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Azazel, Lucifer, Changelings and Cursed Objects

Protect yourself from The monsters of Supernatural, Season 3, Episodes 2-4 with this cleansing ritual.

You can tell something’s not right with the baby in this illustration of a changeling by P.J. Lynch

You can tell something’s not right with the baby in this illustration of a changeling by P.J. Lynch

S3E2: “The Kids Are Alright”

Monster: Changeling

Where it’s from: Ireland

Description: It looks like your kid — but it’s an imposter left behind by fairies when they spirited away your real child. You might catch its true form in a reflection: gross raw red and white sinewy skin. Oh, and the Supernatural version has a round sucker mouth with rings of spiral teeth like a lamprey.

There’s documentation of parents from the late 1800s who killed their kids, thinking them changelings. One woman put her child in the oven, while another drowned her 3-year-old son because he couldn’t stand or speak.
Keep iron by your baby’s crib if you don’t want fairies to kidnap it and replace it with a changeling imposter

Keep iron by your baby’s crib if you don’t want fairies to kidnap it and replace it with a changeling imposter

What it does: Fairies have the nasty habit of stealing away human children and leaving sub-par copies in their stead. What’s up with all this baby-napping?

There are a variety of reasons for this despicable act. Some say that fairy babies are actually quite ugly. Some think that fairies offer human babies to the Devil in a blood sacrifice. And some believe it’s so fairies can cross-breed with humans to enhance their bloodlines. A fairy’s true motives are nearly impossible to know.

A changeling typically exhibits signs of sickness. Even if it has a prodigious appetite, it will still end up weak and unhealthy, with long, bony limbs. Sometimes it’s deformed or has strange features, including a full set of teeth within a few weeks. It may be aloof or unable to talk. And it might cry nonstop, bite or otherwise misbehave.

“To any modern reader the symptoms of a changeling child can be conflated with autism, Down syndrome, and a host of other developmental and congenital disorders,” writes Randomdescent. It sounded like a somewhat condoned means of disposing of disabled children.

You see, parents supposedly could force the fairies to return their child by treating the changeling cruelly. There’s documentation of parents from the late 1800s who killed their kids, thinking them changelings. One woman put her child in the oven, while another drowned her 3-year-old son because he couldn’t stand or speak.

The Changeling  by Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1780

The Changeling by Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1780

On Supernatural, there have been a series of deadly “accidents,” including a man falling (getting pushed) onto a power saw. They’re the work of changelings, which crawl in through windows and assume the shape of a child.

The mothers get marked with a red bruise on the back of their necks. Turns out it perfectly matches that creepy round mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth. The kids are draining their moms’ synovial fluid.

Saying that your kid was a changeling used to be a way to get rid of troublesome or impaired offspring

Saying that your kid was a changeling used to be a way to get rid of troublesome or impaired offspring

How to defeat it: It’s tough to kill these changelings. One woman puts her daughter in the car and sends it into a nearby lake. She returns home to find the little girl dripping wet, still wanting that ice cream she was promised.

Fire works, though it might be hard to get away with burning children alive. As Dean points out, “We’ll just bust in, drag the kids out, torch them on the front lawn. That’ll play great with the neighbors.”

The Winchester brothers realize that if you kill the mother changeling, all the others will burn up as well. Luckily, the real kids weren’t taken off to fairyland but were kept underground, and they all get rescued.

In Irish tradition, fairies hate iron, so people would leave something made of this metal near their baby’s crib, such as fire tongs, scissors or a knife. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, but I suppose you have to weigh your risks.

Baptizing a baby as soon as possible also prevents fairy abduction.

Why do we think these grotesque maimed animal parts are so lucky?

Why do we think these grotesque maimed animal parts are so lucky?

S3E3: “Bad Day at Black Rock”

Monster: Cursed object

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: Cursed objects can be a variety of things, including paintings (such as The Hands Resist Him, which you can read about in this post), mirrors, dolls — or tombs, like that of King Tut.

What it does: Curse boxes have binding runes and are meant to keep the bad stuff in, like Pandora’s box. And we all know how well that worked out.

What’s inside the curse box Dean and Sam find in their father’s storage space? A frickin’ rabbit’s foot?!

They wouldn’t be smiling if they knew those rabbit’s foots might be cursed!

They wouldn’t be smiling if they knew those rabbit’s foots might be cursed!

While that doesn’t sound like much, it’s actually a super powerful token of hoodoo magic. If you have a rabbit’s foot that was cut off in a cemetery under a full moon on a Friday the 13th, you’ll have a run of amazing luck — for about a week. Then you lose the rabbit’s foot, your luck runs out…and you die.

Of course when Dean gets his hands on the cursed object, he says, “I’m Batman!”

If you really want a lucky charm, cut off the left hind foot of a rabbit on an evil person’s grave at midnight on a Friday the 13th

If you really want a lucky charm, cut off the left hind foot of a rabbit on an evil person’s grave at midnight on a Friday the 13th

Hoodoo lore adds that it must be the rabbit’s left hind foot, and that the meaner the person whose grave you’re on top of, the more powerful the charm will be.

The association with rabbits and good luck supposedly goes all the way back to 600 BCE. It was believed that holding part of an animal would give you that creature’s strengths — in this case, the ability to run swiftly from danger or be extremely fertile, according to WebVet.

How to defeat it: Perform a heavyweight cleansing ritual. The boys use one that involves bone ash and cayenne pepper. It takes place in a cemetery, cuz why not? Here’s another you can try, from Wiccan Spells:

Cleansing Ritual

You’ll need something representing each of the four elements:

  • Air: Sage incense
  • Fire: Silver or gray candle
  • Earth: Sea salt
  • Water: Chalice filled with water

Hold your hands over the incense and say, “With air I cleanse myself.” Let the smoke swirl around your fingers for a few moments. Feel the cleansing properties of sage immerse you.

Hold your hands above the candle (at a safe distance) and say, “With fire I cleanse myself.” Visualize the flame burning away anything unwanted within you.

Take the sea salt and crumble it between your fingers and gently rub it on your hands, saying, “With earth I cleanse myself.”

Dip your hands in the water, again gently rubbing your hands, and say, “With water I cleanse myself.”

Sit in silence for a moment while you let the elements do their work.

Say: “Any energy that no longer serves me, please leave now. Thank you for your presence. Now I am sending you home.” Say it with conviction. Keep repeating it until you feel you’re done — this might be 10 times, or it might be 50. Negativity will shed from you like the skin off a snake. You may experience a pulling sensation or a feeling of suddenly becoming lighter.

After releasing the negative energies, you will have holes in your aura that must be filled with light — otherwise other negative energy will easily latch onto you and you’ll have to start the process again.

Visualize the top of your head opening up, with a funnel going from the heavens into your body. Pull down divine light to fill every gap in your aura as you repeat the words, “I ask that my energy body is filled with pure healing light.” I know that phrasing is a bit odd, but I figured there’s power in words, so just go with it. Repeat a few times, then thank the spirits and elements.

Lucifer arouses other fallen angels in this  Paradise Lost  illustration by William Blake

Lucifer arouses other fallen angels in this Paradise Lost illustration by William Blake

S3E4: “Sin City”

Monster: Demon

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: These powerful evil creatures are usually distortions of nature — though on Supernatural they tend to be hot chicks.

What it does: Fellow hunter Ritchie goes home with a bartender. He follows her down to the family crypt — and promptly gets his neck snapped.

Demons usually like to possess people. As this demon colorfully describes it: “You know what happens when demons piggyback humans? They leave ’em rode hard and put up wet.”

She most definitely has a superiority complex. “All you got to do is nudge humans in the right direction,” she says. “Some whiskey here, a hooker there, and they’ll walk right into Hell with big, fat smiles on their faces.”

Later, Dean comments, “Demons are evil,” to which she replies, “And humans are such a lovable bunch?” throwing out Dick Cheney as an example. She has a point, especially given our current president.

In another  Paradise Lost  illustration, this one by Gustave Doré, Lucifer is cast out of Heaven by God

In another Paradise Lost illustration, this one by Gustave Doré, Lucifer is cast out of Heaven by God

She talks of Lucifer like he’s the Second Coming. Lucifer means Lightbringer, she explains. The name is also a reference to the Morning Star, Venus. She says that people believe Lucifer created demons and that he will come again one day.

Although he was once an angel, Lucifer is now associated with Satan. Ezekiel 28:17 describes his downfall: “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.”

This excessive pride pissed off God, who threw Lucifer down to Earth. Eventually, he ended up in Hell, which he pretty much took over.

Ancient Israelites sacrificed goats to Azazel to send their sins back to the original source — the demon who corrupted humanity

Ancient Israelites sacrificed goats to Azazel to send their sins back to the original source — the demon who corrupted humanity

It’s in this episode that we finally learn the name of the Yellow-Eyed Demon: Azazel.

Azazel is another fallen angel, this one with the claim to fame of having corrupted humanity. At least Eve with her apple finally gets cut a break.

He’s described as an unclean bird that feeds on carcasses in the Apocalypse of Abraham (which didn’t make it into the Bible’s official version).

Nowadays, he’s depicted as having red skin, glowing yellow eyes and a barbed tail, according to Mythology.net. His favorite fashion accessories are goat skulls and bones. Jewish desert tribes, including the Israelites, would make sacrifices to Azazel at the same time that they made sacrifices to Yahweh. Offerings to Azazel were accomplished by driving a goat into the wilderness or by pushing it into a deep ravine. These sacrifices symbolized sending sins back to their original source, Mythology.net says. This is why Christian versions of the Bible translate Azazel as “Scapegoat.”

Azazel became the leader of the Grigori, a group of rebellious angels who married human women and produced a line of monstrous children.

How to defeat it: Try the trusty Devil’s Trap. But even though a demon is bound within the area, it can still cause destruction, as this one does. She destroys the crypt, which crumbles around Dean, leading to this witty exchange:

Dean: What are you laughing at, bitch? You’re still trapped.

Demon: So are you, bitch.

Dean wants to perform the exorcism rite. Trouble is he’s forgotten it. To be fair, it’s a lot of Latin to memorize. That’s what you should bookmark this page. –Wally

Christmas Around the World

Learn strange Christmas traditions from other countries.

Why are these people in blackface? It’s just one of the quirky Dutch Christmas traditions!

Why are these people in blackface? It’s just one of the quirky Dutch Christmas traditions!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. But in many parts of the world, it’s one of the strangest times of the year as well.

Americans have their share of kooky Christmas traditions, including the belief that a misfit reindeer with a glowing red nose named Rudolph flies through the sky, helping pull a fat man’s sleigh. Not to mention that said fat man somehow fits all the presents for every kid onto this sleigh and makes it around the world, slipping down chimneys, all in a single night.
But that’s nothing compared to some of the holiday traditions in other parts of the world.

People in the Netherlands dress as Black Peter, a Moor, by putting on blackface.

For example, Christmas takes on a strangely scatalogical bent in Catalonia, a region of Spain. People place the figurine of a guy in the act of deficating in their nativity scenes as well as beat a log until it poops out treats for kids.

And in Austria and other parts of Europe, if you’re a naughty child, a devil named Krampus will kidnap you, beat you savagely with a stick and drag you to Hell.

Here are some of the more bizarre ways to celebrate the holidays in other parts of the world.

The Dutch version of Santa Claus has a helper named Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter

The Dutch version of Santa Claus has a helper named Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter

Go in blackface as Santa’s helper in the Netherlands.

Sinterklaas, as Santa Claus is known to the Dutch people, travels with his servant. But instead of diminutive elves, Sinterklaas is accompanied by Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter. Today people dress as Black Peter, a Moor, by putting on blackface. Not very PC — it’s amazing this tradition still exists. It wouldn’t in the United States, I’ll tell ya that.

Someone’s been naughty and needs to get stuffed into a sack and sent off to Spain!

Someone’s been naughty and needs to get stuffed into a sack and sent off to Spain!

It’s these fellows who keep tabs on who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. The good kids get presents, while the bad ones are shoved into a sack and taken off to Spain for a year of reform school.

Spiderweb decorations are common in Ukraine and Poland

Spiderweb decorations are common in Ukraine and Poland

Decorate the tree with spiderweb ornaments in Ukraine and Poland.

Spiderweb ornaments might sound more Halloween than Christmas, but there’s a story behind them. A poor Ukrainian widow lived with her children in a hut. The kids saw a majestic evergreen outside and wanted it to be their Christmas tree. Trouble was, they didn’t have any ornaments and couldn’t afford them.

So the woman cried herself to sleep that night. The hut’s spiders heard her sobs and decorated the tree in intricate webs overnight. In the morning, the sunrise caught the webs and made them glisten like metal. And everyone lived happily ever after, as they tend to do in these fairy tales.

In Poland, they also decorate Christmas trees with spiderwebs, but there’s a different tale behind this tradition. They believe a spider wove a blanket for baby Jesus. I’m sure it wasn’t warm and was annoyingly sticky, but I suppose they appreciated the sentiment.  

If a witch can’t find a broom in your house, Norwegians think she’ll leave you alone

If a witch can’t find a broom in your house, Norwegians think she’ll leave you alone

Hide brooms from the witches in Norway.

Apparently witches and evil spirits like to come out to play on Christmas Eve. So Norwegians, to keep them at bay, hide their brooms, which we all know is a witch’s favorite means of travel. To thwart the witches and evil spirits, men will also fire three shots from their rifles into the air.

These nuns in Venezuela were off to celebrate Christmas mass on roller skates

These nuns in Venezuela were off to celebrate Christmas mass on roller skates

Roller skate to church in Venezuela.

Amid the explosions of firecrackers, entire Venezuelan families in Caracas don roller skates and head off to Catholic mass. As tradition has it, children go to bed with a piece of string tied around their toe with the other end dangling out the window. As the skaters roll past, they give the string a tug, and children know that it’s time to put their own skates on. It’s such a popular tradition that the government took to closing entire streets to traffic so families could skate together in safety. This has gotta be the only time church feels like a disco club. All that’s missing is the mirror ball.

Grab your horse skull! It’s time to go wassailing in Wales!

Grab your horse skull! It’s time to go wassailing in Wales!

Carol (and beg for booze) with a dead horse in Wales.

Perhaps you’ve heard the song that begins, “Here we come a-wassailing.” This is the Welsh version of caroling. Wassail is an old England word for “cheers” and can also refer to the boozy beverages the carolers are begging for: ale or mulled wine.

The old Mari Lwyd just ain’t what she used to be

The old Mari Lwyd just ain’t what she used to be

The tradition, known as Mari Lwyd, translates to the Gray Mare, involves people going from house to house, singing and challenging the families inside to a battle of rhyming insults until they get a boozy beverage. What makes this creepy is that one person dresses up like a horse, donning a white sheet topped with an actual horse skull adorned with ears and eyes.

Take me to church

Take me to church

Bring a rooster to mass in Bolivia.

Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster), the midnight service on Christmas Eve, by bringing along a rooster. It must get quite boisterous. But what’s with all the cocks? It’s to honor the creature that is believed to be the first to have announced the birth of baby Jesus.

Dark-haired men, come on in! Blonde and red-haired women, stay the heck away!

Dark-haired men, come on in! Blonde and red-haired women, stay the heck away!

Hope for a dark-haired man to visit you on Christmas in Estonia and Ireland.

Your first Christmas visitor (the first-footer) can determine if your household will have a good year or not — at least that’s what the Estonians believe. If you’re a woman, blonde or red-haired, just stay home, though, please. It’s really only dark-haired gents who bring good luck.

Ireland has the same tradition, though they light a candle and, at the last stroke of midnight, throw open their front doors to welcome in the New Year. Women will beat the door with a loaf of bread, while hoping for a dark-haired gentleman to darken their doorway.

People in Finland buy small tin horseshoes to melt on New Year’s Eve as part of a fortune-telling ritual

People in Finland buy small tin horseshoes to melt on New Year’s Eve as part of a fortune-telling ritual

Melt tin and predict the future in Finland.

You might need a book of symbols and their meanings for this tradition. On New Year’s Eve, Finns purchase small tin horseshoes to melt and ladles. The molten tin is dropped  into a bucket of snow or ice-cold water. Once it hardens, they hold the blob up to the light to see what shape its shadow casts. If it looks like a hill, for example, there will be obstacles ahead. If it looks like a coin, you’ll be coming into some money.

Pesky Greek goblins called the kallikantzari take a break from trying to cut down the World Tree to cause mischief on the 12 days of Christmas

Pesky Greek goblins called the kallikantzari take a break from trying to cut down the World Tree to cause mischief on the 12 days of Christmas

Kallikantzari like to scare humans — and poop in their food

Kallikantzari like to scare humans — and poop in their food

Watch out for goblins in Greece.

According to Greek legend, the hobgoblins called kallikantzari come up from their underground homes on Christmas Day to play tricks on humans until Ephiphany, January 6. They’re particularly fond of sneaking down the chimney like Santa to hide in your home and jump out and scare you. The kallikantzari also rearrange the furniture and, shudder, take dumps in any open containers of food they find.

Grab a colander — it’s one of the best ways to get rid of these Greek goblins

Grab a colander — it’s one of the best ways to get rid of these Greek goblins

If you want to avoid goblin crap on your cookies, burn logs or old shoes, or hang sausages or sweetmeats in the chimney. In addition, many Greeks put a colander on their doorsteps because the goblins will be compelled to count the holes. They don’t make much headway, though, according to A Scary Little Christmas, because the dim-witted creatures can only count to two.

They’re burning Mickey Mouse?! What did  he  ever do to hurt anyone?

They’re burning Mickey Mouse?! What did he ever do to hurt anyone?

Burn effigies in Ecuador.

In their own version of Guy Fawkes Day, Ecuadorians celebrate La Quema de los Años Viejos, the Burning of the Old Years. They make life-size dolls that resemble someone they dislike — maybe a local politician or the ever-popular Osama bin Laden. (I’m going to guess that Trump is a new fave.) People write notes explaining why the dolls should be burned and what changes they’d like to see in the coming year.

The effigies are proudly displayed on balconies or in windows until New Year's Eve, when they’re burned in a bonfire in the street. People jump over the fires for good luck.

Don’t be late on the winter solstice — you’ll be the Thomas Donkey and will end up the butt of jokes all day

Don’t be late on the winter solstice — you’ll be the Thomas Donkey and will end up the butt of jokes all day

Try not to become a donkey in Germany.

Don’t be an ass! In Germany, the Winter Solstice is also known as St. Thomas Day. It’s not a good day to be tardy. In parts of the Sauerland region, if you sleep in or get to work late, you’re given a cardboard donkey. called the Thomas Donkey and you’ll be the butt of jokes all day.

At least you’re rewarded at the end of the day with Thomasplitzchen, iced currant buns.

The Greek goblins known as the kallikantzari like to take dumps in any open containers of food they find.

Put on your skates and grab your cock before hitting midnight mass! Maybe you can incorporate some of these traditions into your Yuletide celebrations! –Wally

The Monsters of "Supernatural," Season 2, Episodes 7-9

What is a banshee? How can you make a deal with the Devil like Robert Johnson? Hellhounds (black dogs), Roanoke, goofer dust and death omens all get covered in this roundup.

An illustration from The English Dance of Death, drawn by William Combe. I’d say a skeleton lounging in front of your fireplace is a pretty strong death omen

S2E7: “The Usual Suspects”

Monster: Death omen

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: This particular figure is pale, with dark red eyes and a slit throat. In his typically eloquent fashion, Dean describes the death omen as “Casper the Bloodthirsty Ghost.”

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, or The Banshee by Henry Meynell Rheam, 1901

In Irish folklore, a banshee is a female spirit, and when people hear her horrific wail (one tradition holds that it can actually break glass), they know someone will soon die.

What it does: Like the banshee, death omens foretell that someone will perish in the near future.

I love black cats…but some cultures believe them to be harbingers of death — especially if one meows at midnight

Death Omens

In this episode, the printer keeps repeating the name Dana Schulps. That’s creepy, but here’s a shortened list of some famous death omens, according to Superstition Dictionary:

  • A black cat meowing at midnight
  • Bees swarming a rotten tree (there will be a death in the family owning or living on the property within a year)
  • A bird entering the bedroom of a sick person and landing on the bedpost
  • A pigeon flying against the window
  • A sparrow attacking another swallow and throwing it from its nest near a home (a son will be born and a daughter will die)
  • An owl hooting in a tree right above your head (a relative or friend of yours will die within a year)
  • A dog persistently howling under your window
  • A mouse running over your foot
  • A white rabbit crossing your path
  • A cow giving birth to twin calves
  • A cedar tree you have planted dying in your yard
  • A peach tree blooming early
  • A clock striking 13
  • A portrait falling off the wall
  • A rainbow over a house (sounds more gay than scary, to be honest)
  • Seeing your shadow without a head on New Year’s Eve

How to defeat it: At first the boys think this is a vengeful spirit. In true Winchester Brothers fashion, Sam says, “We have to salt and burn her bones. It’s the only way to put her spirit to rest.” To which guest star Linda Blair, famous for her head-turning performance in The Exorcist, replies, “Of course it is.”

Thing is, why would a vengeful spirit lead Blair to her remains? Turns out it’s not a vengeful spirit after all. As a death omen, she wants to warn people, and she’s finally at rest once the murderer is killed.

You certainly don’t want to be a victim of a hellhound attack

S2E8: “Crossroad Blues”

Monster: Black dog or hellhound

Where it’s from: England and Scotland

The Black Dog of Newgate has haunted the prison for 400 years, appearing before executions

Description: They’re larger than your average pooch and are covered in shaggy black fur, though some reports say they can have white, spotted or brown fur as well. Glowing red eyes, long fangs and saliva reeking of sulfur complete the look.

Sam describes them as “demonic pitbulls.”

“I bet they could hump the crap out of your leg,” Dean adds

What it does: Hellhounds collect souls that are due in payment for deals made with the Devil. One man wanted to be an overnight musical success. This calls to mind Robert Johnson, who is said to have made just such a deal. He supposedly came across Satan at a crossroads and offered to sell his soul in return for becoming an amazing bluesman. He went on to write and perform some popular songs, including “Cross Roads Blues,” “Me and the Devil Blues” and “Hellhound on My Trail.” But he died mysteriously, choking on his own blood, at age 27 (like Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and others) in 1938.

The blues musician Robert Johnson is one of the most famous people (Faust aside) to sell his soul to the Devil

With another person they’re investigating, Dean wants to know why the man made a pact with a demon: “What’d you ask for anyway, Evan? Never need Viagra? Bowl a perfect game?”

“My wife,’ Evan says.

“Gettin’ the girl,” Dean nods. “Well, that’s worth a trip to Hell for."

You can supposedly get your heart’s desire if you make a pact with the Devil — but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea

How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil

If you’d like to make a deal with the Devil (and we really can’t recommend doing so), here’s how to do so.

Plant yarrow flowers in the corners of a crossroads to summon the Big Guy.

Get a tin box and fill with the bones of a black cat, graveyard dirt and a picture of yourself.

“That’s Deep South hoodoo stuff,” Dean says.

How to defeat it: Sam and Dean think one of the people they visit has grabbed the wrong shaker (those boys are completely obsessed with salt). But the man made no mistake. He’s keeping away demons with another hoodoo trick: goofer dust.

Be warned that the goofer dust will affect anyone who steps onto it. Victims will develop a chronic illness that may result in death.


Goofer Dust Recipe

This recipe comes from Raven Conspiracy:

  • Sulfur
  • Salt
  • Skin or head of a venomous snake, dried and ground
  • Black pepper
  • Graveyard dirt

Optional ingredients:

  • Red pepper
  • Ground bones
  • Ground insects
  • Sage
  • Mullein
  • Anvil dust

 

Here’s another version, this one from SpellsOfMagic.com:

  • Graveyard dirt
  • Black salt
  • Ground sulfur
  • Snake skin
  • Magnetic sand

Optional ingredients:

  • Dried pigeon feces
  • Ground insects
  • Powdered bones
  • Black pepper

Sounds like there’s some leeway with the recipe. Mix what ingredients you can find together. But be sure not to touch the powder after you’ve made it.

Sprinkle it in a place where you know your target will definitely walk onto it. Be warned that the goofer dust will affect anyone who steps onto it. Victims will develop a chronic illness that may result in death.

 

If you regret having made a satanic pact, use a Devil’s Trap to ensnare the demon or devil and strike a deal by threatening to exorcise it.

 

S2E9: “Croatoan”

Monster: Demonic virus

Where it’s from: the United States

Description: There’s a telltale sulfuric residue in the virus.

What it does: Those infected turn murderous. They’re also fond of spreading the love: The virus is passed by by blood to blood contact. The infected like to cut themselves and then slice open their victim so they can drip blood into the wound.

The boys find a reference to the Lost Colony of Roanoke (it was also a theme in American Horror Story: Roanoke). The colony was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585 in what is now North Carolina. Five years later, all 115 or so settlers had vanished mysteriously — the only clue being the word “Croatoan” carved into a fencepost. The Croatoan were an Indian tribe, though Daddy Winchester had a theory that it’s the name of a demon also known as Deva, or Resheph, associated with pestilence.

That’s Resheph off to the right, the personification of plague. He’s hanging out with his friends Min (the fertility god with the big boner) and Qetesh (the goddess of fertility and sexual ecstacy)

How to defeat it: You’ve got to kill those infected. Guns work. And Molotov cocktails would do the trick, too, one imagines, as the Winchester boys were planning.

It also helps to be immune, like Sam. –Wally

I bet they could hump the crap out of your leg.
— Dean Winchester

The Strange History of Halloween

Ever wondered why we carve pumpkins, dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating? Learn the pagan origins of Samhain, when spirits roam the Earth and we can see into the future.

Halloween is the best time to cast divination spells

Halloween: You love it or you hate it.

Our office manager dreads Halloween. She’s religious and sees it as an evil night, when devils and witches and demons and ghouls literally roam the streets.

That, of course, is why many of us love it. It’s a chance to become someone else for a night. To embrace our dark (or sexy) sides.

To the pre-Christian Celts of Western Europe, it was referred to as Samhain (actually pronounced “sow-en”) — a term still used by Wiccans. It’s the one day of the year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

Halloween has its dark side — but it can also be a time of good luck

That means it’s the ideal opportunity to try to glimpse into the future. Divination spells work best on All Hallow’s E’en.

Young women would try to glimpse their future lover’s face in the mirror on Halloween night

Witchy Ways

If you want to get into the Samhain spirit, try these spells: 

Contact a Deceased Loved One
See a Vision of Your True Love

Witches, black cats and jack-o’-lanterns have become associated with Halloween

But it also means that ghosts and other unpleasant wraiths have the opportunity to invade the world of the living once darkness falls. People felt they had to protect themselves.

How did these origins lead to our traditions of carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, dressing up in costumes and asking for candy with thinly veiled threats of mischief? What’s the history of Halloween, our strangest holiday?

Here’s an infographic I wrote (and the talented Kevin LeVick designed) for a website that’s sadly now defunct. –Wally