt Gun

Non-lethal weapon and ammunition often used by police to control crowds or riots. Spirit hunters also use them as a defense against ghosts and other supernatural spirits. The fired salt alone will not destroy the spirit, but it does act as a deterrent, forcing the spirit to dissipate briefly.

Pad of Definitions, (1.07 Hook Man), Official Website

The idea of using salt as a supernatural deterrent was "invented" by writers Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes Burton. Eric Kripke agreed it "...was the perfect combination of occult element - salt is a folkloric repellent of evil - and the blue-collar aspect of shotguns."S1Com, p. 47-48. At Salute to Supernatural L.A. 2009, a fan asked Jensen and Jared how Ruby could eat fries, presumably with salt on them, if she was a demon. The question was also put to Eric Kripke at Comic Con 2009.

In The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons and Ghouls Sam and Dean mention that they know hunters who salt their beer. This practice stems from an old Scottish tradition in which salt was added to a batch of mash to keep witches away.BoM

Salt is used in:

  • Shotgun shells, to disperse ghosts as well as slow down demons.
  • As protection of space - laid in an enclosing ring or around the boundaries of a room to prevent spirits and demons from entering.
  • To purify a corpse before burning its bones - commonly known as a "salt and burn."


Ring of Salt

A positive symbol of protection used against demons and evils protecting or trapping anything within it.

Pad of Definitions, (1.20 Dead Man's Blood), Official Website

1.01 Pilot

When Sam and Dean find John's motel room, Sam notices the line of salt on the floor.

1.07 Hook Man

"Hook Man" is the first episode in which salt was used as a weapon against spirit of Jacob Karns.

Dean: [hands Sam a shotgun] Here you go.
Sam: If it is a spirit, buckshot won’t do much good.
Dean: Yeah, rock salt.
Sam: Huh. Salt being a spirit deterrent.
Dean: Yeah. It won’t kill 'em. But it’ll slow ‘em down.
Sam: That’s pretty good. You and dad think of this?
Dean: I told you. You don’t have to be a college graduate to be a genius.

1.10 Asylum

While investigating the Roosevelt Asylum, in Rockford, Illinois, Sam and Dean enter the Asylum armed with shotguns and rock salt. Dean is able to dispatch the spirit of Sanford Ellicott when he salt and burns Ellicot's remains.

1.13 Route 666

Sam and Dean fish out the remains of Cyrus Dorian from a swamp and salt and burn his body. However, as some of the remains had fused with Dorian's truck salting and burning did work.

1.17 Hell House

Sam and Dean attempt to use shotgun shells filled with rock salt against Mordechai Murdoch, however when rock salt proves ineffective, they later realize they aren't dealing with a spirit, but tulpa.

1.19 Provenance

Sam, Dean and Sarah Blake salt and burn the remains of Isaiah Merchant, when they believe him to be the spirit behind the murders of his paintings owners.

1.22 Devil's Trap

While interrogating, and ultimately exorcising the demon Meg, Bobby salts all doors and windows in his home, as a means of keeping any other demons from entering. When rescuing their father who has been held captive in an apartment complex, Sam and Dean trap the demons guarding John in a closet, and place a line of salt in front of the door, Sam then proceeds to salt the bedroom door and the windowsill to keep any other demons from following them as the escape.

2.18 Hollywood Babylon

The idea of using salt is debated during the filming of Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning. Kripke has said that many of the remarks in this episode were actual comments from the network executives:

Tara: Salt. Doesn't that sound silly? I mean why would a ghost be afraid of salt?
McG: Marty, what do you think?
Marty: I'm not married to salt. Are we still sticking with condiments?
McG: Mmm, it just sounds different, not better. What else would a ghost be scared of?
Marty: Maybe shotguns.
McG: That makes even less sense than salt.

4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester

Sam and Dean learn of Bobby's panic room, and how it is 100% ghost proof, as it is solid iron completely coated in salt.

4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

Sam and Dean learn firsthand that being shot with salt not only forces a spirit to dissipate temporarily, but also inflicts pain on it.

4.16 On the Head of a Pin

Dean uses salt when he tortures Alastair.

5.06 I Believe the Children Are Our Future

Julia Wright swallows salt after giving birth to Jesse Turner in order to force out the demon inside her.

5.10 Abandon All Hope...

Dean and Sam use salt as a barrier to keep out the hellhounds.

6.09 Clap Your Hands If You Believe...

Salt (as well as sugar) is revealed to be a major weakness of fairies, who must count each grain if it is spilled in front of them, no matter how powerful they are.

Salt in Lore

The practice of putting down an enclosing ring of salt (or salting the doors and windows of a room) for protection lies in the lore that a vampire or demon cannot cross the line without counting each grain. The impossibility of this task thus prevents the demon from crossing the threshold/line, and thus a thicker line is used where the threat is greater.

In vampire lore, it is not required to be salt - it can be any form of grain (rice, millet, etc).

According to Christian demonology, demons and the Devil in particular hate salt. Salt is used as a talisman against evil (e.g. rock salt worn as an amulet), preemptive defensive magic, to dispel enchantment, and is used in a variety of spells both ancient and modern.

The popularity of salt could be related to the fact that salt is a natural preservative and antiseptic that has long been used as a purifying agent in folk magic. In some Christian rituals of baptism, especially in Catholicism, salt is put on the lips of the child during the ceremony of the baptism as a symbol of wisdom. The dislike for bread can be explained because it represents the body of Jesus for Christians and is transubstantiated into his flesh during the Mass.

Salt's power may be attributed to its purity. However, there are those who hold that in magic salt may actually represent semen [1].

In 1977 rock salt and a rock salt shotgun were used in the Doctor Who episode "Image of the Fendahl" written by Chris Boucher. The rock salt was used to kill the psychokinetic fendahleen.
Doctor: "Sodium chloride. Obviously affects the conductivity, ruins the overall electrical balance, and prevents control of the localized disruption of the osmotic pressures."

Leela: "Salt kills it."

Doctor: "I just said that. Probably the origin of throwing it over your shoulder."

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