spells

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

15 Best Articles of 2017

Our top blog posts cover the Paris Catacombs, India’s transsexual hijras, jinns, vintage Halloween, Fès hammans and more.

 

Duke and I tend to be drawn to the bizarre. We’re fans of the strange (chambers lined with skulls and bones, creepy vintage Halloween postcards and photos). We like to meet those who are societal outsiders (like India’s legal third sex, the hijra). We’re obsessed with the supernatural (jinns, gypsy love spells). But we also appreciate a good pampering (at a Fès hamman, say) and architectural beauties (such as the Milan Duomo).

Seems like you do, too. Here are the top 15 blog posts from last year. What was your favorite? –Wally

 

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1. GRUESOME FACTS (AND HELPFUL TIPS) ABOUT THE PARIS CATACOMBS

No bones about it: If you think piles of skulls and hallways formed of bones are pretty effin’ cool (like us), then the Catacombs of Paris are for you.

 

 FHI BANGLADESH

2. SECRETS OF THE HIJRA: INDIA’S LITTLE-KNOWN TRANSSEXUALS

Prostitution, curses and dangerous sex change operations are a way of life for this marginalized community.

 

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3. HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM JINNS AND BLACK MAGIC

Black magic in Islam is a serious concern — and the holy writings offer numerous ways to negate magic jinn.

 

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4. THE BEST PLACE TO MAKE OUT IN PUBLIC IN DELHI

Not a typical tourist stop, the Garden of Five Senses is a whimsical sculpture park worth visiting. It’s also popular with local couples escaping societal judgment against PDA.

 

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5. 24 VINTAGE HALLOWEEN CARDS THAT ARE NOSTALGIC — BUT A BIT CREEPY, TOO

Halloween greetings from the past featured common Halloween symbols: the witch, black cat, jack-o’-lantern, ghost, devil — and one that has been forgotten.

 

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6. 21 VINTAGE HALLOWEEN PHOTOS THAT ARE SO CREEPY THEY'LL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES

Halloween costumes of the past were scary as hell.

 

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7. WHAT’S THE BEST HAMMAM SPA EXPERIENCE IN FES, MOROCCO?

Reinvigorate yourself at the luxury hammam Les Bains Amani.

 

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8. 7 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE MILAN CATHEDRAL

What to do in Milan, Italy? Visit the gorgeous Duomo di Milano, covered with statues of saints and gargoyles — and don’t miss the amazing view from the rooftop.

 

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9. LOVE SPELLS FROM THE GYPSIES

How to cast a love spell to make someone fall in love with you — or fall out of love with you. Plus, secrets from the Roma that will reveal your future spouse!

 

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10. THE PISHTACO OF PERU

Why one of the world’s creepiest vampire legends lingers to this day.

 

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11. WAT RONG SUEA TEN, THE BLUE TEMPLE

No day trip to Chiang Rai is complete without a visit to this breathtaking wat, between the White Temple and Black Museum.

 

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12. THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF LIVING IN QATAR

What’s it like living in a Muslim country that fasts for an entire month and limits the sale of booze? What do Qataris think of Americans? And how the heck do you pronounce Qatar?

 

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13. THE INDIAN CASTE SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, untouchable: How did the caste system get started, what is the difference between castes — and how does this shameful practice persist to this day?

 

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14. HOW ST. NICHOLAS BECAME SANTA CLAUS

The surprising origins of jolly old St. Nick include a tie to prostitution, kids chopped into pieces, a devil named Krampus and a racist tradition around his helper Zwarte Pieter, or Black Peter.

 

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15. THE BEST SHOP FOR BLUE POTTERY IN THE ENTIRE FEZ MEDINA

If you’re shopping in Fès, just off of Place Seffarine is a small shop with a friendly owner and great deals.

The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 2, Episodes 10-12

Predictions from sibyls, psychics and the Oracle at Delphi. Hoodoo practices, including quincunx and voodoo doll spells. Plus, how to kill a werewolf.

 

One of the first recorded psychics in the world was the Oracle at Delphi, whose cryptic messages were much sought after

One of the first recorded psychics in the world was the Oracle at Delphi, whose cryptic messages were much sought after

S2E10: “Hunted”

Monster: Psychics

Someone's hunting the psychic young men and women whom the yellow-eyed demon is enlisting as soldiers in the coming war. Sam’s one, as is Ava, his new acquaintance, who has seen a horrific vision of things to come.

Are all the “special children” ticking timebombs, sure to turn evil at some point? Ava’s financé lying in a pool of blood with his throat slit seems to point to “yes.”

Where it’s from: Cultures from all around the world have believed in psychics, but perhaps the first mention are the sibyls of Ancient Greece.

The sibyl at Delphi sitting upon her tripod and inhaling those potentially hallucinatory fumes

The sibyl at Delphi sitting upon her tripod and inhaling those potentially hallucinatory fumes

Description: Only a woman could be born a sibyl, which translates to “prophetess.” As a kid, I dreamed of what it would be like to visit the most famous, the Oracle at Delphi on Mount Parnassus.

The temple of the Oracle at Delphi in its heyday

The temple of the Oracle at Delphi in its heyday

What it does: These psychics would work themselves up into an ecstatic frenzy. There’s some debate as to whether or not the priestesses were helped along by natural gas emissions in their cave (think of them as the first huffers!).

Either way, once in this altered state, the sibyl would become a conduit for a deity and would speak a somewhat cryptic response to a petitioner’s question.

Emperor Nero was one of the many who visited the Oracle at Delphi, stopping by in 67 CE, when he was 30 years old. Even at that relatively young age, he’d already ticked some things off his bucket list, including having his own mother killed. The sibyl’s unforgiving prophecy went:

“Your presence here outrages the god you seek. Go back, matricide! The number 73 marks the hour of your downfall!”

Needless to say, Nero wasn’t too pleased and had the poor woman burned alive. He assumed he’d live to the ripe old age of 73 — but there’s typically some ambiguity in these psychics’ predictions. Instead, the emperor was defeated during a revolt by a man named Galba…who happened to be 73 at the time. Nero then committed suicide.

When the original Oracle at Delphi died, legend has it she became a disembodied voice that would wander the world, whispering prophecies. I’m sure you’re happy to learn the reason behind the voices in your head.

How to defeat it: They’re still humans. Killing them just because they might go bad one day — or because you don’t like their predictions — seems extreme. (Though the trail of corpses left behind on Supernatural might speak otherwise.)

 

Would you stay at an inn that had a murderous spirit?

Would you stay at an inn that had a murderous spirit?

S2E11: “Playthings”

Monster: Spirit

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: A little girl named Tyler lives at an inn, where she plays with her “imaginary friend” Maggie. Turns out this friend isn’t so imaginary after all; she’s the spirit of her great aunt, Margaret, who drowned in the pool when she was young. Maggie haunts the inn and prevents it from being sold so she doesn’t have to lose her playmate, Tyler.

What it does: There’s a giant dollhouse that’s a scale model of the inn, and the position of the dolls, which seemingly move on their own, reveals a death as it happens. The first to go is a property appraiser who is found hanging in his room.

When Dean sees all the dolls in the house they’re investigating, he says, unconvincingly, “They’re not super creepy at all.”

A quincunx symbol can connect a spell to a place and make it stronger

A quincunx symbol can connect a spell to a place and make it stronger

How to defeat it: Take some cues from the innkeeper’s Creole nanny, who used some hoodoo tricks to protect the B&B and its inhabitants, including the quincunx, or five spot symbol. It looks like the five you’re familiar with from dice: four dots in each corner of a square, with one in the middle. This is a technique to fix a spell to a specific location and empower it.

On the show, a quincunx amulet filled with bloodweed becomes a powerful way to ward off evil, Sam tells us.

You can also bind a spirit with a poppet. (I did one on President Trump, but it really doesn’t seem to have done much good.) You can find the spell in this previous Supernatural post.)

If you’re more inclined to curses or bodily harm, there’s the option of using a voodoo doll on your enemy.

I’d hate to think what someone did to get this voodoo doll treatment!

I’d hate to think what someone did to get this voodoo doll treatment!

Voodoo Doll Ritual

Take some sort of doll (you can buy them all over New Orleans, make one out of wax or cloth, or even borrow someone’s Barbie for these nefarious purposes).

You’ll need some part of your victim, ideally a strand of hair or a fingernail clipping — though a photograph will work in a pinch.

Create a magic circle. Take your voodoo doll and chant, “I command you; I control you” four times. Then: “Hear my voice! The pain you have caused me I shall cause you!”

Here’s where you can get creative with your punishments. Take a needle, candle or something else to poke, prod, burn or create general mayhem upon your doll. Note that you won’t kill your victim, but they should feel the pain, stinging, burning, cold or whatever you’ve subjected the doll to.

Repeat if necessary.

(Adapted from SpellsOfMagic.com)

When all else fails, you could try striking a deal with the spirit. In this case, Grandma Rose offers her life to spend eternity playing dollies with her dead sister. Who says there’s no such thing as Heaven?

 

A Werewolf in Geneva , 1580

A Werewolf in Geneva, 1580

S2E12: “Nightshifter”

Monster: Not a mandroid! It’s a shapeshifter

Where it's from: Europe

Death of the Werewolf.  I hope that arrow has a silver tip on it!

Death of the Werewolf. I hope that arrow has a silver tip on it!

Description: The Winchester boys tell us werewolf stories come from these shapeshifters, even though their methods don’t match up.

Believe it or not, there were stories of werewolves even before Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books.

A werewolf attacks a village in this woodcut from around 1512

A werewolf attacks a village in this woodcut from around 1512

Werewolves are humans who morph into the shape of a wolf during the full moon. The inflicted don’t remember what they’ve done during their wolf phase — which is probably a good thing, since it tends to involve mauling people to death.

One of the first written accounts of werewolves comes from Herodotus in 440 BCE, who described a tribe in Scythia who seem to have gotten stoned out of their gourds and transformed into wolves once a year.

A werewolf enjoys a tasty treat — but it’ll probably regret it in the morning

A werewolf enjoys a tasty treat — but it’ll probably regret it in the morning

In her book Giants, Monsters and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth, Carol Rose writes, “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.”

Centuries later, the methods said to create werewolves expanded colorfully to include “being cursed, or by being conceived under a new moon, or by having eaten certain herbs, or by sleeping under the full moon on Friday, or by drinking water that has been touched by a wolf.”

What it does: You never know who to trust. The Supernatural shapeshifter sheds its skin in a goopy mess and keeps jumping bodies.

“God, it’s like playing the shell game,” Dean exclaims. “It could be anybody. Again.”

How to defeat it: It makes sense that silver, associated with the moon, seems to be the only thing that can end a werewolf’s life. (On a somewhat silly side note, if werewolves were to travel to the moon or touch a moon rock, it’d be even more harmful than silver — at least according to Ask Mystic Investigations, that is. The same site insists that silver can kill werewolves “due to cleansing away the demonic DNA that dwells in them.”) Ruff life. –Wally

 

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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 Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 2, Episodes 4-6

A zombie attack, hypnosis and H.H. Holmes all make appearances. Learn how to talk to the dead and prevent corpses from becoming revenants.

Not all zombies want to eat brains. Some go right for the guts

Not all zombies want to eat brains. Some go right for the guts

S2E4: “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things”

Monster: Zombie

Where it’s from: This type hails from Greece

Description: While there are zombie traditions from around the world, this episode deals with the Greek version. Sometimes called revenants, they’re people who have returned from the dead. They still inhabit their old bodies, so they’re often subject to decay.

What it does: The idea of Greek zombies might relate back to the Keres, female spirits of violent death. Their mother is Nyx, the goddess of darkness, and they’re aligned with the Fates, a trio of goddesses who determine people’s destinies (indeed, the Keres are sometimes referred to as the Death Fates).

“Murder Castle,” a massive boarding house, had labyrinthine hallways and secret rooms — including a gas chamber and a large kiln convenient for disposing of bodies.
Zombies are corpses come back from the dead — and they’re not the brightest of the undead

Zombies are corpses come back from the dead — and they’re not the brightest of the undead

This graphic description of a battlefield from Hesiod shows their mad fury for blood and gore, a key part of our modern takes on zombies (such as The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later):

The black Keres, clashing their white teeth, grim-faced, shaggy, blood-bespattered, dread, kept struggling for the fallen. They all wanted to drink black blood whom first they caught, lying or fallen newly wounded. Around him they threw their mighty talons, and the shade to Hades went, in icy Tartarus. Their hearts were glutted with human blood: They threw away the corpse, and back to the tumult and fighting rushed, in new desire.

You can tell a person has returned from the dead from the unholy ground around their grave, revealed by a circle of dead grass.

How to defeat it: Dean: We’ve got a full-on zombie running around. We have to figure out how to kill it.

Sam: Our lives are weird.

There are many reports on how to kill the walking dead — set them on fire, or Sam’s personal favorite: cut out the heart and feed it to a wild dog — but the Winchester Bros. decide to go with silver bullets. Trouble is, this hardly slowed her down: “Damn, that dead chick can run,” Dean says.

In the end, they go with nailing the undead creature back into its grave bed. This means of stopping zombies has been practiced for centuries.

“Ancient Greeks on the island of Sicily had a fear of revenants so dire they weighed bodies down with rocks and amphora pieces to keep them from rising from their graves to haunt the living,” Ancient Origins reports.

On Supernatural, a divination ritual brings the corpse back to life, but divination is really a way to predict the future.

Who hasn’t wanted to speak with the dead? Well, we’ve got just the ritual for you!

Who hasn’t wanted to speak with the dead? Well, we’ve got just the ritual for you!

Necromancy Divination Ritual to Speak With the Dead

Make a figure out of dough to represent the person you want to talk to. Dress it with a few bay leaves and some fennel.

Dig a ditch deep enough to stand in and surround it with incense. Pour in a mixture of wine, honey and milk. Then nick your finger and squeeze a few drops of blood into the mixture.

Work yourself into an ecstatic state (“a few cans of Red Bull will probably do the trick,” jokes the blog’s author) before finally speaking to the dead.

Source: Creating Weirdness on a Daily Basis…

 

Ever done something you regret? Blame it on mesmerism!

Ever done something you regret? Blame it on mesmerism!

S2E5: “Simon Said”

Monster: Mind control

Where it’s from: Germany

Description: This episode focuses on a young man with a strong power of suggestion (think about the famous Jedi line, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”). In fact, he doesn’t even have to speak — he can make you do something just by thinking it. Yikes. That’s quite a power, and would be easy to use for evil.

What it does: Mesmerism, the idea that a person could be healed via thought while they were in a trance, became all the rage in the late 1700s.

Franz Mesmer, for whom the practice is named, was a German physician who devoted his life to the study of energy transfers (or “artificial tides”) he called animal magnetism. It wasn’t until later that mesmerism focused on hypnosis.

Hypnotism is a powerful tool — just imagine getting people to do whatever you want!

Hypnotism is a powerful tool — just imagine getting people to do whatever you want!

How to defeat it: Perhaps the best way to steel your mind to hypnosis is to know how it works. Learn how to put people under your hypnotic spell from the Hypnosis Training Academy.

 

S2E6: “No Exit”

This charming gent is H.H. Holmes, one of the worst serial killers in history

This charming gent is H.H. Holmes, one of the worst serial killers in history

Monster: Spirit of H.H. Holmes, America’s first (and potentially most prolific) serial killer

Where’s it’s from: Holmes lived in Chicago in the late 1800s, during the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Description: This man was truly a monster. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, he went by numerous aliases. He’s infamous for having created what became known as “Murder Castle,” a massive boarding house with labyrinthine hallways and secret rooms — including a gas chamber and a large kiln convenient for disposing of bodies. He admitted to 27 murders, but the death toll could actually be in the hundreds. His gruesome tale is told in Devil in the White City, which is pretty much required reading for Chicagoans.

Holmes’ spirit leaves ectoplasm, which the Winchesters say is only generated by extremely angry spirits.

What it does: Why let death stop you from killing? Holmes’ murderous spirit captures and murders innocent victims.

A rare image of Holmes’ Murder Castle, a boarding house for single women on Chicago’s South Side — quite close to the Columbian Exhibition

A rare image of Holmes’ Murder Castle, a boarding house for single women on Chicago’s South Side — quite close to the Columbian Exhibition

How to defeat it: Stab him with a pure iron dagger to make his pervy hand disappear. And trap him in a circle of salt. It might be a good idea to entomb the spirit in concrete as well, even if that means “borrowing” a cement truck like Dean does. –Wally

The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 2, Episodes 1-3

In which we’re visited by the Grim Reaper, the original vampire baddie Vlad the Impaler and the Hindu shapeshifter rakshasa. Plus, we play with a Ouija board and learn how to make Abramelin Oil.

What’s a Halloween party without a Ouija board? It’s the best time to talk with the dead

We had a phase in college when we’d whip out the Ouija board and try to talk to the spirits we were sure roamed our dorm. A group of my friends was sitting around the board when I walked in one night. Nothing was happening.

I took a seat — and suddenly the planchette started darting around, spelling out a story of a young girl who had drowned.

Vlad is said to have invited a large group to dinner, had them stabbed and then impaled their still-twitching bodies.

Of course everyone thought I was nudging it along, so they had me sit the next round out. The planchette didn’t budge.

“See?” one of them said. “He was totally pushing it.”

“I’ll tell you what,” I replied. “I’ll go back in, but I won’t touch it.” And I left my fingers hovering an inch or so above the planchette. It started darting around again. Everyone freaked out — and my connection to the spiritual realm was undisputed.
 

A reaper reveals itself

S2E1: “In My Time of Dying”

Monster: Reaper

Where it’s from: All over the world

Description: The reapers of Supernatural can alter perceptions. So this one appears to Dean as a pretty girl since he didn’t like her natural (spectral, freakyass) form.
Typically, the Grim Reaper is depicted as a skeleton wearing a black hooded robe, often carrying a scythe.

We covered reapers in a previous Supernatural roundup.

The ep also mentions fetches. These creatures from English and Irish folklore look just like you, but the time you see them makes all the difference. If you see your double in the morning, good news! You’re going to have a nice long life. See a fetch at night, and you’re soon to be a goner.

Queen Elizabeth I of England was shocked to find a corpse lying on her bed. Upon closer inspection, she saw that the body was identical to her own. She died shortly thereafter.

Queen Elizabeth saw a fetch lying on her bed — and she died not long after

What it does: What do you think the personification of death does? It kills you, duh.

If you’d like to communicate with someone who’s died, do like Sam and break out the Ouija board (oh, I’m sorry, I mean the Mystical Talking Board).

Norman Rockwell painted a scene of a couple using a Ouija board for a cover of  The Saturday Evening Post

Norman Rockwell painted a scene of a couple using a Ouija board for a cover of The Saturday Evening Post

The Ouija board debuted in 1891, and for $1.50 you could have the opportunity to answer questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy,” according to an ad at the time.

Victorians were obsessed with spiritualism and occultism.

Victorians were kind of obsessed with spiritualism and trying to speak with the dead

Communicating with the dead was common — it wasn’t seen as bizarre or weird,” explains Robert Murch, who has researched the history of Ouija boards.

How to defeat it: You can’t kill death, silly.

The fellas mention a couple of items they learn are used to summon a demon. Oil of Abramelin is on the list. It’s a hoodoo formula named for its inclusion in a medieval grimoire called The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, written by a man with the unfortunate appellation Abraham of Worms. He was a 15th century Jewish Kabbalist who adapted from the Jewish Holy Oil of the Tanakh. Moses whipped up a batch in the Bible’s Book of Exodus.

Abramelin the Mage. I’m sure he’s slathered in his namesake oil

Abramelin the Mage. I’m sure he’s slathered in his namesake oil

Old Wormy said that the oil is a part of rituals that involve “the gifts of flight, treasure-finding and invisibility, as well as the power to cast effective love spells.”

The sex-crazed ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley believed Abramelin Oil “consecrates everything that is touched with it.”

There’s a lot of talk about variations on the recipe, some of which resulted from a French dude’s mistranslation. Here’s one that seems legit (and not overly archaic).


Abramelin Oil

  • 4 parts cinnamon bark quills, reduced to powder
  • 2 parts myrrh resin, finely ground
  • 1 part calamus chopped root, reduced to powder
  • half of the foregoing total weight olive oil


The mixture is macerated for one month, then decanted and bottled for use, producing a fragrant oil suitable for anointing the body. It may be applied liberally, after the manner of traditional Jewish holy oils, such as the one that was poured on Aaron’s head until it ran down his beard. 

Daddy Winchester also wanted acacia. And though he had lied about the reason he wanted those ingredients, acacia is more likely to be used for protection than for summoning a demon. The bush has become a symbol of renewal, strength and purity, as well as immortality due to its evergreen nature, according to Building Beautiful Souls. It was common in Hebrew tradition to plant an acacia at the head of a person’s grave. The instructions for Noah’s Ark were written on acacia wood. And in Tibet, acacia incense wards off evil spirits.

The only way you could really beat death is to make a swap — a life for a life. John sacrifices himself to get the reaper off Dean’s back.

 

The Hindu demon rakshasha is known for tearing people apart

S2E2: “Everybody Loves a Clown”

Monster: Rakshasa, a Hindu monster

Where it’s from: India

Description: These demons can shapeshift into any animal or monster they wish. Sculptors were told to carve them with a “terrifying appearance, complete with fearful side tusks, ugly eyes, curling awkward brows, and carrying a variety of horrible weapons.”

In the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, Hanuman, the monkey god, enters a town full of rakshasas:

“Some of them disgusted the eye, while some were beautiful to look upon. Some had long arms and frightful shapes; some were very fat and some were very lean; some were mere dwarfs and some were prodigiously tall. Some had only one eye and others only one ear. Some had monstrous bellies, hanging breasts, long projecting teeth and crooked thighs; whilst others were exceedingly beautiful to behold and clothed in great splendour. Some had two legs, some three legs, and some four legs. Some had the heads of serpents, some the heads of donkeys, some the heads of horses and some the heads of elephants.”

What it does: Well, they devour people. And sleep on beds full of insects.

Ravana, the 10-headed King of Rakshasas kidnapped the lovely Sita in the Hindu epic the Ramayana

Rakshasas are ruled by their 10-headed king, Ravana, arguably the main villain in the Ramayana. “He was possibly a wonderful leader,” writes Vampires.com. “He was also a murdering rapist who ate people.”

Ravana makes an appearance shaking a mountain on a carving in a temple in the Angkor complex in Cambodia.

We probably don’t even want to know what this rakshasa is up to

Rakshasas are notorious for disturbing sacrifices, desecrating graves, harassing priests, possessing human beings and so on,” according to the New World Encyclopedia.

Rakshasas can shapeshift, enjoy devouring people and always fade away at the start of a new day

How to defeat it: A rakshasa’s power grows in the evening, and they’re at their strongest during the dark of a new moon. But they disappear with the rising of the sun.

The rakshasa page from the AD&D Monster Manual

On the show, they must be invited in, like some vampire legends.

The Brothers Winchester kill the rakshasa with a dagger made of pure brass.

If you play D&D, here are the stats for a rakshasa. Not only can you fight them, you play a rakshasa character!

They don’t give out medals for dungeon masters extraordinaire…but if they did, my friend Mike would receive one. I asked him what he thought about rakshasas in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

“Rakshasas are one of my fave monsters!” he said. “They focus on stealth and deception, they possess both powerful magical abilities and immunities, and they can more than hold their own in physical combat. If you’re looking for a big bad for a story arc, rakshasas are the perfect masterminds.”

Wally has always secretly wanted to be a vampire

Wally has always secretly wanted to be a vampire

S2E3: “Bloodlust”

Monster: Vampire

Description: You all know what vampires look like. For more background, we first covered vampires on Supernatural in this post.

What it does: Here’s where we get into moral ambiguity: What exactly makes something a monster? Are vampires inherently evil? What about the ones in this brood who don’t hurt humans but instead drink cow blood? (Does it matter that they do so mostly so there aren’t missing people that will lead hunters to them?) Discuss amongst yourselves.

Vlad Tepes, a Romanian prince from the 1400s, became the infamous Dracula

As for our modern vampire folklore, many trace it back to the man who became Dracula: Vlad III, known as Dracul (Drăculea in old Romanian). He also earned the name Vlad Tepes (which translates to “the Impaler”). That gives you an idea of his favorite hobby.

Born in 1431, Vlad was the prince of Wallachia in what is now Romania. He might not have been the monster we’ve all been taught to believe.

“His preferred method of execution, impalement, wasn’t just a sadistic way to get rid of his opponents; it was also a good way to scare them away,” Florin Curta, a professor of medieval history at the University of Florida, told Live Science.

Vlad the Impaler is said to have enjoyed dining amidst his eccentric décor (bodies impaled upon stakes)

Vlad the Impaler is said to have enjoyed dining amidst his eccentric décor (bodies impaled upon stakes)

His habit of impaling Ottoman invaders was a form of psychological warfare used to level the playing field with an army much larger than his own. It doesn’t quite explain why he used that horrific means of death on Saxon merchants and local nobles he feared would question his authority. (He’s said to have invited a large group to dinner, had them stabbed and then impaled their still-twitching bodies.)

Some say his cruelty went even further. “He would impale women for nothing, his reason being they weren’t working hard enough. Some say he took sexual pleasure from this. He even impaled the children and the elderly because to him, they were useless,” according to The Good, the Bad and the Monstrous.

Apparently, it wasn’t the only way Dracula punished his enemies, according to the website Vlad the Impaler. He also was fond of “cutting of limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals and boiling alive.”

Are vampires inherently evil? Would you slay one if it only dined on animal blood?

There’s evidence that Vlad would insert the spike through his victims’ rectums and angle it to avoid hitting the vital organs so the person would live as long as possible.

One of the myths surrounding Dracula is that he drank the blood of his enemies. Turns out the original source, a German poem, actually says he really just liked to wash his hands in the blood of his enemies before he ate dinner. Bon appétit!

How to defeat it: If you’re in danger, cut its friggin’ head off. –Wally

He was possibly a wonderful leader.
He was also a murdering rapist who ate people.

The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 1, Episodes 13-16

Want to develop your telekinesis powers? Stuck battling a Zoroastrian demon? Is that ghost truck a big ol’ racist? This post is for you!

Zoroastrianism, a little-known religion still practiced today, originated in Iran and focuses on opposites

Zoroastrianism gets a bum rap, in my opinion. It’s one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world, having started about 3,500 years ago in ancient Persia (what’s now Iran). But do you ever hear about Zoroastrianism? Nope. It’s all Christianity, Judaism and Islam all the time.

Sure, it’s a mouthful to say. But I bet most people don’t even know that people still practice Zoroastrianism — if they’ve even heard of it in the first place.

I had never met a Zoroastrian before my coworker Alma (who helped out with a post on what it’s like to visit Iran). They don’t have official places of worship, choosing instead to say their prayers at home or in the open air — always facing a source of light.

It’s high time we start spreading the word about this religion, which has a cool concept of dualism. For every good, there’s an evil. For every light, there’s a corresponding darkness. We’ll touch upon one of the religion’s personifications of shadow in this month’s Supernatural roundup.

Telekinetics are known as “spoon benders.” They can do neat tricks like having knives hover in the air millimeters from someone’s eyeball.

It’s bad enough having a phantom truck try to run you down, but it might turn out to be racist, too!

S1E13: “Route 666”

Monster: Phantom truck

Where it's from: United States

Description: This vehicle moves on its own, without a driver.

What it does: Dean and Sam Winchester reference the Flying Dutchman, which refers to a legendary ghost ship and/or its captain. He was a stubborn drunkard, who refused to heed his crew’s pleas and rounded the Cape of Good Hope during a terrible storm.

The crew mutinied, and the captain shot and killed its leader. He then tossed the corpse overboard. When the body hit the water, a shadowy figure appeared on deck.

The feisty captain shot at it — but the gun exploded in his hand.

The spectral figured cursed the Flying Dutchman to sail the seas as a ghost ship with a crew of skeletons, and any who catch sight of it are doomed to die.

The Flying Dutchman, as seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies

The cursed vessel has been spotted periodically since then, including by a German sub in World War II.

This particular ghost truck happens to be racist. Yes, the phantom truck is racist. What a jerk. (That reveal has led some to include this episode on a list of the worst Supernaturals ever.)

How to defeat it: Lure it onto hallowed ground — and the ghost truck should vanish.


S1E14: “Nightmare”

A rare moment of telekinesis caught on film!

Monster: Telekinesis

Where it’s from: People all over the world could have this power.

Description: Two Greek words combine to mean “distant movement” — telekinesis is the ability to move objects with your mind. Think of one of Stephen King’s most famous characters, the traumatized Carrie, whose telekinetic powers get out of control.

There’s not a lot of scientific evidence to back up the existence of telekinesis, though a researcher from Duke University named J.B. Rhine thought he could prove the power of the mind — and especially the idea that many people could collectively influence outcomes solely through the power of thought.

Later researchers have been unable to duplicate his results and have found errors in his methods.

What it does: Telekinetics are known as “spoon benders.” They can do neat tricks like having knives hover in the air millimeters from someone’s eyeball.

How to defeat it: Try giving a telepath a taste of his or her own medicine!

 

The horror flick Carrie demonstrates that you never want to piss off a telepath

Telekinesis 101

Hold the top of a necklace between your thumb and forefinger. Make sure the pendant is still.

Shut out all outside thoughts and focus. Imagine energy flowing through your arm and hand and then through the necklace. Picture the pendant swinging in little circles, speeding up as the energy flows. You should see tiny swinging movements.

Concentrate as hard as you can, all the while keeping the image in your mind. Try to imagine what it would look like in real life, starting slow and speeding up.

You’ve still got a long way before you’ve got Carrie-type powers, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!

 

Telekinesis 201

The first method of telekinesis training is becoming one with an object.

To do so, light a candle and stare at the flame. Focus on the inner flame — not just the flame you see.

Close your eyes and keep the inner flame in your mind, visualizing it growing, shortening, waving, dancing. Practice five to 10 minutes a day.

The second method of telekinesis training is using energy.

Start small. Blow up a balloon. Put it on a floor with little friction (apparently something like linoleum works best). Sit down in a comfortable position and try to do some breathing exercises to clear your mind. Then create a ball of energy and mentally push it into the balloon, making it move without touching it.

The final step of telekinesis training is bending.

You can use any utensil — though, let’s face it, it’s more poetic to use a spoon. Hold it in a way that’s comfortable to you. Sit in a relaxed position and do breathing exercises to clear your mind.

Focus on the utensil. Close your eyes and slowly rub the spoon to get the feeling of it. Feel the energy, the molecules and the atoms of it become one with you.

With years of practice, you’ll be bending spoons in no time!

 

S1E15: “The Benders”

Monster: Humans who hunt people for sport

Man, these guys are worse than that racist phantom truck! But we’re sticking to monsters. So, ’nuff said.

Good battles evil in many Zoroastrian myths

S1E16: “Shadow”

Monster: Daeva, Zoroastrian demon

Where it’s from: Zoroastrianism was one of the first monotheistic religions and dealt a lot with the battle between good and evil, darkness and light. It developed in ancient Persia, in what is now Iran.

The prophet Zoroaster battles two daevas

Description: As Sam Winchester says, “They’re Zoroastrian demons, and they’re savage. They’re animalistic. You know, nasty attitudes, kinda like, uh, demonic pitbulls.”

Daevas “are the counterparts and mirror opposites of the amesha spentas,” Rosemary Ellen Guiley writes in The Encyclopedia of Demons & Demonology. “They personify all diseases, sins and distresses suffered by humanity. Most daevas are male.”

The daevas were created from the evil thoughts of Ah-Riman, the Destructive Spirit of the Zoroastrian religion, “for the purpose of waging war against goodness and humanity. Though spirits, they can appear in human form,” she continues.

They hide beneath the earth, lurking about, waiting for someone vulnerable to attack. “They are attracted to unclean places and like to spend time in locations where corpses are exposed,” according to Guiley.

What it does: These are some powerful mofos. On the show, the daeva’s victims are shredded to death by its claws. Dean and Sam get their faces sliced up by the shadowy demon. (But fear not! Their pretty faces will heal with nary a scar.)

How to defeat it: Find and destroy the altar where it’s worshipped.

If a deava is attacking you, shine light upon it — as personifications of darkness, they cannot stand brightness. That includes flares, if you’ve got some handy. –Wally

The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 1, Episodes 10-12

Learn witchcraft spells to protect yourself from ghosts, pagan gods demanding human sacrifice and Death itself.

It really is kind of effed-up what English teachers sic upon impressionable young minds. I read Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” when I was 15, and it has stuck with me ever since. I was intrigued by the idea of a modern town ritually sacrificing one of its members, based on a pagan tradition so far in the past they’ve simply ceased to question it. And the final scene, where even the poor woman’s own son is given pebbles to help stone his mother to death, shook me to the core.

There’s a similar type situation in this roundup of Supernatural monsters. And we’ll also meet Death himself.

Symptoms of ghostly possession can include oily skin, rashes, feeling like your eyes are being pulled inside, migraines, the sensation of being strangled, loss of appetite (or increased appetite), tics and miscarriages.

There were only two people posing for this pic!

Apparently, ghostly possession is way more common than we think

S1 E10: “Asylum”

Monster: Ghost

Where it’s from: All over the world. About 30% of the world’s population is possessed by ghosts, according to the Spiritual Science Research Foundation, which I’m sure is totally legit.

Description: This particular spirit possesses people and feeds off their rage.

Encountering a ghost? Don’t panic — we’ve got you covered

What it does: Symptoms of ghostly possession can include oily skin, rashes, feeling like your eyes are being pulled inside, migraines, the sensation of being strangled, loss of appetite (or increased appetite), tics and miscarriages. In this particular case, those possessed turn murderous and then suicidal.

How to defeat it: A rifle loaded with rock salt can repel the ghost. Salt has a long history of protective properties.

To fully destroy the ghost and restore those who are possessed to themselves, Dean and Sam Winchester have to find the original corpse and burn it.

 

That scarecrow could come to life with the murderous spirit of a pagan god

That scarecrow could come to life with the murderous spirit of a pagan god

S1 E11: “Scarecrow”

Monster: Vanir, a pagan Norse god

Where it’s from: Northern Germany and Scandinavia

Freya is the goddess of beauty (and a bit of a slut, turns out)

Freya is also the goddess of war and death

Description: This branch of the Norse gods holds in its ranks Freya, goddess of love, beauty, sex, gold, war and death (busy gal), accused by Loki of having slept with all the elves and gods, including her brothers.

Pagans would offer sacrifices to Freyr, the Norse god of fertility

Freyr’s power over fertility is symbolized by his giant phallus, as depicted in this idol

Speaking of which, her brother Freyr, god of fertility, was a popular guy. People’s well-being and prosperity depended upon him, including bountiful harvests. This was apparently symbolized by his “enormous, erect phallus.”

What it does: Freyr was a frequent recipient of sacrifices, including the celebration of a harvest. Instead of offering up the traditional sacrifice of his favored animal, the boar, the townsfolk in the episode lured one male and one female to their deaths. With the sacrifice, the town assures a good harvest and general happiness.

The personification of this Vanir takes on the form of a living scarecrow, which actually has more of a connection to the Celts and their wicker man.

Julius Caesar wrote about the Gallic practice of burning humans alive in a giant wicker man

This sick ritual was described by none other than Julius Caesar in Book Six of The Gallic War:

“The whole Gallic race is addicted to religious ritual; consequently those suffering from serious maladies or subject to the perils of battle sacrifice human victims. … Some weave huge figures of wicker and fill their limbs with humans, who are then burned to death when the figures are set afire. They suppose that the gods prefer this execution to be applied to thieves, robbers and other malefactors taken in the act, but in default of such they resort to the execution of the innocent.”

How to defeat it: In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the mythical tree that connects the nine worlds, which include Asgard, where Thor and his relations live, and Midgard, their term for Earth.

In Norse mythology, the sacred tree Yggdrasil connects the nine worlds

In this episode, there’s a sacred tree that’s tied to the Vanir. Once the Winchester Brothers chopped it down, the god — and his blessings — abandon the village.

Our personification of death as the Grim Reaper began in Ancient Greece


S1 E12: "Faith"

Monster: Reaper

Where it’s from: All over the world, especially the United States and Europe

An old tarot Death card from Germany depicts a reaper

An old tarot Death card from Germany depicts a reaper

The reaper uses its scythe to chop up bodies

Description: The Grim Reaper is the personification of death. He’s most often depicted as a skeletal figure wearing a black hooded robe and carrying a large scythe. In some parts of Europe, his robe is white.

Ancient Greeks worshiped Thanatos, or Death, who was portrayed as an attractive, bearded man with wings and an extinguished flame (what vivid symbolism!). Departed souls had to pay the ferryman Charon to get across the River Styx into the underworld. Some sources described Charon as a skeletal figure much like today’s Grim Reaper.

What it does: On the show, reapers can stop time — and only their victims can see them coming for them.

How to defeat it: As the altar Sam discovers attests, you can gain control over a reaper with a binding spell.

 

Poppet Binding Spell

This spell is best worked on a waning or dark moon.

Cut two layers of black cloth in the rough shape of the person or creature you wish to bind and sew together to create a small poppet. Leave part of the head unstitched.

Fill the poppet with earth, a smoky quartz and an amethyst. Also include hair or nail clippings, or a photograph or sample of handwriting of the person you wish to bind.

Create a sacred circle, then take an altar candle and a black candle. Hold the poppet out in front of you and say:

Creature of cloth thou art,

Now creature of flesh and blood you be.

I name you [name of the person or creature you are binding].

No more shall you do me harm,

No more shall you spread false tales,

No more shall you interfere in my life,

Nor in the lives of my loved ones.

By the power of the gods and by my will,

So mote it be.

Draw an invoking pentagram over the poppet.

Now take some black ribbon or wool and begin to wrap the poppet like a mummy, leaving no space unwrapped and say:

I bind your feet from bringing you to harm me.

I bind your hands from reaching out to harm me.

I bind your mouth from spreading tales to harm me.

I bind your mind from sending energy to harm me.

If you continue to do so, let all negative energy be cast directly back at you!

Tie off the ribbon and hold the poppet in front of you. Visualize all the negative energy this person has sent you being cast back at them.

Wrap the poppet in a piece of black cloth and tie with a black ribbon. Say:

Great Mother, I have bound this person

From harming me and my loved ones.

By the powers of three times three,

By Earth and Fire, Air and Sea,

I fix this spell, then set it free,

’Twill give no harm to return on me,

As I will, so mote it be!

Let the candle burn out while the poppet sits at its base.

Then take the poppet and the remains of the candle and bury them in the ground or toss them in the ocean. Walk away without looking back.

 

Now, it’s not always possible to get nail clippings and the like from your enemy (does Death even have fingernails?!), so this spell from Free Witchcraft Spells might work better. It takes some time; so hopefully you can avoid the reaper in the meantime!

 

Black Candle Binding Spell

Anoint a black candle with sandalwood oil while you concentrate on the person or creature you want to get out of your life.

Wrap a piece of black thread around the candle until you use the whole length, then tie it tightly.

Repeat this, with a piece of black yarn. Then, on top of that, wind around a piece of rough twine of the same length. The exact lengths of the cords don’t matter — just use the same for all three. About 18 inches works well.

Light the candle, and let it burn out completely. Try to do this spell in the evening, letting the candle burn down overnight. Keep it somewhere safe and flameproof because the strings might catch fire as the candle burns down. I’ll burn candles in a small cauldron for my peace of mind.

You can try, but there really is no escaping death


Give it a go, but let’s face it: If your time has come, Death will find you. Have the Final Destination movies taught us nothing? –Wally

Love Spells From the Gypsies

How to cast a love spell to make someone fall in love with you — or fall out of love with you. Plus, secrets from the Roma that will reveal your future spouse!

Why are these Gypsies so happy? Cuz their love spells worked!

Gypsies, the apparently un-PC (but somehow fitting) term for the Roma, are said to have originated in North India, including what are now the states of Rajasthan and Punjab. A nomadic people, they traveled around in horse-drawn caravans and became known for their magical prowess. They’re especially gifted when it comes to divination, curses and love magic.

Here are some Gypsy love spells to win that special person’s heart, catch a glimpse of your future spouse — or to chase away an unwanted suitor. 

If you dream of your love, then you will surely marry him or her.

Spell to Make Your Lover More Attentive

Sit before a dying fire and gaze into it, clearing your mind of all but thoughts of your lover.

Have a small basket of laurel leaves between your knees.

Keeping your gaze fixed on the fire, dip your left hand into the basket, take out a handful of leaves, and toss them onto the fire. As they burst into flames, chant out loud the following:

“Laurel leaves that burn in the fire,
Draw unto me my heart’s desire.”

Wait until the flames have died down, then repeat the action. Do it a third time.

Within 24 hours, your lover will come to visit you.

 

Spell to Dream of the One You Will Marry

In the morning, as soon as you arise, peel a small lemon.

Keep two equal pieces of the peel, each about the size of a half-dollar. Place the pieces with the insides together and peel-side-out, and put them in your right-hand pocket or in your purse. Leave them there all day.

At night, when you undress for bed, take the peel from your pocket or purse and rub the legs of the bed with it. Then place both pieces of the peel under your pillow and lay down to sleep.

If you dream of your love, then you will surely marry him or her.

 

Spell to Attract a Specific Lover

Set a wineglass on the table.

Suspend a ring (traditionally your mother’s wedding ring, but any ring will do) from a length of red silk ribbon.

Holding the ribbon between your thumb and forefinger, with your elbow resting on the table, let the ring hang in the mouth of the wineglass like a pendulum. Try to keep the ring still.

In a loud, clear voice, call out your own name followed by the name of your would-be love. Repeat the name of your love twice more (three times in all).

Then, spelling out his or her name, allow the ring to swing until it clinks against the side of the wineglass, once for each letter.

Now take the ribbon and tie it about your neck, allowing the ring to hang down on your chest over your heart. Wear it for three weeks.

Every Friday, repeat the above ritual. By the end of the third week, if it is meant to be, then the loved one will come to you.

 

Spell to Reveal Your Future Spouse’s Initials

Find the brightest red apple with the longest stem you can (from anywhere except off your own tree).

Sit by the fire and hold the apple by the stem as you gently twist it. For each twist given, state a letter of the alphabet (in order). The letter called out as the stem breaks free is your spouse’s first initial.

Toss the stem into the fire.

Then peel the apple skin off carefully in one long peel. If you mess up,you have to start again with a new apple, so be careful.

When done, take the peel in your left hand and toss it over your shoulder so that it lands on the ground behind you. Turn around and see what letter’s shape the peel has taken. That’s the first letter of your future spouse’s last name.

If the apple peel should break when thrown, that means it’s going to be a stormy relationship and that there will most likely be more than one instance in which you will consider calling the whole thing off.

Spell to View Your Future Spouse

In a room on a table covered with a black cloth, place a clear goblet of water filled to the brim.

On the goblet’s left, burn a white candle. This should be the only light in the closed, silent room.

On the right, burn frankincense, jasmine or sandalwood incense.

Close your eyes and relax by taking a few deep breaths, as you envision the faces of possible spouses in front of you.

Keep your eyes closed as you repeat the following three times:

“Scry, scry, scry for me
Bring the face that I must see.
Let me gaze on my future mate,
To know which lover will be my fate.”

Clear your mind of everything so that you are ready to accept whatever you see. When ready, open your eyes and gaze down into the water and you’ll glimpse the face of the one who will become your spouse.

 

Spell for Getting Rid of an Unwanted Suitor

Take a small square of paper and write on it the name of the annoying would-be lover. Use black ink. It’s best to use a feather quill, if possible. Let the ink dry.

Then light a white candle and burn the piece of paper in its flame over a cauldron or ashtray while thinking of the person running away from you.

Gather the ashes into a small bag and carry them out to a hillside. There you must place the ashes on the upturned palm of your right hand and hold it up, saying:

“Winds of the North, East, South and West,
Carry these affections to where they’ll be best.
Let her/his heart be open and free,
And let her/his mind be away from me.”

Then blow on the ashes so they scatter to the winds.
 

Spell to Give Someone the Courage to Admit Their Love for You

This should be done at the same hour on seven consecutive Fridays, ending on the one closest to the full moon — not just after.

Take a pink candle and mark six rings around it, at equal distances apart. This will give you seven sections of a candle.

Light the candle and call out the name of the one you think loves you.

Then say:

“Gana, be with me in all that I do.
Gana, please bring me a love who is true.
Give him/her the strength to put into words
His/her feelings, and sing like the song of the birds.”

(Gana is another name for Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon.)

Think about the person for a few moments — picture them coming to you and declaring their love.

Then repeat the chant. Keep doing this until the candle has burned down to the first line. Then extinguish the candle (by pinching it out — never by blowing; it helps to wet your fingers first) and put it away till next week.

On the final week, keep it lit until the candle burns itself out. –Wally

 

Sources: MojoMoon and In the Dark Book of Shadows

The Monsters of “Supernatural,” Season 1, Episodes 7-9

What’s a poltergeist, what are the urban legends about the Hook Man, and how do you break Indian curses?

Get away from the TV, Carol Anne! The poltergeist is gonna get you!

The movie Poltergeist scared (and scarred) countless kids of my generation. The image of doomed little Carol Anne putting her hands on the static-buzzing TV and creepily uttering, “They’re heeeeerrrre” is ingrained in our brains. It cemented our fear of clowns. And we’ll never forgive that strange little lady falsely proclaiming, “The house is clean.”

My family saw the movie on vacation at our time share on Lake Chelan, Washington. At the time, I had a stuffed monkey that I hid in the downstairs closet ’cause I was sure he’d try to strangle me with his tail while I slept.

The Hook Man acts as a sort of morality police, punishing (and killing) young couples who naughtily engage in sex.

Now a new generation has made acquaintance with a poltergeist in the form of Peeves, the ghostly prankster roaming Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter novels. Peeves has his dark side, though he’s more mischievous than menacing.

 

S1E7: “HOOK MAN”

The killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer plays upon our collective fear of the Hook Man

Monster: The Hook Man of urban legend

Where it’s from: The United States

Description: A teenage couple pulls into a lover’s lane and starts to make out. But upon hearing an announcer on the radio warning that a convicted murderer with a hook for a hand has escaped the local insane asylum, the girl insists on leaving. The boy keeps trying to score, but the girl rebuffs his advances. Frustrated, the boy guns the engine and drives her home in a huff. As the girl gets out of the car, she starts screaming. The boy runs over and sees what she’s freaking out about: Hanging from the car door is a bloody hook.

What it does: The Hook Man acts as a sort of morality police, punishing (and killing) young couples who naughtily engage in sex.

How to defeat it: There’s a powerful spirit deterrent you’ve already got in your kitchen cabinet: salt. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, salt was used to consecrate items and to seal covenants. Buddhists believe salt repels evil spirits. Even sumo wrestlers cleanse their matches by throwing a handful of salt into the center of the ring — a Shinto practice.


S1E8: “Bugs”

Is this a natural swarm of insects — or the result of a Native American curse?

Monster: Murderous insects

Where it’s from: The United States

Description: The bugs are driven to kill because of a Native American curse upon the land, proclaiming that nature will rise up against the white man. There are numerous places around the country that are said to suffer Indian curses.

It’s never a good idea to build your home on Indian burial grounds

What it does: Native American tribes didn’t tend to be very fond of insects, seeing them as swarming, biting and crop-destroying harbingers of disease, black magic and bad luck. So it’s not surprising that in this case, bugs burrow into a construction worker’s brain and spiders bite a realtor to death.

How to defeat it: Dean and Sam don’t break the curse; they just survive the plague of insects. But a helpful fellow on Facebook recommends the following prayer to cleanse the land from curses:

“Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the power of His shed blood, by that name and by that authority, I remit the sins that have been committed here as many generations back as needs be: to the very first thoughts, words, deeds or gestures.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I break the covenant of death. I command that it be finished from this time forth: no more death, no more rape and no more murder in this place.
We dedicate this land back to the Lord Jesus Christ, that every person entering this place from this time forth to do any kind of oath, covenant, curse, fetish or agreement with the unfruitful works of darkness will come face-to-face with the power of the shed blood, and they will have no alternative but to fall down and repent of their wickedness, or they will turn and flee from here, never to return to come back again for this purpose, in Jesus’ name.”

Let us know how it works out!

 

S1E9: “Home”

Looks like this woman has a serious poltergeist on her hands

Monster: Poltergeist

Where it’s from: While its name is derived from the German for “knocking spirit” (often translated as “noisy ghost”), poltergeists can be found all over the world.

Description: They’re incorporeal and cannot be seen. They’re not considered spirits but rather psychic manifestations brought about by anxiety or stress.

What it does: Poltergeist activity can start out with strange odors, electrical disturbances or objects moving by themselves but often escalates to more violent physical attacks upon those in the home (a coffee pot might fly at your head, for instance).

How to defeat it: Try this:

 

House Purification Ritual

Make a mixture of:

  • Angelica root (a member of the parsley family used as protection from evil spirits and to break hexes)
  • Van Van oil (a lemongrass-based hoodoo formula popular in New Orleans to drive away evil and provide protection)
  • Crossroads dirt

Put this mixture in the north, south, east and west corners of the home on every floor — and the house should be clean.

 

But be warned: That’s what the psychic in Poltergeist promised, too. –Wally