Salt

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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 Hookman), Official Website

Salt in Supernatural

Sam examining John's salt ring.

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

Salt is used:

  • In shotgun cartridges, to disperse ghosts.
  • As protection of space - laid in an enclosing ring or around the boundaries of a room to prevent evil from entering.
  • To purify a corpse before burning its bones - commonly known as a "salt and burn"
  • 1.07 Hookman is the first episode in which salt was used as a threat to supernatural demons.
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.
  • The idea of using salt 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 repellant of evil - and the blue-collar aspect of shotguns."S1Com, p. 47-48.
  • In 2.18 Hollywood Babylon the idea of using salt is sent up. 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.

McG of course is the name of the show's real producer.

  • In 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.
  • In 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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